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One Room Challenge: Week 4 - Modern Library/Music Room Makeover

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

It's week 4 of the One Room Challenge - Modern Library/Music Room Makeover and things are moving along (although slowly!). I've managed to get started on the DIY wood slat wall, and I want to give you all a step by step tutorial on exactly how to do it.

Ever since I laid my eyes on a wood slat wall treatment, I knew I had to put it somewhere in my home. This wall treatment is sleek, elegant and adds some formality to a room and isn't terribly complicated. The slat wall is also all the rage right now, and so I didn't hesitate to jump on the bandwagon!

Supplies needed for Installing a Wood Slat Wall:

1) slats - I used 0.5 inch x 0.75 inch x 9 feet pine from Woodgrain

2) nail gun with 1.25 or 1.5 inch nails

3) spackle or stainable wood filler

4) stain (or primer/paint)

5) spacer that will allow you to evenly space your boards across the wall

How to Install a Wood Slat Wall

Step 1:

Start off by measuring the width of your wall. To get a rough estimate of the number of slats you need, divide your entire wall width by twice the width of your slat. For example, if your wall measures 55 inches across, and your slat width is 0.5 inch, divide 55 inches/1 inch (twice the width of your slat) = 55 pieces of slats. When purchasing slats, buy 4-5 more than you need in case things go wrong.

Step 2:

Do NOT cut your slats all at once. The reason I say this, is because the ceiling heights will vary across your wall. For example, my ceilings are 9 feet, but there are some areas that are 8.95 feet and others that are 9.25 feet. If I cut everything at 9 feet, there would be some slats that are too long and others that are too short. To avoid this, and to ensure you have a seamless look, custom cut each slat so that they all measure perfectly from floor (or baseboard) to ceiling.

Step 3:

After cutting your slats, think about what you want your wall to look like. You can choose between painting your slat wall or staining your slat wall. Regardless of whether you are painting or staining, I highly recommend that you prime and paint or stain BEFORE you hang them. This allows you to paint/stain the front of the slat, and the sides well, as these are all regions that will be visible on the wall.

If you are staining, think about your top coat. Do you want your wall to appear shiny or do you want a more subdued look? I opted for a semi gloss polyacrylic coat because this offered me some shine, which I think makes the wall pop. Experiment with a sample piece of wood and ensure you like your paint color/stain color and finish before committing to staining/painting all your slats and not liking the final look.

Step 4:

Think about the color of your wall. Most slat walls when painted, are all painted the same color. This way, the wall has some subdued texture. When it comes to staining, you can choose to paint your wall a dark or light color depending on whether you are going for a moody look or if you would like contrast. I opted for a dark wall with dark slats to create the moody look below.

Step 5:

Once your slats are all prepped, you are ready to hang them. For your very first slat, add a nail to the middle point of your slat first - this will stabilize your slat. Then add another nail to the bottom and the top of your slat. Resist the urge to put a lot of nails in your slats, because this means you will have to fill them all later!

For the second slat, use your spacer, and place it tightly next to your first slat. Add the second slat next to the spacer, and again add a nail to the middle of your second slat and then one on the top and one on the bottom. Repeat this step until all your slats are hung.

Step 6:

Once you are happy with your slat wall, fill in your nail holes with either spackle (if you painted your wall) or with stainable wood filler (if you stained your slats). Sand down all the holes once dry and paint/stain over the holes for a seamless look.

Additional Points:

  • If you choose, you can use liquid nails or some type of construction adhesive to stick your slats to the wall. I skipped this step because I didn't want to ruin the dry wall in case we ever decide to remove these slats

  • Using a level at each slat is overkill. You may want to check if your slats are level periodically or just after the first one. If your first slat is level, the rest should be too as long as you are using spacers.

  • Slide your spacers down as you nail your slats to ensure that the space between your slats are equal. When using a spacer, make sure you are able to pull it out (don't use a spacer the same length as your slat, because you won't be able to pull it out).

I hope you find this tutorial on how to install a wood slat wall helpful! Stay tuned as I finish up this wall in the next couple of weeks!

To check out the other guest participants and their One Room Challenge projects, be sure to visit this page (HERE). You don't want to miss the 20 featured bloggers (HERE). This is the time to follow along with your favorites and cheer them on!

If you are as excited as I am about my Modern Library/Music Room Makeover, leave me a comment below or check me out on Instagram under the handle @thisissimplicite. Better yet, subscribe to my site and the updates will just land in your inbox. So long til next week!

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