before & after: salvaged-wood wall

I don’t think I will ever tire of the salvaged-wood wall trend happening right now. How could I? There’s something visual happening with the texture of the varied wood boards and the dimensionality of these walls that is just very appealing, and I don’t think that will go away any time soon. Sarah’s wall is a particularly good example of the incredible impact these walls can have. I love the mix of stained, painted and raw wood pieces — truly stunning. Nice job, Sarah! — Kate

Read more about Sarah’s salvaged-wood wall after the jump!


Time: three days

Cost: $130

Basic Steps: After saving and six years and searching for the perfect blank slate on which to play out our quirky design ideas, my husband and I found this house in Dallas, TX, three months ago. The pros were that the design hadn’t been touched in a good 30 years, but it was a nightmare of olive green, black lacquered fixtures and mirrored walls. In the time since the closing, we’ve ripped out false walls, scraped off six layers of wallpaper and painted everything Behr Ultra Pure White. Apart from hanging our art collection, this wall is the first design project we put into motion.

Last Thursday afternoon, we went to our local salvage yard, put on our gloves and began pulling boards from the 15-foot-high racks of salvaged wood. After work on Friday, we laid out all of the pieces (some siding, some barn wood, some wainscot and a lot of pieces from a deconstructed high-school gym floor. You can see the colors from the school insignia in the green, black, red and coral stripes throughout) outside on our back patio and began working out how they’d fit together visually and geometrically. Some pieces were 2.5 inches wide, some were 4.25 inches, some were 9 inches and the rest fell randomly in-between.

On Saturday morning at 9 am, we started building up from the bottom, using a pneumatic/air compressor nail gun to affix the pieces in a horizontal pattern. (A chop saw was essential to cut the lengths; a jigsaw allowed us to cut holes for the outlets.) We were done by 5 pm, at which point we did a cannonball into the pool to celebrate. DIYers considering creating something like this will want to make sure they have the right tools (I can’t imagine trying to actually hammer all those nails or cut the lengths with a hand saw) and a helper. We are lucky here in Dallas to have a couple really great salvage yards where we could find the wood all in one go, but if you don’t, be patient and start collecting piece by piece. Of course, humor and a good sense of 10th-grade geometry doesn’t hurt. — Sarah

  1. Liz says:

    Really lovely.
    I wonder if you could give us a close up shot….so much of the excitement about wood walls like these are the texture effects. Also…where does the ‘sarah’s wall link go?

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      sorry, which link?


  2. evaone says:

    It is really stunning. an amazing work of cute and perfect choice of materials. i salute you for this great job.

  3. veena singh says:

    Thanks for the post.I was looking for this for a long time.Please add the video also.

  4. justin says:

    That is fanf’intastic! Had an idea like this for awhile but sadly live in a rental. Have a different/similar idea in mind though that will at least get me my salvaged wood fix.

  5. Abi says:

    WOW! I absolutely LOVE this! Looks amazing! I am SO going to do this! However we live in AL so we are going to try to round up some wood destroyed from the tornadoes that just came through! a little piece of history too : )

  6. Kaye says:

    I love the look but all I can think of is the dust and care needed. I suppose you can gently vacuum it but doesn’t collect all sorts of dust and dirt?

  7. sallie kate says:

    I’m in school design so this one made me light up as I read about you salvaging wood from an old high school gym floor. Such a great way to repurpose and create a stunning feature wall.

  8. This is absolutely stunning! Great work!

  9. Bijuterii says:

    Love it !!! Power to the color !!!

  10. Lisa says:

    Totally love it-the colors and texture are so so gorgeous!!!

  11. Lori says:

    Amazing! I live in Dallas and am going to Orr Reed tomorrow!!! Thanks for sharing…I want to start a design blog and you really inspire me!

  12. Matt Rogers says:

    We chose this for our ‘Be Inspired’ blog, we featured some of the best Before + After posts from Design Sponge, I hope you don’t mind:

  13. Just lovely and i’m sure that took a lot of work and time.

  14. This has got to be one of my favorite B&A’s. I just love all the variations of wood, color and texture. What vision and soooooo beautifully executed!

  15. Tablete PC says:

    this is so amazing!! i would have been worried about how the floor would look with the wall, but it looks really great.

  16. Hong says:

    Color + wood + wall is something I never see anywhere. Thank you for this inspiration!

  17. Juan says:

    Your project inspired my latest project. I built a headboard out of re-claimed lumber and paint. I will try to post a picture somehow.
    Thanks for being inspiring!

  18. craig says:

    definitely not for me!

  19. Robin Troy says:

    How did you move the outlet forward and re-install in the thick wall? Is there a kind of outlet box for this?

    I’m also interested how you dealt with the varied thicknesses in wood. Did it play a part in the selection of the pieces of wood?

    Thanks so very much!

  20. Bijuterii says:

    Beautiful use of colors and textures. I’m inspired!

  21. Nice use of different woods. Very cool.

  22. coutin says:

    Bonjour,sur quel suport les bout de bois sont il fixer? C’est très beau je voudrais bien réaliser le mème merci

  23. Janice says:

    We already have our wood and plan to work on this job this weekend but How would you work around a baseboard and crown molding? The wood will go on Sheetrock and will be thicker than than the molding.

  24. Stefanie says:

    Love this wall! We are starting to plan our own accent wall and I was curious of how you guys planned out the varying widths and lengths. Did you cut before you started putting it out on your patio? Or what order did you do things in?

  25. Stephanie Thomas says:

    I love this! Do you mind if I ask for your “great Dallas salvage yard” locations? I recently purchased my first home in Dallas and am looking for some inexpensive decorating projects where I get a lot of bang for my buck, creating a wall like this would be perfect.


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