DIY Slat Wall Tutorial [Easy Modern Accent Wall Idea]

DIY Slat Wall // Vertical Wood Living Room Accent Wall // www.TantrumsandTools.com

How to Make a DIY Slat Wall

If you want to add a modern touch to your new house, a DIY slat wall is a great way to do it. You can create a stylish feature wall that adds texture and depth to any room using vertical wooden slats.

Plus, since you’re doing it yourself, you can customize the size and spacing of the slats to achieve the exact look you want. So grab your tools and get ready to transform your space with a DIY slat wall!


Just a friendly reminder: This tutorial and any opinions or recommendations are genuinely mine, but this is not a substitute for consulting a professional. I also use affiliate links to earn a commission.


Steps to Make a DIY Slat Wall

Step 1: Gather Supplies

The first thing is to gather all the tools and supplies you’ll need to complete this project. Luckily, this diy slat wall doesn’t need many of either!

I compiled a list of the must-have and nice-to-have tools for this project. Keep reading, and you’ll find this list towards the end of this blog post.

Step 2: Cut Wood Slats to Size

Depending on which type of wood you decide to use, there are one to three cuts you’ll need to make.

First, if you’re doing the affordable thing and ripping plywood, cut your individual slats into your desired width from the sheet of wood. 

While cutting your wood slats to size, be as precise as possible to keep straight lines. A few inexpensive tool options are available to help you keep your lines perfectly straight. I’d invest in one of these to save yourself a lot of headaches.

The next cut you’ll make is the height. Unless you know your wall is perfectly level, my best advice is to measure each board height to ensure a perfect fit. You’d be surprised how slightly off your wall may be!

Lastly, you’ll need to address the portion of the wood slat that rests on top of the baseboards. If your baseboards are flat and wide and your vertical slats do not overhang them, then there is nothing else for you to do. 

But, if your base board is curved at the top and the slat hangs over them, you’ll need to cut a slight angle at the bottom where these two come together. Doing so will prevent that awkward overhang and make your slat wall look more professional!

Step 3: Sand Vertical Slats

Now that you’ve made all your cuts, you need to sand all the edges. It’s up to you to hand sand or use an orbital sander. I’d use the power sander if I had a lot of sanding to do.

But be careful not to over-sand because this can quickly change the look and shape of your wood. All you need is to make a smooth finish. Once done, wipe all the dust away with a damp cloth.

Step 4: Paint, Stain or Seal Wooden Slats

DIY Slat Wall // Wood Slat Wall // www.TantrumsandTools.com

You can leave the natural wood as is, stain the wood slats, or paint them to match your decor. If leaving the wood natural, you can seal each piece or leave them as is.

Personally, I’m not too fond of the look of poly because it changes the wood tones, and I don’t think it’s necessary unless your slat wall is near water.

If you go the staining or painting route, I suggest doing the sides of the slats before hanging them on the wall. I’d use a four-inch foam roller to get even and complete coverage. This approach will save you a ton of time. 

Step 5: Attach Vertical Boards to the Wall

Once you have all your slats ready, attach them to the wall using your nail gun. The trick to this step is using a level and scrap piece of wood to guide your spacing.

You’ll want to start at the corner of the wall and work your way across the wall. Your first board must be perfectly positioned. Take your time and use your level to ensure it’s perfectly straight.

Then, do the same with the next slat. As you work across the whole wall, a precise measurement of the distance between each slat is the key to finishing up with a slat wall that doesn’t look crooked. 

One thing you may run into is light switches or an electrical outlet. You’ll have to carefully measure and cut a section from the slat if it happens to cover one of these.

To Glue or Not to Glue

You may wonder about gluing your boards to the wall with a construction adhesive like Liquid Nails. In my experience, this is overkill. And using this makes any chance of saving your wall an absolute no if you ever decide to remove the slats.

Step 6: Fill Nail Holes on Wood Slats

You’ll need to fill all the nail holes with wood filler for a polished and professional look. Use only a tiny amount to hide each hole, or you’ll sand until the cows come home. Once your filler is dry, gently hand-sand each, so it is perfectly smooth.

If you are staining your slats, skip this step because the filler will stain differently than the board. Staining over wood filler will make your slat wall look spotted.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

The last step is reattaching any trim and moving your furniture back into place. Now you can enjoy your beautiful accent wall with all its added depth and character to the space.

DIY Slat Wall Video Tutorial:

YouTube video

Type of Wood to Build a Slat Wall

You can use several different types of wood to create a diy wood slat wall. And there are pros and cons to the various options. So, before you can get started, you’ll need to decide which type of wood you’ll use.

The good news is all of these options are available at Home Depot, Lowes, or any other preferred lumber yard.

Here are the top three choices and some things you should know about each:

Plywood DIY Slat Wall

There are many types of wood used to make sheets of plywood. Birch plywood, maple, or white oak are beautiful choices, especially if you plan to stain or leave your wood slat accent wall natural wood. That’s because these types of wood have a more attractive wood grain. 

Using plywood and cutting the sheet into your desired width will be the most affordable option. But it’s also going to be the most labor and time intensive.

Plywood is also a good choice because it is customizable since you can cut the slats at any width your heart desires! 

So, if you’re going for wide slats or thin slats, plywood gives you the option to achieve the exact look you want.

Pine Boards Slat Wall

The most commonly used are 2×2 pine boards, which are a fine option if you opt for a painted wall. Using pre-cut lumber like this may cost you a little more, but it’s definitely a time saver since you won’t have to make as many cuts and far less sanding is involved.

MDF Boards

MDF or composite wood is another budget-friendly option. The benefit of using this type of “wood” is it’s lightweight and thin. The downfall is you absolutely have to paint this, and it’s a pain to do so since it soaks up so much paint.

I’ve used MDF boards only once and probably won’t ever again for this reason. The juice wasn’t worth the squeeze.

How Much Does a Slat Wall Cost

The cost to complete a diy slat wall varies based on the size of the wall and the type of wood you select. A small space could cost under one hundred dollars, and a more oversized accent wall cost several hundred.

The average price range for this project is $75-200

Selecting a more high-end or hardwood is an extra cost that would significantly increase the total cost. Also, another additional cost is any tools you had to buy to complete the project. But odds are, you love diy and already own all the tools.

DIY Vertical Slat Wall Design Ideas and Inspiration

Looking to add some visual interest to a plain white wall? Consider creating a wood wall accent wall! You can choose from a variety of slat sizes, from wide to thin, and even mix and match for a unique look.

Vertical wood slat walls can incorporate bold colors for a pop of personality. Vertical wood slats are a popular choice, and the slat wall can be the perfect place to display artwork or other decor. With a little creativity, a DIY slat wall can transform any space.

Livingroom Slat Wall

DIY Slat Headboard

DIY Slat Wall Office

Outdoor Wood Slat Wall

Dining Room Slat Wall

The Only Supplies You’ll Need to DIY a Wood Accent Slat Wall

The key to a smooth diy project is selecting the right tools and supplies. The good news is that you’ll only need a few power tools for this one.

Here I’ve listed what you absolutely need, plus a few nice-to-have tools that are not required but would be helpful to have on hand if you already owned these.

Optional tools:


The finished product of this diy project is a blank wall transformed into something with depth and character without much time or money. A DIY slat wall is a perfect way to unleash your creativity. 

I was hoping you could share with me in the comments where you plan to add a modern slat wall to your home!


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