Did anyone else move into their house with the naïve idea that it was perfectly fine as it was, apart from a few tweaks, and nothing particularly difficult needed doing? Yeah, us too. We thought we could move in, chuck a bit of paint up here and there, and that would be that. But, that was a long lost dream once we got down to the business of actually decorating.
First on the list was our entryway, which was a little too brown and boring for our liking. Like the rest of the house the walls were covered in that old faithful concealer-of-many-sins. Textured wallpaper. And once we started stripping this off the walls, we found that it had been put up for a good reason. Underneath, the walls looked like utter crap! The house had at some point had central heating fitted, and where the pipes and radiators had been installed the walls had been quickly and haphazardly patched. Not a good look. But, we thought we’d use this as an excuse to try our hand at creating a wooden plank wall in the hallway, something I’d had on the list but not decided where exactly to put.
So, off we skipped to our local Wickes, our second home by now, to pick up what we needed. I thought I’d share how we got on with you, what we used, and the final outcome!
If you’d like to try this project out yourselves, you will need the following:
- Pine cladding panels. The size of these will depend on the area you are covering and the look you’d like to create. We used softwood cladding, and I think the dimensions were 8 x 94 x 2400mm
- A decent claw hammer
- Cladding pins
- If your walls are as uneven as ours, a bucket load of ‘No More Nails’
- A wood saw
- To seal and finish the wall, I used a mixture of Rustoleum’s Chalky Furniture Paint in ‘Chalk White’, and their Clear Wax. I mixed these together 1:2, and buffed into the wood to create a weathered, bleached effect. But, how you choose to finish your wall is completely up to you!
- A stud finder. This will make it so much easier to find your wall studs, which is where you should hammer in your nails. Also handy is to make sure your stud finder can locate pipes and electrical cables, to avoid any potentially nasty mishaps.
The first thing you’ll need to do is measure the area you’d like to cover, in order to work out how much cladding you’ll need. The last thing you want to do is get half way through the project and realise you don’t have enough to finish it! Next you’ll need to put that trusty stud-finder to work, and mark out each stud lightly with a pen or pencil, so that you know where to hammer in your nails. Once you’ve established this, you can get to work on fitting your cladding.
When it came to fitting the cladding, we decided to go for a staggered horizontal orientation. We fitted the planks in rows, starting with a full plank, then a half plank, then a full plank, and so on. Due to our walls being so uneven, the first few planks that were just tacked in with nails soon popped out of the wall! So, we started again, using a fine layer of adhesive on the back of the planks to stop them popping out. We continued this pattern across the whole wall until completely covered, and left the adhesive to cure for a few days before starting the next step- weathering the wood!
Once fitted, the wall looked a little too yellow and really clashed with our neutral, pale green walls. So instead of just sealing it, I decided to use a mix of white chalk paint and clear wax to tone down the yellow tones and ‘weather’ the wood a little. This is a little trick I have also used on the top of our dining table with great success. The weathered and driftwood-esque effect it creates is just great! To make up the coloured wax, I just added 1 part white chalk paint to 2 parts clear furniture wax, and mixed them together thoroughly. You could always use a brighter coloured paint, and even combine with a coloured or dark wax to create your own custom wax. Perhaps have an experiment on a spare section of cladding and see what happens!
Once you’ve decided on the final mix for your coloured wax, take a nice sized blob on a lint-free cloth, and buff it gently into the cladding until it soaks into the grain. This part takes a lot of elbow grease, but the final outcome is worth it. Our cladding ended up looking as if it had been gently bleached by the sun. Much more suited to the pale green and white scheme of our entryway! After this, we just needed to give the wax mix a few days to harden before we could add the final touch- all of those photographs and sentimental items that we’d had boxed up for the last year or so. It felt good to put them in their rightful place, and I feel so homely when I walk through the door now.
Overall, this project was a little fiddly to begin with. But it turned out to be a great way of concealing the God-awful wall in the hall, and it’s a feature that our friends and family always comment on when they visit. It’s also very easy to wipe down when our muddy dog comes lolloping into the house covered in mud!
Now go and get experimenting with that old chalk paint, you know you want to.