DIY Reclaimed Wood Wall – Install Your Own Accent Wall Today

A DIY reclaimed wood wall with planks of various shades ranging from light brown, gray through to black and the occasional red. Downlights are in the ceiling, a wooden floor, and a black sofa against the wall. There is also an open door in the middle of the wall. Across the bottom are the words "DIY Reclaimed Wood Wall - Install Your Own Accent Wall Today." In the top right corner is a cartoon toolbox with the letters "DIY" on the side and a spanner and hammer poking out.

Image courtesy of reclaimed_wisconsin on eBay.

Have you been looking for an easy and beautiful way to give your space a unique touch of rustic charm?

A DIY reclaimed wood wall is a perfect way to add that “wow” factor to any room. An accent wall crafted from rustic, reclaimed wood can make an ordinary bedroom look extraordinary or give an outdated kitchen a more modern vibe.

Installing these popular and trend-setting walls is easier than you might think. You only need reclaimed wood, basic carpentry tools, and a touch of elbow grease!

Whether your home is full of light neutrals that could use livening up or plenty of vibrant colors, the texture and warmth of reclaimed wood can take any room from bland to brilliant in no time.

In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss how to install reclaimed wood walls. You don’t need to be a seasoned carpenter to complete this project.

From shopping for materials to applying finishes, I’ll walk you through all the necessary steps. Let’s get started!

The Pros and Cons of Reclaimed Wood Walls

A reclaimed wood wall with the planks held in position with nails and an icon in the bottom left saying "pros and cons" with a green tick and a red cross.
A DIY reclaimed wood wall is easy to install, but you must ensure you don’t expose yourself to dangerous chemicals and pests that could be present in the wood.

Before embarking on any home improvement project, we all want to know how it will enhance our homes and any drawbacks. The same applies to installing reclaimed wood for accent walls.

The best way to envision the impact of reclaimed wood walls on your home is through their pros and cons.


  • Sustainability: Reclaimed wood is an eco-friendly material as it reduces deforestation for new lumber. It also helps reduce the amount of waste wood that gets into landfills.
  • Aesthetic appeal: Reclaimed wood creates a unique, one-of-a-kind wall due to its color variations, texture, and grain pattern. The antique nature of reclaimed wood due to nail holes and knots can’t be replicated by virgin lumber.
  • Long-lasting: Reclaimed wood has a long maturity period that leads to the formation of tight grains resistant to wear and tear. Moreover, since the wood is already aged, it’s more durable than new lumber. Therefore, an accent wall with reclaimed wood won’t warp, shrink, or twist.
  • History and nostalgia: Using reclaimed wood planks for walls allows for a connection to history since it comes from old buildings and barns. This adds a sense of nostalgia and charm to the wall.
  • Potential for LEED points: An accent wall with reclaimed wood that’s Forest Stewardship Council-certified creates a path towards achieving LEED points.


  • Limited availability: There are only so many old wooden structures that can be salvaged for reclaimed wood. Therefore, finding enough salvaged lumber for your project can be challenging.
  • Inconsistent color: Due to the varying ages of the lumber used in making DIY reclaimed wood walls, they may have a patchy look with different shades of color even after finishing.
  • Expensive: Reclaimed wood is often more expensive than new lumber due to the time and effort required to salvage and prepare it. The cost can be further increased if the wood needs to be treated for pests and rot.
  • Inconsistency in size: Most reclaimed wood planks are inconsistent in size, making installation more challenging than with new lumber.
  • Quality control challenges: Unscrupulous reclaimed wood dealers may be dishonest about their wood quality. They might blend reclaimed and new wood and label everything as reclaimed. Therefore, you must inspect the wood before purchase. This requires you to have a keen eye for assessing the quality and suitability of the reclaimed wood.
  • Time-consuming: It takes more time to install an accent wall with reclaimed wood due to its size and color inconsistencies. Additionally, you might need more preparation effort, as the wood may require additional treatments such as sanding and staining.
  • Potential for hidden pests: You risk harboring bugs like termites, carpenter ants, and beetles in your house if the wood wasn’t kiln-dried.
  • Exposure to dangerous chemicals: When using reclaimed wood for walls, you might not know how it was preserved in its initial structure. Therefore, you risk exposure to toxic chemicals if the wood was stained with VOCs or lead-based paint.

Now that we’ve seen both sides of the coin, let’s move on to the installation process.

Step 1: Acquire the Necessary Tools

An assortment of tools is laid out on reclaimed wood planks. They include hammers, pliers, and a paintbrush.
You’ll need some basic tools before you start, but most of them will already be sitting in your shed if you’ve done much DIY before.

First, you want to have the necessary tools to hand to avoid the back-and-forth to the shed once you start the process.

You’ll need the following tools to install an accent wall with reclaimed wood:

  • Carpenter gloves: To protect your hands from adhesives and abrasions.
  • Safety goggles: To protect your eyes from debris.
  • Jig saw: To cut around tight spaces like outlets and security systems.
  • Caulking gun: To seal up cracks and gaps.
  • Roller and Paintbrush: To spread adhesives evenly across the wall and the reclaimed wood planks.
  • Stud finder: To locate studs on the wall.
  • Brad nailer: To secure the planks to the wall using Brad nails.
  • Miter saw: To cut the wood into desired lengths and widths.
  • Level: To ensure that the planks are installed correctly and evenly.
  • Tape measure: To measure the ideal wood sizes and wall sections for fitting.
  • Pencil: For marking out the measured length before cutting.
  • Stains and rags: Choose based on your preference for finishing the reclaimed wood pieces.

Step 2: Acquire the Materials

Once you have the tools, it’s time to decide the materials you’ll need and the quantity. Luckily, you only need reclaimed wood for this project.

If you’re not confident using the tools listed above, it’s recommended to go for the peel and stick reclaimed wood planks for walls. These planks have an adhesive backing that makes installation a breeze.

How to Determine the Number of Reclaimed Wood Pieces

As with any project, we all want to minimize wastage and save a few bucks. Similarly, you don’t want to buy fewer materials for the project only to discover that you need more later on.

Here is the procedure to calculate the accurate number of reclaimed wood planks you need for your accent wall:

  1. Measure your wall’s length and width using a tape measure.
  2. Get the wall’s area in square inches by multiplying the length by the width.
  3. Convert the wall’s area to square feet by dividing the value you obtained in step two by 144.
  4. Divide the wall’s area in square feet by the square footage of one piece of reclaimed wood (it depends on the size of the wood).

For instance, let’s assume your wall measures 40 by 40 inches (101.6 by 101.6 centimeters), and you want to use reclaimed wood planks measuring 1’x 6′:

Wall’s areas: {(40×40)/144} = 11.11 square feet.

Plank area: {(6×1)/144} = 0.042 square feet.

The number of reclaimed wood planks = Wall area in square feet ÷ Plank area in square feet.

The total number of planks = 11.11÷ 0.042 = 265 (add one plank for inconsistencies).

Therefore, you’ll need 266 1’x 6′ reclaimed wood planks for a square wall measuring 40 by 40 inches (101.6 by 101.6 cm).

Step 3: Preparation

A woman painting a wall light brown with a roller. She is wearing gloves and a light brown sweater.
You can paint the wall behind where the reclaimed wood planks will be installed to match the color of the wood in case of any gaps.

Ensure the wall is dust-free, clean, smooth, and structurally sound.

Since there will be gaps between the wood, you can paint the wall with a color similar to the reclaimed wood. However, if you’re okay with the gaps, you can leave the wall in its original color.

You can also paint and stain your reclaimed wood to your preferred color or leave them natural.

Put on your safety gear as we get into the nitty-gritty.

Step 4: Find and Mark the Studs on the Wall

Use the stud finder to locate the closest studs on your wall. Mark them lightly with a pencil for reference during installation.

You can use these studs in two ways:

  • Attach furring strips on them for easy installation of the woods.
  • Nail the pieces of reclaimed wood directly onto the studs to avoid damaging the wall.

Step 5: Create a Starting Point Reference Line

A worker drawing a horizontal line on a wall as a reference point.
Create a reference line at the desired height so you know where to start mounting the reclaimed wood planks.

Using a level, draw a straight line across the wall at your desired height. You can measure this distance using a tape measure and mark a few points down the wall with a pencil.

Connect these points to create the reference line so you know where to start placing your reclaimed wood pieces.

Step 6: Start Installing Reclaimed Wood Planks

You now need to know how to attach reclaimed wood to wall. Here’s how:

  1. Measure and cut the pieces of wood into different lengths to add interest and create a reclaimed appearance. Ensure the pieces are of different lengths.
  2. If you’re using the peel and stick reclaimed wood with adhesive backing for walls, remove the plastic backing to reveal the adhesive beneath and stick the pieces on the wall (on top of the studs).
  3. For nail installation, use a brad nailer to fit them onto the studs.
  4. Try to vary the color of the planks–don’t have two adjacent planks of the same color.
  5. Use a Sharpie to color the gaps between successive planks for a uniform look.
  6. Repeat this procedure until you reach the edge of the wall. Staggering the reclaimed wood planks at least 8 inches (20.32 cm) apart from row to row will help create a rustic look.

Expert Advice: You want to minimize wastage as much as possible. Therefore, preserve any cut piece when finishing a row. You can use that piece to start the next row or fill gaps later.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

Use your preferred measurements to add a trim around the reclaimed wood accent wall for extra sophistication.

For a smooth touch, use a caulking gun to seal the edges of the trim.

You can seal and protect your walls using an oil-based polyurethane for a glossy, durable finish.

Remember, regular maintenance is necessary to keep your reclaimed wood walls looking beautiful. Dust the wall with a damp cloth regularly and avoid using chemical-based cleaning products to preserve the natural beauty.

And finally, clean all your tools before finishing the project.

Here is a video to guide you through the process:

A screenshot of a YouTube video featuring a man placing a reclaimed wood plank on a wall.
Image courtesy of Living it Country on YouTube.

Final Thoughts

Now you have the know-how to install a stunning, rustic reclaimed wood accent wall. Trust me; it’s worth the sweat and tears to bring your home décor dreams to reality.

You can mix and match different colors or go for one solid color — it’s all up to you!

Happy DIYing!

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