Easy DIY Wainscoting for a Dramatic Accent Wall

Article Posted By: Caitlin Ketcham

of Desert Domicile

Easy DIY Wainscoting for a Dramatic Accent Wall

This easy DIY wainscoting will guarantee a dramatic look for your living room or dining room. Caitlin Ketcham of the blog Desert Domicile came up with this staggered flat panel wainscoting project for our ongoing DIY Challenge series. We’ve asked several of our favorite DIY and design bloggers to come up with practical DIY projects starting with a single material– in this case, plywood.

We love the sophisticated look of this distinctive wainscoting, and we were impressed with just how easy it was for Caitlin to build it. And as you can see, the results are simply smashing.

Here’s Caitllin’s easy DIY wainscoting tutorial.

We used the following materials to complete our DIY wainscoting:

We used the following tools to complete our DIY wainscoting:


Step 1

We had the associates at The Home Depot cut our two pieces of birch plywood into 12-in. planks for us (8 total). Then, we ripped each 12-in. plank down into 6 inches (second image). Then, we ripped each 6-in. plank down into 3-in. planks, which was the final width of our battens (third image).

Plywood for a DIY wainscoting project

Plywood for a DIY wainscoting project

Plywood for a DIY wainscoting project


Step 2

We stood each of the 3-in. planks on their sides and sanded them smooth:

Sanding plywood for a DIY wainscoting project


Step 3

We cleared out our loft and started framing out our accent wall with the plywood planks. As you can see, the 8-ft. planks weren’t tall enough to reach the top of the frame (we have 9-foot ceilings on our second floor) so we had to cut topper pieces for each vertical batten. The planks also weren’t long enough to span the entire length of our wall so we had to butt two planks up next to each other at top and bottom.

Adding wainscoting planks to accent wall

Adding wainscoting planks to accent wall


Step 4

We measured our wall and did a little math before taping each vertical batten in place. I wanted to tape them in place before nailing them in so we could make any spacing adjustments if needed.

When the battens were good to go, we used our nail gun to fasten them to the wall.

Adding wainscoting planks to accent wall


Step 5

We cut a few of our remaining planks down to size for the horizontal pieces.

Planks for a DIY wainscoting project


Step 6

We added a bead of Liquid Nails to the back of each horizontal piece before nailing it in place.

We finished the rows with three horizontal planks first before moving onto the rows with four (the ones with the green tape).

Attaching planks in DIY wainscoting project

Attaching planks in DIY wainscoting project


Step 7

After each board was nailed in place, we filled all of our nail holes with wood filler and sanded everything down. We cleaned up our mess and wiped off our wall before caulking all of our gaps and getting everything ready for primer. We primed everything and let it dry overnight before painting the wall.

Attaching planks in DIY wainscoting project

Priming accent wall in DIY wainscoting project


Step 8

We applied two coats of navy paint 24 hours apart.

Painting accent wall in DIY wainscoting project

Easy DIY Wainscoting for a Dramatic Accent Wall


Step 9

We removed the painter’s tape and did a few minor touch ups before moving everything back into the room.

Easy DIY Wainscoting for a Dramatic Accent Wall

We’re so happy with the end result! We love the depth the wainscoting adds to the room. It’s the perfect background for our new DIY console table!

Easy DIY Wainscoting for a Dramatic Accent Wall

Easy DIY Wainscoting for a Dramatic Accent Wall

Our loft feels so sophisticated now :)

Easy DIY Wainscoting for a Dramatic Accent Wall

Easy DIY Wainscoting for a Dramatic Accent Wall

In case you’re wondering, here’s what our loft’s accent wall looked like before:

Dramatic accent wall

Here’s what it looks like now!

Easy DIY Wainscoting for a Dramatic Accent Wall Easy DIY Wainscoting for a Dramatic Accent Wall

I’m so happy I accepted Home Depot’s challenge. I never knew plywood could look so pretty! Thank you, Home Depot!

See more photos of Caitlin’s DIY taggered plywood wainscoting on her blog.

Caitlin Ketcham is a designer, a DIYer, and a styler. When Caitlin isn’t working her 9-to-5 job, she’s busy blogging about turning her semi-custom house into a home on Desert Domicile. She lives in Tucson with her boyfriend and their three dogs.

See other DIY Challenge articles here on The Home Depot Blog, and follow our Style Challenge pinboard on Pinterest for more DIY projects. Our Building Materials Department carries plywoodlumber, moulding and millwork, and just about anything else you need to make your home better.

Caitlin received a Home Depot gift card to complete her DIY wainscoting project. The ideas and opinions she expressed are her own.

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