While the style of homes vary greatly, every home has select features in common. A front door, floors, bathroom, bedroom… Heck, some even have all these features in one space! (Shout-out to all my Studio peeps) Another feature all homes have is walls, and that’s what we’re focusing on today.
When walking into a room, you may notice one wall enhanced by a contrasting paint color, a unique architectural design, or a functional addition like a built-in desk or bookshelves. While other walls perform the task of closing off a space just as effectively, the “feature wall” is the star of the show! Creating a feature wall can define any room in your home, and there are endless ways to dress them up to match your style.
For our purposes, we were looking to transform our massive (to us) Master Bedroom by adding a feature wall behind our bed. We went with a floor-to-ceiling Board & Batten (fancy term for boxes) pattern in a heavy charcoal color, to contrast our light gray walls and carpet. We created a 6-panel design as it was symmetrical, and a happy medium between too cluttered and too spread out. This is a preference thing, so work with what you have and figure out how many panels you prefer.
Materials and Tools
Steps (with our mistakes and advice included)!
1. Determine size of your boards
Before we can start constructing the feature wall we have to know what measurements we want on our wall. Our vertical boards are going to be 8’ tall, so we need to do some math to determine how wide the top/bottom horizontal boards need to be.
To determine WIDTH of horizontal boards –
To determine SPACING of vertical boards –
2. Use Table Saw to cut boards to desired length/width
For this step, we’re going to use our table saw to cut down our boards to the desired size. I recommend having a spotter with you to guide the MDF sheet through the saw, as any wiggle will cause your boards to cut unevenly.
If you don’t plan on doing enough DIY projects to justify spending nearly $400 on a Table saw and sawhorses, Lowes/Home Depot have a saw in-store and will gladly rip your boards for you for $.25 a cut! All you need is to have your measurements on hand and they’ll do the rest.
3. Sand your Boards
Once you have ripped your boards down to size, lightly sand all surfaces lightly with 220-grit sandpaper to remove any imperfections. Wipe down with a damp paper towel or rag to remove any leftover sawdust.
4. Mount your Boards
Now that you’ve got everything cut and cleaned up we can break out the air compressor and mount the boards to the wall. However, the nails need help keeping the boards secured to the drywall, which is where the liquid nails comes in.
Starting with the bottom boards put a thread of glue on the back of the board and set it in place on the wall. Then place nails about an inch from the side of the board every 8 inches or so. This will hold everything in place and once the glue cures that board won’t be going anywhere.
Next, work from the outside in to secure the vertical boards. (IMPORTANT: Mock up your vertical boards and use the level before you start gluing/nailing to save yourself a ton of stress later on, in case your measurements don’t line up.) Once you’re confident you’ve got them where they need to be and they’re vertically level, follow the same process as you did with the bottom board.
Now mock up your top horizontal boards. It should fit snug, but in the common case that it doesn’t fit you can trim it down to fit flush with the ceiling and the vertical boards. Once you secure that row, the only row left is our interior horizontal row. Line them up and we’re done!
5. Prime and Caulk
Now that our boards are secure, we can move on to the messy bits. Priming your wall/boards is an essential step that ensures you have a uniform finish across surfaces. It also seals the MDF, which tends to be spongy and will soak up paint, leaving an unappealing finish.
After taping off the perimeter of your wall and floor underneath it, we’re going to use the foam roller on the boards and full-size roller on the open paneling to apply two coats of primer to each surface. Use the 2” angle brush to apply heavier coats of primer to the sides of the MDF, where paint absorption is most likely. (Clean brush after as you’ll need it for paint) Leave 10-15 minutes between applications and an hour before caulk.
Once the primer has had time to dry, we can apply caulk. Paintable Caulk is a finishing detail that pays dividends once the project is painted and leaves your seams looking professional. Cut the tip of the caulk tube at a slight angle, allowing a small bead of caulk to come through. Apply the beads with consistent pressure along the seams up to 3 feet at a time. Then, dip your finger in a cup of water and run it along the line of caulk to smooth out the seam. Do this procedure to all interior paneling and around the perimeter where your boards meet your sidewalls.
The moment we’ve all been waiting for folks! It’s time to add your color and finish off your feature wall. We’re going to tape around the wall perimeter so we have clean paint lines afterwards. Following the same methods as you did with Primer, paint the boards with the foam roller, panels with large roller, and seams/hard-to-reach places with the angle brush. Two coats should do the trick with the Valspar Signature paint. Wait until the following day to remove trim tape. If the paint isn’t dry yet then some of the paint may come up with the tape.
7. Put Our Room Back Together and ENJOY!
It’s complete! This was a complete transformation that was well worth the investment of money and time. We learned a lot along the way, and hope that by sharing our mistakes you won’t have to repeat them!
A Real Farm Farmhouse!
We certainly hope you enjoy our blog walking you through DIY projects and lessons learned as we transform our homes into our dream farmhouses! We will share our lessons learned, mistakes, successes and everything in between so you can get going on your own farmhouse fixer upper! Just beware a full fixer upper is not for the faint of heart! Yet it is so rewarding and worth every minute and penny invested so subscribe today and begin your own projects!