The Cheaper-Than-Paint Solution One Renter Used to Cover Dinged Up Walls

Ironically, New Yorkers Will Strawser and Kate Brown live in Hell’s Kitchen, but the kitchen in their modern eclectic 400-square-foot studio is a godsend to renters everywhere. If a coat of paint isn’t enough to counteract the honey-oak and dingy walls that loom over your kitchen, read on to see how this couple achieved a clever (and temporary) solution to beautify their rental kitchen.

Like many renters, Will professes that the biggest challenged he and Kate faced in designing their home was damage from previous tenants, including gaping wall holes that had been poorly patched. “There is nothing that can kill the look of a place more than shoddy basic construction,” he went on to say. “Luckily we found an amazing solution. I had always wanted to use reclaimed wood for a wall, and I ended up finding a great deal on a bunch of boards. It proved to be a quick, simple and cheap fix to hiding most of the horrible wall damage. In fact, it ended up being cheaper than painting.”

The reclaimed wood wall in their kitchen not only covers the apartment’s dinged up walls, but it also acts as an attractive focal point that completely transforms the look of the kitchen. Best part? It’s easy to install and totally temporary.

Here are some tips from Will on installing your own reclaimed wood wall, which he states is, “super simple”:

From Will: “Since we installed this in a rental I couldn’t renovate the wall with anything that would permanently alter it so I chose to use the boards that have a tongue and groove style fitting. They are very similar to the way laminate flooring boards are put together.”

  • Use lightweight wood, like balsa wood, preferably with a tongue-and-groove-style fitting
  • Secure the bottom row with a minimal amount of finishing nails (1″ nails were used here).
  • Use a few finishing nails to keep the wall secure. Will says after he secured the bottom row he could use, “the tongue and groove to build the wall up vertically adding a few finishing nails in spots around the edges and middle to keep it securely snug to the wall.

Will’s final thoughts: “I think if I was installing this permanently, I would probably want to add finishing nails to every other board or so. Or even maybe use an epoxy on the back of the boards. For rental purposes, however, this works perfectly. Minimal holes, super easy take down.”

Thanks for sharing, Will and Kate!



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