before and after

before & after: paneled wood wall

by Kate Pruitt

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

Suggested For You


  • ooohh! I didn’t think I was going to like it, but one look at the pic and I was sold! Neat idea, and if I were the landlord, I’d be asking you to leave it in place when you go!

  • splendid! love the texture and rustic tone it brings to the home without looking too stuffy like wood paneling usually tends to do.

  • Really a clean and pretty change!
    I believe you can find wooden vent registers, the white looks a bit jarring on the dark wood to my eye.

  • Don’t love it. I personally think the blue looks better with the white, whimsical railing. Now the railing looks out of place.

  • Rustic but also a bit of a modern feel, love it! (looking to see if there is a wall I can panel in my house…)

  • Hmm… are you sure the “before” and “after” tags didn’t get reversed? Taking a dated looking dark paneled wall and refreshing it into the blue would have been great.

  • WOW! WOW! WOW! Everybody’s comments are so flattering! This was such a fun project and we’re so happy with our results. The blue wall simply had to go though :) Hopefully we’ll have some more projects to share before long. We’re so glad you all like it!

  • @Jessica – That LuckyDumpster wall is definitely cool, but it’s too busy for our application. In fact, our original plan was to use old pallet slats instead of our stained pine slats but we couldn’t accumulate enough “good” pallets fast enough (we were anxious to start the project). We have some other reclaimed wood projects completed and in-progress and we’ll be launching our other blog before long that documents our DIY projects :) Thanks for the link though, it’s definitely a cool wall!

  • this is amazing!!! thanks for the detail recounting. i’ve been wanting a similar look at my place but felt intimidated by the potential costs but this is beautiful and affordable. thanks for sharing it.

  • Ooops. I forgot to say, in either application I would try to disguise the a/c grille…its not exactly a lovely accent.

  • Being a renter myself, I’m so happy to see other renters being creative with their rental spaces and making such drastic and awesome changes! Kudos!

  • love the wood wall. what do you think about painting or antiquing the white ac vent to make it blend in a bit more?

  • Wow, what a cool idea for a rental – I would never have guessed you could remove it. Very well done!

  • The wall looks very cool, but the railings! Oh My, they’re amazing. Love at first sight!

  • LOVE the new wall – makes the white walls and balastrade crisper than ever.
    Thanks for sharing guys.

  • Love this! We have a fireplace in our new house that I’d love to cover like this! Nice work! Both walls really show the care and creativity you’ve put into your homes!

  • Love it… We did the same thing in on two walls in our living room, but went a little father by staining it in Ebony (black), making the white double garden doors on each wall pop beautifully :)

  • but…but the original was so much better….if the before and after were reversed, I’d be so applauding it, but now – to take down such fresh color and fun pattern and replace it with a wood wall you can find in gazillions of other homes? seriously?….

  • I ADORE the wood plank covered wall idea, not wood PANELED, but using actual wood PLANKS. Gorgeous! I can’t wait to own a house where I can install one myself! Whoever said it looks dated needs to revise her design sense, this is most certainly modern and beautiful! The blue wall with weird swirl motif looked like a bad scrapbooking project.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • @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 :)

  • 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.

  • 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 :)

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

  • 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.

  • 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!! :)

  • 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.

  • 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!

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