How to Install your own DIY Plank Wall: Our Version of Things

Good morrrrrrning!

I’m over-the-moon excited about today’s post! It’s been SUCH a long time coming! I’m talking more than a year! Can you believe it?! We’ve FINALLY tackled this DIY Plank Wall for our son’s Big Boy Bedroom…

DIY Plank Wall | making it in the mountains
A little background: We first started talking about adding a plank wall to Carson’s bedroom when I planned it out last April. In fact, it was one of the very first posts that I shared on making it in the mountains. I was so excited about the plans that I came up with, but then life got busy and things just stalled (as they sometimes do) before they even started.

Thank goodness for the One Room Challenge! It’s been just the kick in the butt we needed to finally put this Big Boy Bedroom together for our not-so-little guy!

Now, there were SO MANY reasons progress on C’s room stalled before it ever really got started (as is so often the case) including, but not limited to, finishing up far too many little projects around the house, making over our courtyard deck, listing & selling our house (an incredibly stressful process in and of itself!), going back to work as a substitute teacher a few days a week, our big move, finding our new home, trips, relaxation (some at least) and so many fun distractions … pretty much just life in general.

Honestly though, I think the biggest reason we never really got started with things until now is because we had such a hard time figuring out just how we were going to go about this plank wall. As the main feature of our design plan, this daunting task had to happen before anything else could. I spent hours and hours (and hours) looking for the perfect plank wall tutorial that we could put to work in Carson’s room. I read through what felt like a hundred tutorials, looking for the perfect one. In fact, I rounded up a few really great ones {here}. The sheer amount of options honestly became a bit overwhelming. In hindsight, this was probably because, even with the zillions of plans floating around the blogosphere, we couldn’t seem to find exactly what we had been envisioning. And, with so many options out there, we weren’t really sure what the best choices for materials or technique would be to give us the look we were going for.

Then came the One Room Challenge! It really was just the motivation we needed to finally just make a darn decision (I’ve talked so many times about how indecisive hubs & I can be!) and get on with things!

Instead of trying to make one of the zillions of pre-existing plank wall tutorials work for us, we decided to pave the way for ourselves.

First, we thought about the different material options – plywood, pallets, tongue and groove pine – and decided on the tongue and groove for a few reasons:
one: We didn’t think that plywood cut into planks would give us that ‘polished-rustic’ look unless we painted it and we really didn’t want to have to paint the wood.
two: As much as I love the look of pallet wood, considering this wall was going in our son’s bedroom, I wanted it to be practical and safe. I read a bit about some of the chemicals, that can be found on pallet wood and, though I’m happy to make a few crafts around the house with it, I didn’t want to risk anything dangerous covering an entire wall in his bedroom. I also had my doubts about any material that could leave significant gaps between the boards as I’m not exactly keen on the dust & dirt that can end up lodged in there.
three: Ding! Ding! Ding! Though it was our most expensive option, the tongue and groove pine seemed like it would be the most practical, the most polished and definitely the easiest to install. I was sure we could find a way to add a bit more ‘rustic charm’ to it once it was up (read more about how easy it is to give your new wood that old, weathered, barnwood look here!).

Now that we’d finally decided on what we were going to use, it was time to get it all up!

One of the most important steps before you start nailing a thing is to let the wood acclimate to the space! Wood has this crazy ability to grow or shrink based on the temperature and humidity of a space, so it’s absolutely crucial to let the wood sit in the space so that you don’t see a ton of movement on your wall (ruining all your hard work). This actually holds true for any wood project you might build – a lesson, I’m sorry to say, that we learned the hard way. Thankfully we got that hard lesson out of the way on a small piece of furniture so that it was burned into our brains for this plank wall! After removing them all from the packaging and letting them sit around our hallway and bedrooms for a week, we were all set to go.

The only other prep involved was to carefully remove the baseboards and draw lines down the wall to mark the studs. *Note: we didn’t really think of this until after, but adding some furring strips (read more here) over the studs would have made life a little easier for some of those boards that were not quite straight, providing just a little forgiveness, though we (and by we, I 100% mean hubs) made things work with just a bit of elbow grease.

And now the real work starts…

Here’s what you’ll need for the install:
– enough tongue and groove wood to cover the area (we chose 1×6 pine)
– level
– table or skill saw
– nail gun
– white rubber mallet (black will leave marks on the wood)

Starting at the bottom, level the first row, leaving a gap at the bottom that will be covered by the baseboard. We used another plank as a spacer between the floor and the bottom board. Keep in mind that you’ll want to leave a small gap on either side of the wall to allow for expansion. Because we planned on using trim to cover the edges where the ends of the wood planks met the wall, Brady just used his finger to ‘measure’ this.

DIY Plank Wall | making it in the mountains

Now you’re ready to nail that first row to the studs. For the first row only, nail through the front of the plank, but do it low enough so that the nail holes are covered by the baseboard when it goes back on.

DIY Plank Wall | making it in the mountains

Now, just continue on your merry way. After that first row, there’s really no need to level as long as you make sure that the planks are pushed flush with the row below. To get a tight fit at each joint, we used a scrap piece of plank and a white rubber mallet to work the boards into place. Also, to avoid nail holes all over the wall, you can start to nail the planks at the base of the tongue – this way the nail holes are covered by the groove of the next row.

DIY Plank Wall | making it in the mountains

And of course, take all the help you can get to get the job done!

DIY Plank Wall | making it in the mountains

The only obstacle we really had to work around was this electrical outlet. Brady used a jig saw to cut out the box shape from the boards after tracing it with pencil. Then, to re-install the box, we just used some longer screws. *Another note: be darn sure to cut the power to the room before messing around with any electrical!

DIY Plank Wall | making it in the mountains

To keep things from looking too perfect, we used some full length boards mixed in with random shorter lengths. This was also a great way to weed out any cracked or warped sections of board. At some points the planks were too tight to the wall to allow for easy install of the next row (mostly because the planks were bowed in the middle), so in these cases, we used shims to move the wood away from the drywall a bit. This is where those furring strips I chatted about earlier would have come in handy!

One Room Challenge: Plank Wall Progress

Once we made it to the top row, we cut the plank to the exact height, but cut the back off of the tongue to ensure a tight fit to the roof (see photo). Like the bottom row, we also nailed this one to the face of the plank.

DIY Plank Wall | making it in the mountains

DIY Plank Wall | making it in the mountains

Whew! It felt SO great to have that big ol’ wall covered.

DIY Plank Wall | making it in the mountains

DIY Plank Wall | making it in the mountains

DIY Plank Wall | making it in the mountains

DIY Plank Wall | making it in the mountains

There was just on last step to do. We chose to install some wood trim along the sides of the walls where the board ends met the other walls (we stained ours first to avoid having to tape things off).

DIY Plank Wall | making it in the mountains

DIY Plank Wall | making it in the mountains

Part of this also meant cutting the baseboards to accommodate the now smaller room and of course, re-installing them. I forgot to grab some shots of this step before weathering the wood, which means you’re going to have to wait for tomorrow’s post to check that part out.

Brady knocked this out as he found some free time, an hour here or there really over just more than a week. It was a bit more time consuming than (and not quite as easy as) we had expected, but we’re absolutely thrilled with the results!

DIY Plank Wall | making it in the mountains

DIY Plank Wall | making it in the mountains

Now, be sure to check back tomorrow to see how we gave this brand new wood the most perfectly weathered look. You’ll never believe how easy it was! For now, I’ll leave you with a little sneak peek…

How to Weather Wood | making it in the mountains
*UPDATE: See how we gave our new plank wall the most perfectly weathered look in no time! And you’ll definitely want to see how it all came together in our Rustic Boy’s Bedroom!!!*

This Rustic Boy's Bedroom design is overflowing with awesome DIY projects and budget friendly design elements!
And don’t miss the other DIY projects we put together for this Rustic Boy Bedroom Makeover:

Wishing you SUCH a lovely day!

Happy Notes copy    

56 thoughts on “How to Install your own DIY Plank Wall: Our Version of Things

    1. Thanks Amy! He definitely thinks it’s pretty cool! Each time he enters now there’s something new that makes him get all wide eyed! It’s pretty darn cute!

  1. This looks AMAZING Kristi and I can’t wait to see how the weathered stain turns out!

  2. This looks so AWESOME. What a fun feature wall and I agree – definitely safer and cleaner than using pallet wood. Can’t wait to see the final weathered look and the whole room all pulled together!

    1. Awwww, thank you Emily! I really LOVE the unpainted wood too … just wait to see you see it all ‘weathered’ up tomorrow!!! Thanks again!!!

  3. This looks awesome- I will definitely be pinning this because it would be the perfect idea for our next baby, whenever that time comes. You make it look so easy!

    I stopped by from One Project at a Time.

    1. Thanks so much Stephanie! The hardest was honestly just pushing ourselves to start! Good luck with your wall girl, I’m sure it’ll be fabulous!!!

  4. Kristi this turned out so great! I love the look it gives the room, which is looking so cute by the way! I’ve wanted to put a plank wall in my house, but I don’t think my hubby or I have the patience lol. Kudos to you! Thank you for sharing at Merry Monday!

    1. Awww, thanks SO much Amanda! It really wasn’t as hard as we thought, especially with the tongue and groove boards! I think you should totally go for it!

  5. Hi Kristi, This is so awesome! My 19 yr old son has been asking me to do over his bathroom for years but I haven’t had the time. Now that I do have time, this is the perfect accent wall (I guess he has outgrown the cute fish and bright colors on the wall). Thanks for sharing 🙂 ~Dianne ps~I found you at Hit Me With Your Best Shot!

    1. Thank you SO much Dianne! It’s something we’ve been meaning to do for ages too and I promise, it really wasn’t near as hard as we had expected! Good luck girl!

  6. Loving all the planked walls around right now, and yours are lovely! Really fired up to do a couple in our house. Can you tell me what wood trim you used as the edge, I’m trying to envision how this part looks close up and just can’t. Thanks.

    1. Thank you SO much Lindsay! We absolutely love it too! I wish I knew the real names, but the trim we used on the inside corners was rounded off triangle shape. The trim we used on the outside corner was a simple corner moulding that covered the edges of both walls. The pictures in the post were the very best I could get to capture it once they were on the wall (I never thought to take photos before that!). Hope this helps!!!

    1. Thanks so much Joanne! We just picked them up at our local hardware store, you should be able to find them at most hardware stores. They’re just 1×6 pine planks 🙂

      1. I was looking for you stain for weathering wood.. Love the Plank wall, I had one in my bedroom when I was a teen ager in Wisconsin .

        1. Thanks SO much Elaine! The Weatherwood Stain is amazing! I really love how it added that rustic look to the wood! LOVE the character that a wood wall brings to a room!!!

    1. Thanks so much Tara! I can’t wait to see what you do with it! We found them at our local hardware store – HD or Lowes should totally have them. Good luck girl!

  7. Can you tell me how the planks meet at the 90degree corners? I see there is a trim piece covering it but does one wall have the planks all the way to the wall corner and then the next wall has the planks over lap the first wall? Wouldn’t that create an out of place corner? Or did you cut the plank ends cut at an angle? I have looked at several blogs using these 1′” planks and no one addresses this. Thanks!

    1. Hi Meg! Because I planked just one feature wall and there aren’t two plank walls that meet in the corner, we simply cut ours with a straight edge. We used the trim to cover it because we wanted to leave a small gap between the end of the boards and the wall so that there would be some room for expansion (wood expands and contracts with temperature changes). If I were planking two walls that join, I would probably just cut straight edges that overlap as you suggested, as I’d still want to leave that room for expansion. I’d cover it with a small piece of trim, just as we did here, to cover the gap and any unevenness. Hope this helps!

I can't wait to hear your thoughts?