April 18, 2013

How to make planked walls

Hello, here I am back as promised with some details on how we did the planked walls in our downstairs living area.  I guess if I was in America, this would be our 'basement', as our main living areas are on the floor above.  We tend to refer to it as our rumpus room which I think is a weird term...however I just googled it and got this definition:

'rumpus room n. US, Canadian, and NZ a room used for noisy activities, such as parties and children's games' (Collins English Dictionary)

Noisy activities and parties sums it up about right.  Rumpus room it is, then!
Right from when we moved in 14 months ago, I had plans to lighten up this room and cover up the awful chipboard walls.

To plank the walls, I first painted the chipboard white.  The reason for this was that I wanted small gaps in between the 'planks' and didn't want to see the dark wall through these little gaps.  It proved to be a wise move, as up close you can see the wall in behind.

To make the planks we bought 6 sheets of 2400 x 1200 x 6mm MDF from Bunnings.  We had them slice it up into 150mm wide planks.  This was our first mistake as we thought this would give us 8 evenly sized planks per sheet...but we forgot to account for the saw blade which makes around 2-3mm of board disappear from each cut.  This meant that our 8th plank was much narrower than the rest, so we had a bit of wastage...at only $20 for each sheet it thankfully wasn't a hugely expensive mistake.
Here are the first few boards up.  We used our air furniture staple gun to put the boards up, after squirting the back of each board with construction adhesive.  We made sure each board was level as we went.  We only needed one join in each row so we staggered these evenly into kind of a zipper pattern down the wall which we thought looked good.

We were left with a smaller gap than 150mm at the bottom of the wall so we just got a narrower board cut.  I used gap filler over the staple holes, and in the gaps between the top board and ceiling, and between the bottom board and skirting.  I sanded the wall all over before priming and painting (we also sanded the edges of each board before putting it on the wall).
We also planked down a small hallway as shown on the right of this photo above.  It wasn't too difficult, just a matter measuring before cutting, and fixing any gappy bits around the door, etc, with gap filler (wonderful stuff that it is!)

I painted it in a favourite white of mine, Resene Karen Walker Milk White. The trim and door is half Milk White (one door down, lots more to go!)

One last tip: next time I do this, I'd paint the edges of each board before putting it on the wall...painting between the little gaps was not much fun!

I am so happy with how this turned out, I think it suits this room really well, and says 'beach house' so much more to me than brown chipboard ever will! 

Do you want to plank a wall in your home? I'd love to hear about it!


  1. a great idea! it looks so much cosier now.

  2. it looks amazing.
    I wish I had the patience.
    T xx