Easy How To Build a Mid Century Modern Accent Wall

May 10, 2023

Hi! I'm Nicole

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I love a good accent wall! Did you know you can change the look of an entire room by just adding some boards and paint to the wall? So simple. Coming at you this week with another super easy wall treatment tutorial. This one has more of a Mid Century Modern feel to it, but really could be used in many spaces. I chose it as an accent wall in my master bedroom makeover. And I love it! It’s the perfect addition to a blank wall.

Header Image

A wood accent wall can really elevate a space and give it that custom and fresh look. I love the look of a modern accent wall and have incorporated them in several areas of my home. Here’s a great post for more accent wall ideas.

Easy How to Build a Mid Century Modern Accent Wall

Wood Needed for MCM Accent Wall:

Choose ONE of these three options:

  • 28-1x2x8 pine wood (This option will be a little more costly, but the best option if you don’t have a table saw or circular saw)
  • 5-1x5x10 pine wood (This is probably going to be the most affordable option)
  • 1 sheet of 3/4″ MDF or plywood (Depending on the price of wood, this may be more affordable than the 1×5 option)

Materials Needed:

Tools Needed:

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I knew I wanted my wood slats accent wall to center around my new mid century modern platform bed, I recently built.

Therefore, my first step was finding the center of the wall. This is found by measuring the full length of the wall and dividing by two. Mark this spot on your wall.

Next step, I measured the length of my headboard to determine the width of my accent wall. I then added a couple inches on both sides.

All said and done, my headboard was 76 inches. So, I chose 78 inches for my accent wall.

Then, I divided that by two. This gave me the number of inches to take my vertical boards accent wall on both sides of the center of my wall. From the center of the wall I measured 39 inches on both sides. Using a level to keep my lines straight, I marked both ends with painter’s tape….as shown in the picture below.


I painted a couple coats of Sherwin Williams Shade Grown (a deep green color) in between my tape lines to form a color block on the wall.

Green accent wall behind a bed and pendant light

Rip and Cut Boards:

For my wood slat accent wall, I decided to go with 1.5 inch wide boards (1×2’s) cut at 65 inches long. Because I had a lot of scrap wood leftover, I decided to use that and save some money.

So, I took scrap 1×5’s and ripped them down to a width of 1.5 inches, using my table saw. If you don’t have a table saw, no worries, just pick up 1×2’s and you’ll end up with the same size wood planks that I used.

Another idea (if you have a table saw) is to rip 1.5″ wide strips from a 3/4″ sheet of plywood or MDF board. This will probably save you some money. You’ll need (28) 1.5″ wide strips for the same size wooden slat accent wall that I used.

Note: If you’re going to use 1×5 boards (like I used and then ripped to the width I needed), I recommend going with 10 foot wood boards. You’ll be able to get 6 strips out of just one board.


  • A 1×5 is 4.5″ in width, so 4.5 (width of 1×5) divided by 1.5 (width needed for accent wall strips) equals 3 strips.
  • You’ll then cut those 3 strips down to 60″…you can get two 60″ long strips from a 10 foot board.
  • Which in turn gives you 6 strips per 1x5x10 for your accent wall.
  • If you have a table saw or access to a table saw, this is a very cost-effective way of doing this project.

Once you have the right width of strips, you’re ready to make your cuts. Cut each strip to 60 inches.

Build the Accent Wall:

Once you’ve finished all of your cuts, you’re ready to move the project inside to the color block wall….

1x2 boards laying on a bed

First step in this project is finding the center of your color block. This is where you will place your first piece (Be sure to use a level along the edge of your strip to ensure that it is straight). Use a nail gun to attach….

First board nailed in for accent wall

I attached my first board starting at the bottom of the wall, so my next board will be from the top of the wall and then back to the bottom and so on, working my way to the end of the wall…

Half of accent wall on green background is done

Note: To get the correct spacing between each strip, use a strip as a spacer next to the board already attached and nail gun the next board in….

Spacer being removed after placing new board to nail in

I found it helpful to nail gun one nail in the middle of my strip, remove the spacer, straighten the strip with the level and nail gun along the strip multiple times, once straight.

Once you’ve come to the end of the wall, go back to the middle and work your way across in the other direction to the other end of the wall; alternating once again between bottom of wall and top of wall. When finished, it will look like this….

Bed with lots of pillows and an accent wall behind it

Paint (or stain) Accent Wall Strips:

Before you paint, you’ll want to fill in all of your nail holes with wood filler, if they’re noticeable. Sand the wood filler smooth, once dry. And now you’re ready to paint! Or you could stain the boards. I chose to paint mine the same color as my background color block wall and went for more of a monochromatic look. After two coats of paint, here’s the end result of my green accent wall….

Beautiful bed with green accent wall behind it

Perfect! Exactly the modern look I was going for! And with my bed….I love it!! Such an easy and rewarding DIY project. I’m ready to add more DIY wood accent walls to my home.

King size bed with a blush pink quilt folded across it

And a look at it with that beautiful focal point ceiling I just finished a couple weeks ago (Full Tutorial here)….

Large bedroom with king size bed and large pendant light

Would you consider adding a batten accent wall to your own home? With choices from geometric patterns to a straight line wall design, an accent wall is a great way to elevate any room. Not to mention, it’s such an easy project that doesn’t take a lot of time.

Have fun with it! Come up with your own design. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Check out the bottom of this post for links to all of the master bedroom accessories.

Love the bed and want to build it!? Here’s the link!! My newly built, very modern nightstands are a great addition to our platform bed too. I share how to build these nightstands in this post.

Modern night stand next to a platform bed

FAQ’s for Accent Wall Ideas

Should an accent wall be darker or lighter than the other walls?

You really want this wall to pop, so going with a darker color will achieve that WOW factor! It will provide a great contrast to the other walls and will draw the eye to it. If you want to stay in the safe zone, and not venture too far out of your comfort zone, paint the accent wall the same color as the other walls, but go with two or three shades lighter.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with going with a completely different color, you’ll just want to make sure it complements the other walls color. A good rule of thumb for this is to go with a color that is either right next to it on the color wheel or directly across from it. Veering too far away from those two points on the color wheel can get very tricky and will tend to not be very appealing to the eye.

Are wood slat accent walls trendy?

The short answer is yes. The dimensional slat walls like the one in this post does lend itself to being more trendy. However, it’s very much on trend right now, so I say go for it! Since you’re only attaching the boards to one wall and often times just a section of that wall, if you choose to remove them some day, it will not be a hard feat. So, yes, someday wood slat walls could very well become a thing of the past. But they’re fun and easy to install. They add dimension and character to a room. And the possibilities of design are endless.

Will an accent wall make my room feel smaller?

Actually quite the contrary. Adding an accent wall will make a room feel bigger. Accent walls bring in an added texture and detail. They break up the monotony of the four walls and give the appearance and feel of a larger space. Think of it like an accent rug. An accent rug adds detail and grounds a space, also giving the room an air of feeling larger.

If you’re wanting to add more detail and dimension to a room, you’re ready for an accent wall. But if you’re still not sure which wall or what design you want to go with, I’m here to help! Drop your question in the comments below and let’s come up with a plan together.

You’ve got this! Be creative, have fun with it and think outside the box.

In what rooms should I add a DIY accent wall?

The short answer is: ANY room! A modern wood accent wall adds dimension and structure to a space. It is the perfect, big impact, addition to the following rooms:

  • dining room
  • living room
  • home office
  • small bathroom
  • guest bedroom
  • virtually any living space

Slatted bedroom wall with green paint

Let’s go beyond the design to build something beautiful together!

Be sure to Pin This Post to your Pinterest Board for later…


Until next week,

Happy Building, Friend!!

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Large Pendant Light

Down Comforter

More Great RL Posts:

7 Easy Accent Wall Ideas That Are Affordable

Easy Steps to DIY a Wood Slat Accent Wall

Easy How to Build a Sliding Barn Door that is Timeless


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