before & after: paneled wood wall


I might be very biased when it comes to wood, but currently, I’m in a phase where wood can basically do no wrong in my mind. Wood floors? Always amazing. Wood furniture, wood accessories, wood grain on anything? I’m all for it. Needless to say, I think covering an entire wall with dark, beautiful panels of wood is a brilliant idea, and I applaud Seth and Desiree — not only for coming up with the concept, but also for executing it so well. The installation seems fairly straightforward, and best of all, the whole wall can be removed in one piece, leaving minimal marks and making it perfect for renters. Awesome job, Seth and Desiree! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Time: 4 days

Cost: $300

Basic Steps: We’re just renters for now, but since we meet with potential brides and grooms in our house (we’re wedding photographers), we still want to make our place as much “ours” as we can. Our tastes and style have evolved since painting the blue wall, and we wanted to do something a little bolder.

We painted white over the blue and started making a frame along the shape of the wall. Once that was attached, we started cutting the strips of pine molding to length (43 strips in all). When they were all cut to length, we used an electric sander to sand each strip, then we mounted the strips to the frame using 5/8″ finishing nails. Once the strips were all mounted, we rubbed on Minwax Special Walnut stain with a rag. While that was drying,  we cut edge molding to length to clean up the edges and then proceeded to attach those (also rubbed the stain on the trim before attaching). The cool part is that, if/when we move out of this house, the whole entire wood unit will easily pop off in one piece, leaving only a couple dozen teeny tiny holes to fill in and touch up!

I would recommend using the shortest finishing nails you can find for attaching the horizontal slats to the frame.  Since we’re renters, this was important for us because when the day comes that we move out of this house, there will be as few holes to fill as possible. Also, staining the slats once they’re already mounted on the wall will save a lot of time, but the stain will need to be rubbed on with a rag or cloth to avoid drips and runs. Using a brush will allow the stain to move downward and build up on the bottom edges of each slat and most likely start to run. Not pretty. Fortunately, we tested the technique before we did it on the real thing. — Seth & Desiree


  1. I’ve been wanting to do that for my bedroom but with barn wood…very inspiring!!!

  2. sarah says:

    really love dark panelling and this is done really well. i do this though the staircase and panelling are a little awkward together but still real nice.

  3. teeriches says:

    um… there’s a before, then an after then what is that other picture? I love your site, love what you do… just didn’t understand.

  4. Love the wood paneling but have to agree with some of the comments – it doesn’t match the balustrades… But that’s probably the next step of the project!

  5. Kelly says:

    looks terrific! I live in an old house with plaster walls and am wondering if I could do something like this up my staircase as well. Do you think this would work on plaster?

  6. Janice says:

    I liked the before better.

  7. @Kelly – It might work on plaster. If you were to do the frame like we did (and attach the slats to the frame) you might just want to use some of those plastic anchors first. Also, maybe try one or two first before going full throttle :)

  8. Janan W says:

    Gorgeous wall, the horizontal lines make it so modern, and that railing pops. I love the walnut stain too. The blue was nice but old news.

  9. it’s so funny how many of you like the railing, haha! It’s the 1980’s original railing that came with the house and I don’t think the landlord is ever gonna change it. When we get our own place someday we’ll probably do a different handrail than this :)

  10. betts says:

    I don’t care for the “after” look at all. The original look was so much nicer.

  11. JS says:

    I agree with, “CYN”. The blue (before) picture looks better. You need to change the stair railing with those walls. It doesn’t work with that blank, dark paneled wall or any of those wood-looking walls. No “personality” now….Reminds me of the “Brady Bunch” living room…that “woody-look.”… ): Yuck. To each their own, though.

  12. Yep. To each their own. And this one is a rental so there’s nothing I can do about the handrail. We just got the keys to our first home a couple weeks ago and we’ve already started working on it. We will do whatever we want with it. To each their own, and this will be OUR own whether you like it or not. BOOM!! :)

  13. barbara says:

    Interesting how people feel compelled to give their negative opinions, not being constructive at all, just “no”. I give this a yes, it’s amazing! :) I hope we see projects from your new home here.

  14. joanne says:

    love this! also interesting to read through all the comments, how split everyone is! personally, i feel the original blue wall with the tonal flourish looks very dated 2000s, whereas the wood/ white combo looks very fresh! great idea and execution!

  15. MiamiMike says:

    Love this wall, and plan to do the same. What size pine molding strips did you use for the frame and the actual slats?

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