How to Design an Accent Wall

Remember when wallpapered accent walls were all the rage, back in 2017? Yeah, it’s 2021, and that look is a getting a little tired. So what’s a wall drama-loving gal to do? Allow us to suggest board and batten. While variations run the gamut, it essentially entails nailing paint-grade plywood and lumber strips to a wall in a dimensional grid—then painting over to mask the seams to add depth, character and architectural gravitas to a room…on a teeny, tiny budget.

We teamed up with Ford to show you how to DIY with the 2021 Ford F-150. Thanks to the available Tailgate Work Surface and the available Pro Power Onboard, which allows you to charge up all your tools using the mobile generator, this truck is here to make this easy weekend DIY even easier. See the full instructions below. For even more inspiration, check out our full list of summer projects here.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

  • 1” x 3” x 10’ common board
  • (15) 1” x 3” x 8’ common board
  • ½ gal. interior latex paint of desired color and finish
  • 1 qt. ready patch joint compound to fill the seams
  • 1 roll of 3” painter’s tape
  • (250 pk) 1½” brad nails
  • Miter saw
  • Pencils (keep 'em sharp!)
  • Speed square
  • Angle finder
  • Level (with an angle gauge if possible)
  • Putty knife
  • Paint roller
  • Paint tray
  • Paintbrush
  • Compressor with hose
  • Nail gun

Step 2: Do Some Plotting

Find out the exact dimensions of the accent wall and plot out any and all obstacles, including outlets, switch plates, wall hooks, baseboard and crown molding.

Step 3: Design Wall Pattern

Lay out design with painter’s tape. Choose a tape with the same width as the wood trim you will be using. Use a straightedge and an angle finder. Once you find your design, trace the edges of tape with pencil.

Step 4: Cut the Trim Pieces

Trim will likely be 1” x 1” x (length). Draw on tape where intersections will be. Try to do it in a way that minimizes intersections. This will mean fewer cuts and fewer seams to fill. Cut the trim and lay over tape to see how the pieces fit if working flat. (Skip this step if working on the wall itself.) Pull tape. Pencil outlines will hold the pattern.

Step 5: Attach the Wood Trim

Use a brad nailer with compressed air to attach trim into place. Start on the outsides and work your way in. Attach larger pieces first.

Step 6: Fill Seams and Imperfections

Use joint compound to fill seams at intersections. Fill gaps between wood and wall if larger than 1/16.”

Step 7: Paint It Up!

Paint edges where trim meets wall first, then paint background and relief.

angela pares

VP, Design + Branded Content

Angela Pares is the VP of Design + Branded Content at Gallery Media Group, where she oversees the ideation and execution of sponsored content campaigns across PureWow, ONE37pm and...