How to Build a DIY Wood-Slat Wall

2 Materials
3 Hours

I have a great project we did in our son’s room makeover this past spring that I want to share with you. It is how to build a DIY wood-slat wall. It is all the rage!

Building a DIY wood slat wall can be easy depending on the method you use. One method is cutting 4′ X 8′ plywood sheet into wood strips by ripping 1-1/2″ X 8″ down using a table saw to create the slats. One plywood will give about 40 wood slats. It is more time-consuming and labor-intensive but more economical.

Another method is simply to purchase 1″X 2″X 8′ wood slats, it’s easier but more expensive. The actual size is 1′ X 1-1/2″ X 8′.

I opted to save time and purchase the wood slats to make it easier because I had the One Room Challenge deadline to keep.

Once you decide which method to use, let me show you how to build a modern DIY wood-slat wall.

The wall in this room was painted using few layers of paint to look like cement, but you can use any color for your wall. The wood slat looks the best when the wall color underneath is a deeper color, the contrast against the wood is so striking and makes the wood stand out.

Supplies needed for this Modern DIY slat wall project:

How to build the DIY wood-slat wall

Calculate how many slats you will need

Based on the strips and width of the space in between slats. Plan to work around outlets and light switches, keep about 1/2 inch space around the plates.

Paint the wall

With the color of your choice.

Sand the strips of wood

I found the easiest way to do this was to line strips of wood together and sand all the roughness. Do that to all three sides that will be exposed.

Stain the wood slats

With the color of your choice or keep it natural with a clear coat. I chose the acrylic Willow Gray stain by Varathane, but the color was too opaque so I added a little water to dilute the stain.

Seal the slats

Once the stain dried I sealed it with a sealer.

Cut the wood slats to length

At first, we were going to run the wood slats from the ceiling to the floor right above the baseboard. Then we decided to just let the wood slats sit on top of the desk.

If we ran it to the floor we would have had to cut the wood slats to sit on top of the desk and then install the smaller pieces underneath aligning with the top slats. We decided that we like the look of the wood sitting on top of the desk and would not make enough of a statement installing them underneath the desk also.

We cut few slats at a time since the walls and the ceilings and not very straight in my


Install the would slats

We dry-fit the first wood slat to the corner of the wall at the starting point. Then we used a wood slat turned on its side which is 1” for a guide for the spacing and nailed the slats to the wall. You can use adhesive and finishing nails to secure the slats to the wall also. But, we used just finishing nails using a pneumatic nail gun in case we wanted to remove them in the future without too much damage to the wall.

Fill the nail holes with wood putty and touch up the wood putty with stain.

Voilà! These wood slat wall feature completely transformed this room! I love the way it looks!

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Side note: Please be sure to read instructions for all tools and products. Safety should be your top priority. Always wear necessary protection when using tools (eyewear, hearing protection, gloves, dust mask, etc.). Houzewize is not responsible for any injury or damage.

Thank you for stopping by!

Suggested materials:

  • Wood slats   (Home Depot)
  • Wood putty   (Home Depot)
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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