DIY Planked Walls – (Even For Uneven Rooms)

DIY Planked Wall Tutorial (Even for uneven walls)

Monday is here again!

In our neck of the woods it seems like Spring has finally Sprung… I just love waking up to the sound of happy birds singing outside! How about yourself?

I’m also in a great mood because our downstairs bathroom renovation is finally complete! I will have the full reveal later on, but I really wanted to share one of the biggest projects we did on this space which had the most impact in this room… We installed our own planked walls!

Here’s what the walls looked like before:

DIY Planked Wall Tutorial (Even for uneven walls)
DIY Planked Wall Tutorial (Even for uneven walls)

And here’s how it looked after:

DIY Planked Wall Tutorial (Even for uneven walls)

We knew this was going to be a bit of a task because being in a century home, well, the walls that confine a space aren’t exactly even.ย We knew that there would be a lot of cutting, and that depending on the placement of our planks, that the planks wouldn’t look straight!

This tutorial will teach you not only how to install your own planked walls, but also how to do so if you have a bit of wonky angles with your walls (as we do).

For your planked walls you will need:

Measuring tape
Smooth plywood cut into strips at your desired width (Or actual planking boards, this is up to you)
Something to use as separators (When I did a quick search, I found pennies and paint sticks to be quite common!)
Planking nails
Hammer or nail gun
Quarter round trim
Primer & Paint (If you decide to do so)
Exacto knife

Step 1)

DIY Planked Wall Tutorial (Even for uneven walls)

When deciding we wanted to do this project we took a little trip around Home Depot and decided that cutting smooth plywood would be inexpensive and ideal for us. We already had the measurements of our room (Great idea unless you can easily make multiple trips) and decided on a width for our boards. We then had a wonderful person at Home Depot do the cutting for us.

Step 2)

Back at home we decided which wall to start with and began taking multiple measurements spaced apart about the same width as the planks. We had a notepad and pencil to write down each measurement and measured multiple times all the way down to the bottom of the wall. Note that you may not need to do all of these measurements if your wall is already even, but as I said before we have very uneven walls so we needed to be sure that each plank would fit correctly.

If your walls are already even (Lucky you!), you could just take the measurements for the entire room at ease at this point.

Step 3)

DIY Planked Wall Tutorial (Even for uneven walls)

We took our measurements from the previous step to measure out the boards and mark them off. We numbered the boards on one side so we knew which would start at the top, and the order that they would be installed by. On the side without the number we marked off an X to be sure that would be the part that would be cut off.

DIY Planked Wall Tutorial (Even for uneven walls)

If your walls aren’t uneven you could mark off ALL of your planks for the entire room at this point, just be sure to write on the boards to clarify what wall they are to be attached to. ๐Ÿ™‚

You may need to cut special cut outs for things like your light switches and around windows, for this you could use a jig-saw. Just pencil the shape onto the wood plank.

Step 4)

Cut your wood to the marked off lengths and set them aside.

Step 5)

DIY Planked Wall Tutorial (Even for uneven walls)

Starting from the TOP place your board as flush to the ceiling as possible and nail it in place. If your boards are a little warped that is okay, adding a few extra nails usually takes care of this. The reason you want to start from the top and keep it flush is because this is the part of the room that is going to make your planks appear level, even if your ceiling is not (Assuming it’s not at a dramatic angle!). Keep in mind this mostly applies to those of you with uneven walls.

The reason you want to do this instead of bringing out a level and installing it this way is because to the eye where the wall meets the ceiling already appears level. If you install your planks with a levelling device they will actually look crooked. This is an illusion caused by the contrasting lines.

Step 6)

DIY Planked Wall Tutorial (Even for uneven walls)

Keeping track of your numbered planks, proceeding to install downward from the top until you reach the bottom. This is where separators may come in handy between your boards. To be honest, for the first bit we used the pennies, but after that we just started eyeing it out ourselves.

If your bottom plank doesn’t fit in the rest of the space between your last board and the floor, you may have to make another lengthwise cut to get it to fit properly, – or you can just decide to stop there – which is what we did, and it didn’t look bad or noticeable at all after painting. ๐Ÿ™‚

Step 7)

If your walls are even, proceed to install the planks on other walls within your space.

If you have uneven walls, repeat the above steps on the next wall with your measurements going downward and marking off each individual board to the correct size to cut and install.

Step 8)

When your planks are completely installed you will want to make your measurements for where you want your quarter rounds. This is crucial to those with uneven walls since you will notice the edges of your wood aren’t flush with the next adjoining wall, and sort of have an unattractive staggering effect downward.

Step 9)

DIY Planked Wall Tutorial (Even for uneven walls)

DIY Planked Wall Tutorial (Even for uneven walls)

After you cut your quarter rounds and whatever other trim you desire to install, go ahead and start nailing your trim to your walls. This will cover up the uneven edges and make it all appear nice and flush.

Step 10)

DIY Planked Wall Tutorial (Even for uneven walls)

If you decide to paint, I recommend priming first so the wood doesn’t soak in the paint. Especially if you go with a lighter shade! This will save you many coats. When your paint is dry, you may notice that it has seeped within your cracks and filled them in a bit. Just go through this with an exacto knife to re-separate the boards.

Another tip – If you decide for large spaces between the boards you may want to paint the walls underneath a matching colour beforeย you install your planks.

DIY Planked Wall Tutorial (Even for uneven walls)

Then that’s it! You are done! I know for those with uneven spaces that this is definitely a bit of a tedious job, but once it is complete I’m sure you will be happy with how it turned out. For our small bathroom, the horizontal planks have helped to visually expand the space and adds to a farmhouse/cottage charm.

DIY Planked Wall Tutorial (Even for uneven walls)
DIY Planked Wall Tutorial (Even for uneven walls)

I hope that you found this tutorial helpful whether you have even or uneven walls! Either way, I’m sure your planked walls will certainly add a lovely cottage charm to your home.

Make sure you get out to enjoy this beautiful Spring weather!

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  1. So gorgeous! What width did you cut yours boards?!

  2. These look amazing Brandi! What an amazing change to the bathroom!

  3. Great job! We also have an old house and know the “joys” of uneven walls, unlevel floors and ancient wiring.

    • Oh Lydia, you feel my pain then! The biggest struggle would be our open concept living and dining room in which the furniture is placed centre with the fireplace. You can’t get one area of the room centered without the other looking completely lop-sided… haha!

  4. This looks so good! I love it!

  5. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    I just love your walls.

    I am scared, plus the money for even the cheapest seems to keep me from trying these. I wanted so much to do this to the exterior (but inside) walls of my bedroom…….. someday maybe.

  6. Very, very pretty. So clean and crisp. I’m thinking of doing something similar for my kitchen backsplash, but I’m just worried about stuff getting caught in the gaps. Have you noticed that problem in your bathroom?

    • Thank you so much. ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven’t had issues yet, but I suppose that would depend on how deep your gaps get. If you were in the kitchen cooking up some pasta sauce you could always have a spare toothbrush to wipe the grooves clean if it splattered!

  7. Great job, Brandi. You completely transformed your bathroom into something very special with this project. I’d love it if you’d come and share it at Every Room In The House. We’re partying in the bathroom this month, and your bathroom would be a fabulous addition. Here’s the link:
    Hope to see you there. ~ Nancy @ A Joyful Cottage

  8. Uneven walls or not…..I love this look!! Your walls are amazing now, I just plain love it:)

  9. I am bookmarking this to use in the near future. I have a study that I have been wanting to add a feature wall, and I think wood planks is the way to go. Now I have a great tutorial to use along the way. Thank you so much. Your walls turned out beautiful!

  10. Thank you so much for posting this tutorial- it is exactly what I was looking for, and I think your bathroom is absolutely beautiful. If you have a second to answer, I’d love to know what width your boards are. Thank you!

    • Hi Robbie,

      I’m away at the moment or I would measure for you! If I recall they are about 6 or 7 inches – but don’t quote me on that! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. This is such a great tutorial! We have been looking everywhere for advice! What did you do about vertical seams? We are doing a 14 ft. long kitchen backsplash and with 8 ft. boards there will be vertical seams ๐Ÿ™ Caulk and paint? How noticeable?
    Thanks so much!

    • If you have seams showing maybe you should go with caulking and paint, I think that sounds like a good solution. Let me know how it worked out for you!

  12. Shannon says:

    Do you have a tutorial on your shelves you use in the bathroom? Thanks!

    • I don’t, sorry! But they are fairly straightforward triangular shapes underneath just drilled into the shelf. ๐Ÿ™‚

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