This DIY accent wall is great for beginners! It doesn’t require precise cuts and can easily be done in a weekend. The wall is extremely budget-friendly, and it’s easy to customize it to fit your space. We’ve seen similar walls done in nurseries, entryways, and living rooms. For a more subtle effect, or to work in a more visually busy room, paint the wall treatment the same color as the rest of the room and it will create awesome texture in the space without a bold statement.
Our bedroom wood accent wall is one of our favorite projects in our whole house. We knew we wanted some kind of navy accent wall, but it took a few months to find the perfect idea. When Tori stumbled across this gorgeous nursery from Liz at Within the Grove, we immediately knew this was going to be our bedroom’s accent wall. This modern twist on a wood accent wall is so simple yet has a massive impact. Let’s get into it!
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DIY Wood Accent Wall Tutorial
- ½” x 4′ x 8′ MDF
- Table saw (or a circular saw with this saw guide)
- Speed square
- Tape measure
- Brad nailer
- 1 ¼” Brad nails
- Wood filler
- Sandpaper (150 and 220-grit)
- Paintable caulk
How do you make a wood accent wall?
Step 1: Plan out your wood accent wall using SketchUp Free
This step is optional. If you’re a visual person, you’ll appreciate the opportunity to play with and plan the design of your wall. If you’re more of a “figure it out as I go” person, skip to step 2.
Measure the dimensions of your wall and plug those dimensions into the free version SketchUp. To make installation easier, all of the angles on your wall will be either 90 or 45 degrees. Start with a few longer lines that cross that wall at a 45-degree angle or are completely vertical. All of the other boards on the wall will build off of these longer ones. They are highlighted in red on the picture above. Next, add some shorter lines where shorter boards will go. Play around with your design until you’re happy with it.
When your design is complete, use the “Measure” tool to figure out exactly where you will need to install your boards. For our project, we used those measurements to determine the location of our longer boards and then estimated the location of all of our shorter boards.
Step 2: Cut your MDF into strips
Use your table saw (or circular saw and guide) to rip the board into 2”x 8’ strips. If you are doing this solo, you’ll want some saw horses or rolling guides to keep the strips from hitting the ground and getting dented.
Step 3: Sand the strips
MDF edges are often fuzzy, even when you’re using a high-toothed blade. Use 150-grit sandpaper on your sander (this one is our favorite) to smooth out the edges of each strip. We ended up just wrapping a piece of sandpaper around a wooden block because it was easier to manage. Repeat with 220-grit sandpaper.
Step 4: Cut your longer boards
Noting your measurements from step 1, or if you’re winging it, measure the length of your longest board and cut it to fit. If your board has a 45-degree angle on the end, use your speed square to mark and cut it. If you have a miter saw, simply set the guide to 45 degrees and make your cut. Learn from our mistakes and pay special attention to the direction of the angle, so you don’t accidentally cut the board too short.
Step 5: Install longer boards
Hold your board on the wall and ensure that both ends are flush with the edges of the wall. Use your speed square to double-check your angles. Then use your nail gun to shoot nails every six inches down the board. Don’t put nails too close to the edge or it could damage the board. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for all of your long boards.
Step 6: Cut and install shorter boards
Similar to the process for the longer boards, either reference your sketch or eyeball where you want the shorter boards to go. Don’t worry about your measurements being perfect. As long as your angled end is accurate, you can slide the shorter boards along the length of the longer board until it sits flush on both sides. Once you’re happy with the location, use your speed square to ensure the angle is correct and shoot nails 6″ apart down the length of the board. Repeat with all of your shorter boards.
Note: If you’re not happy with a board, just give it a really hard pull and it will come off, so you can easily redo it. The nail holes left behind are tiny, so it’s easy to fix any mistakes. We redid the section on the left 3 or 4 times before I was happy with it.
Step 7: Fill nail holes and seams
Time to start the finishing work! Use your wood filler to fill all the nail holes and any seams where two boards meet. Apply enough wood filler so there’s a little hill left behind. After it has dried, use your 220 sandpaper and sand down all those little hills until they’re flush. If you sand one too much, just add more wood filler and try again.
Step 8: Caulk
Caulk all the places where a board meets the wall, top, and bottom. After applying the caulk, use a wet finger to smooth it out. Baby wipes are fantastic for wetting your finger and wiping off the excess caulk on the wall and your finger.
Step 10: Paint
Paint your accent wall with 2 coats of paint (with either a sprayer or brush and roller). We used Behr’s Premium Plus paint and had it color-matched to Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy. It’s the perfect neutral, navy blue.
If you have any questions, scroll down to read our FAQ. If you’re ready to jump in, tag us in your photos on Facebook and Instagram (@thebuildits) if you install this wood accent wall in your home, so we can see what you create! You’ve got this!
How much does a wood accent wall cost?
All of the supplies for this accent wall cost $65. That includes the MDF, nails, caulk, wood filler, sandpaper, and paint. If you already have some of those supplies, you can do a cheap accent wall for only the cost of the MDF.
What wood is best for walls?
MDF is a good, inexpensive choice if you’re going to be painting the wood accent wall. You can buy MDF boards pre-primed or raw in large sheets. MDF doesn’t do well in wet environments and is easily dented, so it isn’t the best option for bathrooms or high-traffic areas. If you’re going to stain the wood accent wall or it’s in one of those wet or high-traffic areas, pine boards are an inexpensive, accessible option. For this project, we used a ½” sheet of MDF.