For months and months, I have been admiring Bower Power’s nursery wooden wall that they created using wooden pallets:
And more recently I’ve been fond of Raechel Myer’s wood wall that she created for a guest bedroom:
I finally convinced my husband, Dustyn, that we needed to do something in our bedroom. It was the least planned/organized/aesthetic room in our home. Somehow it just hadn’t gotten as much love as the rest of the house. Need proof? Here’s what it looked like:
The left and middle pictures were from nearly a year ago. We had lovely photographs hanging on our walls taken by the amazing Shannon Cunningham, but otherwise, nada. Zip. ZILCH. It was just boring and plain. Our bed was from Ikea and our side tables, too. Nothing seemed special or out of the ordinary. Our bedroom wasn’t a place I spent much time other than sleeping. I did all my reading, which I do every night before bed, in the living room. Maybe that’s why I didn’t invest a lot of effort in our bedroom? I’m not sure. The right photograph was taken shortly before we began the construction on our wall (it’s a black and white photo I took with my iPhone). We had changed the sheets and simplified the bedding a bit, but it was still so plain jane.
I kept coming back to the inspiration photographs above, seeing theme every single time I logged into Pinterest. I finally proposed the idea to Dustyn. I wanted to do a wooden wall in our bedroom. I thought for sure he wouldn’t go for it, but ya know, he surprised me. We immediately made a trip to Home Depot to buy wood (after reading through both tutorials linked above to figure out which type of wall – new wood or wooden pallets – we’d want to use) to test. We decided we didn’t have the time to collect pallets, especially not knowing how to even begin doing so. There is also a lot of information floating around about how to treat the pallets before bringing them into your home and we just didn’t want to deal with it.
Our biggest dilemmas were a) finding the correct wood and b) agreeing on a stain color.
In Raechel’s tutorial, she mentions they used fence wood for their wooden wall. That’s exactly what we bought at Home Depot. And two stain colors, of course. Dustyn wasn’t sure he wanted the wall to be dark. A lot of our house circulates around the color grey so he choose a grey stain. My goals for our bedroom are for it to be a bit whimsical, to be a play on contrast, and for it to feel homey and comfortable. Though I’m a lover of grey, having a whole wooden wall in grey (not a natural wood color) seemed a bit cold to me. I choose the darkest stain I could buy without choosing black.
We went home and tested our stain colors and OH AM I SO GLAD WE DID.
We disliked the way the fence wood absorbed the stain. Our fence posts are made of a cedar wood and it was incredibly hard to stain. No matter how small the amount of stain we used, it soaked it up. It looked like we had painted the board. I knew I wanted to see wood grain and this fence post didn’t allow for that at all. It was also extremely tough to stain, as in wiping the stain on the board splintered it. You can see a thread hanging in the middle of the board in the photograph above – it ripped whatever material we were using (we tested a few) to stain to shreds.
We were a bit disheartened after the failed stain testing. We made a trip to Lowe’s a few weeks later to look for a different wood alternative. Fence posts were a great option because they were so cheap, but since we couldn’t use them, I feared we would nix the project all together because it had the potential to get costly. Instead, we found something we liked even more! Lowe’s had a 1 x 6 whitewood board that was smooth and absolutely beautiful. The wood had some knots, but I was okay with the non-uniform look. It would be a nice in between option from the pallet wood wall and the fence posts. It was a bonus that the boards were $2.83 apiece. They were thicker than the fence posts. We wouldn’t have to cut the angled end off every board before nailing it to the wall, AND the dimensions were more easy to calculate when planning for how much wood we would need to purchase.
After taking it home and staining it, we settled on the darker stain I liked. D agreed that it wasn’t too overwhelming and decided to trust my decision. The wood stained beautifully – no splintering, no soaking up of too much stain. PERFECTION! (I have a photo of the stain, but it also comes with a story, so continue reading for more on that.)
I’m sure you are anxious for me to just get to the point. Let me show you what the finished product looked like, and then we’ll continue. (The photo below was taken with my iPhone, hence the different photo size.)
The Thursday after my birthday, my in-laws made a trip to Austin to have dinner with us and … I thought… Dustyn’s dad was going to help work on our garage. (That was another simultaneous project going on.) Instead, Dustyn bought all the wood for the wall and we got to work right away!
You might be freaking out that I used antique chairs as my sawhorses to prop the boards on while my mother-in-law and I stained. Fear not. We covered most of the chairs, but they are actually due for a makeover themselves, so the bits of stain that did get on them will soon be sanded off and painted over. Not to worry.
Here’s where our project differs a bit from the Bower’s and Raechel’s. Dustyn didn’t trust that we would love the wall or not get tired of it. We have no plans for leaving this house anytime soon and he didn’t want me to grow tired of it and have a wall with hundreds of nail holes to patch once we took it down. OR if we somehow botched the whole project, he wanted a way to minimally have to do repair work. He and his dad installed 1 x 3 boards along the studs in our bedroom. When we began putting the boards on the wall, all nails would go directly into this new framework instead of directly into the wall.
We stopped that Thursday night after the framework was on the bedroom wall. I only managed to get 14 boards stained out of the 36 total boards I needed to complete.
We picked up where we left off that Saturday morning. Dustyn began measuring and cutting the wood for the wall while I continued to stain. Our goal for the wood wall was to keep as few seams in the middle as possible. I wanted the boards in the middle to be longer so the middle didn’t look choppy. Sure, I’m going to hang things above our bed, but I haven’t completely decided what that will be yet. The boards were 8 feet in length, but we also didn’t want to use a ton of full length boards. It would have been easier to do so, yes, but we wanted it to be varied.
Yes, we did just push our bed out of the way. We didn’t move it out of the room during construction. Our room is longer than it is wide, so it wasn’t too hard to navigate around.
I propped the dried boards against a wall in our garage so Dustyn would know which ones to use. I tried to vary the stain color as much as possible. On some boards, I soaked my rag with stain, and for others, I wiped the stain away to thin it out after I’d applied it to the whole board.
I used our recycle and garbage bins as surfaces for laying/propping the boards while they dried. Please note that I did stain the edges and ends of the boards just in case there were gaps or the boards warped for any reason. This was the can of stain we used. It was different than the original color we tested. Apparently Lowe’s didn’t have the original color we chose, Jacobean, but I realized the difference before we started staining. I applied Jacobean and Dark Walnut (pictured above) to a board and even made the colors bleed together. I could NOT tell the difference, so we moved forward with Dark Walnut.
I recommend you find some good music to listen to while you stain your boards. It was such a monotonous task. I jammed to a Pandora station (generated based on Shake It Out by Florence + the Machine). Also — we used shredded pieces of fabric, as recommended by a gentleman at Home Depot (and purchased from there), when we first began staining the wood. I later noticed I had a bag of cut rags that I decided to use instead. The rags were much, much easier to use than the shredded fabric (not sure what the technical term for this stuff is).
I do recommend you wear gloves while staining and maybe don’t use your husbands gardening gloves. While they prevented some stain from covering my hands, it definitely didn’t block everything. The photo on the right is the original mini-can of stain we bought, Jacobean. It was a huge life saver because we nearly ran out of the Dark Walnut when I was ALMOST done staining. Since I’d earlier tested both colors and couldn’t detect a difference, I blended the two colors together in the dark walnut container to finish staining the boards. I still can’t notice a color shift.
On the left: unstained wood. On the right: stained, dark walnut wood. You can see the thin 1×3 board where I compared the Dark Walnut and Jacobean colors. No difference.
This is what happens when you wear improper gloves while staining. My hands were later raw from scrubbing all the excess stain off my hands!
We borrowed Dustyn’s dad’s chop saw and D cut all the boards on our driveway.
We were so happy with our progress! Go team!
Please excuse the fact that D uses the ottomans for his personal laundry holder. :-/ A habit I can’t break. HA!
I didn’t mention this before, and I haven’t taken a detail photograph of it yet, but D did something pretty ingenious that you can kind of see above. You may be wondering about outlets and how we handled those. We closed one of the outlets on both sides of our bed with the baby outlet protectors. He then measured and cut a circle into the boards (to match the size of the power strip that would be plugging into the outlet). We never have enough power outlets in our house. With lamps and phones and whatnot on our side tables, we opted to cover up the outlets in favor of mounting the power strips behind our bed on the wall. It was really simple to cut the circle in the wood, and the wall looks cleaner because of the minimal cut. The power strips will be tucked away, out of sight completely and we won’t have to fumble over what to do if we need to plug in extra things.
Some of you probably noticed that I showed you a different headboard in the finished photograph above than what you saw in the photos following with the progress updates. We decided the night we finished the wall to post all of our bedroom furniture on Craigslist. We’ve been wanting to upgrade our bed for a while but had no reason to. How would we choose a new bed if stylistically we didn’t know what we wanted? Now we had inspiration and something to work with. We decided we would choose a new bed when our belongings were completely sold.
The very next day every single piece of bedroom furniture was gone (with the exception of our mattress).
We searched online for ideas and inspiration and then decided to go out and look. I went with my mom later that week (we slept on our guest bed for a while) to EIGHT stores in search of the perfect new bed. As I mentioned, I want things to be contrasting in our bedroom. Dark wall? White bed, please. I knew that was what I wanted without a doubt.
After ALL of our searching, our favorite bed was one from Ikea. We chose the Hemnes bed from there because we liked the simplicity, the color, the slight nod to the repetition of the wood planks on the wall with the vertical rods on the headboard. Though I thought I wanted something iron and a bit more “romantic” (a la the Leirvik bed from Ikea) I’m very, very happy that this is what we chose to go with.
we Dustyn put the bed together, Camy crawled inside the frame to keep him company.
What’s a good Ikea product without lots of screws and pieces to figure out where they go?
After the bed was propped up, Camy realized she was stuck under the bed. She looked so helpless!
Jules, however, was scared of all the change. I’m sure the poor dog thought we were selling all our belongings and moving things to move again. Hopefully she likes the new changes and realizes we’re here to stay.
She tried to assist D while he was finding the correct screws.
One other thing I loved about the Hemnes bed was that it wasn’t a platform bed. Our other one was and I just wanted something that seemed a little more … grown up. The platform bed seemed to be dwarfed by the massiveness of the bedroom wall. This seems to be much more proportional.
The problem with selling all of our furniture is that we have lots of extra stuff sitting around in our bedroom. We haven’t purchased side tables yet because we’re debating whether or not we’d like to tackle making our own. We’ve got the DIY bug. We have TONS of books (again: big readers here) that currently haven’t been moved to a new home either:
Those are all the books we chose to keep (just from our bedroom). I donated approximately 40 or so other books. Good grief. Nothin’ makes me feel like a hoarder more. I’m holding you guys accountable for holding me accountable to find homes for these things ASAP.
Okay, friends. That wraps up our little tutorial on how we created our DIY wood wall. I hope you love it as much as we do. We’re pretty dang happy to spend time in there now. All my reading has now been moved to the bedroom.
Total Cost of Materials for the Wood Wall: $111
For a little recap… here’s the finished product again: