How to build a plank wall with shelving

If you have a house the size of a small planet and your closet has been featured on lifestyles of the rich and famous and you have an entire room in your home devoted to your shoes….

….this is not the post for you.


Definitely not.

Please come back tomorrow.

Because today’s post is all about making the most of every square inch of your room.  It’s about living large on a budget and how to create a wall that only takes 4” of space to add depth and architectural interest and first place in the wall hall of fame.

This wall could party with the best of them.

And here’s how we built it.

(trust me…’s so much easier than it looks).

How to Build a Plank Wall With Shelving

Here is the wall before we turned it into a plank wall

Here’s the wall before.

The wall is 12 feet wide by 8 feet tall.

We primed the wall before we started to reduce the navy blue paint showing through the cracks and we removed the small chair rail at the bottom of the picture and the crown molding.

Nail 1" x 8" boards to the wall

Step 1:  Nail the 1”x 8” boards

To make it easier (and because we are budget friendly)….we laid the boards in a brick pattern.  We started with a 1”x 8” board on each side and we staggered them down the wall.  This meant fewer cuts and it made the wall so much easier to build.

(best lumber buying tip EVER:  We found the 70% off clearance bin at the home improvement store that was full of 1”x 8”s.  They were a little knicked up….which was fine with us because we wanted character anyway.  The boards ended up being only about $2.75 after the discount.)


Who knew lumber went on clearance?

Don't stress about how the boards fit together, gaps are ok

Don’t stress about how the boards fit together.


Here’s an example of a few gaps in our wall.

No worries.

Gaps = character.

(and there’s always caulk) 

Repeat step one until the whole wall is covered

Step 2:  Repeat step one until the wall is completely covered

Continue on down the wall with the 1”x 8” boards until the wall is covered.  You will want to measure and cut the side pieces to fit.

Our wall had a small gap at the bottom, simply cut a board to fit and fill it in

There was also a small gap at the bottom that needed an extra board.  If this happens with your wall, simply cut one of the 1”x 8”s to fit the gap.

Here's a photo of the final wall

Here’s a picture of the finished wall.

I hugged it when it was done.

You could stop here.

I mean….seriously….total character from the clearance bin.  But if you are bold and brave and want to forge ahead….you will need some 1”x 4” boards to continue.

Next, frame it out with 1" x 4" board

Step 3:  Frame it out

Using 1”x 4” boards frame out the entire wall.

You can attach the frame to the ceiling and sides of the other walls then attach the bottom piece of the frame last.

The best part?

We bought the boards in 8 foot lengths so there was no need to cut the vertical pieces.

Then, add the shelving with 1" x 4" boards

Step 4:  Add the shelving

After the frame is finished, we attached three vertical boards to create the sides of the shelving.

Then we cut horizontal boards for the shelving and staggered them and attached them to the vertical boards.

(total aside:  use of the pronoun “we” is a little overstated.  This part of the “we” didn’t put up any boards….it was strictly a supervisory position.)

Here's the final wall before priming and painting

Here’s the finished wall before we primed and painted it.

And how the finished wall looks styled and complete

And here’s the same wall finished and styled.

We only caulked it just a little because we wanted the wall to look like it had always been there.

We left an open space where the door opened so it could be flush to the wall

Where the door swings open into the room, we didn’t add any shelving on the wall so the door would fit.

Then we attached hooks for beach bags and towels.

This plank wall with shelving is an amazing project that I would repeat again and again

I would create this project again and again and again.

After it was finished I would walk into the room and smile every time I saw it.  At first I would forget it was there because I was so used to looking at that navy wall.  It made the room feel fresh and full of character and added layers of depth to the wall.

And I wouldn’t trade it for anything…..

….not even a room for my shoes. 🙂

PS  To see the entire room before and after….click here.

PPS  To make the artwork on the walls….click here.

How to build a plank wall with shelving

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for BrocanteuseRose BrocanteuseRose

    Your so awesome!!! Seriously AWESOME! Also everybody knows that the supervisory position is the hardest. I mean if it wasn't for the supervisor saying "a little to the left, now up, no back, back, down a little bit OK hold it right there while I step back and look again". I mean think about how the project would go then. Chaos! hee hee

  2. Image for SuzyMcQ SuzyMcQ

    Is that really a $160 Cape Cod pillow? I loved it and tried to find it online...and almost fell off my tell.

    1. Image for Thistle Wood Thistle Wood

      Hey rock star! So awesome to see you at Haven. We used about 20 1" x 8" boards and about 10 1" x 4" boards. Hope this helps! karianne

  3. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    Ok, you had me at lumber on clearance, 70% off!! Love this project!! Is this not THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DAY EVER??!! Happy Wednesday!

  4. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Love this and sounds and looks like it would actually be fun to make! Especially if you have a cute carpenter taking directions:) Love the finished styled look!!!!

  5. Image for Vicki Vicki

    KA, Your blog is for us folks who appreciate.. --the first (and last) homegrown tomato of the season. Preferably, on white bread served with gobs of Dukes Mayo, thank you very much; --the wonder that comes every season a seed is planted and returns to us bearing fruit, vegetable, or vine. The anticipation and surprise just never gets old; --the feel of dirt between your toes, mud on your boots, and bare feet on fresh grown grass; --the glee of baking or cooking something for another only to step back and see the receiver truly enjoy what is before them; --the value of a shared meal peppered with laughter, love, and shared memories; --the quiet and tranquility of home (sweet home); --the blessing of friends and family; --grace and mercy undeserved. Thank you for recognizing--and reminding us--that hearth and home is our sacred space meant to be lived in, shared, and made our own. You are a ROCK STAR supreme! Vicki

  6. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    You do ROCK!! That is such a terrific idea -- one of the best and it turned out so well. I can certainly see what you'd smile every time you entered the run. How many happy dances did you do?? I think I pinned every picture. :-)

  7. Image for Cynthia @her lovely nest Cynthia @her lovely nest

    I have a serious crush on this entire room and was so excited to see the reveal a while back. Many thanks for this wonderful tutorial on the plank wall! I just finished a horizontal plank wall in our dining room [how funny I just posted it on my site yesterday!] and I'm scouting the house for more walls to plank. my trusty Ryobi nail gun sure is getting a workout lately :-) Have a gorgeous day!

  8. Image for Julia - Vintage with Laces Julia - Vintage with Laces

    Hi KariAnne, Normally, the red and blue would be a bit too much color for me but I totally love what you did with that room. The plank wall with the shelfs and all your chosen interior and decorations are fabulous. Great job!!!

  9. Image for Amber Amber

    This is a very detailed and image-heavy tutorial and I appreciate it greatly! My partner and I are going to try and build a plank wall for our patio and this post came at the perfect time!

  10. Image for Sheryll & Critters. Sheryll & Critters.

    It is so beautiful I could cry. I so want this wall. And the art work and everything. I love the way you framed it..... and how did you darling husband attach the framing and shelves? And how long were your 1 x 8 boards and also your 1 x 4 boards? You got a fabulous buy on them. I have been using the 1" x 4" x 14 feet, cheap yellow pine boards and so far so good, but they have a lot of blemishes in them. Oh no wall yet, just a head board and a screen door and such. I just love your new wall. .......... sigh..........

  11. Image for Beth Beth

    Yep, same question. How did you attach the wood planks to the wall? I don't see nails. Would love to do this in one of my son's room. Lovely tutorial and pics. Thanks

  12. Image for Tania // Run to Radiance Tania // Run to Radiance

    Whaaat?? They have a clearance lumber section??? Must find it! This is awesome! We did a wood plank wall in our I'm wishing we had shelves! Also, never underestimate the importance of that supervisory role! ;)

  13. Image for Jerry Stocks Jerry Stocks

    For lunch, we just had leftover shrimp and grits, fresh tomato sandwiches slathered with Dukes mayonnaise. and fresh peach cobbler. What could be more Southern then that after I spent the morning edging stepping stones in the front yard and my husband was priming the front porch for a fresh coat of gray. Love the team work and the rewards that come with it.

  14. Image for Jennifer Jennifer

    Love it! Doesn't seem too far fetched for me. Also love "this part of we" aka do you have a mouse in your pocket!!

  15. Image for Maureen Maureen

    Living in a house just about 500 square feet, I need to utilize every extra bit of space! Luckily I am married to the manager of a lumber yard ;) When I told him I wanted to do plywood plank wood floors he had little faith it would work out, but I proved him wrong. He loves me enough to give anything a try! Now I just have to decide which wall to do! He will be thrilled :)

  16. Image for

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  17. Image for April Hoff April Hoff

    $2.75?! Wha?? Girl, you are good. Pinning this project for my future beach home.... ;) It was lovely to meet you at Haven last week, I was thrilled to see that you are exactly as you seem on your blog...funny, cute, and friendly!

  18. Image for karen@somewhatquirky karen@somewhatquirky

    I've been waiting for you to post this - just to make sure I had it figured out correctly. I 'm going to do this in my bedroom. I love it so. Of course "going to do" typically translates into "two years from now it happens"...

  19. Image for Jennifer Jennifer

    Awesome idea!!! I have a tiny house and I am always looking for ways to expand on storage without taking up a lot of space. Thanks for sharing the post.

  20. Image for Kathleen Kathleen

    I'm a little late, but I love, love, love the plank wall, and am really excited that you gave us great step-by-steps of your "we" teamwork, with equally great pics to illustrate! And I did NOT know about the clearance wood either! (My home store guys will be so HAPPY to see me coming even more often to have wood cut now ~ oh, YAY!) Thanks for all the info ~ yet again! I also want to do plywood wide-plank floors, so I read the comment above from Maureen with much interest! I'd love to know if she used single boards, or large sheets/cutting grooves in them ...

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