I’ve been struggling with our living room ever since we moved into our home three and a half years ago. It’s a nice, big space, but that’s actually the problem. I’ve noticed over the years that I’m more confident designing smaller spaces. Wide open spaces like our living room are way more challenging to me. And big blank walls are my nemesis! This one has especially thrown me for a loop!
While the hubs and I were watching tv one day, a solution for this crazy huge wall suddenly came to me! What about doing a plank wall, but only doing part of it? Just an accent, not the whole wall. So, I practically ran to the living room and started to try to visualize it. I explained my idea to my hubby and he almost immediately agreed that we should do it. I was shocked since I’m usually met with at least a bit of resistance! Haha!
Right away, we taped out some dimensions so we could get an idea of what it might look like. The inside tape marks are at 4 feet in width and the outside is 5 feet. We ended up going with a compromise of somewhere in the middle. I’m so glad we did this step to actually visualize how it would look. It’s funny, when we put the tape on the wall, it immediately transformed the space already. It really made the wall finally feel like part of the room and not just some floating blank space. The room instantly felt much more grounded.
Once we decided we would actually go through with this project (which only took about 20 minutes!), we had to figure out the “how”. We’ve done plank walls before (which you can see here and here), so I thought we’d just use that same technique. But my hubby had something else in mind!
You know that show “Fixer Upper” on HGTV? It’s one of my fave shows. Not only do I love their design style, but I absolutely love how inspired I feel to design after I watch each episode. And have you noticed their love of shiplap? It’s kind of become a buzzword in the design world right now. And I know I’m in love with it! So, when it came time to do our plank wall, hubby thought we should try shiplap this time. Only problem? No one sells it around here. Solution? Oh, just buy another tool, that’s all! Hmmm, I was starting to figure out why my hubby wanted to go this route! Haha! He can never have enough tools! I quickly caved and “let” him buy a router table so he could make shiplap. We already had the router, but he needed that flat, sturdy surface to be able to do longer boards like this.
Making the boards into shiplap was pretty simple with the right tools – it just took some time. My husband used his router table and router with a straight bit to rabbet each long edge of every board. This lets the boards overlap just a bit with a small gap when attached to the wall. Here’s what our 1×8 white pine boards looked like once rabbeted.
Once all the boards were ready, it was time to attach them to the wall. We found the middle of where we wanted to start first. As you may have noticed, we didn’t center it on the wall. We centered it with the big picture window across the room from it. I felt like that made more sense because that’s what we’ve centered everything else in the room off of. The couch is centered under that window and the rug is centered off that. Our chairs and end table on this side of the room have always been centered on the rug, so it just made sense to keep with that theme. Anyway, once we found out where we wanted to start, we found the middle and made a mark. Then we marked off the studs to know where to nail. Once we got the first board installed, we used our awesome laser level to keep us on track side to side. Seriously, this is one of my absolute favorite tools! We use it all the time. From installing this wall treatment to bathroom tile shelves. Everything! It is seriously so helpful and insanely easier than trying to use a level in one hand while trying to mark with your pencil in the other hand.
Once we got all the boards installed, we added the trim. We added a piece of square trim the same thickness of the boards to the sides to give them a clean edge. Then we added the flat 3 inch trim on top of it and to the top of the wall, too. (We had to cut some of the baseboard off the wall to have the boards go all the way to the floor. We decided we liked the wall without reinstalling the baseboard, so we left it off.)
Before starting this project, we had to decide whether to paint or stain it. We decided on paint this time. I do think stained would look really nice, but I thought it might be too dark. Also, we have a few other wood tones in the room already, so I didn’t want to have another piece to add to the competition. I love stained/natural wood, but when there are already 3 different shades of stain in the room, it gets a bit busy.
So paint, it was! I primed the boards with two coats of primer and then just did one coat of Pure White (by SW) in semigloss – which is the same as all the trim in our house. My husband liked the fact that the wall didn’t look “too perfect” with just one coat of paint. You can still see the knots a little bit and since we left the wood pretty raw, you could still see some of its character – which is much easier to see in person, I promise!
As much as I love the wall now, it still looks a little awkward in photos. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know. We are definitely not done with it yet. I’m hoping to add something fun near the top – like maybe some deer antlers? And then maybe some pictures or something on either side of it to fill in the rest of the wall a bit.
Hopefully we can get working on the styling details soon. I can’t wait to show you what we come up with!