DIY Modern Grid Accent Wall
Ais a budget-friendly way to add a modern style to any room. This step-by-step full tutorial will help you create the look in one afternoon. Try it on the wall behind your bed in the master bedroom, a guest bedroom, home office, or show it off in the living room. Paint it a dark moody color for a bold statement. The grid wall design is timeless. Your family and guests will love it!
Why an Accent Wall
Will a Wood Accent Wall Add Value to My Home?
Wood accent walls, are becoming increasingly popular in homes showcased in the parade of homes and are loved by many. However, their primary benefit isn’t always tied to a dollar value increase. These types of changes do however, add a valuable layer of aesthetic appeal that could be the deciding factor for many buyers!
The baseboards were kept in place for a more cohesive look with the rest of the room. Keeping the baseboards also made the process easier and faster to create this grid accent wall. I also chose a large wall with no windows and made sure that the squares were large enough that I wouldn’t have to cut around light switches or electric plugs!
Something else that saved time and materials on this project, was the lack of molding around the perimeter. Leaving the border off allowed for even spacing and more accurate squares all the way around.
As you can see from the picture below, the molding I used was slightly thicker than the baseboard and still sits nicely on top of the baseboard and doesn’t look bad in my opinion. . If that bothers you, you may opt to remove the baseboards for a smooth transition from the top to the bottom of your decorative accent wall.
The steps below outline the process. Because every wall is different and no wall is perfectly square, you may need to get creative with your design. Here’s a secret: the squares in this design are not perfect squares in terms of measurement. That is OK!
DIY Modern Accent Wall with a Grid Pattern (Tutorial)
This grid design, creates the illusion of perfect squares by placing the boards as close to square as possible. The squares on this dark green accent wall measure roughly 16″x18″, yet visually they all look square. Did I fool you?
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Step 1: Plan your design
Grid Wall Calculator
After I finished the project, I thought it would be cool to have a calculator do the work for me. So, I had one built for you! And for myself, because I’m pretty sure I’ll do this again in another room. Try it out and see what you think!
My to figure out the number of boards you need and also the spacing of the boards.
As you can see, this wall ended up with 4 squares for the height and 6 for the width. The calculator takes into account the width of the boards too and will give you the square dimensions to the closest 16th of an inch. It’ll also give you a cut list.
Now head over to Home Depot to get your MDF boards and make sure you get 10% more material than you need to account for possible errors.
Step 2: Cut the Vertical Boards
Remember to measure the height in multiple spots along the wall. This wall was not square, so the cuts varied slightly. If all of your cuts are the same, and you have a miter saw, you’ll save time by clamping the boards together and cutting them all at the same time.
Step 3: Attach Vertical Boards
Time to attach the boards for your DIY accent wall. Using a long level attach the boards using construction adhesive if you choose to and and brad nails. If you’re on the hunt for a beginner-friendly brad nailer and you dislike dealing with compressors (like me!), a battery-operated brad nail gun works great and is easy to use! If you’re 100% certain you want this wall to stay, you can use liquid nails to glue the boards. But, I know myself and I know that eventually I’ll change my mind so I only used brad nails. Update: The wall has now been up for 2 years with no issues!
As you attach the boards, it is super important to use a long level. Place it midway beside each board as you check for level. I made the mistake of placing my level a little too high and ended up having to remove and re-attach one of the boards because it was level at the top and crooked at the bottom. In hindsight, using a chalk line would’ve been a great way to get keep things level. So, do as I say and not as I do!
Step 4: Attach the Horizontal Pieces
Now it’s just a matter of cutting and attaching all of the horizontal pieces. It’s a good idea to do a dry fit or use painter’s tape to diagram the look and make sure your measurements are accurate before you attach the boards. I didn’t have any painter’s tape on hand so, if you look closely you will the horizontal boards below are taped on with scotch tape (a lot of it!). That helped ensure the spacing was correct. Again, clamp a few boards and cut them at the same time if your measurements are exact. Start with the first piece in any order and starts filling up that blank wall.
Step 4: Fill Gaps and Caulk
After your grid accent wall is built, it’s time for filling the nail holes and the in-between gaps with wood filler. A little bit goes a long way. You can always add more after it dries. Otherwise you’ll be sanding a lot.
After letting the filler dry for 24 hours, sanding with a 250 grit sanding sponge creates a smooth transition at each joint. After sanding, close your hand and rub your fingers on the seam. It should feel smooth. If you feel bumps, keep sanding.
Once the dust is vacuumed and you have a clean surface proceed with a few finishing touches before you paint. G
Go over the caulk with a wet sponge or wet finger for a smooth finish.
Step 5: Prime and Paint
The next step is to apply the first coat of paint to your gorgeous green accent wall (if green is your color!). I’m a huge fan of using a dark color. It makes a good accent wall that stands out, especially when surrounded by white walls! The paint color used here is Rosemary by Sherwin Williams in eggshell. I rolled the first coat with my favorite mini roller and it was so satisfying.
In hindsight though, I could’ve painted the entire wall green first. You can even use a paint sprayer if you have one and it might save you a lot of time!
The first coat will always look ugly. No worries! Let it dry for at least 2 hours, then add another coat.
Here it is after the second coat. Be sure to remove the tape before the paint is dry.
That’s it! The final result! Big style in a small space. Let me know what you think!