My wife tends to have a love for shiplap paneling, although I have different tastes, and was not interested in redoing a whole room in shiplap. So, she came up with a nice compromise, and it was quite cheap to make.
Decorating a Wall Around a Large Sectional
To decorate a wall behind a large couch or sectional, think BIG. The scale of the furniture is large, so you want to think of wall decor that is to scale of the furniture. Little picture frames and knick-knacks hung behind a piece like that will just accentuate the imbalance. So to ‘anchor’ this couch to the room and with such a large open wall behind it, she wanted to create a focal point. That is where her idea for a framed shiplap piece came from. It creates a scale that complements the size of the furniture, it adds texture and interest. In the picture above you see a simple tobacco basket hung next to it. That is something she can add additional seasonal decor to. And, to the right she also changes seasonally.
We didn’t have much in the way of large decorations in our house we bought, and she loves Farmhouse style. So she described/sketched out an idea for something to hang above our couch. After thinking about it for a bit, I came up with a rather simple design that was very low cost. Excuse the floor lamps, but we have not upgraded those having two toddlers running around right now. We also made this industrial bar table, so be sure to stay tuned for more info on that project, as well. My wife REPAINTED THE ARMOIRE in the picture above, you can check out the link to see how she did that.
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Framed Shiplap DIY PLANS
Figuring out the materials
Since we don’t have a supply of shiplap panels lying around, we needed to purchase the lumber. Since she wanted the main area painted white, and a dark stain on the border we chose the most practical lumber. This would be 1×2 furring strips for the border, and 1×4’s for the panels. Based on the dimensions we wanted, we would need 4 of the 8′ long 1×4’s, and 2 of the 8′ long 1×2’s. As usual, for big box stores I had to look at quite a few boards to find ones that were straight and not warped/cupped too much. That can be a challenge with cheap lumber, but the price makes it worthwhile. This would be a good time to check out our article detailing how/why wood warps, and what you can do to avoid it.
These boards all cost approximately $2.50 a piece, so the total lumber cost would be $20. Since this is just going to hang above our couch, I only needed to buy some finish nails to hold it together, which set me back about $3. So for raw materials, the price was only $18.
Cut List / Materials
1×4 – 48″ (8)
1×2 – 48″ (2)
1×2 – 28″ (2)
Minwax Dark Walnut Stain
White latex paint/primer
Paint brush and shop towels
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Setting up and cutting
Since the dimensions would be 49 ½” by 29 ½” (based on the nominal lumber dimensions) I needed to cut each of the 1×4’s in half. For the 1×2’s I needed to cut one in half, and another into 29 ½” lengths (2). I have a nice MITER BOX & SAW I can use for this, but since there is only 8 cuts I figured I would do it by hand. I’m no professional carpenter, and I find that using a JAPANESE PULL SAW makes everything easier. Cutting on the pull stroke really helps to prevent binding of the blade, which can deform the blade if it bends too much.
Painting and Staining
In any project, if you can finish the wood prior to assembly, it will look better. In this case it was a no-brainer since I’m using two different finishes. If I attempted to paint/stain after assembly, I would most likely get paint on the border, and stain on the slats.
My wife did the painting one evening, putting two coats on each board. I did the staining that weekend in the garage, using Minwax Dark Walnut Stain. With pine (which is all construction lumber) it will really absorb the stain. You can pretty much just give it one light coat and wipe off directly, without letting it sit. My wife used Sherwin Williams Dover White. It is the same color we painted the large armoire you see in the room. In our lighting it looks great, the perfect soft, warm white. Be sure to check in your lighting with a swatch, as it does have quite a bit of yellow in it and could definitely be too warm depending on your room. Why do whites have to be so hard to pick out!?
After the border pieces had set for 24 hours for the stain to completely dry, it was time to assemble. I do have some very large clamps at my disposal, but since this is a ‘diy’ article, I thought I would show you an alternative way to hold all the pieces together. The reason for this is that large pipe-style clamps are not cheap – you can spend $20-$40 per clamp, so if it is a tool you don’t think you will necessarily need in the future, then don’t buy it. My trick is to clamp down pieces of wood on my workbench to aid in holding everything together. You can use a couple of C-CLAMPS and scrap wood to do this. And the c-clamps only cost about $5. In so doing this, I can hammer in finish nails all around the border and know that the entire piece is secure. Using a hammer with finish nails is also much, much cheaper than having to go purchase a brad-nailer (they don’t give them away now).
But, take your time and be careful to watch how the nails are going in as you tap. You don’t want a nail to poke up through the finished product, out the top of one of the shiplap pieces. It can be helpful here to make a small gage of wood that is the same thickness as your shiplap. You can set it alongside the outer border, and you will know where the top of the shiplap piece is. Then you just start the nail at half of that thickness.
Now that everything is nailed together, it is time to add some hardware to allow us to hang it above our couch. I purchased a simple sawtooth picture hanger, and installed it on the back. The overall piece is not heavy at all, and this style hanger was probably overkill as I think it was rated for 30 or 50 lbs. But who knows, one of my kids could try hanging on it.
Next, it was time to determine IF we had a stud in the correct spot behind our couch. Luckily, we did. If not though, you can always use a drywall anchor to secure it when no stud is available.
To finish the piece off my wife purchased FARMHOUSE STYLE WREATH to hang in the middle of it with BURLAP RIBBON. The final piece looks great in our home, matches the style my wife likes, and was very cheap to build.
Got questions? Ask them in the comments. Thank you for reading this, and I hope that it helps give you some ideas for decorating your home. Although I have a nice workspace in my basement, there is no reason you couldn’t do pretty much everything in your backyard, driveway, etc since there isn’t much dust generated. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, and check back here for other DIY projects. And, follow us on PINTEREST.
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Hi - I grew up outdoors in nature - hiking, fishing, hunting. In high school I got my first job at a garden center where I learned to garden and landscape. I've been growing plants from seed and designing native plant gardens for over six years. I hope to share some of my knowledge with you!
Additionally I am a wood worker / DIY enthusiast. I enjoy designing/building projects (with hand tools when I can!). I hope to give you some tips and useful information!