Breakfast Nook Planked Wall Tutorial
You know those spaces in your home that you just don’t like? No matter what, it doesn’t seem to fit. Something just seems off. Or just plain ugly in this case. That’s how I felt about our breakfast nook from the first day we moved in. I never liked it and it always bothered me. We’d been in the house about 3 months when I finally figured out the problem. This space needed shiplap! Yes, lovely shiplap. Or planked walls, if you do it the cheap way like I did. It was fairly simple to do and the results were definitely worth the work. And today I’m excited to share exactly how I did it–and yes, I did it myself. Actually, this was my first time using a saw. Ever. In my life. And I lived to tell about it.
- circular saw to cut the boards to length
- jigsaw to cut around outlets or other edges
- nail gun
- two nickels (to evenly separate your planks as you go)
- liquid nails to secure boards to the wall (although I didn’t use this)
- stud finder (you’ll want to know exactly where to shoot the nails if you’re lazy and don’t use liquid nails like me!)
- DryDex Spackling
- coffee (if you’re into that kind of thing)
Here’s a few shots of the before:
Not pretty. We all agree.
I used 4×8 underlayment sheets from Lowe’s. If you ask nicely some jolly little fellow will come cut it into 6″ planks. I highly recommend doing this, it will make your life much easier. And it helps if you have an assistant.
The concept is pretty simple: nail the boards to the wall. Easy, I told you. I started at the top of the wall in order to make sure everything was level and even as I worked my way down–plus I wanted a full plank on the top. You could also start from the bottom up, either works. (Side note: I’m not sure why my top plank is missing here. I can’t remember what happened, but it will reappear soon.)
It went pretty fast working down and around the window. Make sure to use two nickels to separate your boards so all the planks are nice and evenly spaced.
Some people use liquid nails to help secure the planks to the walls. But I’m lazy. So instead I used a stud finder to find the studs in the walls, drew a line down the wall, and then used that to guide me as I nailed the planks on the wall.
I used spackle to fill all the nails holes. Make sure you also sand them down after it dries!
Also be sure to add some corner trim just to polish it off a bit and cover any uneven edges. This gives it a more finished look.
I primed the planks with Zinsser white primer.
Here it is all primed and ready for paint:
I used Behr Ultra Paint & Primer in Pure White to paint the planks. I went for the eggshell finish because I didn’t want to be shiny at all. Here’s the finished look, minus a few pieces of pesky trim:
I love how it brightened up this space and added the perfect farmhouse charm! And honestly, I’m pretty shocked I was able to pull this one off by myself. And if I can do it, so can YOU. So go get yourself some planks and get to work. Let me know what you think in the comments below, I’d love to chat!
That is amazing n I love the farm house look!
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Thanks for the insight, I think we can tackle this????
Little Vintage Nest> Terri
Awesome, good luck!
Kelly> Little Vintage Nest
Love this. Just one question though- what are you putting between the pallets? Grout or paint? I’m confused on what to use to fill in the gaps between the boards. If you just painted the boards on the wall, how did you avoid getting it on the original wall. Does that make sense? Thanks for the help.
Hi Kelly, I first painted the wall a lighter color so you can’t see it through spaces between the boards, then you want to leave the gaps as they are. It’s fine to paint directly over them, the paint doesn’t really go in between and if it does it isn’t a big deal. Hope that helps!
This is exactly the post I needed to find! A friend of mine is dying to put up her own ‘shiplap’ and this alternative is just right. Thanks so much for sharing it with us Sarah 🙂
Awesome, I’m happy this will work for her. And thanks for sharing!
Thanks a lot for sharing this with all of us you actually know what you are talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also visit my website =). We could have a link exchange contract between us!
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Love this! Are the corners of your walls curved? I’ve been wanting to do this in our ours but we have curved corners and wasn’t sure how it would work.
We don’t have curved corners, but I think it would still work. Maybe just don’t go all the way to the end of the wall with the plank and use a piece of quarter round trim to cap it off on the end right before the curve. Good luck!
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First of all can I just say how much I LOVE the look of your planked walls! Although now you’ve got me revved up to create something similar myself. The only problem is that I live in the UK, and don’t really understand what sort of product you are referring to when you say ‘underlayment’, is it plywood timber, mdf??? Thanks so much for the inspiration, and I’m DEFINITELY going to try this project.
Judi in the UK
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Deborah A Kaker
We own a manufactured home. I love it, but the walls are all a smooth shiney paneling with ugly pieces running down between the panels. Your kitchen wall idea has given me some ideas as to what I can do to make the house look more country and not as “put together”.
I absolutely ❤️ the planked walls! What a difference. I would really like to try this on a livingroom wall in my little farmhouse. Your ideas are amazing and I ❤️ Your decorating style!
Thank you so much Annette! Give it a try, it’s actually very simple and goes quickly once you get the hang of it. And the difference it makes is well worth the effort!
Is there a trick to painting the planks? How did you paint without paint filling in the nickel gap between the planks?
Hi Ann! For the most part the paint didn’t go in between the planks, but when it did I just ran a toothpick in between and it wiped it out before it dried! Easy peasy.
How many 4*8 sheets did you end up needing? Love the look, came out great!
Hi Courtney! I think I needed 4 sheets for this wall.
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Just discovering this blog, and I LOVE your ‘voice’! You have a gift for teaching, and I love the way you write! I sooo want to do this to a couple accent walls in our home…I just want to make sure about the ‘staying power’ of planked walls…I do staging consultation for realtors, and I am always weighing projects to our home against ‘trends’. We don’t plan to stay here longer than 8 years, tops, but I think if I don’t use the glue, it would be easier to fix up if it did seem too passé by then! Thanks for making this look easy!!
Wow, thank you so much Lisa! I really appreciate that and I’m so happy to hear you are enjoying my blog. And I think you’d be ok to do this without glue, as long as you’re putting the nails in studs when putting the boards on the wall. It could easily come down any time!
What is your 4×8 underlayment? These are not 1×6 boards? Is it like a sheet of thin paneling that you cut to 6″ “boards”?
Did you sand the underlayment boards or just used them as is?
Love your blog!!
I sanded the some of the edges a bit because they can get rough. But other than that I didn’t need to sand anything!
I sanded down the edges that were a little rough, but that’s it!
Love this thinking about trying in my tiny living room do u think it would be ok if I done the whole room right now it is paneling and dark thinking this would lighten it up also struggling with where to start my transition to farmhouse style love your blogs
Yes this would definitely brighten that room up and make it feel bigger too! Give it a shot, I bet you’ll love it Melissa! And here’s a good post I shared a while back about 3 ways to get started with farmhouse style: https://sarahjoyblog.com/3-quick-tips-get-started-farmhouse-style/
I plan to do some of this in our new home we’re moving into at the end of the month. I “cottage-farmhoused” up my Denver area townhome and it drew oohs and aahhs during our showings. YAY! Now, Lexington KY is on the horizon with a lovely, albeit tract home that is a brick traditional. With the shiplap, I plan to look decrepit and flirt (depending upon age of the Lowe’s personnel) to get those planks run thru their saws for the rip down. I am also curious – in reading many Pinterest DIY boards, it seems that some people really have trouble painting shiplap without getting paint in between the laps and losing some of the effect. I think I will play with painting them first – not the full coat, but get those puppies pretty well ‘done’ and then do touch up and a light brush strokes when installed. I am hoping that will give the ‘faux lap” more authenticity and age. I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether or not this could work?? THANKS
Sarah> Beth Hollis
I think that could definitely work Beth! And I love your strategy to flirt with the Lowe’s employee to get the boards cut. Ha! I have to do that with my husband to get him to do some of my projects around the house. Sometimes a little sweet talkin’ is all it takes to get it done. 🙂 Good luck with your new home in Kentucky!
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Just wanted to say that your blog is like a breath of fresh air. You offer inspiration, and I enjoy every posts. I do have a question for you. When styling your breakfast nook, do you try to balance each sid? We recently planned a wall in our kitchen, and there is a window in the middle. I’m just not sure what to do! Sometimes I just want to leave it because it makes me smile! My hubby did a fabulous job! However, there are other times when I just want to style! Also, how do you hang things?!! Thanks!
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What kind of boards did u use..Original ship lap is tongue and groove but you put nickels in between?
Where did you purchase the boards?
I discussed that in the post–it’s underlayment, which works as an affordable alternative to real ship lap.
I would love to do this in my living room around my French doors. I’m going to make the Leap and redo my living room farmhouse style. Inspired by seven pet chickens whom I’ve come to love over the last six months. I’m looking up the underlayment boards now but it looks like they come in all different materials, do you know which one you used? There’s cork (which doesn’t sound right), particleboard, plywood and a bunch of others. Which one do you suggest?
I love your planked walls in the breakfast area!
I absolutely love what you’ve done with your home! ❤️ I am struggling with decorating my house and I’m thinking it’s the ship lap that I need. I’d love any advice you could offer.
I absolutely love what you’ve done with your home! ❤️ The ship lap steals the show! What thickness of underlay did you use?
Hi! Thank you so much for the tutorial! Your place looks great, and it makes the shiplap seem a bit less scary. I was hoping to get a little clarification on the nickel spacing. I feel silly asking as it seems like everyone else gets it! Are you making the spacing two nickels thick, your spacing didn’t look that wide from the pictures, or are you making them one nickel thick and using one nickel at each end of the board when placing it? Probably should be obvious, but I don’t want to mess up spacing with a wrong assumption! Thank you so much!!
You did a.wonderful.job a great difference well done you