Our upstairs landing is my favorite space in our house with the original floors from the 1830’s to the black doors. But, It was just missing something to tie the entire space together. So, I decided to do something fun.
DIY Herringbone Wall
I posted a picture on my instagram stories of the blank canvas (see above) and asked my amazing Instagram followers to use their creative minds to design an accent wall they think would look awesome in that space and that they’d like to see a tutorial on.
It was amazing to see the different styles, concepts & color palettes people designed. My fiance and I went through about 25 different designs and narrowed it down to our favorite two.
We then asked my Instagram followers to vote on their favorite & the HERRINGBONE design won! So it’s time to get working on this wall.
promise you that this is a lot easier than it looks and is truly a great beginner project as it allows you to practice using the miter saw, cutting angles, measuring, wood filling , sanding, caulking and painting.
Step one: Project planning & measurements
As with any project, you want to plan ahead before you even begin. This saves you a lot of headaches in the long run. First thing I suggest is doing some math (YAY; sarcasm).
There are a few ways to calculate your measurements/design spacing
1.Measure the length of your wall & divide it by the number of panels you want (space between the stiles / vertical boards). That will give you the perfect spacing of your stiles.
2.Easy Way - using inchcalculator.com
Simply head to that website and it will give you a few boxes to fill in.
A. Measure the length of the wall
B. Figure out how many panels you want (spaces between your stiles)
C. Figure out the width of your stiles (I used 1x2 boards which aren’t really 2’ but rather 1.5’).
The website then gives you the exact spacing you need and all of your measurements. It also gives an amazing sketch of what your spacing/wall will look like.
After I had my measurements, I went ahead and used my tape measurer & stud finder to mark out all of the spacing. I got really lucky and had 2/3 stiles hit a stud. I used to tape to really see what my design would look like before i started & I LOVED it.
Note: When pre-marking out your wall; be sure to account for your stile board width
The height of your wall is totally your preference. I decided to go with 3” 3’.
NOTE: Some people will have to remove their baseboards and replace according to their depth of their accent wall boards. My trim sticks off the wall enough that my 1x2 boards sit on it flush. Old house advantages, I suppose.
- 1x3 pre-primed pine boards for the top rail ( I wanted thicker boards on top).
- 1x2 pre-primed pine boards
Tools & Supplies:
- Tape measurer
- PPE (gloves & closed toed shoes)
- Brad Nailer ( I used 2 inch nails)
- wood filler
- Orbital or hand sander
Step 3: Start the wall
Since you marked out all your spacing for our vertical boards, the next part is easy. Simply measure the height you desire for those boards and cut them using a circular or a miter saw. These boards are going to be cut at 0 degrees.
Make sure you account for your top rail width when measuring/cutting the length of these boards.
Once you have your boards cut, simply line them up along your markings/spacing and ensure they all level and straight and pop a few nails into them. You could also use liquid nails but be aware that could cause extensive damage to the drywall If you ever remove the accent wall.
Now comes the fun of cutting the angles for the herringbone pattern.
You can do this part a few different ways but this is the technique I used and found to be easiest. I cut one of my boards at 22.5 degrees on just one end. 22.5 is half of 45 if that helps you remember it. Your saw should have a marker on the miter table for that because it’s a commonly used angle.
I then brought my board into the house and placed it on one of my stiles and played around until I figured out where I wanted it and how steep of an angle I wanted it to sit at. I then used a form of scribing. I just marked a line in the correct angle where the board should be cut. I marked a little longer because wood is expensive and it’s better to cut too long vs. too short. Then , I headed back out to the saw.
The opposing angle has to be on the opposite side (that’s why I liked the marking it with a pencil method). I simply kept my saw at 22.5 degrees and then flipped the board as needed.
Once I had the first two herringbone lines, I used the first set as my template/line up for the remainder of the space.
Once I got the hang of the angles/scribing this process moved super fast. I’d line everything up and simply put a few nails in them. Since these angled boards didn’t hit studs, I had to shoot my nails in at opposing angles.
Once I had all my complex angles done and attached to the wall, I simply added a 1x3 board as a top rail. Then it was time for the painting prep work.
Step 4: Prep & Paint
As always, you want your work to be as precise as possible but caulking and wood filler will close off any gaps and give your project a more finished look.
I went ahead and did the following steps:
- Wood filler/sanding: wood filler is best used for filling holes, gauges and cracks in wood. It is paintable and stainable and best when used on outer angles since it has to be sanded smooth. It is very moldable/shapeable
- Caulk: Caulk is best for filling gaps, gaps & sealing. It is more flexible and stretch. Best used for inner corners as it doesn’t need sanding. It is paintable (always check the label) but not stainable.
After the caulking/wood filler was dry. It was time to paint. I went with the same paint I use on my trim to make for cohesive look. I used my new favorite paint brush from free form brush. These brushes are amazing. They are pain free and anti-fatigue. You don’t have to grip onto them, they more a less grip you. It made painting painless and I was so impressed. I linked them, they are sold at walmart.
Once the paint was dry, I was able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor. This wall only took a few hours minus painting/wood filling/caulking which was absolutely awesome and despite the cost of lumber currently, It only cost me $50.
I hope this tutorial helps you find the confidence to stop dreaming and start doing. I have a full tutorial on my Instagram with videos and be sure to give me a follow and say hello while your there.
Resources for this project:See all materials
Holly B. Metzger on Jul 26, 2021
I've been trying to figure out what to do behind our bed. It isn't a large area because it is under the window. It's also not a large bedroom. I think a much smaller version of this would work for me. I'd have something to define the area a headboard would be. Thank you.