Hello! Hello! On our last blog post, we showed you how we transformed our living room by tweaking the positioning of our sectional couch and with the addition of a DIY shiplap wall unit (if you missed that post, click here to read it). Our living room had a large wall that looked pretty empty and in need of some love. The living room was also lacking storage and space for accessories and this wall unit was a solution for both of those issues. We absolutely love the final look of this project – the custom, built-in elevates the whole space. Are you wondering how you would even get started … well no need to fret, we’ve got you covered with some step-by-step details for this project.

We started out by going online to the IKEA kitchen planner to play around with the cabinet sizes to see what would work in our space. We opted for 3 – 36” cabinets for a total size of 9’. Each cabinet was 15” deep x 20” high x 36” wide.

Once we made the decision on what cabinet sizes we wanted, we were able to frame up the wall, leaving space for the shiplap and cabinets. We wanted the framed wall to come out about 1 ½” past the edge of the countertop on the cabinets.

When we first moved into our house and set out to find shiplap to put on a few feature walls, we couldn’t find the traditional milled shiplap so we used 1” x 10” pine boards instead and that’s what we used for this project as well. We started air nailing the boards the drywall on the large back wall of our living room and then working our way around the framed walls we built. And our little supervisor was pretending to use the air nailer too - typical supervisor ... all show and no action. haha. ;)

We hung the IKEA cabinets next by using the installing the rail that they provide and then hanging the cabinets on that. The instructions that IKEA provides are helpful for this step.

A little Thomas & Friends break:

To add a special, rustic touch to the shiplap, we added roofing nails to the corners of the boards. We pre-drilled a hole using a level as a guide on how far out from the edges to drill. Next, we hammered in a roofing nail in each spot where we wanted a nail. To add a little randomness, we didn’t add a nail of every corner of every board – we skipped a few.

We decided to whitewash the boards instead of painting them so we could see more wood grain. We added 2-parts paint with 1-part water and then stirred the mixture. First, we brushed the mixture onto the boards, going in the same direction of the wood grain. And then we would give the board a quick wipe with a rag, also going in the direction of the wood grain. We found it helpful to only paint one board at a time so that it didn’t dry before we were able to wipe it off. We added two coats of whitewash and then it looked like this:

We planned out the wood shelves in the left side of the wall unit by drawing them out first and this helped us to decide how many shelves we wanted and how far apart they should be. We screwed 2” x 2” boards to the 3 walls where the wood shelves were going to go. We wanted the shelves to be 16” deep so we made the 2”x2” boards 15 ¼” long for the 2 side walls. We used ½” plywood for the tops and bottoms of the shelves and we cut it 15 ¼” deep as well. We installed the plywood by nailing it to the top and bottom of the 2”x2” boards that we cut and attached to the shiplap. Next, we used a 1”x4” pine board and we cut it down on the table saw so that it was 2” wide. The 2” pine board would then act as the front plate on the shelf, covering the 2” x 2” frame and the plywood that was installed on the top and bottom of the frame. We sanded the whole shelf down with a palm sander and 220-grit sandpaper. We filled the air nail marks using a dark brown wood fill and once the wood fill was dry, we lightly sanded it, again using a 220-grit sandpaper.

We taped off the walls on all sides of the wood shelves and then proceeded to apply a wood stain using a clean, dry rag and moving in the direction of the wood grain. For this project, we chose the 'Dark Walnut' Minwax stain. We applied the stain to the countertop and to the wood shelves.

Our IKEA cabinets were in need of a 9’ countertop so we explored our options and discovered that the longest option available in stock at hardware stores was only 8’ long. So unless we were willing to custom order a countertop or go with a more expensive stone option, we were going to have to have seams in the countertop. We opted for 3 countertop boards that measured 36” L x 20” D x 1” thick and we ripped them on the table saw to be 16” D. We wanted the countertop pieces to be attached so they would have more strength and shift as one pieces so we used a Kregg drill to attach the all of the pieces.

Next we sanded down the countertop with 220-grit sandpaper. We focused on sanding the top, front edge in order to round the edge a bit so it wasn’t as sharp.

We stained the countertop with the same stain colour as the wooden shelves that we built on the left side of the wall unit.

We used the ‘Chalk Clear Coat – Matte’ product to apply a protective topcoat on the wooden shelves and the countertop. We bought the clear coat product in a 1-litre can (rather than the spray can) so that it had less of a smell since we were applying it in our house and also because it was easier to apply heavier coats with this product.

And to finish off this project, we wrapped baseboard around the bottom of the wall unit. And then we applied dap along the wall on the sides of the wall unit and we touched up any spots that needed a little paint. Here's how the wood shelves looked on the edges before we touched them up with a sponge brush and paint.

There are a lot of little steps to get this project over the finish line, but overall, the project moved along smoothly. The end result is beautiful and makes us head over heels in love with the living room.

Previous Post: Shiplap Wall Unit Reveal

Next Post: Wood Bead Garland DIY Decor

#house3 #HomeDIYProjects #diyproject

Related Posts

See All


Join our mailing list

Never miss an update