The Wall: How to Install Wood Slats on a Wall

Wood slat walls are totally in right now, and we've added an industrial touch with concrete-style wall panels to make it fit for a loft, whether in New York City or Mississauga. Find out how to install your own chic wall at home.

One Weekend

Before You Start

This project uses a centred design, covering a 4' wide surface with the wood slats, but you can customize it however you want. Go ahead and get creative with an asymmetrical look, create a headboard for your bed, or position it as a frame for your TV.
  1. 1

    Locate the Studs

  2. Steps:

  3. 1.1
    Ensure that the wall is flat, smooth, and clean before beginning.
  4. 1.2
    Use a stud finder to locate and mark the location of the studs.
  5. 1.3
    Remove the wall mouldings.
  1. 2

    Measure the Installation Area

  2. Steps:

  3. 2.1
    Measure the wall and mark the centre.
  4. 2.2
    Based on your design, draw an outline around the space to be covered by wood slats.
  5. 2.3
    Place masking tape markers along the floor.
  1. 3

    Paint the Central Wall Area

  2. Steps:

  3. 3.1
    Paint the central wall area.
  4. 3.2
    If needed, add more coats.
Man painting a wall black using a roller

Pro Tip

Since the panels will hide the edges, there is no need to outline them with tape. Choose a paint colour that will contrast with the wood and make it pop, like black, a warm colour (such as yellow, red, or orange), a pastel shade, or a natural tone (such as brown, grey, or green).

  1. 4

    Cut the Mouldings

  2. Steps:

  3. 4.1
    Use your slat width and chosen spacing to calculate how many slats are needed to cover the central wall area.
  4. 4.2
    Use a table saw to cut the slats to size.
  5. 4.3
    Cut a template that is the exact width as the distance you want between each slat to ensure perfect spacing. The longer the template, the better.
Man using a mitre saw to cut wood

Pro Tip

For this project, we used laminated pine slats 8' in length and cut to a width of 2.5", with a balanced and harmonious 1" spacing. You can also use painted MDF panels or pre-cut mouldings.

  1. 5

    Stain the Slats

  2. Steps:

  3. 5.1
    Use a brush to stain each side of the slats that won't be facing the wall.
  4. 5.2
    Allow the stain to dry, then apply one coat of varnish.
  5. 5.3
    Use 320-grit sand paper to lightly sand the slats before applying a second coat of varnish.
Wood slat being stained

Pro Tip

For this project, we decided to use Minwax Interior Wood Stain in Golden Oak.

  1. 6

    Install the Wood Slats

  2. Steps:

  3. 6.1
    Beginning on the left, glue and nail the wood slats to the wall. Use the spacing template to make sure each following slat is perfectly spaced.
Man applying glue to a wood slat
Man gluing wood slats onto a black wall
  1. 7

    Install Panel #1

  2. Steps:

  3. 7.1
    Use a table saw to cut the MURdesign panels if necessary.
  4. 7.2
    Use PL construction adhesive on the back of the panel. A few drops are all you need.
  5. 7.3
    Start on the bottom left corner and install the first panel, using a bubble level to ensure straightness. Pull the outlet through the panel opening if needed.
  6. 7.4
    Use finishing nails and a nail gun to attach the panel to the wall. Make sure you use the studs marked earlier.
  7. 7.5
    Reinstall the outlet cover if necessary.
Man cutting a hole in a wall panel using an oscillating tool
Man applying glue to decorative wall panels

Pro Tip

Need to work around an outlet?

  • Cut power to the outlet.
  • Remove the cover and pull it out slightly.
  • Measure the outlet opening and mark the dimensions on the panel.
  • Cut an opening in the panel using an oscillating tool.

  1. 8

    Install the Remaining Panels

  2. Steps:

  3. 8.1
    Measure the rest of the space and use a table saw to cut the panels to size.
  4. 8.2
    Install the remaining panels according to the steps above.
Man nailing a wall panel onto a wall
  1. 9

    Admire the Finished Project

  2. Steps:

  3. 9.1
    You're all finished! What used to be a regular, ordinary wall is now truly extraordinary. Good job!
Room covered with wood slats and decorative wall panels

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