My $100 Bathroom Makeover is well underway! This week I installed a wood accent wall and I am in love! It adds so much texture and interest to this tiny bathroom without being too busy or overwhelming.
I’ve been a fan of beautiful wood accent walls for years. The colorful wood plank wall I created in our entryway six years ago is still one of my favorite parts of our home. I knew our master bathroom was the perfect space for another fun wood wall. And while I love the look of shiplap, I really wanted to put a bit of a different spin on it.
And since this project is part of the $100 room challenge, I had to figure out how to make it work on a tiny budget. This entire herringbone wall came in at less than $35! And don’t worry, it’s way easier to install than it looks. I’ve got a step-by-step tutorial to walk you through the process as well as a video tutorial below.
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Underlayment – This is a thin wood that comes in 4’x8′ sheets and is very inexpensive. The number of sheets you need will depend on how large your wall is.
Paint in the color of your choice – I used Valspar White Dove.
Paintbrush – for cutting in around the edges of the wall
Miter saw – For cutting your strips to the correct length and making angled cuts
Nail gun – You could do this with a hammer and finishing nails if you don’t have a nail gun, but a nail gun makes it go so much faster.
How to Make a Herringbone Wood Wall
The secret to keeping this accent wall budget-friendly is using sheets of underlayment as the wood. You can find underlayment in your local home improvement store next to the other sheets of plywood. It comes in 4’x8′ sheets.
I bought 2 sheets for my small bathroom wall and had quite a bit left over. Prices may vary depending on where you are, but my wood cost $15 per sheet. I had them cut my sheets in half at the store to make it easier to get them home.
Cutting the wood planks
As far as the size of the planks themselves, I debated between a few different sizes. Since you are cutting the planks from large plywood sheets, they can really be any size you want.
I wanted to waste as little wood as possible so I narrowed my choices down to either four inch planks or six inch planks. I cut some sample pieces out of posterboard and decided the best size for my small wall was 4″x24″.
If you are doing a larger wall in a larger space, 6″x32″ planks would also look good. Both of these sizes divide into a 4’x’8′ sheet evenly so you don’t waste a lot of wood.
Once you’ve decided what size you want to use, you can cut your sheets of wood into planks using either a table saw or a circular saw. Then cut the planks to the correct length using a miter saw.
Then sand any rough edges with 220 grit sandpaper.
Installing the wood planks
A herringbone pattern looks complicated, but it’s actually quite easy to create. Most of the pieces are simply rectangles attached at an angle.
You don’t have to worry about cutting any angles until you reach the edges of the wall and even then, you only need to make 45 degree angles.
Start by measuring the width of your wall and drawing a line down the center with a pencil.
Line up the center of your first board with the line, using a speed square to make sure it is at a 45 degree angle from the ceiling. Nail it in place with your nail gun.
Add your second piece by lining it up against the first and double-checking the angle with the speed square.
As you add pieces of wood, you need to use spacers between your boards. It is important to leave some space around each board so that the herringbone pattern pops once it is painted. Spacers help make sure that these gaps around the boards are all the same size.
Coins make great spacers. I chose to use dimes because they are the thinnest, but any coins will work.
You can use glue along with your nails to attach your boards, but it isn’t necessary. I chose to skip the glue because I want to be able to remove this wall in the future without ruining the drywall.
You also don’t have to worry about nailing into studs; the wood is so lightweight it isn’t necessary.
Continue adding pieces, using dimes to keep the spacing even. You can double-check the placement using the line you drew and the speed square. Once the first couple of pieces are set, this goes very quickly.
Cutting the edge pieces
When you reach the edges of the walls, you will need to cut your boards at a 45 degree angle. Unfortunately, each of these pieces will need to be cut individually because they aren’t likely to be the exact same size.
If you need to cut a lot of small pieces, I found the fastest way is to cut several planks in half at a 45 degree angle. Hold each piece in place on the wall and mark where the length needs to be cut with a pencil. Then make a straight cut to cut it to size.
I also needed to make a few odd cuts around the corner of my vanity. You may also have cuts to make around outlets or lights.
The easiest way to get the cut exactly right is to use a piece of paper to make a pattern. Then trace the pattern onto the wood and cut it out with a jigsaw.
Painting the wall
Before painting, I spackled all of the tiny nail holes in my herringbone wall. Just press a small amount of spackling into each nail hole and then smooth it with a plastic putty knife. Once it has dried, if it isn’t smooth to the touch, sand it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper.
You can see from my photos, I painted a few of the boards before attaching them. Painting behind a toilet is nearly impossible so I decided to make things easy on myself and paint those pieces before putting them in place.
I painted the rest of the wall with a small foam roller after the boards were in place.
I am really happy that I pre-painted those hard-to-reach boards, but in general, painting everything once it was on the wall was much faster.
As you are rolling on the paint, be careful not to overload your roller with paint. You don’t want paint squishing down into all the nice grooves you created with your dime spacers.
As long as you don’t use a drippy roller or press down overly hard, this isn’t much of a problem. But there were a few spots where I had paint drip into the spaces between my boards and mess up the clean look of the herringbone.
In those cases, I used a utility knife to gently clear the excess paint.
It worked like a charm!
I needed three coats of paint to get good coverage, but if you are using a color other than white, two will probably be plenty.
Herringbone Wood Wall
Ready for some before and after pics?
Here’s my boring bathroom wall before the accent wall:
And here it is in all it’s herringbone glory!
I can’t wait to add the final details in here and see this whole room come together!
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$100 Bathroom Makeover Update
There’s only one week left until my big $100 bathroom makeover reveal! In addition to installing my herringbone wall this week, I also repaired the vintage mirror I’m using in this space. At some point, someone named Paul carved his name into the mirror so I sanded and restained that section of the mirror.
I’ve also come up with an amazing plan for switching out that gold faucet. I realized a few days ago that I actually already have a perfectly good bathroom faucet in a brushed nickel finish – in the play kitchen I made for my kids several years ago!
That’s right – I’m planning to steal the faucet from my kids play kitchen to use in our bathroom! Obviously this faucet isn’t functional in the play kitchen, but when I bought it at a yard sale years ago with the plan to use it for this kitchen, it was new in the box and had all of the necessary pieces. Now I’m happy to spray paint my gold faucet for them and I’ll take this faucet for the master bathroom!
Here’s an update on where the budget and project list stands.
Bathroom Budget Update:
- Total from last week: $38.50
- Wood for accent wall: $31
- Spackling: $4
- Paint for accent wall: $0 – leftover from another room
Running Total: $73.50
Bathroom Project List:
remove wallpaper and prep walls paint walls accent wall paint vanity and replace hardware replace medicine cabinet replace vanity light paint gold shower doors
- paint or replace gold faucet
replace cabinet over toilet with shelves remove tile trim and install wooden baseboards
- paint or cover vinyl floor
- new window treatment
- add towel hooks
- add accessories and organization
I am so excited to finish the last few details and share the final reveal next week!
If you’ve missed any posts about this room, you can find them here:
And I’ve also rounded up some truly amazing wood accent walls if you are looking for more ideas.
Be sure to check out everyone else’s progress on their $100 Room Makeovers at the links below!
I’d love for you to pin this project on Pinterest!
- 220 grit sandpaper
- Dimes (to use as spacers)
- Paint in the color of your choice
- Small foam paint roller
- Speed Square
- Measuring tape
- Table Saw or Circular Saw
- Miter Saw
- Nail Gun
- Cut your sheets of wood into 4" planks with either a table saw or circular saw.
- Then cut the planks to 24" long using a miter saw.
- Sand any rough edges with 220 grit sandpaper.
- Measure the width of your wall and draw a line down the center with a pencil.
- Line up the center of your first board with the line.
- Use a speed square to make sure it's at a 45 degree angle from the ceiling.
- Nail it in place with your nail gun.
- Add your second piece by lining it up at a 90 degree angle with the first piece.
- Use the speed square to double-check the angle.
- Leave some space around each board by placing a dime in between to act as a spacer. Use the nail gun to attach your boards.
- Continue adding boards until you reach the edge of the wall.
- The edge pieces will need to be cut at a 45 degree angle where they meet the wall.
- Spackle all of the tiny nail holes and smooth it with a plastic putty knife.
- You can pre-paint any hard-to-reach boards before they are attached. Paint the rest of the wall with a paintbrush and a small foam roller.
- Use a utility knife to clear any excess paint that drips between the planks.
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CRAFTSMAN V20 Cordless Brad Nailer Kit, 18GA (CMCN618C1)
Metabo HPT Compound Miter Saw, 10-Inch, Single Bevel, 15-Amp Motor, 0-52° Miter Angle Range, 0-45° Bevel Range, Large Table, 10" 24T TCT Miter Saw Blade (C10FCGS)
Goplus Table Saw, 10-Inch 15-Amp Portable Table Saw, 36T Blade, Cutting Speed Up to 5000RPM, 45º Double-Bevel Cut, Aluminum Table, Benchtop Table Saw with Metal Stand, Sliding Miter Gauge
Komelon 4912IM The Professional 12-Foot Inch/Metric Scale Power Tape, Yellow
Swanson Tool S0101 7-inch Speed Square Layout Tool with Blue Book
FOAM PRO 184 Foam Paint Roller, Pack of 1
DAP INC 18746 Alex Plus Quart Spackling, 32 oz, White
Fandeli 36027 220 Grit Multipurpose Sandpaper Sheets, 9" x 11", 25-Sheet