Wood Slat Walls


One of the many things that HAD to be done to our lake house, was to either tear out all the sheetrock, or somehow cover it.  The people before smoked in there, and I don’t mean every now and then, they chain smoked in there.  Oh my, it was disgusting.  It was dripping off all the walls and windows.  After painting 2 coats of primer, only to have it seeping back through, I decided to just cover them in the dining area and kitchen. My daughter, who also has helped in the renovation project, kept yelling, “The walls are weeping!”  It truly was awful.

I wanted something rustic looking that I could make myself.  I initially tried the vinegar with steel wool idea, but it wasn’t giving me the color on the wood that I wanted.

I stumbled on the blog Beyond the Picket Fence and she had some great techniques to paint old pallets. I actually tried the pallet route, but they weren’t going to work for this project since they needed to be completely straight. I can’t tell you how many weekends were spent peering behind grocery stores, hardware stores, and just about anywhere we thought might have some pallets that might need a new home. When employees didn’t find us downright weird, most were more than happy to offer up a few.  I’ve since used a lot of them, but again, not on this project.

I decided that I only needed thin (read: cheap) wood strips.  I went to HomeDepot and bought 1/4″CD (not sanded) plywood, and had them cut 8 strips, 6″ wide pieces for each sheet of plywood.  All in all, I ended up purchasing 8 sheets of plywood.  Although I offered, they never charged me for any of the cuts. A little friendliness goes a long way!

On some of them, I dry-brushed paint first, on some I stained first.  I pretty much threw on what I had.  I wanted them to look similar to the wear and tear on pallets, so every now and then I’d splatter paint on them,  I also used a can and dipped the end in paint and then put it on. (I also put some important dates on a couple of them, but more on that later)  Anything to make them look distressed. I ended up putting a coat of stain on at the end.  That takes out that fresh, bright paint look and makes them look a little more weathered.

woodslats2 woodslats1

I nailed them on the walls with my Porter Cable nail gun (My favorite tool!).  Cutting them the length I needed was easy with a miter saw. I cannot tell you how rewarding it is to use heavy-duty power tools like a saw and nail gun, all the while thinking, “I don’t need no stinkin’ professionals! I’m an independent woman!” But I digress.

A few months down the road, I decided that we just had to open up that tiny kitchen.  There’s no windows and it’s just drab in there. Convincing the husband was another story, but in the end, I prevailed (there’s that independent woman again)!  The bad part was, I had to unassemble my beloved wall of wood slats.  Eh, no worries, I figured shoot, I’ll just continue the look on into the kitchen.  At first I thought it might be a bit overwhelming with all the different looks of the wood, but it actually looks cool.

Here are the “after” pictures.  I still haven’t finished, so you’ll have to excuse the unruly cables that connect our internet router to the wall outlet. (Any creative ideas on how to hide all that junk?)  I’m thinking of building a three sided “thing” to hide it all.


    At the end of the day, I’m pretty proud of myself! I can look at that kitchen and see something truly original. The house is still far from done, but I think this is definitely progress!



One thought on “Wood Slat Walls

  1. Kylie says:

    This is a great tutorial on how to add character to a kitchen! I especially love the most recent update with the wall removed to add more light. I look forward to more posts with awesome ideas.

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