DIY Herringbone Feature Wall

There are few things more exciting than the moment you first step into your new home and imagine what the future holds. As you walk through each room, you see it as a blank canvas, full of promise and potential for what lies ahead. But for many, this promise goes unfulfilled. Whether it’s the time needed, the cost involved, or simply not knowing where to start, many homeowners find that their big ideas and projects never get off the ground.

But a home project doesn’t have to be a huge headache. And it can be a lot cheaper than you might think, if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves a bit. To help you get started, we talked to a couple who know a thing or two about DIY home projects: Holly and Brad Lauritzen, the couple behind the popular Our Faux Farmhouse Instagram account. Over the past few years, this husband and wife DIY team have been transforming their home in suburban Austin into the farmhouse of their dreams and doing it all on a budget. So we asked them for their tips for how families can tackle DIY projects on a budget, while they were working on a project of their own: a herringbone feature wall.

What to Know Before You DIY

  • SET YOUR GOALS

    Think about what you want out of your home, both short- and long-term. For Holly, her long-term goal is to have a feature wall in every room of her home. “Having something different in every room can help add a whole lot of character and warmth to each room,” she says. “Just having different decor really can’t do that alone.” 
     
  • START SMALL

    It’s natural to want to go big with a first project, but try dipping your toes into DIY before you jump in the ocean. Holly recommends that beginners start with a small (and cheap) project to get a taste for how it works and to build the base knowledge for larger projects like the feature wall. Her Instagram account features plans for a few such projects, like a succulent wall planter or an inexpensive limewashed fireplace makeover. 
  • MAKE AN IMPACT

    When Holly saw the dining room just off the entryway of the Meritage home, she knew that it was the ideal area for the project. “Brad and I picked it because it’s something that we knew could shine for everyone who comes in the house,” she explains. “It’s something you see every time you walk in the door, so we wanted to make something that blows you away from the moment you step inside.”

  • DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP

    As self-made DIYers, both Holly and Brad have turned to others for help making their various home improvement projects successful, and the herringbone feature wall was no different. Featuring dozens of wood boards cut to exact specifications, the wall required measuring and sawing that might seem intimidating, but many home improvement stores will cut the boards for you so that the pieces are ready to go when you are. It’s an easy way to take a lot of the prep work out of a project and get to the fun stuff: assembling your new project. 
  • FIND WAYS TO SAVE

    If you’re looking at starting a feature wall in your own home but are unsure about the cost involved, Holly recommends using medium-density fiberboard as an alternative to wood. You can also have the sheets pre-cut, like you can with the wood, to save you time and money—an important part of every project that Holly and Brad start on, and what made them such a natural partner for Meritage. “We loved that Meritage worked with us to help homeowners express their own style while keeping to a budget,” Holly says.

Herringbone Wall DIY Supplies

  • Safety equipment including goggles, protective earmuffs, and work gloves
  • Tape measure
  • Marking instruments including a chalk box and pencil
  • Power nailer
  • 1¼" 18-gauge nails
  • Miter saw
  • 45-degree level
  • Router (optional; see step 2 of the instructions)
  • 48" x 96" (4' x 8') sheets of ½"-thick medium-density fiberboard (MDF); see step 1 of the instructions to determine quantity
  • Paint, primer, painting tools and supplies
  • Step 1STEP 1

    Measure the width and height...

    of your wall to estimate how many boards you’ll need to cover it. For this project, you’ll use 6" x 48" boards. If your wall is 96" x 96", you’d need approximately sixteen 6" x 96" (8') sheets of MDF cut into 48" lengths.

    DIY Step 1
  • DIY Step 2STEP 2

    Cut the sheets of MDF...

    into 6" x 48" boards. (Make sure each piece is cut identically to make sure no gapping occurs as you hang each piece.)

    Pro tip: Routing the edges of your boards adds more depth and character to your wall. 

     

    DIY Step 2
  • DIY Step 3STEP 3

    Find the exact center...

    of the room’s wall, and snap a chalk line there. Snap two more chalk lines where the top corners of your first board will be. Use a 45-degree level to make sure your board is placed properly.

    DIY Step 3
  • DIY Step 4STEP 4

    Hang the boards with the nailer...

    starting at the center with full boards. Continue filling in the design with full pieces until you need to custom-cut boards to fit along the borders.

    DIY Step 4
  • DIY Step 5STEP 5

    Post a pic and get ready for the likes!

    DIY Step 5

Holly's Pro Tips

Feeling inspired to build a feature wall of your own? As you’re planning your project, keep these tips from Holly in mind to make it picture-perfect. 

1. Cut down on the sawing. Most places that sell lumber will cut the necessary MDF (medium-density fiberboard) to your dimensions to save you some work. For this project, ask for 6- by 48-inch planks.
2. Be precise. The cut planks must be exactly the same size to avoid having gaps in the pattern. The 48-inch pieces will fill out most of the wall, but you will need to custom cut smaller pieces yourself to fill in the smaller sections.
3. Add depth and character. You can use a router to round off the edges of the cut planks. This will create subtle grooves where the edges meet.
4. Save yourself a trip. Buy primer, paint, and painting supplies when you get the MDF for the project. MDF will need to be painted, so choose your color in advance.
5. Play perfectionist. The first plank you hang can make or break the pattern, so make sure it’s perfectly centered and angled exactly at 45 degrees. Our online instructions show how to do this with your new favorite tools: a chalk box and 45-degree level.
6. Impress your friends. Snap before, during, and after photos of the wall from the same angle. Post them online and get ready for the likes!

Now it’s your turn.

Ready to try this DIY in your own home? Download Holly and Brad’s step-by-step instructions below. Get the How-To
Now it's your turn

Meet the Lauritzens.

NAME Brad and Holly Lauritzen

LOCATION Austin, Texas

OCCUPATION DIYers

INSTAGRAM @ourfauxfarmhouse

KNOWN FOR Transforming their home into a faux farmhouse on a budget

FAVORITE PROJECT Upgrading their patio to create an entirely new outdoor living space
 
 

Meet the Luritzens