Pinterest Project Chronicles: Practicalities of a pallet accent wall

By Rebecca Hermance
For the Journal

Earlier this summer, in preparation of an extended visit from my sister, I scoured Pinterest for some guest room inspiration. We wanted something unique, warm and fun for an accent wall in the room. The wide array of wood-clad walls, especially ones using reclaimed wood or recycled pallets, caught my attention.

After sifting through many images that were too dark and rustic for our personal taste and the style of our home, I came across an image that felt much more modern and industrial. The photo showed a wall in a studio office where pallet boards were layered horizontally.  Occasional swatches of color remaining from the old boards gave the wall an intriguing, bright look.

After finding exactly what I wanted, I was ready to make this project come to life.

As I began to search for wood pallets, I soon learned that they are neither easy to come by or inexpensive/free anymore! After pricing pallets and deciding how many it would take, along with the excessive time it would take to disassemble them all, my husband talked me into a ‘browsing’ trip at Home Depot. 

I was glad I hadn’t pulled the trigger on the wood pallets. We ended up finding a product called Tri-PLY, which is advertised as a Multipurpose Project Panel. Tri-PLY is a 3/16in thick panel with a very thin wood grain veneer.

Using our table saw, my husband and I carefully ripped the panels into 4 inch widths. Then, I took the more manageable pieces and cut them into shorter lengths. Following that somewhat tedious process, I hauled the newly fashioned ‘boards’ inside and began to nail them to the wall.  I chose brown paneling nails for a slight contrast on the boards and attempted to alternate board sizes and wood grain patterns for interest.

Pounding nails for several hours certainly counted as my workout for the week.

As you get to the edges of the wall you will have to cut your wood pieces to fit exactly. Here, the saw skills come in handy again! I held up each piece and marked it top and bottom with a pencil. Then I numbered the wood and the wall so I remembered where it went. I usually only took five or six at a time to cut so things wouldn’t get too crazy. I had to cut one or two of them twice, but I ended up being happy with the fit.

The random pattern of colors on the wall was a distinguishing feature in my inspiration photo.

I also wanted to add some color to our wall, so I used a combination of acrylic craft paint and some leftover wall paint. To create a somewhat ‘worn in’ look, I watered down the paint before loosely brushing it on. I sanded some areas where I thought it was too dark, and dry brushed others. I tried to stop before it got too crazy looking, since my goal was more “modern cozy” than “busy circus.”

Overall, we are very pleased with the results. The thin panels were easy to work with and the nails won’t leave huge holes when the wood is eventually removed.  I would recommend this product for a light-use room, such as a guest room or office.  It might not hold up well in a kid’s room.  One thing I didn’t like about the panels was a large sticker right on the front that was impossible to remove.  The stickered pieces worked for the edges because I just cut off the sticker. 

There you have it! We created an accent wall inspired by wood pallets, but tweaked to fit our style and budget.

Rebecca is a local interior designer, educator and all-around fun mom. Check out more of her projects at UniquelyYouInteriors.Com.

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