We created this epic trim accent wall as part of a bedroom makeover for a fellow diy-er who's bedroom was destroyed when a pipe burst and her ceiling came crashing down. She's 9 months pregnant, so we decided to show up and work some magic to give her a master bedroom retreat in just 4 days.
This trim wall is intricate, with 8 boxes across and 6 down, so we had to work smart to make this go quickly with our tight timeline. We reached out to our amazing friend Nicole @simplyalignedhome to turn our design plan into actual plans that we could follow with measurements and instructions. Nicole is an engineer who creates incredible plans and actually offers this as a service, so if you want someone to do all the hard work (and math) for you, be sure to send her a dm.
These are the plans Nicole @simplyalignedhome made for us:
Having these plans meant we could batch-cut all the trim. My diy bestie Jessie (@eyeinthedetail) did this by setting up a block at the end of the saw so that the distance from the block to the saw blade was the exact measurement we needed. She then cut each trim piece by lining it up against this block, changing the position of the block for each of the 3 sizes of trim in the plan.
STEP 01: prep & paint
For this wall, we wanted it to be tone-on-tone with both the wall and the trim painted the same color. This adds more texture and interest to the wall vs it just being one color and gives it a classic, upleveled look.
To save time, I painted two coats of our paint color (linked below) onto the wall while Jessie was out in the garage cutting all the trim pieces. This base color meant we didn't have to spend time painting between all the little boxes and could just paint the trim with a paintbrush once it was attached.
STEP 02: attach the trim
We started by attaching the top horizontal row of trim to the wall using a level and a spacer block to get the exact spacing in between. You want to use a level because the ceiling in your room is usually not perfectly flush — as you can tell in the photo below, specifically on the left side. So if you measure off the ceiling, your trim pieces wont be straight.
We measured down 3" from the center of the ceiling and then used this as our point to rest the level on, placing the trim pieces right under it and securing in place with 3 nails per piece from our 18 gauge brad nailer.
I recommend using a long level — we used 48" — so you can level each trim piece with the one next to it. This helps ensure your whole row is straight.
After the top row, we added the side pieces and then the bottom, and the wall started to look some thing like this:
STEP 03: caulk & fill nail holes
After the trim was attached, we caulked each edge and corner with paintable caulk and let dry. We used the same caulk to fill each nail hole. We smoothed it out with a wet paper towel to give us an even surface to paint the trim.
STEP 04: paint the trim
After the caulk was dry, we painted all the white trim pieces with 2 coats of our wall paint color. We chose primed mdf trim for this space — which is why its white — so this meant the trim was ready to paint as soon as it was up.
MDF was an affordable option for this room since we needed so many pieces, and since we were painting it we didn't need for it to be real wood. If you're adding this in a bathroom or somewhere that has more moisture, you will probably want to opt for real wood trim since it is more durable for spaces with humidity.