How To's

Home How-To's: DIY Recycled Wood Wall

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A couple of weeks ago my girlfriend came to me with the idea of covering a wall in our living room with wood taken from old pallets. I didn’t really have to think long about it; I love doing home renos, her ideas are always great, and a bonus – I could blog about it!!  We needed a change in our living room and some extra storage for shoes was desperately needed.

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Step one was to gather the wood. Didn’t sound too difficult. Even with the recent trend of repurposing pallets, they seem to be everywhere, and we had some scrap wood around as well. So we got some pallets and after pulling a couple boards off–and having both split–we had to abandon that idea.  It will still work, and we did use some wood from the pallets we “found”, so don’t let that stop you! We are also big fans of Craigslist and Kigigi, and we found some old fence boards for sale; the look we were after required that the wood be naturally aged. For what we needed it cost us $35.

I have to admit that we argued about how the wall should be finished. After a while, we decided to just start the wall and see what happened. The good news is that actually building the wall is much faster and easier, than getting your supplies. Not instant gratification, but pretty close! We started by framing the closet, which really turned out to be a great idea. Although it didn’t actually make the closet bigger, it gives it that appearance. After we framed that in, it took about three hours to completely finish. Here are some tips if you want to build your own recycled wood wall:

  • Be creative!  What is really cool about this DIY, is that your wall will be truly unique. We painted a few boards red because wanted the wall to match our old red oil lamp. Seriously.
  • If you are going to see any of the original wall through gaps or knot holes, painting the wall black behind the wood will make them look better.
  • Plan the entire wall before nailing the first board.  Think about if you want any kind of repeating pattern, or make it completely random.
  • You don’t have to keep a uniform width within each row, but I think it will be much easier than varying widths. I have seen this though and it looks great, but I expect it would take a lot longer.
  • If you have any electrical, measure and cut out the right size opening so that you can add the cover on your new wall. You could leave it inset into the wall, but I think this detail makes a big difference.  (For this you will need to buy what is called a box-extender, abut $6, to bring the socket flush with your new wall. It is very easy to do—Google it, you will be fine.) If you see you will need to do electrical work, consult a pro if you don’t know what you are doing.
  •  A nail gun and power saw will make this go quickly!
  • We still haven’t decided how to actually “finish” the wall.  We still want to add some sort of bench with storage for those shoes, but in the meantime I got permission from our accessory team to borrow some new arrivals to give it the Urban Barn flare that is so much of my life! Most of the decor is from current or arriving soon accessories. The sideboard is actually vintage Urban Barn, circa 1998; I still love it!

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Items featured: “The Bicycle” wall plaque, $36; Memory Box $39; Antelope Head White, $149; This is a good” sign, $39; Broadway Wall Hook, $29; Deer Hook Aluminum (used here to hang my first guitar) $16; Canada Flag Toss Cushion, $36; Chinchilla Faux Fur Throw, $99; Rhino Head White $149 (all from Urban Barn)

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