Looking for an easy fireplace makeover?
With the help of Plank and Mill‘s peel-and-stick reclaimed barn wood, I was able to turn our fireplace into the stunning focal point in our living room with no power tools in under a few hours.
Let’s rewind a bit – we moved two weeks ago – so I’ve been unpacking, organizing, and redecorating like a crazy person. We’ve made a bunch of home improvements so far, but this one is, by far, the one I’m most proud of. Let’s take a look at how the living room looked just before we moved in:
And here’s our living room now:
Such a huge difference!
The accent wall above the fireplace was done with Plank and Mill peel-and-stick reclaimed barn wood in whitewash. Of course, our awesome fireplace wasn’t the only change. We updated the paint color on the walls to Sherwin Williams Repose Gray, and repainted the ceilings a fresh coat of SW Bright White. Next, the original curtain rods were hung high and wide, which makes a huge difference in making your windows appear larger. The old, heavy fabric curtains were removed and replaced with sheer panels (Amazon, $10/ea here). Other accents include bamboo shades, a new couch, IKEA shelves, and artwork from Smallwood Home. The result has transformed our space into the living room I’ve always dreamed of. But enough about that, let’s dig into that eye-catching accent wall above the fireplace.
Plank and Mill Peel-and-Stick Barn Wood
Let’s talk a little about how this project was made possible. When I first saw the fireplace, I felt like the crown molding box was practically begging for an accent wall. It just looked like an awkward open space to me. I knew I had to add something, but I just wasn’t sure what. Ship lap wood was my first thought… but the boards would require us to measure, cut, find studs, hang with nails, putty the nail holes, sand, and paint. Completely doable, but I’m no Joanna Gaines and I have already exhausted my honey-do list (thanks hubs).
I started searching for products that could give me the rustic feel I wanted without so much hassle. I found wallpapers, stickers, faux finished foam… all of which I felt would just end up looking obviously inauthentic. Ultimately, whatever we chose to do, I wanted to make sure it was done right and done well. That’s when I stumbled across Plank and Mill.
Plank and Mill has revolutionized the ability to add a wood accent wall in any space. Their 3″ Wide, and 0.15″ thin REAL WOOD planks come with two thick adhesive strips, ready to be attached to any clean wall. I was sold! I reached out to see if they’d be interesting in collaborating and they generously obliged.
After using their square footage calculator to determine how much I’d need, I placed an order for 30sq feet (I have most of the last pack of 10 sqft left over, but ordering extra is definitely the way to go). Once it arrived, the prep was pretty easy. We had the rest of the room painted earlier in the week, so I told the painters to avoid the area above the fireplace so that I didn’t run into any issues with adhesion. This stuff sticks better to fully dry, cured walls instead of fresh paint – so keep that in mind if you’re planning a complete room overhaul.
I used a damp wet rag to clean the area earlier in the day to give it plenty of time to dry before sticking anything. I opened one of the packs of planks (they are shipped in packs of 10 sqft) to get it ready. Other useful tools I had to gather were a mitre box and hand saw, scissors (to cut the adhesive strips after sawing), an exacto-knife (also to help cut edges that were hand-sawed), and a level.
Imagine me chanting “I don’t need no man” as I began the project… I even bought my own handsaw so I didn’t have to disturb my husband’s meticulously organized tools. This was something I KNEW I could do myself.
Plank and Mill suggests starting in the middle of the wall – so I applied my first plank about 3 planks high in the center of the fireplace. I measured 3 planks high because I didn’t want to have to horizontally trim any pieces to fit into the bottom row above the mantle – so I just made sure it’d fit 3 planks underneath. Then, I peeled off the adhesive backing, used a level to make sure it was straight, while keeping it hovering away from the wall, and then pressed firmly to apply. I took the next plank, lined it up with the end of the first, and measured a cut line to trim the excess for the next piece.
At this point – my mom arrived (thank God, because even though I didn’t end up needing my husband specifically, it is definitely a two person job! haha!). She was able to help me hand-saw the pieces while I moved on to measure and place the next strips. You kind of work in a staggered pattern, making sure to alternate the size pieces you use to give it that authentic, rustic look. I worked as much as I could on the ground, and then used a ladder to reach the higher parts. Four hours later, we were done!
I did run into a few challenges. First, the miter box and hand saw, while doable, definitely took way more time than a mechanical saw. However, that would have required me to add this job to my husband’s list and we all know I was trying to avoid doing that (not that I don’t like doing projects with him, but we have a million other things going on). In retrospect, if I was doing anything larger than a small wall, I’d definitely suggest a mechanical saw to make the job much faster.
The second challenge was fixing a plank that I had accidentally placed before checking that it was level. It wasn’t obviously crooked, but it was just a smidge – and it was in the center of the wall. My fear was that if we compounded it further without trying to correct it, we’d just end up with a REALLY crooked line across the top. So, in order to remedy, I placed the next plank above it just a tiny bit crooked as well to compensate for the gap. Luckily, it turned out fine – but you definitely want to keep checking that the planks are level as you are working along to make sure you don’t get too far off track.
Finally, the last issue I ran into was the finishing row. There was a 1/3″-ish gap at the top of the wall between my last plank and the crown molding. The planks are 3″ wide – and had I been using a mechanical saw, I could have skimmed a thin piece to wedge in this gap. However, since it was all the way at the ceiling, I decided to just paint the gap white with chalk paint – and it blended in perfectly.
The final result blew me away! I also love that this was a project my mom and I could do together. I’m already scouting out other areas of the house (and other Plank and Mill finishes) to transform.
I’d highly recommend this product because of it’s ease of installation and beautiful finish. It’s lightweight, super sticky, and very easy to work with and cut. Each piece is also unique which adds to the charm of the accent wall.