Weekend Bathroom Makeover…For $150


So check it out, we finally finish the major kitchen projects and it suddenly dawns on us that the adjacent bathroom now looks pretty lackluster by comparison.


Mind you this was already updated once from it’s original state:

bathroom before

In fact, it was the very first “renovation” project that we did in the house (before we really knew how to do anything) and admittedly, it was pretty shotty. Nothing terribly wrong but nothing terribly great either. Just… vanilla.

We knew now was the time to spruce things up a bit. Give it a facelift and take care of a couple of things that were bothering us. Starting with the chair rail.

Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 8.40.36 AM

Now, I get it, a toilet is a bit like a chair, right? But it doesn’t move, it doesn’t rock, it doesn’t shift, it’s…well…pretty stationary. So why a chair rail? Decoration? Blech. We weren’t digging it. So away it went.

no chair rail

Next we painted all but the back wall. We used Sherwin Williams Knitting Needles same color we used in the kitchen Β and the board and batten hallway.

The color looked great. It helped open things up in an already small bathroom. But now we needed something more. Something that I had been hoping to do for quite some time. A pallet wall. We thought that the nice dark tones mixed with the light grey paint would create some solid contrast. In addition, we hoped that the horizontal boards would help create the illusion of a wider room. So we got to work.

photo 1

We loved the idea of using actual pallets which are usually free and have great character but they come with several downsides:

1) You need to find and collect them all

2) Must confirm that they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides

3) Tear apart pallet piece by piece

4) Remove all nails, splinters, and useless pieces

5) Install

So we decided to take a stab at creating our own. We ran up to the local HD and looked around in their lumber section. We made our way over to the furring strips and fell in love. With the wood that is.

Furring strips are generally used as backing to finished walls. They usually go unseen and are, therefore, far from perfect strips of wood. Many of them are knotty, curved, split, tattered, and bent. Which makes them perfect for a faux pallet pallet wall.

At $2 per 8′ piece it wasn’t terrible. We ended up spending almost exactly $50 total.

photo 2

When we got the wood home we spread it out on the table and began staining.

We had 2 cans of stain. Espresso and Grey. We figured as long as we used variance of only these 2 colors our pallet would look like it was all part of the same family and that some of the pieces had aged more than others. Might I say that it worked well.

If you’re going to give this a go I’d recommend just having some fun with it. Put a couple of coats on 1 piece and the thinnest coat you possibly can on another. Mix the two stains on a third and keep dinking around. 25 boards down and we didn’t have a single one that was exactly the same as another #boom.

DIY Aged Plank

Apparently I got a bit too into it and ended up throwing the container of stain at myself #fail. So word of wisdom #2 do this outdoors.


When all was said and done we had some awesome looking “aged” pallets ready for their prime time debut as our bathroom wall.

I had marked the studs on the wall before hand (hence the large purple lines down the wall) and just began pinning them in place with my handy-dandy-nail-gun.

photo 4

photo 5

After about 4 hours of measuring, cutting, and nailing the project was coming along nicely. The hardest thing about this whole project was picking out colors that weren’t too close in shade. I had to vary things enough that it looked random. And might I say, we are pretty dern happy with the end result.

DIY Aged Plank Wall Easy Plank Wall


We also snagged an awesome little light. Awesome yet affordable. Click to check it out for yourself.



Bathroom Plank Wall

In the end we ended up with a pretty awesome looking bathroom that only took a weekend (though technically Saturday and Monday) to complete. And we only shelled out $150 for supplies:


69 Comments on “Weekend Bathroom Makeover…For $150

  1. I know this is way after you posted it, but I just wanted to tell you I love this idea and am thinking of doing this in our bathroom! Yay!

    • Thanks blossomdragon! πŸ™‚

      We’re definitely digging it too.

      Send us pics when/if you do!

  2. Looks awesome! I have wanted a pallet wall FOREVER. When ever I see them on the side of the road, I start to drool…haha. But not enough to stop and get it and go through the process that you described.

    This gives me an idea though for our “boy’s room” that we are working on. Love the blog by the way!

    • Thanks Justin! It was so much easier just “creating” our own pallet boards. Would love to see the final product when you complete it!

      Thanks for reading!

    • Hi Robin-
      Apologies on the delayed reply. Things have been busy! We did not coat them in anything after the stain. We were going for a rough, rustic look. Didn’t want anything shiny.

      Hope that helps.


    • Hi Emily,
      Not at all actually! I just made sure that those boards that were behind the toilet were a bit longer so that I could nail them in on the ends. Do make sure that you know where the pipes are so that you don’t puncture anything. Keep me posted if you give this project a try! One of the best projects we’ve done in the house (aside from the Kitchen πŸ™‚ )


      • How would I figure our where the pipes are? I don’t want to puncture a pipe!

      • Hi Brooke,
        Great question! The simplest way to avoid the pipes and ensure a solid fit is to mark the studs along the wall. Studs are spaced every 16″ but a stud finder would be super helpful. Then you should be good to go.

        Any pipes should be running between the studs so as long as you are sticking g close to your stud lines you’ll be in good shape.

        I hope this helps.
        Let me know if you have any other questions!

  3. I love this! Without a sealant coat over the stain, how is clean up around the sink? I’m thinking kids and splashing hands.

    • Thanks Laura! We’re still digging it a year later so that’s a good thing! πŸ™‚

      It’s honestly been super easy to clean and the variations in color and imperfections hide the little things.

      Hope this helps! Also hope you do it. Share some pics!

  4. I love this project. Could you share the dimensions of the half-bath? I am converting a hall closet into a 1/2 bath and it looks to be around the same dimension, but you never know. Thanks!

    • Thanks Christian! We’re pretty big fans of this one ourselves. It’s a smaller bathroom I’d say roughly 5’x 4′ but I can confirm that for you later this afternoon if that’s cool.

      To be fair, it pretty much IS a closet :p

      Thanks for reading!

  5. Love it and so doing it! But how do you find out if the pallets have been sprayed with pesticides or not!?

    • The simplest way is to look for wood that has HT (heat treated) stamped on it. Hope that helps!

  6. Did you run the wood to the floor and then put the baseboard down or did you run the wood to the baseboard? Thanks so much for posting this. I hope ours turns out as good as yours did.

    • Hi Julia, we ran the pieces down until we couldn’t fit any more full pieces then just hid the gap with the baseboard. That’s probably the easiest way to go about it. Hope that helps!!

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  8. You mentioned long pieces behind the toilet… but what about the pipe thingy that comes out of the wall? Can you take a pic or describe to me what you did there? Thanks!

    • We actually just went up to it on either side creating a little gap of sorts. I’ll try to snap a photo of it for you.

  9. Love this idea! How did you secure the wood to the wall? Did you use glue or a certain type of nail? Thanks!

    • Thanks Dave! – Since these were light furring strips we just used a brad nailer with 2″ nails. Though, we didn’t use wood glue, it isn’t a bad idea if you are installing wider or heavier pieces.

  10. Wow, totally love this and plan on doing it! I have two questions. 1. Did you condition the wood before staining? 2. Do warped and curved boards really work? I would think it would throw everything off?

    • HI Tessa! Thanks for the support πŸ™‚

      To answer your first question, we simply stained the raw furring strips and all went well. Nothing fancy.
      To answer the second question, minor warps aren’t bad at all. We kept the strips under 3 feet long which kept things pretty uniform.

      Hope that helps!

  11. Love It!!! I’m going to copy it exactly. πŸ™‚ unless you want to colorado and do it for me. Lol

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  13. just curious. if this was done in a bathroom that has a shower in it (looks like yours did not) would there be a concern with moisture and warping the wood? Any advice on how to tackle that? (wood sealer or protectant maybe?) thanks! looks amazing!

    • Hi Ang,
      You are correct, our bathroom did not have a shower or bath in it. I think this would be fine in a bathroom that has moisture as long as you seal the wood with a waterproof polyurethane. It would also help quite a bit if your bathroom already had some sort of ceiling ventilation.

      Hope that helps πŸ™‚


  14. Just finished this project- only we used it for a Backsplash for our kitchen at our cottage. We absolutely LOVE it! Thank you so much for the inspiration and the step by step instructions. The only thing we did different was using 3 stains instead of 2. We did the colors you mentioned and then added “driftwood”, then I mixed them up a bit, like you suggested. Thanks again!

    • That is awesome Amanda! Glad that in some way, shape, or form we were able to help you out with this project. We’d love to see pictures!
      Shoot us a note at thisnestisblessed@gmail.com πŸ™‚


    • Hi Tonya,
      We mixed MinWax Espresso with MinWax Classic Gray to get the wide variety of tones. Hope that helps!

  15. Looks great! It looks like you used 3 lengths of wood per row, is that correct? Did you do the same lengths all the way down? I’m trying to do a wall that is 8 feet wide and was thinking of doing 4, 3 and 1 foot pieces.

    • Hi Kristen!
      Yes, we used roughly 3 lengths of wood per row but that was mostly determined by the fact that 4 planks (in our tiny bathroom) would have meant tiny planks and 2 wouldn’t have looked staggered enough.

      Really, the most important thing (if you’re going for the random look) is to stagger your first piece. We did 2ft on the first row, 3ft on the second, 4ft on the third and kept that pattern going throughout the wall. Then you’ll want to pick a standard size for the pieces moving forward (this does not have to be perfect) and fill in the final piece as needed (you’ll want to measure each final piece).

      Since there’s no single “right” way to go about it, this is only a recommendation. Do whatever you want. Sometimes random measurements and screwed up pieces add a little bit of character. So it’s completely up to you but here’s how I would do an 8ft wall:

      β€’ 4ft 3ft 1ft
      β€’ 3ft 3ft 2ft
      β€’ 2ft 3ft 3ft
      β€’ 4ft 3ft 1ft
      β€’ 3ft 3ft 2ft
      β€’ 2ft 3ft 3ft

      (would love to see pics along the way – send them to thisnestisblessed@gmail.com)

      Josh & Katie

  16. How did you maneuver around the toilet? I want to do this, but don’t think wood will fit between the back of the toilet and the wall.

    • Hi Monica,
      The toilet can be a bit tricky…especially depending on the kind of wood you decide to go with for your pallet wall.

      We used 1×3″ furring strips which actually only measure 0.656″ thick. Just enough space for us to slide them back behind the toilet without issue.

      I did slightly adjust my pallet pattern behind the toilet so that I could put the wood behind and still tack it on with nails on either end.

      I hope that makes a little bit of sense!

      Would love to see pics when you’re done. – Share them with us @ thisnestisblessed@gmail.com

  17. I am planning on doing one wood plank wall in our Master Bedroom, the wall measures 17’L X 11’H. I looked into “stikwood’ and those measurements would have cost me approximately $2500+ to accomplish. I have no intention of spending that much…thank you for sharing!!!

    • The and Vanessa! We looked at stikwood too. Pretty insane what they’re charging but if some people don’t want to put on the elbow grease than I guess it works. Glad you’re going the more reasonable route πŸ‘πŸ˜„!

  18. Did you put a protective layerover the wood for the wetness in the bathroom?

    • Hi Kirst,
      We did not. The bathroom that we installed it in doesn’t have a bath or shower so we weren’t too worried. And ultimately, there have been no issues. Hope this helps!

    • Hi Mitch,
      We tried to keep it simple and only use two to avoid to many colors. I believe it was minwax “gray” and minwax “walnut.”

      Hope that helps!

  19. Looks great!!

    Did you cover up the nail holes?
    Or are the brad nails small enough to hide or get away with?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Kate,
      Brad nails are small enough to hide. Plus, anything you can see just adds character.

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  21. This is great! I want to do this in my bathroom too. Did you have any issue with the wood being too thick to fit behind the toilet? That is my only concern. Thanks

    • Not at all actually. Many furring strips (the wood we used) are only 1/2″ which is just enough space.

  22. So excited to see all the posts. Going to do my “small” master bathroom this week. Thanks to every one for all the great ideas. Tami

    • Nothing fancy at all. Just a Husky 2 piece kit picked up at Home Depot. I used the finish nailer for this project.

  23. Great look. Looks awesome. I have a question, was your existing toilet up against the wall before you put the wood paneling on? Or was there an existing gap from the wall?

    Than you

    • Hi Chris,
      We already had a gap between the toilet and the wall. Roughly 2″ which was perfect. I think this is pretty standard.
      Let us know if you tackle this project. Would love to see pictures!

  24. Quick question: Did you have any issues with uneven gaps between the wood strips? I checked Lowe’s inventory this weekend and several of the strips were warped enough that they wouldn’t line up horizontally with other strips. :-/

    • Just took a bit of patience when picking out pieces. Minor gaps weren’t a big deal to us. Good luck with your project!

  25. Great looking project! Just curious how its held up over the last couple years. Any problems with expansion or bowing of the wood or has the finish nailing alone worked out pretty well?

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