DIY Herringbone Plank Wall {upcyled from an ugly, old fence}!

MUST PIN!  Upcyle an old fence into a herringbone plank wall!  Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body!

I am kind of BURSTING with excitement over this project.  BURSTING!  As you know, we are presently working on our kitchen makeover.  Phase 1 began with our pantry makeover.  Phase 2 involved creating this MAGNIFICENT {if I do say so myself} DIY herringbone plank wall in our eat-in kitchen area {that was previously occupied by cabinetry–more on that in a future post}.  And today I am going to tell you all about how we did it!

First, you probably recall from our kitchen mood board that I included a reclaimed wood plank component.  In case you missed it, here is our mood board and you can check out more details about our planned kitchen makeover here.

Kitchen Makeover Plans by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {}


Initially, I did plan to create a standard, horizontal reclaimed wood plank wall.  And I was excited about it.  Then, my marvelous, amazing, genius husband and DIY partner very casually said, “Why don’t we do a herringbone plank wall?”  WHHHHHHAAATTTT???  I thought he would think I was going out on a design limb by wanting to do a plank wall, so for him to take it up a notch made me the happiest wife on earth!  My answer, of course, was YES!

Our first hurdle came when we started brainstorming where to get the wood.  We did not want to spend much money {since we are on a serious budget for this kitchen makeover}.  We thought about pallets and even looked for some reclaimed wood on Craigslist.  But we just weren’t excited about any of the possibilities.  Then, my genius husband said, “Maybe we could use the wood from the privacy fence on the deck.”  Holy cow.  I have always known I had married the perfect man for me, but I fell in love with him all over again in that moment.  He’s a genius I tell you.

You are probably thinking, “what privacy fence on your deck?”  I am a tad embarrassed to show you this, but it has to be done.  THIS is what he was referring to.

MUST PIN!  Stunning DIY Herringbone Wall by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {}

We had planned to remove the unfortunate looking privacy fence anyway, so why not do it now and use the wood for something?!  It was the perfect solution.

Joe started by removing boards and sanding them down.  The finish that was on the boards looks kind of cool and weathered in the photo, but it was rather green and dingy in person.  NOT something we wanted in our kitchen.  So, Joe sanded them down while I was at work {again, I love that man}.  It was a messy job, but the boards looked great once they were sanded down.

MUST PIN!  Stunning DIY Herringbone Wall by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {}

It was a messy job, but somebody had to do it.

MUST PIN!  Stunning DIY Herringbone Wall by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {}

That weekend, we played around with various stains and finishes until we settled on a simple combination of tung oil and a very, very light dry brushing of grey paint.

MUST PIN!  Stunning DIY herringbone wall by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body.  Full tutorial!

 MUST PIN!  Stunning DIY Wood Herringbone Wall by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body

This was the look we ended up with:

MUST PIN!  Stunning DIY Wood Herringbone Plank Wall by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body

Once our wood planks were “perfectly imperfect,” we started planning for the wall application.  Fortunately, we had already removed the cabinetry from the wall, so the hard work was already done {or so we thought}.

To be honest, we had a hard time figuring out exactly where to start.  But we did figure it out, and now you can benefit from all of our head scratching.

First, let’s quickly review the basics of a herringbone pattern.  With a herringbone pattern, the ends are straight cuts that are butted against each other to create a 90 degree angle.  The cuts are actually quite easy, because they are all straight cuts everywhere, except where the ends meet the end of a wall.  Here is a diagram of a herringbone pattern:


Read on for the full tutorial.

Materials needed to create a herringbone plank wall:

  • Chop saw {or circular saw and speed square}
  • Nail gun
  • Level
  • Speed square
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk line {or marker}


1) Measure and find the center of your wall.  Use a long level and a marker, or a chalk line, to draw a vertical line all the way down the center of your wall.

2) Grab your first two boards.  Again, note that all of your boards {except those that terminate at the end of a wall or meet up with a wall in the corner} will be cut to the EXACT SAME LENGTH and will be straight cuts.  Our were 28 inches long.  Butt the end of your boards together to form a 90 degree angle.  Align the boards along the center line that you marked on the wall.  The center line should intersect the middle of the two boards.  See below for an illustration of what I mean {the grey line represents the center line that you will have drawn on your wall}.

Herringbone Wall Diagram

To confirm that your angle is correct, place your speed square in the corner created by the boards.  If your 90 degree angle is perfect, the speed square to sit in the corner without shifting around.  Once you are certain your angle is correct, nail the boards into place with your nail gun.  If you don’t have a nail gun, you could use a hammer and nail to do it the old-fashioned way.  Be sure to get at least one nail per board in a stud so that they are sufficiently secured to your wall.

3) Continue adding boards and confirming your angles before nailing them into place.

MUST PIN!  DIY Wood Herringbone Plank Wall Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body {}

It moves fairly quickly, with the exception of having to make some special cuts to allow for outlets and light switches.  Just mark and cut the boards accordingly.

MUST PIN!  DIY Wood Herringbone Wall by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body.  Full tutorial!

And here is the finished product.  We LOVE IT!

MUST PIN!  DIY Wood Herringbone Wall by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body.  Full tutorial!


MUST PIN!  DIY Wood Herringbone Plank Wall by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body.  Full tutorial!

MUST PIN!  DIY Wood Herringbone Plank Wall by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body.  Full tutorial!

 This gorgeous herringbone plank wall will serve as the backdrop for our eat in area.  Now we just need to beautify the rest of the kitchen!  We have several more weeks of work.  I can’t wait to finish and share the results with you.  UPDATE: The kitchen reveal is now up on the blog!  Click HERE for part 1 and click HERE for part 2!  Here is what our beautiful wall looks like with our furniture and accessories in place.  We LOVE IT!

WOW! Budget kitchen makeover by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body. Totally transformed with PAINT! #kitchenmakeover

For now, I would love to hear what you think of our herringbone wall?  Do you love it, or do you prefer simple, straight line plank walls?  Can you believe we turned that ugly, old privacy fence into this beautiful herringbone plank wall FOR FREE?

AWESOME TUTORIAL!  DIY herringbone plank wall from an old, ugly fence!  #plankwall


MUST PIN!  DIY Herringbone Plank Wall Tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body.  Full tutorial!

MUST PIN!  DIY Wood Herringbone Wall by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body.  Full tutorial!


Linking to:


    • says

      Thanks so much, Emilie! I hope to have the full reveal up by early May, but you will start seeing more kitchen projects here and there between now and then :)

  1. Debra Boyer says

    Fabulous and kudos to your great husband! Loving the look and really, the price was so right! Anxious for the full reveal.

  2. Kathryn says

    I cannot believe that wall. This is my favorite project you did so far even though I love and are amazed at them all. The fact that you saved that privacy wall and made it look so beautiful is so great. Paul & I are so into recycling things, the reason we have so much stuff. Ha, Ha. You both just keep amazing me with all your interesting projects.

  3. says

    Ummm, so awesome!!! I love it too!! Great job, and kudos to your husband for coming up with the idea! I pinned, because I am determined to get a plank wall in my house someday (my closest doesn’t count, but I love it too) I want a big accent wall! Thanks for sharing!! I can’t wait to see the rest of your kitchen when you finish!

    • says

      Hi Mindi! Thank you so much. I know, I was so impressed when Joe suggested a herringbone pattern. The plank wall in your closet is amazing. Well, your whole closet is amazing. I’ll come to your house and give you a herringbone plank wall if you come re-do our closet :)

    • says

      Thank you, Angela! We are sooooo tired, but the kitchen transformation is about 50% done and we are loving it. Can’t wait to show it to all of you soon!

  4. Colette says

    Amazing transformation!! I love your herringbone plank wall! I can’t believe that is the same wood as your privacy wall!! Good luck with your project!
    Cheers, Colette

  5. says

    Hi Tasha, you have out done yourself with this one. I love the herringbone pattern, it looks even more amazing in the wood on the wall. And using the privacy screen, genius! Hold on to that one, he’s a keeper for sure. Was your privacy fence made of cedar? I love the finish you came up with too, it looks great! Thanks for sharing :)

    • says

      Awww, thank you, Meg! He is a keeper :) We aren’t totally sure what type of wood the planks are, but I don’t think they are cedar. I wish I knew!

    • says

      Thank you, Kelly! LOL! I just read your comment to Joe. You are right. Any man that knows what herringbone is is my SOUL MATE! I think I’ll keep him for sure :)

  6. says

    What a cool way to upcycle! You’re right-that fence was very unfortunate. But that wall is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing at Fridays Unfolded!


  7. says

    I love this SO much! It really makes me miss our similar wood walls in the living room of our old house. They add so much warmth and character! And congrats on marrying the genius and thought to do herringbone :)

    • says

      Thank you so much, Julie! I am thrilled that is cost us absolutely nothing! I can’t wait to finish the kitchen and to put a table and chairs in front of the wall. Have a great weekend!

  8. says

    Oh I’m SO, SO jealous of your wall! Just amazing! I don’t know how you guys keep coming up with these amazing ideas! I’m DYING to see the rest of the kitchen too :) Thanks so much for linking up at Thursday STYLE! Have a great week :)

    • says

      Awww, thanks so much, Angela! We are dog tired, but our kitchen makeover is coming along. We have family coming in town this week, so we probably won’t get much done until after Easter, but we are so tired, I think the break will be welcome :)

    • says

      Thank you so much, Gail! I just returned from checking out your AMAZING table top. I love it! Looks like Louie does, too! Thanks so much for catching me this week :)

  9. Janet says

    It’s gorgeous! I was watching an episode of House Hunters International recently and there was an apartment in Paris with original floors that were over 100 years old that had the most gorgeous Herringbone floors. So this isn’t just a trend, it should stand the test of time. I LOVE, love, Love it! I’m scanning my house to see were I can put one, I just decided- the back and side of my peninsula in my kitchen!

    • says

      Thanks so much, Janet! That is exactly why we opted for a herringbone pattern. It’s a true classic! It will look gorgeous on the back of your peninsula. I hope you will share your results!

  10. says

    This looks awesome. What a great project upcycle. I love the rustic look of this. I’d love to have this in our bedroom I’m redoing. Hmmmm! It might just happen.

    Shannon ~


  1. […] 21 Rosemary Lane revealed her oh-so-pretty master bedroom makeover.  Tasha from Designer Trapped In A Lawyer’s Body shared her gorgeous herringbone plank wall.  You won’t believe where the boards came […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *