What Wood Should You Use for a Wood Slat Wall? 3 Things to Know

walnut wood slat feature wall in modern home staircase

Wood slat walls are a jaw-dropping addition to any space, but there’s a lot of factors that will make up that “wow” factor when all is said and done. From materials, to installation, to maintenance, you’ll want to plan your project carefully to maximize its impact (and its ROI). 

One question we hear a lot is, “what wood should I use for my wood slat wall?” Well, when it comes to choosing a wood finish for an accent or feature wall, there’s a couple different factors to take into consideration, which we’ll cover here.


Cost

Yup, better get it out of the way. If you’re going to be using solid wood to build a wood slat wall from scratch, the wood you purchase will have a huge effect on the cost of the project. 


Cheapest: Plywood or Pine

Some DIYers will opt for plywood and rip it into slats using a table saw, while others will go for pine that can sometimes be purchased in thinner slats from a local timber shop or home improvement store. Either option will be the most affordable when it comes to purchasing the raw materials yourself.


Benefits: 

  • Easy to work with
  • Budget-friendly
  • Can be painted easily

cutting pine boards into slats for wood slat accent wall

Source: lovecreatecelebrate.com

Cons:

  • Soft wood doesn’t stain very well, will require a conditioner
  • Uninspiring grain texture
  • Pine is soft, will dent and/or scratch easily

installing wood slat wall panel using pine slats

Source: withinthegrove.com

 

Middle of the Road: Pre-made wood slat wall panels

If you’re not keen to spend the next few weekends crafting each individual slat from scratch, pre-made wood slat wall panels may be perfect for you.

Source: andorwillow.com

They have a hardwood veneer finish made from white oak or walnut, with an MDF core that’s engineered to perfection. Having just the hardwood on the surface keeps them at a reasonable price, without sacrificing the undeniable beauty of the higher-end wood grain patterns.

vertical wood slat accent wall in nordic bedroom

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Premium: Solid Walnut or White Oak

Walnut and white oak are the most iconic wood textures, especially when it comes to wood wall panelling. The walnut grain draws inspiration from the iconic mid-century era of design, while white oak has come to define the Nordic and Scandinavian aesthetics. Use some of the tips below to choose what’s right for you, but just know that there’s a reason these wood textures are so exclusive: the price.

Both walnut and oak are hardwoods, meaning the trees they come from have a higher density and take longer to grow. This density makes them extra durable (and extra beautiful) but their slower growth rate makes them more expensive. It’s a trade off, but depending on your budget and the scope of your project, solid walnut slats can create breathtaking effects. 

walnut solid wood slat feature wall in bedroom

Last tip with these gorgeous hardwoods is to hire a professional if you’re not a seasoned DIYer. The hardness of the wood can make it difficult to work with, and with the price you'll be paying for each slat, you won’t want to be making any mistakes. If you’re unsure, hire a woodworker to get it done right.


Existing Decor

Identifying the style of your existing decor is crucial in selecting the right wood for your wood slat accent wall. You’ll want to take stock of the rest of the room and the materials that are filling it. What material is your flooring, your furniture, light fixtures? What colour is the paint on the walls, the ceiling? All important things to take note of. 

If your walls are painted darker, a lighter wood like pine or oak is perfect for adding a lighter touch to the space without feeling forced. In contrast (literally), white walls pair perfectly with smoked oak or walnut wood slats, as the wood pops off the wall and draws the eye upward into the space.

Lastly, what woods do you have in the space currently that you want to keep? Table and chair legs, sofa legs, TV stands and coffee tables may all have wood elements to them. Even if they’re small, matching those elements to your new feature wall will undoubtedly create some fantastic cohesion, so it doesn’t hurt to take note of these factors when selecting your wood slat materials.


The Style You’re Going For

There’s a million different interior design styles, and another million that are just combinations of those. The good news is that wood panelled feature walls provide a timeless backdrop to endless aesthetics, so you can fit your evolving style around it for years to come. 

For now, just focus on the overall feeling you want the space to exude. 

If you’re picturing a space that’s light and whimsical, lighter woods like pine and white oak, usually with a clear lacquer, will do perfectly. Styles like Contemporary, Scandinavian, Japandi, Chic and others can all be styled around a wood slat accent wall in a light wood like pine, bamboo, or white oak. 

If you see the space feeling mature and elegant, you might want to reach for a darker hardwood like walnut, red oak, or teak. A wood slat accent wall or ceiling using these materials will perfectly suit any style from Mid-Century Modern, to Rustic Chic, to Nordic.


Have Fun

Remember, this whole process should be enjoyable. Try not to stress too much about these things, even if its a bigger project and you’re nervous about it turning out Pinterest-perfect. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably putting in more planning effort than most, and that alone will take you very, very far. Now, pick those materials and get your project underway! 


And if you want something that will guarantee the perfect wood slat wall, every time, give us a call.


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