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.

Difficulty level : 
Duration : 
2 days
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
Locate the Studs

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

2
Measure the Installation Area

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

3
Paint the Central Wall Area

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

4
Cut the Slats to Width

  • 4.1Use your slat width and chosen spacing to calculate how many slats are needed to cover the central wall area.
  • 4.2Use a table saw to cut the slats to size.
  • 4.3Cut 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
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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.

5
Stain the Slats

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

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

6
Install the Wood Slats

  • 6.1Beginning 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

7
Install Panel #1

  • 7.1Use a table saw to cut the MURdesign panels if necessary.
  • 7.2Use PL construction adhesive on the back of the panel. A few drops are all you need.
  • 7.3Start 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.
  • 7.4Use finishing nails and a nail gun to attach the panel to the wall. Make sure you use the studs marked earlier.
  • 7.5Reinstall the outlet cover if necessary.
Man cutting a hole in a wall panel using an oscillating tool
Man applying glue to decorative wall panels
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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.

8
Install the Remaining Panels

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

9
Admire the Finished Project

  • 9.1You'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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