Plank Walls: Adding Character {Remodeling Update!}

Plank Walls: Adding Character {Remodeling Update!}

One of the things I’ve missed the most from living in houses closer to 100 years old is all the amazing real plank walls, wood walls, wainscoting, ceilings and trim work that often comes along with those charming homes! But fortunately, some of that character can be added to a home of any age! That is my mission in this brand new house! It has just taken me almost four years to get to this point. But good things can come to those who wait!

Plank Walls: Adding Character {Remodeling Update!}

In our kids’ upstairs bathroom, we added a simple faux board and batten treatment, minus the board. In other words, we just added trim work to the wall to give it the illusion of real wood board and batten. That is a great solution for many situations. But sometimes you don’t really want faux. You don’t want an illusion. You want real. Real feels so much different than faux. In a photo, faux can look almost real so it can fool the eye. But in person, nothing beats the feel and texture of real wood. And I like my home to FEEL right to me, not just look right.

Plank Walls: Adding Character {Remodeling Update!}

So as a part of our quest to fix up our house this year (repair stuff we’ve neglected, ignored or damaged or in general needed a facelift), we decided to add some real wood shiplap style planks to our entry and hallway and kitchen. Those walls all connect to each other and all of them needed a little facelift for one reason or another. They are in high traffic areas so it makes sense they’d be a little bit abused over the four years we’ve lived here.

While plaster walls in an old house can be a challenge to work with and repair, drywall is a bigger pain in the rump. At least according to me and my experience. And, unless drywall is really smooth and well done, it just doesn’t do much for the old house character of a home.

Plank Walls: Adding Character {Remodeling Update!}

But real wood walls and wainscoting? Mmmm mmm mmm so good for charming things up. You might remember this map wall from a bazillion years ago. Have I blogged about it? No. Bad blogger. But once we get all the trim and flooring done I’ll definitely make it a featured post and tell you all more about it.

We still have quite a bit of finishing work and painting to do (and our new floors go in tomorrow!) but I can already tell — our new wood work and walls have completely changed the vibe of our home for the better. Honestly, I can’t stop staring at all the wood. Makes my heart so happy.

Plank Walls: Adding Character {Remodeling Update!}

For those of you wanting to know details on the wood, it is tongue and groove pine planks. I believe they are close to five inches wide. We chose primed pine because it would be easy to paint. We technically used the back side of beadboard paneling, but these boards are made so you can use either side depending on what look you want. If we used the front side it would have created a beadboard effect, and we wanted the v-groove plank effect. I learned that trick in our old house when we planked the sides of our cabinetry with the back of tongue and groove beadboard.

On the wall that we wanted the horizontal planks, we simply turned the boards sideways and installed it floor to ceiling. So yeah, sideways and backwards is kind of how we roll around here. And on the rest of the walls where we wanted a traditional vertical wainscoting, we used the boards vertically. Our wainscoting is five feet tall. With tongue and groove paneling there is no need to prime or paint the wall first as you cannot see any spaces in the paneling.

We kept our trim style super simple to fit with the simple moldings throughout our home. The baseboards will be reinstalled once the flooring goes in.

Plank Walls: Adding Character {Remodeling Update!}

We had a contractor install our paneling and trim work for us, because we chose to put our time and talents elsewhere. Woodworking is just not one of those things we want to do ourselves, but certainly with modifications to the materials, project, or the right skill and tools it is a project that a DIY’er could attempt. There are SO many ways to add wood walls and trim work to suit your style and budget!

There is a bit more new trim work in our family room, but you’ll see that in an upcoming post, along with many more pictures of remodeling progress. This week our new floors are going in! We are still waiting on the fireplace tile and kitchen cabinet paint but other than that, we are winding down to start gearing up for the holidays! {Keeping it real? Hate me but we have already decorated one of our Christmas trees. I’ll show & tell you more about it later this week.}

Plank Walls: Adding Character {Remodeling Update!}

With simple changes like real wood wainscoting, we are turning our builder house into something more closely resembling the home I dream about. Or at least the “reasonable” home I dream about. Ha.

Are you making simple changes over time to your home to get it closer to what you’d like it to be? 

Related inspiration post: Plank Walls 


  1. The real wood just makes it look long-lasting. Living in a rental with cheap, short-lived finishes makes me appreciate long-lasting quality!

    • Yes, I know what you mean. Something about the realness of it is appealing to me too in that “long-lasting” kind of way. It is nice to add something of substance to a newer house to make it feel better quality than when it started out :-)

  2. Melissa, I so agree with you that wood paneled walls or any architectural interest you can add to a new-build enhances the warmth of a home. I love all of the changes you are making and I know you are beyond excited and grateful. Thanks for taking us along for this fun journey!!
    xo Kathysue

    • I really am grateful, I can hardly believe this is my house! Feeling blessed FOR SURE! It is so fun to get to make these changes after waiting for them for several years. I think waiting heightened my sense of gratitude!!

  3. I love it! I hope to do a board and batten treatment in my living room at some point. But like you, we’re making changes a little bit at a time. It’s exciting to see the house become more and more “us.”

  4. Shannon Wakefield says

    This is beautiful- this post has given me inspiration for my entryway-love this!

  5. Yes. I’m always making changes to get our home closer to what I’d like it to be. I guess that makes me a bad blogger too…because I don’t post about HALF OF IT…why, because, uhm, I’m a perfectionist?! You know how perfectionists are…nothing is ever perfect. period.
    I post about all the other junk!
    ~ Love seeing your progress. AND! I don’t recall ever seeing this gorgeous map wall. I’d love to see more of it… I’ll keep my eyes on it for sure. ~~Pat

    • That is why I decided to just blog about our “progress” because honestly, it will probably be a LONG time before it looks “DONE’ like the fancy after photos I see on Pinterest! I just have to be real, these things take a LONG time at my house!

  6. I so agree – I love how trim and plank walls add character to a home. We are doing our home bit by bit as well and the thing that I like is that having to be patient and wait and work on one wall, one room at a time makes me appreciate it so much more when it is finally finished. I bet you would agree, since you waited four years for your pretty walls.

  7. Drooling over here! We planked our LR walls and I’m forever day-dreaming about continuing the trend…everywhere else!

  8. Your map wall intrigues me! I do want to hear more. Everything does take such a long time. I get irritated when I make a change I want to change again 5 years later so reading your stories makes me feel not so alone.

  9. I’m loving the plank walls…especially with the map paper!!! Fun and beautiful!! I’m wondering how you’re managing the dust. Ugh. I noticed it on the sconce in the hallway – which looks fab by the way. You are a trooper to put up with all the mess for so long. I’m impressed you’ve got a tree done…hope it isn’t getting dusty, too. :D

    • Everything is dusty! And today will be more dust with the floors! I’ll cover the tree but it still goes everywhere and I sneeze like crazy :-/. I’ll be putting my Dyson to good use after this is all done!

  10. I love plank walls; this is something we want to add to our family room. Did you buy your paneling at a home improvement store or lumber yard?

  11. I LOVE the plank walls and wood paneling, you did an amazing job. We recently installed wainscoting (faux) and beadboard in a few rooms and it really does add so much warmth to a home. I have been thinking about adding plank walls to our bonus room and you have really inspired me to tackle the project! oh and I am loving the map wall! : )

  12. Really love the look Melissa. Think I’m going to do this in our bathroom.
    Have a great week!

  13. hooray for progress reports! I love these updates that you do. I feel like you can, and do, give us more details when you do it this way versus waiting until the end. I can’t wait to see more!

  14. It looks fantastic so far! We moved into a new house this past summer that basically has 0 character as far as moldings and trims. Want to add a plank wall to one of the bedrooms. I can just see it when I walk in there – it needs to happen. About your map wall, I did something similar in my laundry room using various papers from Cavallini. It turned out sweet!

  15. Looking great! I just love real wood. I did use MDF in my bedroom and wish that I had stuck with real wood. Painted up, it just looks better. I am actually one of those people that don’t mind the brush marks.

    Did you end up getting your planking at big box store or local lumber yard?

  16. We’re in the middle of a kitchen “facelift” and are adding some panelling to the eating area to add some character (even though it’s an older home). Love the look of your board and batten hung horizontally in the hallways like that.

  17. It looks gorgeous Melissa! Your entry looks SO pretty, I’m in love with your paneling! I totally agree, sometimes you need the real thing. I used beadboard wallpaper in our mudroom but for the foyer I wanted something chunky to add real dimension to the walls….so glad I splurged in that little space and went with the real deal when I did board and batten.

  18. We are DIY’ers…and I luv the smell of wood! We cut our trees, two man “saw mill” and use the lumber in projects…not for everyone…but the smell means “project in process!” :) franki

  19. I love the smell of wood too. This looks so fantastic and warm. Using the real thing I think pays off you can’t achieve the same look otherwise.


  20. I am in love with planking on walls. I want to do mine horizontally. How long are your boards and what do I do about the seams? Appreciate any advice.

  21. anxious to hear how you did the maps to your wall. easy? redoing my boy’s room now and would love to add that! thanks!

  22. I just know that you are about to “bust your button”. I am so happy for you. Good things do come to those who wait.♥

  23. If I could, I would panel all my ceilings and several walls in my house. When I remodeled two bathrooms last year, I had the same tongue and groove installed floor to ceiling in one and wainscoted the other bathroom with it. It adds so much character. I love how your home looks with the new paneling. Can’t wait to see the final reveal, with the floor, baseboards etc. Your entry is just stunning!

  24. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your entry. It looks just like it belongs in a Farmhouse! Just beautiful. I have that same rustic sconce in my entry over the mud nook bench (I have a mud nook instead of a mud room!) You have great taste! LOL. Everything is coming together so beautifully.

  25. Love the look, Melissa. You are getting a whole brand new house! So lovely!

  26. lovely addition to your home, it makes it all look so warm and lived in like a real home. what a terrific idea, you’re so very clever :-)

  27. Oh wow, I love the map wall. Great taste as always!

  28. I love plank walls so much, but I have a dilemna sorta and need some advice. we recenlty purchased our first home and it’s a spanish style. about 40 years old and needs some updates. I am still trying to find ‘my style’ in this spanish style, but most of what I find as inspiration on the web and pinterest is ‘traditional’ or farm house or mid century mod, which i LOVE, but now feel I should focus on just doing ‘spanish’ design – Melissa do you know of any websites or mags where I can go for inspiration on this sort of style? it’s so limited. like I said, i love those walls, but I’m still trying to find my way with this spanish style. would plank walls look good or would it be too ‘traditional’ for a spanish style house? any tips would help me! ;)

  29. I love the wood paneling that you installed – I think it’s a great look. I’ve been considering it for a kitchen and bathroom project I’m working on. You might have sold me on it! Thanks for sharing all the details – it looks great!

  30. I love the wood paneling! Such a great look and it adds such warmth and character to a home. Have a great week!

  31. You are incredible – an amazing remodeling machine! I need you to take charge of my renovations!! It looks fabulous – just beautiful. You have given me a ton of ideas!

    • Thanks Susan! It’s fun :-) but I am kind of excited for it to be over with because my favorite part is the little day to day enjoyment that will happen after it is all done!

  32. “The reasonable home I dream about.” Girl, that is so funny, but also very wise! Honestly, when I dream about a house, it’s usually a little on the ridiculous side. Better to spend one’s dreaming time on something a little more achievable, perhaps!

    Love your wood paneling. It would look good upside-down and sideways. Oh, that’s how you used it! :)

    • Well, I used to dream more of castles and mansions but now I just try to stay focused on what I actually CAN do with the four walls I have. It is fun though once in awhile to let my mind wander to the ridiculous :-) xo

  33. Love the map wallpaper! Everything looks beautiful!

  34. This is exactly what I am wanting to do in my hallway and a few other key areas of the house. I just love the look and am now even more inspired than ever!

  35. Looks amazing and so true, it adds so much character to a room! Where did your get your primed wood?

  36. Love it! I don’t know what it is about wainscoting and beautiful trimwork that gets me so excited, but it does.

  37. I looooove the horizontal planking look! Trying to think of a place in my home that would be perfect for…

  38. Just started remodeling my grandmother’s 100 year old farmhouse. LOVE the plank walls!!

  39. Where did you get the map wallpaper? It’s cute!

  40. It looks so great! We are considering planking our tiny bathroom walls, horizontally. But I was looking on Lowes and it seems like these planks are $16-$20 a piece! That just seems crazy expensive to me! Was that what your’s cost?

  41. Where did you purchase the wood with tongue and groove planks for this project? Can you give more details on that please? Looks great


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