Stained Wood Wall

Stained Wood Wall (click through for DIY instructions)Do you have a room in your home that you want to look like an upscale coffee house or whiskey lounge? Or maybe you just want to make your space a bit more warmer/cozier, like a vacation cabin. This project is perfect if you do! It was pretty straightforward putting it together, and the outcome definitely outweighs the cost. When Elsie and Jeremy first asked me to do this project, we talked about sourcing salvaged barn wood but then decided that we didn't want to worry about critters in the wood and having to rip uniform strips. Plus, as cool as repurposed wood could be, it isn't always the least expensive route. It depends on where you are and the abundance of it. Staining your own wood gives you more creative freedom and looks great! I was able to do the whole room for about $325.

-drywall screws (you can use a finish nailer, but if the house is older, finding studs and/or plaster walls can be a problem)
wood (I used 8' 4 x 1s kiln-dried cedar so there was minimal warping). To figure out about how much wood you'll need, measure the space that you want to cover. For example, if one wall is 10 feet wide and 8 feet tall, that translates to 80 square feet or 11,520 square inches. Since I used the 8-foot 4" x 1" (which is actually 3.5" wide, making each piece 336 square inches), I divided the wall square inches by the wood square inches and got the total pieces needed which was 34.28 (I just rounded up and got 35 to be safe). Isn't math so fun?

miter saw
-measuring tape
-speed square
-brushes (sponge brushes)

Step One: Pick your stain colors! I chose to use seven different shades to give some variety and depth. The shades were similar enough that no one color jumped out. Here is the list that I used, but you can go darker or lighter or even jump out of the brown color spectrum altogether! I used the Minwax brand.

  • Golden Oak 210B
  • Cherry 235
  • Red Oak 215
  • Provincial 211
  • English Chestnut 233
  • Natural 209
  • Early American 230

Step Two: Make a work/stain area. I used a table with plastic over it. You'll want to stain outside because the fumes like to wiggle their way into material, and you probably don't want your house smelling like a stain factory. I stained everything in one day. I had around 63 pieces of wood total, so I did 9 pieces at one time, moved them aside, and did the next color. Don't worry about applying the poly till everything is dry. Let the wood sit overnight to dry.

6U8A8708Step Three: Start cutting pieces to length and nailing or screwing them to the wall. I started from the top and worked my way down. Since Elsie's house is older, the walls aren't perfectly square (are they ever?), so I measured the length every couple of pieces. From this point on, you're just going to be cuttin' and measurin' and screwin' till your walls are covered. Rotate between colors, keeping a good balance of color. 

6U8A8698HowtomeasureforwallplugsTips for cutting around outlets:

First, cut your piece to the full length that you need. Measure from A to B and B to D on the wall, and mark on the back side of the piece. Then measure for the length for C, and mark. Remember to mark opposite ends (illustrated bellow) because you will be flipping it back over. Cut out with jigsaw.


Once you have all the walls covered, sand any rough end spots and then apply two or three coats of poly as directed. 

6U8A8177Now put up a couple of prints or add some plants (Elsie made these sweet planters that go great with her wall) and enjoy your new space! I want to see your twist on this project; there are so many directions you can go with it: stain colors, wood width, patterns, etc.

6U8A81876U8A81876U8A81636U8A8210Happy building! -Josh

Credits // Author: Josh Rhodes. Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Stella of The Signature Collection.

  • WOW! I love it. My great-grandparents had their giant lobby and hallway decorated like this and I always thought it was beautiful. Wonder if my landlord would be down with this… haha.

  • This looks awesome!

    Where are the terracotta pots from? I’ve seen them in multiple posts and love the variation in them.

  • I’ve been waiting to see this DIY! I love it sooo much and I really like that you stained the wood several different shades to add more depth. It looks absolutely fantastic! I don’t own my own home yet, but I promise that this will make an appearance in at least one room when I do!


  • Very nice done.

    I love wood things, homes, all.
    As little I lived in the forest in a tree house, so love your new style:-)

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  • I love the look of this wall, mostly because I like this shade of brown on wood. It has smth warm and cozy. I can totally imagine to have the same installation in my future kitchen.

  • Love all of the plants you have in your dining room! I hope I can fit a heap in my new dining space… It adds such a nice feel to the room, and goes quite well with all of the wood! 🙂

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  • WOW! Love this! I’ve always loved Jeremy and Elise’s dining room, every time they add something I love it even more! This though, is by far my favourite change. Really makes the room feel complete.

  • I love this! I am so inspired to cover the wall behind our bed in the bedroom and hang bistro lights…would be so cozy! I have a building question for josh though: Are all of the boards the same length or did you stagger them at different lengths (kind of like how a wood floor would look)? It’s hard to tell in the picture so I’m just curious. Thanks!

  • Love the wood walls, especially with the white chairs! I loved the yellow chairs, too, but these look fantastic with the new walls and the cute plants!

  • I really never comment, but this project is just too awesome. Great job, bold choices and clear explanation, definitely will give this a try one day!

  • I’ve been waiting so long for this post!! This is absolutely gorgeous!! I love that you used several different shades of stain to give it some extra depth. I don’t own my own place yet, but I can’t wait to do this to it when I do!


  • This is such a cute rustic addition to this living space. Love this idea. I hope to one day do something like this to my dream home 🙂

  • This is gorgeous! My boyfriend says that to get an effect like yours the wall have to be tall otherwise it would make the room appear smaller. What do you think of it?
    Congrats that’s really well done! 🙂

  • Whoa! This is absolutely incredible! It totally looks like an upscale whiskey bar – it would be cool to do this outside too. The contrast is really nice! Also, maybe I just missed it, did you guys ever do a DIY on the hanging lights? Those are awesome.

  • What a great modern take on wood paneling! I love how it looks with all the white and the fresh greenery. You guys nailed this one (no pun intended)!

  • what an amazing transformation – it really gives the space that coffeeshop/whiskey bar vibe – i love it! this is something i could totally see doing in my own home one day.

  • I.Love.This.So.Hard.

    I have been wanting to do a wall like this with reclaimed wood but that stuff is not easy to find and can be expensive. I love that this project uses new wood and the different stains makes a big difference in the end result. Thank you for posting those instructions and for the inspiration!

  • LOVE this! I’ve been wanting to do the same thing to my fireplace! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  • Hi Elsie! this looks amazing. I am wondering, where did you find the chairs? I am looking for those exactly!

  • Since I rent I would consider doing this on a smaller scale-like a couple small panel clusters and hang them! I love the look. Thanks for the idea!

  • Wow! Reminds me of a bar in Brooklyn. Love the way you did the hooks for planters and artwork, super well styled.

    Can you talk to us about the light fixture? Or is there a prior post about it?

    Thanks, as always, for the inspiration. 🙂

  • Looks lovely! I love the new wood and white theme. What did you do with all of your yellow chairs, Elsie?!


  • I think this is my favourite DIY to date. Josh (and the team) really knocked it out of the park with this one.
    Good on’ya, guys. It looks absolutely perfect x

  • This looks so inviting and full of warmth! I have such a tiny house at the moment I can hardly move about! this is surely going to help when we move to a bigger house! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  • It looks lovely!

    It’s also nice to see you wearing Australian Safety Shoes…..thongs……whilst drilling!
    You would pass for an Aussie if you lived here!

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