DIY Modern Accent Wall with Moulding

Do you have a big empty boring wall in one of your spaces? Me too! I decided that what I wanted was a gorgeous modern feature wall. I started with a beautiful paint color, then added a moulding design built out of wood to make my vision happen. 

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Materials you will need for a dIY Modern Accent wall

Of course, DIY never goes perfectly smoothly, and before I could get started I had to do some problem-solving! The wood I chose for my design is ¾” thick, and the top of my baseboard is only ¼”. This means that where the wood meets the baseboard, there would be a huge gap if I didn’t do anything. So I had to figure out how to make them meet properly. I had three options:

  • Leave it as it is and live with the gap
  • Miter the edge of my board where it meets the baseboard so that it comes down at an angle, flush with the edge of the baseboard
  • Add a piece of trim in between the baseboard and the wood for the design, which would fill the gap and make sure the boards meet properly 

The third option is the winner! Adding a piece of trim to the baseboard to fill the gap. I used some quarter round trim for this. On the one side, it’s ¾” and on the other side it’s ½”. So, I put the ½” side against the wall, and then the ¾” side met up perfectly with the ¾” boards on the wall. The round part of the quarter round is what sits on top of the baseboard. This option was the least amount of work because it didn’t involve making extra cuts, and I also think it looks the best out of all three options.

I attached it to the wall with finishing nails and my nail gun, caulked the seam, and then moved on to the fun parts of this project! If you are wondering what you will need, you can find my painting must-haves and tool recommendations here.

Step by step instructions for a DIY Modern Accent wall

Choose a paint color 

Before I could get started I had to choose a paint color, and this is always difficult for me! There were so many beautiful choices. I put test patches of different colors in the middle of the wall and close together so I could compare them properly. In the end, I went with “Freshly Cut Stems” by Magnolia. I picked it because it was the lightest option. This is a BIG wall, and I wanted to make sure it made the space feel light and bright. 

Prep for paint 

Finally getting somewhere! I took the outlet cover off so I didn’t have to worry about going around it with the brush. Then I used painter’s tape to tape off the edges of my DIY feature wall that met the other walls in the room, as well as the ceiling. This is a tedious job, but at least I had a furry helper! My cat sat on the top of the ladder the entire time I was working my way across the room, and I had to lift her along with the ladder whenever I moved. Totally worth it for the company! I didn’t tape off the trim or baseboard, because I painted it the same color as the wall. But I did tape the floor off so I didn’t have to worry as much about cleanup. 

Paint! 

I started by painting the trim and baseboard combination with a brush, and cutting in all the edges along the sides and ceilings with the same brush. Then I used a roller to do the huge space in the middle! I used a pole extender for the top parts of the wall, this way I didn’t need to keep moving up and down a ladder. As I went along I got more and more excited about the color I chose. 

I did two coats and it looked amazing! I didn’t prime because the wall I was covering was painted white before, so I didn’t think I needed this extra step. If you are covering a darker colored wall, you will want to prime it first. 

Prep the Moulding for your Modern Accent Wall design

This is where you get to be creative. Design your wall however you want! I used poplar boards and decided on a pattern beforehand I chose to create a pattern that would fit the wall and only require straight or 45 degree angle cuts. There are so many ways you can do this, you just have to find a design you love and plan it out from there. I used Canva to draw up my design and test a few options before I decided on the final layout.

I got smart and realized the wall would be easier to finish if I pre-painted the ends of the boards where they would meet the wall edges and the ceiling, so I wouldn’t have to try and paint them in a small hard-to-reach area with a brush after they were installed. 

Install

Once the boards were all prepped and ready to go, I followed my plan and installed them on the wall using my nail gun

And of course, wood filler was next! I consider filling nail holes and gaps between the wall and boards to be part of the installation because it is absolutely necessary. My favorite wood filler goes on purple and dries a natural color, so you can see it while you’re working. Fill all the holes and seams, let them dry, and sand them down with some 220-grit sandpaper for a professional-looking finish, every single time. 

Caulk

After I installed all of my boards, I went through and caulked every single side of every single board. This step took the longest, and wasn’t the most fun, but it is necessary. The finish the caulk gives is totally worth the extra time. You can use Ryobi’s new battery powered caulk gun to make this step go way faster.

Paint again 

Once everything was installed and sanded down, it was time to paint the boards. I used a brush for this, and I painted the edges and the top of the boards together as I went along.

That’s it! I am so pleased with how this DIY accent wall turned out. This is a feature wall and an art display all in one! I don’t have to choose pictures to hang or wonder if the room “needs” something.  This modern accent wall with moulding has more than enough character all on its own, and it didn’t cost much more than some paint, boards, and my own time.  

Tag me @designingparkside with your modern accent wall creations, I would love to see them! 

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