Hello, hello! Well, I just have to say that school is kicking my butt this semester! It’s taking up all of my time, which is super annoying. But, in a few short months I will complete my master’s degree in Interior Design! Yippee!!
A couple of days ago we completed a beautiful reclaimed wood wall project in our son’s bedroom. When we built our house, we designed in a little space in our son’s room that would fit a small sofa, and provide a chill-out / reading nook. The idea was always to add a reclaimed wood wall behind the sofa to give it a cool, rustic, industrial vibe. Well, it’s finally done, and it looks awesome! Read down further for our tips and tricks.
Here is the before picture.
The trick to installing a reclaimed wood wall is to make it look as random (and thus natural) as possible. So, here are a few tips and tricks for making that happen:
Tip #1 – Diversity is Important!
Diversity…important in our society, and equally important for reclaimed wood walls! Make sure you purchase barnwood or reclaimed wood in at least 3 different wood tones (light, medium, dark), and at least 2 different board widths (around 4″ and 6″ would work well). This will give a good random look to your wall.
For our wall, we bought some beautiful barnwood from a local company called Eden Oaks Designer Woodware. The barnwood we bought came in four different wood tones (light, medium, dark brown, and black). It also came in 3 different widths. We had a lot of diversity to work with, and the result looked nice and random!
Tip #2 – Paint Your Wall a Dark Color, or Use a Sharpie
If your wood is really rough or knotty, like pallet wood, you will have a lot of gaps and cracks showing. In that case, you should paint the entire wall a dark brown or black before you install the wood. This will make sure that any gaps in the wood look dark, rather than showing a light wall color through the wood.
For our wall, the wood we used didn’t have a lot of gaps, cracks, or knots. So, we didn’t paint the wall beforehand. However, there were a few boards that had gaps/notches or small knots in them, so we just broke out a Sharpie and colored on the wall behind the gap/notch. It worked out perfectly! Gotta love Sharpies!
Tip #3 – Start at the Bottom, or Not
I don’t really know why this is, but every time we looked up instructions for installing a wood wall, they said to start at the bottom. For something like our project, where a sofa was covering most of the bottom of the wall, I would have recommended that someone start at the top to make sure the boards at the top were full size. But, we started at the bottom, so clearly we didn’t follow our own advice. I really don’t think it matters that much…just make sure you follow tip #4!
Tip #4 – Stay Level-headed
If you don’t have a long level (like 3′ long or more), you need to purchase one for this project. It’s crucial that your wood be level! Don’t overthink it, just go get one. Check for level every couple of rows, and adjust your boards a little, as needed.
Tip #5 – Take a Step Back
If you want your wall to look random, you need to stand back and admire your work after each row. OK, so it’s not so much about admiring your progress as it is about seeing it from a distance. After every row, I stood back and looked at the wall. Was it looking a little too dark on one side, and lighter on the other? Did I need a black piece on the top right or in the middle? It’s all about balancing out the light and dark woods, in a random way. Perfectly clear?
Tip #6 – Mix it Up
If you look closely, some of our rows have two boards, some have three, and some have four. You’ve got to mix it up a bit! If you just used a long piece of wood on the previous row, use two or three smaller pieces on the next row, and vice versa. This is an art, not a science. Just go with your gut, and have fun with it!
Tip #7 – Be Scrappy
For a while, I was telling Andrew, “I want a 30″ piece of dark brown wood.” But, as time went on, and we had already made some cuts, I just started asking what lengths we had available, and used those. That just added to the randomness of it all. Besides, when you spend good money for beautiful wood, you don’t want to waste a single inch!
Just remember, a good reclaimed wood wall is imperfect and random – how often can you say that about a home improvement project? Have fun with it, and enjoy your beautiful finished wall!