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Have you been seeing these accent walls everywhere you turn on Pinterest lately?! Me too. And I love them! Do you remember when everyone had accent walls painted a different color? I had my fair share. In fact, in my first house I think I had a different colored wall in every room in the house. Big, bright, bold colors. My style has definitely shifted to more of the muted walls. Now I use furniture and pillows to make my color statements.
I decided that the nursery NEEDED an accent wall. The problem was, what kind to do?? My first inclination was to do more of a geometric style, but I just kept coming back to a classic herringbone pattern. And I absolutely love how it turned out! Are you ready to make your own?
1 – 4×8 sheet of 1/2″ MDF
1″ brad nails
Caulk (specifically for trim)
Spackle and a sanding block
1 Gallon of paint
The first thing you’ll want to do is cut down the MDF sheet into strips. You can either have your local hardware store do this for you (if they allow it) or you can cut the strips yourself with a circular saw and guide or a table saw. I cut mine down to 3″ wide. If you really don’t want to cut down an MDF sheet you could buy primed MDF boards. All of my projects are budget projects, so I try to use the cheapest methods I can to get the best results. Buying primed MDF boards will likely be a lot more expensive, depending on your wall size so you can do the math and decide if the extra effort is worth it to you!
Now, actually, this was step 3 for me because I had to put a couple coats of primer on the wall first to cover a bright blue wall, but assuming your walls are fairly neutral, you should be able to go straight into framing the wall.
Start by nailing boards along the top and the bottom of the wall. Then add the sides. I measure before each cut, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned through all of my projects it’s that houses are never totally square. If I try to cut all of the long boards at once I’ll find that I somehow end up with a short board.
Next you’ll add the vertical boards. You can see in the photo above that I started with the middle board. You want the board right in the center, so measure the distance between the two walls and mark your center line. Then measure from your center line to one wall and mark the center. Do the same thing on the other side. Measure, cut and nail your boards in place. *Tip: Make sure each vertical board is plumb (perfectly vertical) before you nail it in place. And try to give yourself some room. I was far too cramped but I didn’t want to take the crib apart to get it out of the room.
This next part is where you get to see your design come to life! You’ll want to cut your boards at 30 degree angles. Now, if you’ve read some of my other posts, you may know that I prefer to mark measurements by setting the board up where I need it and marking it, rather than measuring, marking and cutting. If that’s confusing here’s a quick video to show you what I mean.
I’m sure it makes some woodworkers cringe that I measure and cut that way, but I’m all about doing what works for you! I also recommend cutting a spacer that will help you keep each of the herringbone pieces equally spaced. The spacer is just a board that has 30 degree cuts on both ends. The spacer can be cut to whatever length you prefer. My template spacer was 20″ long. For the look I was going for I felt that any closer and it would have made the wall too busy.
When you get to the bottom and the corners you may find that you end up needing to make 60 degree cuts to make it fit right.
To make cutting the 60 degree angle easier you can make a jig. Take one the the scrap ends of your MDF board and make sure one end is 30 degrees and the other end is a 90 degree angle. Adjust your blade to 30 degrees if it’s not already there. Then you can line up the 90 degree side of your jig along the miter saw fence. When you put your board against the jig you’ll cut a 60 degree angle. Pretty simple!
Once all your boards are nailed on it’s time to fill the holes and seams with spackle. I generally use Dry Dex. It goes on pink and then turns white when it’s dry. When the spackle is dry grab your sanding block and go to town!
You’re almost done! I put a coat of primer down to cover it well and then rolled on a coat of Valspare Pure White. Initially I tried Bejamin Moore’s Swiss Coffee, but it felt like it clashed a little against the Agreeable Gray walls I have on the adjacent walls. Pure White worked out perfectly with Agreeable Gray.
And there you have it!! A beautiful new accent wall! Unfortunately now I feel like I have to update the rest of the room. Like repainting the trim and doors white (oh why were all the doors, trim and walls painted the same color?!?). After I finished this project I got my new amazing paint sprayer and decided to throw a quick coat of paint on the crib. We planned to only have it for a couple more months before putting in a twin bed, but I couldn’t have a beautiful new wall covered up by an ugly chewed up crib!