I’ve been picturing some kind of statement wall in my colorful office for some time, and finally settled on this DIY horizontal slat wall. At first I want to do tongue and groove (I have it on the the DIY fireplace TV bump out and I added some to the kitchen cabinets) – but a wall this size adds up and I wasn’t prepared to spend much money on this project. I thought about faking the look of board and batten, but Hubby said it was too cottagey for our aesthetic. I also toyed with just building a little art ledge/shelf and painting below it for the effect, but my desk is already really shallow and I worried that a shelf would eat up too much precious space.
And then it came to me – horizontal slats! I’ve long been fascinated with slatted designs, but too lazy to make or clean slatted things. But I loved the look of our DIY slatted deck skirting, so I decided to (finally) carry the cool vibe inside. I already drag in the Shop-Vac to vacuum the bubble lights in the dining room a few times a year – so I can vacuum these slats too. No biggie! Because budget is a big concern right now, we did something I don’t normally like to do: we used construction grade lumber that we already had on hand. Normally I advocate for using furniture grade wood, which won’t warp and bend the way crappy construction grade wood can. But I think money will be tight for some time, and this project was definitely not a budgetary priority, so I rummaged in the garage until I found some extra 1 x 6 pine planks. They were 12 feet long, so a little too long for the wall – but longer is better than shorter, so I could avoid a seam in the middle. The wood planks also required a lot of work: cutting to length, ripping into slats, sanding and more sanding, but the end result turned out so good! Once they were painted, the little imperfections on the slats became less noticeable, although they do have a sort of casual, cottage vibe. Don’t tell Handy Hubby, but I’m actually digging a slightly cottagey, increasingly coastal aesthetic these days. If we move, I am totally embracing the chippy, cottage look in our next renos, because it’s so much easier to create and maintain than the perfect, streamlined, mid-century inspired, everything walnut or teak, aesthetic that I have loved for so long.
Anyway, here’s a look at my new DIY horizontal slat wall, painted the same color as my office accent wall. I like how the DIY walnut desk we made pops more against the soft grey/green and the soft, pastel abstract paintings (a wedding present from Hubby’s grandpa) are framed out in a way that make them “pop” a bit more. I am LOVING the finished product but, if I ever change my mind, the slats are just air nailed into place and easy to remove – the walls will just need some patch and paint, but will be good to go.
Here’s the how-to, if you’d like to create your own DIY slat wall!
Supplies for DIY Horizontal Slat Wall:
- Wood planks (we used 1x6x12 planks of pine)
- Miter saw and/or miter box and hand saw
- Table saw
- Belt sander
- Sandpaper and sanding block
- Air compressor combo kit with air nailer (and we used 1 1/2″ nails)
- Paintable caulk and caulking gun
- Stud finder
- Narrow angled paint brush
How to Make a DIY Horizontal Slat Wall:
Take a peek at the before/after and keep reading to learn how we made this easy DIY horizontal slat wall!
First we measured the wall in three places (top, middle, and bottom of proposed area for slats) to confirm the length. We do this because walls aren’t always square. Then we used the miter saw to cut the boards to length – taking length from both ends, so both ends had the same kind of cut end (and so it was square – factory cuts aren’t always square or even).
Then, using the table saw, we trimmed a bit off each edge of the planks – so that all sides of the finished slats will have been cut by us. Factory edges are kind of rounded and would look different, ruining the uniformity of my DIY horizontal slat wall.
At this point, we used a belt sander to sand the roughness of the wood. It really needed a good planing, but a belt sander was all we had on hand.
Now we were ready to rip the boards into strips on the table saw.
The finished size of the slats ended up being 1 1/2″ x 5/8″ We figured out the size by measuring what was left of the plank after trimming the sides, accounting for blade width, and dividing into three equal strips. We ripped more than we needed because some ended up a little warped – this is what I mean about using cheap builder’s grade wood, it’s not meant to look good.
After the slats were cut, I hand sanded the edges smooth because they were a little rough and raw:
We actually brought them inside through the window because they were so long! Once inside, we created a spacer using a leftover end of wood and starting to install them, from the bottom up.
We checked spacing in three spots on each slat, and also used a level to confirm. Working our way up, we installed the slats using the air nailer and 1 1/2″ nails on every stud.
For the outlets, we brought in the miter box and hand saw, and cut the slats to fit around – it was easier than lugging the wood back out to the garage and using the miter saw.
With the slats installed, I caulked the top of each one to hide gaps. The wall bowed in some spots – and so did the wood – so caulk was essential to creating a smooth finished product.
I didn’t bother underneath each slat because I won’t see it, but in a full height slatted wall you would.
I also used wood filler to fill in all of the nail holes:
As a final step, I painted using leftover wall paint so it’s the same finish/color as the wall for cohesiveness (and cost savings). I also like the matte finish – it has a coastal, beachy vibe when applied to the slightly rustic wood.
You can see that the new slatted feature extends the whole wall length, although some is hidden by the door when it’s open. I also painted the tiny strip of wall to the right of the slats – it just made my life easier.
I can never photograph the paintings well – they’re soft and muted, but not as washed out as my photography makes them appear. In real life, they’re beautifully layered shades of peach, cream, yellow and even tomato red, with lots of swirls of this exact shade of pale grey/green.
I love my new DIY wood slat accent wall! It was easy to make this DIY horizontal slat wall, and it adds a nice bit of interest to the desk area and I’m happy to see the accent wall color carried over in an intentional way. It no longer looks like I just painted the newly drywalled walls a different color after getting the windows enlarged because I couldn’t get paint to match the existing wall color (which is exactly what happened, lol).
Here’s a closer look at my desk – friends with chickens recently made me the 3D printed chicken, so it’s still on my desk because I love it. I also bought a walnut desk organizer awhile ago and it’s so handy for keeping a few office supplies close at hand. Everything else is in the closet because I like my desk as clutter-free as possible.
It only took about a (slow moving) weekend’s worth of time to create this DIY horizontal slat wall feature in my office and I love it! It’s the perfect blend of the coastal/cottage vibe mixed with mid-century modern, which has become my gold standard of decor around here. I can’t help but love a beachy feel, but I can never give up my love for MCM completely! So this is my blend. And now I have something new to look at, when I’m stuck at my desk. And I still have wood left over, so now I’m wondering what else I can add slats too, haha.
From the hallway, you just see a little peek of the new DIY horizontal slat wall:
I’d just like to point out that my computer monitor background is a photo of us – and Hubby’s is a photo of our car, lol. I always try to keep my photos as “real” as possible – I don’t style or stage, so I didn’t remove my big ugly monitor, or the random things on my desk. But I did catch the dog bone under my desk in this photo, haha, and removed it for the other photos. Hynda FILLS my office with toys during the workday, trying to lure me away from my desk.
Here’s a look at the rest of my home office, which features a comfy vintage chair I had recovered, Hubby’s great-grandpa’s antique chest, a vintage Lotte lamp I scooped up, and an ice dyed pillow I sewed. At the other end of the small space, I have beachy closet doors to match the bedroom. I also still have my white IKEA Expedit with a growing vintage raku pottery collection, Shane Norrie pottery bowls, and strawberry hill pottery collection. I LOVE pottery. I kind of want to downsize the books and just make room for more pottery! On my Expedit is also a set of custom plywood magazine files we made and canvases I attached to act like swinging “doors” to hide more clutter.