Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Master Bedroom DIY Paneled Wall - Part One

While I don't claim to be a Canadian home reno guru like Bryan Baeumler (swoon!), Scott McGillivray or Jillian Harris by any means, I do love smaller projects that Brad and I can do ourselves to make our house look nice and give it a homey feel. Not only does doing it yourselves save money but it feels great to look at something and say 'WE did that!"

Recently we decided to renovate our master bedroom.  We've lived in this house for eight years and we'll be married 20 years this June and yet we've never had a luxurious, calming master bedroom - a beautiful space of refuge from the craziness of life. 

This reno started with our need to upgrade our bedroom furniture (complete with a King-size bed!).  For the past 19 years, we had had a simple pine set which was okay (and, at the time, cheap) but definitely not our style now. Knowing we were going to have nice, new furniture we decided to add a focal wall to our Master and a coat of paint too.

I have wanted to do some sort of paneled wall in our house for a long time.  Originally, I thought we'd do one in our living/dining room but Brad wasn't on board.  So, in the name of marital accord (I just wanted to do a paneled wall somewhere!) we opted to do our master bedroom.  I scoured Pinterest and various sites for inspiration and a little help figuring out how to go about making a paneled wall.  I found beautiful DIY examples at Chris Loves Julia with their Dark DIY'd Wainscotting as well as the DIY Paneled Wall in the Master bedroom by Jenna Sue Design.  These are some very talented people and they inspired us.

We started off with a very plain Master bedroom.  

Embarrassingly, this is where the magic happened for eight years. Normally our bed is on the wall behind the ladder but I didn't remember to get a Before picture of our bedroom layout before we moved everything around.  In this picture, we had started marking off the wall studs with our stud finder and laser level.  

You get the general idea - it was a lackluster space.  The wall colour was slightly darker than 'Builder's Beige' (I thought I was being so cool going darker - um, no) and we had a mishmash of furniture that was more functional than stylish.  It was blaw and not a place I looked forward to hanging out in nor was it romantic in any way, shape or form.  The paneled wall was planned for the long 18-foot wall (behind the ladder in the picture above) with our new bed in front of it.

With Mastercard magic, planning, design and sweat equity we now have a bedroom to be proud of.  After recently showing our good friends Brian and Allison our new and improved bedroom I got the reaction I was hoping for as Allison exclaimed that she loved it. I knew I liked that gal and have awarded her Awesome Friend Points.

Let's get started ...

Step One - Plan it out
You must have a plan before starting this project. We measured our wall (18' long x 8' high) and then had to decide how we wanted to do our grid.  There are lots of options - did we want it all equally sized squares?  Did we want larger areas in the middle (see picture below)?  
Picture from:
With the design in the above picture you have a bigger gap in the middle.  I love this design but our bedroom set is huge and a lot of the wall would be covered by furniture. We wanted to have as much of the paneling pattern show as possible so we went with a more uniform design with equal sized squares.  With the help of Brad's mad Autocad skills he figured out what size of squares we needed for the size of our wall which came out to three rows and nine columns of larger squares. You don't have to have Autocad to plan it out. You can figure it out with pencil and paper or consult sites like Wall Panel Sizing Calculator to do the work for you.

This is what we came up with ...

Luckily, our three electrical outlets fit nicely within the squares. As it turns out, the two end columns each ended up being 1/2-inch wider.  Adding that little bit to each end enabled us to have simpler dimensions for the other squares (with no wonky measurements like 5.5/16" - ain't nobody got patience for that!).  And since it's such a minor dimension (and on the ends) you don't notice it.  

We knew we were using 4-inch planks so the next step, figuring how many boards we'd need, was easy to calculate.  And by easy, I mean Brad and Autocad figured it out.

Step Two - A Trip to Depot
Based on our calculations we knew we needed two sheets of MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard).  This stuff is strong, cheap ($25CDN for each sheet) and our friendly peeps at The Home Depot cut it into our 4-inch strips for free.  

After stocking up on more brad nails for our pneumatic nail gun and some adhesive for paneling and drywall .. we headed for home.

Step Three - What You'll Need
Stud finder
MDF boards - we used two 4'x8' sheets cut into 4-inch wide strips
sliding compound mitre saw
brad nails
brad nail gun (pneumatic if you got it!)
adhesive for paneling and drywall
laser level (or traditional level)

Step Four - Puttin' Up the Planks
The first thing you'll do is mark off the studs in your wall so a stud finder is essential. Once we found the stud we set the laser level on it which made it easy to mark the stud down the length of the wall with pencil.  Knowing where your studs are is important since you want to hit as many of them as you can to ensure that your boards stay on your wall. 

Next, you'll want to put up the top and bottom planks on your wall but you need to ensure that they are level.  Your baseboards and/or ceilings probably aren't may not be level but your MDF boards need to be.  A laser level works well to ensure your boards are straight and in line with each other.  If you get one board slightly off it will affect the others so you'll need to verify, as you go, that the planks you're putting up are straight. You can see the red lines of our laser level in the Before picture at the beginning of this post.

The bottom row of MDF sat right on top of our original baseboards and is only very slightly deeper than the baseboards. We weren't eager to pull of the original baseboards and I'm glad that we didn't. We ran a 'wiggle' of the adhesive down the face of the first 8' piece of plank ...

Always the helper!  Good job adding the adhesive, Brad!
... then we placed the plank on the wall and used a laser level to ensure that the first row was straight. The adhesive gives you extra bonding to the wall and allows you about 30 minutes before it fully dries to wiggle it into place along the laser line.  This board ... must ... be ... straight or it will throw things off later on.  

Once we had the plank in place we used a pneumatic air nail gun to secure brad nails at the top and bottom - about five inches apart along the plank.  We did the same process for the next full board and then had to cut a 2-foot board to finish off that lower row. 

Things were going great!  And then we went to do the top row. Our bedroom has a partial vaulted ceiling but what we didn't realize is the wall/ceiling in the vaulted area wasn't straight. 

You have got to be kidding me! 

We opted to keep the planks for this upper row straight (according to the laser level/rest of the room and not the wonky wall/ceiling).  This decision gave us a gap that started off with a 3/8-inch gap at the beginning of the vaulted area and ended up with a over an inch gap in the corner!  

What fresh hell is this?!?

Brad to the rescue!  He measured the height of the 'wedge' between the top plank and the ceiling at various points and cut pieces to fit like one long, boring puzzle. Do I love this man or what?! 

After patching and painting the seams (which I'll show you in the follow-up post) I dare you to notice that the top row of planking is taller in the corner.  It is seamless and I do so lurrrve my man!

After the top and bottom planks were adhered to the wall we measured where our two central vertical planks would be.  We measured, cut and adhered the two planks ...

then added the smaller horizontal planks which we measured and cut separately to ensure a snug fit (and used the laser level to make sure they were straight). 

Our room had horrible lighting hence the headlight.
We continued along the left-side of the wall and then the right - using the laser level to ensure that the horizontal planks were all in line with each other for a nice smooth look. We started in the middle to make sure that if there were any issues with our measurements the outer two columns, which you're less likely to focus on, would take the brunt of any measuring miscalculations. In the end the outer columns are an extra 1/2-inch wider but it's unnoticeable. 

This is where we were at after a week of evenings working on this wall.

It was a lot of work (mainly because we are so Type A and insist on everything being straight) but we couldn't be happier.  It's exactly how I pictured it and even with some blips along the way (stupid uneven ceiling) we made it work and we love it!

Watch for my upcoming post about finishing up this paneled wall including the paint we used and pictures of the finished product with our new furniture.  We could not be happier with the result.

Link to the big Master Bedroom Reveal


Kym said...

It looks amazing!
I feel a show on HGTV coming for you 2. There are so many reno couple shows, it is a perfect time for yours!!

Janine K said...

Well done guys - nothing wrong with being type A - at least you will get it right 😀

Awenydd said...

Looking fabulous! Agree on Bryan B. too;)

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Thanks everyone!
Kym - My own HGTV show? That would be a blast. My inner introvert cringes but my creative 'want my house done' side would love it.

Janine - we used our strengths (organization and pickiness) to get 'er done. :)

Awenydd - Thanks! Bryan B is one of my favs. Whenever something is taking longer than I had expected with a reno (which is most of the time) I always say 'Well, Bryan always seems to get it done in a one hour show. Let's get a move on!' ;) It's amazing at the number of Canadian home reno stars there are now. The Property Brothers, Love it or List It (I like the Vancouver version more), Bryan B, Mike Holmes ... When it gets cold Canadian's renovate. :)

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