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Creating An Accent Wall With Reclaimed Barn Wood And Pallets

When it came to adding an accent wall to our master bedroom, we turned to an old favorite, barn wood! For us, it is a great way to bring a little history from our farm into our new home.

barn wood

My dad’s barn – one of two old barns we tore down in 2011 to build our new one at the farm

It  was just 5 short years ago that we built the first “real” structure at the farm.

A “new” 36′ x 24′ barn created from the wood of two turn-of-the-century barns. Barns that we tore down during the long, hot summer of 2011.

The fact that one of the barns had been my fathers made it all the more special.

We thought it was only fitting to use a little of that old barn wood in the new house. The accent wall in the master bedroom gave us the perfect canvas.

We sorted through the left over remnants, trying to select a mix of colors, widths and thickness to create a truly random wall. For good measure, we even added in a couple of pallet pieces and rough-sawn boards from past projects. The end result is a wall made up of pine, poplar, cherry, oak and cedar boards.

Cleaning Old Barn Wood

Whether working with old barn wood, pallets, or reclaimed lumber, sanding tends to destroy a lot of the character of the wood. We have found that a Power Washer and a little soap works like a charm to clean off years of grime. By using a Basic Fan Nozzle, it removes the dirt, but not the detail in the wood.

barn wood

Figuring out a random look was actually a difficult task!

After cleaning, we then ran the boards through the table saw to even the edges, and it was time to build!

Creating The Wall – Making Random, Random.

I think one of the most difficult tasks in making the wall was to keep the look random. It sounds easy enough, but it can take a while to find out which pattern of boards works best.

We spent a few hours putting up the boards in different patterns until finally getting the look we wanted.

Building The Wall

We first attached sheets of 1/2″ plywood to the studs to create a solid surface to nail the old boards on. Once that was complete – we attached the barn pieces with 2 1/2″ pin nails and construction adhesive. Once we had the “random” pattern we liked figured out, it took all of about 30 minutes to complete.

I have to admit that for both of us, it’s a great feeling knowing we have a little history from our past in our new house!

Happy Barn Wood Building!– Jim and Mary.  To receive our Recipes, DIY and Gardening articles each week, sign up to follow the blog via email in the right hand column above, “Like” us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. You can also check out our new book, Growing Simple, now available on