A look at the shutter wall in our guest bedroom

A long time ago in a land far away we created this wall in the upstairs guest bedroom tucked under the eves of the attic.

It is still one of the projects that people ask about and pin and send me e-mails full of questions on how to make it.

And I’ve never posted a tutorial on how to build a shutter wall.



Mostly because I just made it up as I went along.


Pick up all the shutters you can at yard sales and antique stores

I started by going on a 500 mile yard sale and collecting these along the way.

It took me extra miles because I am extra cheap (or bargain receptive as we like to say around here).

When I started…..I set a budget for myself of less than $5.00/shutter (which was challenging because most of the yard salers were in absolutely in love with their shutters).

I collected about 25 shutters of different sizes and shapes.  I think I even bought a few sets of louvered doors (which was a much better idea because no one was really in love with them).

I started the project by spray painting them all white

I started by spray painting them all white.

If they were already white and had extra chips and dents and scrapes…..I just left them like they were.

If any were scraped or scratched I left them as they were

Here’s the finished wall.

You can see which ones are spray-painted and which ones are the original chippy white.  I like the contrast of the two.  It looks authentic and two-toned with layers of color.

Like I planned it all along. 🙂

(Are you rolling your eyes at me right now)?

Make sure you plan ahead and lay out your wall

For those of you who want to create this project with a little more planning…..here’s a few tips.

1.  Measure the space of your wall.  This wall was 10′ x 8′ feet with a doorway on the left-hand side at the foot of the bed.  We used approximately 25 shutters on this wall.  You can also see the return air vent on the wall.  No worries.  I just acted like it was one of the shutters and built it in to the puzzle.

2.  Lay out the shutters in a random pattern before you put them on the wall.  It’s like a giant puzzle.  Lay some horizontal and some vertical.  Choose different sizes and different widths to make the wall interested.

Please don’t over think it.

Promise me?

There are gaps and spaces in the wall….but no one really notices them.

It’s called character. 🙂

Screws and gaps add character to your wall

3.  We screwed the shutters directly in the wall.  Now….it’s important to note that we have ship lap under our drywall….

…..so our walls are full of wood.

The wood ship lap makes installing the shutter wall easy.

If you don’t have wood ship lap….you will want to anchor the shutters to make sure the drywall supports them.

You also want to install the shutters with the center louver on the outside.  This will make them all lay flat.

Smaller and larger shutters can be placed near each other

4.  Layer the shutters.

I found several plain shutters at the yard sale that were perfect space holders…..but to make the wall of shutters match I layered them with the smaller louvered shutters.

If there was an extra space that needed to be filled….we simply cut parts of shutters and inserted them into the blank spaces.

Leave a little bit of wiggle room at the top and bottom of your wall in case you need to adjust your shutters

5.  Allow some wiggle room at the top and the bottom of the shutter wall

Just in case your shutters don’t all align properly….leave a small space at the top and the bottom of the wall.

Then….if you need to add a shutter that’s just a little longer than the others….you can always cover it up with crown molding on the top and base molding on the bottom.

Once all the shutters are done add crown molding to the top

Here’s the finished wall with the crown molding attached to the top of the uneven wall of shutters and the ceiling.

The entire shutter wall came together in about a day

It took only an afternoon to build the wall.


It is my favorite kind of project because it is so much easier to create than it looks.

The hardest part is finding your shutters.

All you need it a large glass of sweet tea….

…and 500 miles of yard sale. 🙂

How to build a shutter wall

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  1. Image for Polly Polly

    Good morning! I absolutely love this idea!! I even copied it on an outside wall of a second garage:) I kept them whatever color they were, and just screwed them into the wall. It's been a year, and they are doing fine, a little faded, which is good. I kept 2 smaller shutters, painted them white, and made an "Alice in Wonderland" door in the living room, complete with handle. Have a great week-end, if you see a blue VW bug go by, just wave!!

  2. Image for Bettina Bettina

    Great decoration, looks good. If you would have turned one shutter upside down you could have used it for putting notes, letters, photos, papers, what ever... would be a good idea for a wall next to a desk :D

  3. Image for Lisa at celebrate creativity Lisa at celebrate creativity

    Hi Karianne, this shutter wall is one of the first things I ever saw on your blog. It's still one of my favorite projects. It's so unique and your choice of decor in that room makes everything in the space work so well together. I've never heard of "wood ship lap" before so I learned something new today. Have a great weekend, Lisa

  4. Image for Vicki Vicki

    Karianne, I did the Longest Yard Sale (500 miles) about 2 years ago with my hubs and his pick up truck! We drove out of Tampa, FL to Chattanooga then up through Frankfort, KY stopping in Berea and Lexington to visit relatives. I came back with 100's of old windows that I paid no more that $5-$8 a piece for. Down here in Florida people are spending $20-$25 each for them - so I may be having my own yard sale in a couple months to get rid of some of them and recoup my expenses!!!! We had a great time and hope to do it again next year! Love your blog - I've gotten lot's of inspiration - from one Kentuckian to another!!!

  5. Image for Kris Kris

    I've always loved your wall. I have a shutter table (different from Karen's, above, which is a cute idea as well) that I bought probably 15 or more years ago and I love it--someone placed legs on an old shutter (complete with hardware) and it makes a charming side table. Maybe it's the symmetry of shutters/bead board/board and batten--something about it is really attractive to my sense of aesthetics.

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

    How clever and frugal!! It is soooo you! By that I mean sheer genius. You are making the world a better place by saving those unwanted shutters which I'm sure now that your idea has been published there will be a shortage of shutters. Oh -- and along with the 500 hundred miles plus sweet tea, could you add a rest room, please??

  7. Image for Debra Debra

    If you can't do the longest garage sale you can find shutters and louvered doors at the Habitat for Humanity Restore. They may cost a little more but it is for a good cause.

  8. Image for Suzanne Melton Suzanne Melton

    Another lovely project and GREAT tutorial. What would you do with bi-fold doors? Dave won three pallets of them last night. Twenty dollars for all of them. I'm average height and can just see over the top.

  9. Image for Diana Diana

    I've seen a few shutter repurpose ideas and fall in love with them every time. Yours is fabulous and you make it look so easy to do! My husband would probably think I was crazy though if I suggested this!! :)

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