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How to Create a Modern Accent Wall


A full tutorial showing how we created a modern accent wall for the nursery. 

Want to see more accent wall projects? Check out this dining room accent wall and this grid board and batten accent wall

how to create a modern accent wall

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. For more information, see my disclosures here.

When I was designing the nursery, I knew I wanted to have some sort of feature or accent wall. Something to draw your eye to a main section of the room where the crib would go.

Accent walls are something I love adding to rooms because they add a ton of texture and character to a space. 

For the nursery, I wanted to mimic the grid board and batten wall that we have in our master bedroom. But instead of doing traditional squares for the design, I thought it would be fun to do something more modern and playful. 

blank yellow wall in a nursery

I did some browsing on Pinterest for modern accent walls and found this tutorial from Lindi at Love Create Celebrate. She did a makeover on their entryway with a beautiful dark modern accent wall.

I loved the design of the boards and how they are angled to create a random yet purposeful design. 

That’s when I got the idea for the modern accent wall in the nursery. I wanted to create a similar design but in all white. 

It would complement our master bedroom accent wall but would be more fun for a kid’s space. I knew it would be the perfect addition to the nursery! 

gold baby balloon in a nursery

Let me show you how we built it!

How to Create a Modern Accent Wall




First, we needed to create the design for the wall. 

Lindi shares a really great tutorial for creating a design for your own wall. She also shares how they used tape to visualize the design on the wall and then measure the pieces that they needed to cut. 

We decided to be a little more precise and create the design on the computer. 

Before we could start the design, we measured the length and height of the wall so that we knew the main dimensions we would be working with. 

Then, we quickly sketched some design ideas on paper to see what kind of pattern we wanted. We had a few different options and used Lindi’s design as inspiration for how to arrange the boards. 

Once we had something we were happy with, it was time to put it into the computer. 

We created a mock-up of the wall using Sketch-Up. Here’s the design we came up with. 

computer SketchUp design of the modern accent wall

Because we put the main dimensions into the software, we were able to have the computer figure out what the measurements would be for each individual board. 

To keep everything simple, every angle in the design was 45 degrees. 


As part of our design we labeled each board with a letter. This was really important because we were going to cut all of the pieces at once. The labels would be our guide so we know how to assemble each piece to create the design on our accent wall.

Using the computer design, we cut all of the boards to size using a miter saw

wooden pieces labeled and cut for a modern accent wall

Some of the lengths in the design were longer than the MDF boards themselves, so we had to use two boards for those areas. When we had these cases, we cut an angle between the boards. This would help them fit seamlessly together on the wall. 

After each board was cut, we labeled the back of the board. Then we brought everything up the nursery for installation. 


The first piece that we installed on the wall was the base piece. We decided to create a base piece at the bottom of the accent wall but slightly above the existing trim in the room. 

This piece was one of the lengths that was longer than the MDF boards themselves. So, we had to cut this in two separate pieces. 

To make sure they fit together really well, we cut them at an angle where they would attach together. This helps to hide the seam between them and make it look like one long seamless piece of wood. 

close up of the base piece with an angle on the modern accent wall
installing a base piece for the modern accent wall

To attach the board to the wall, we first added some wood glue to the back of the board. Then, using the level, we placed the board on the wall according to our design. Once it was level and in place, we used a nail gun to attach it to the wall. 

attaching the base piece with wood glue to the modern accent wall

After the base piece, the next piece that we installed was the main diagonal. This was the longest piece and was used as a guide for installing the other boards on the wall. My advice is to work with the largest pieces first.

determining location of first piece using a speed square on the modern accent wall

We used a speed square to make sure the angle was correct for the large diagonal piece. Then we attached it to the wall in the same way that we attached the base piece.

first piece installed on modern accent wall

Then, we kept attaching boards to the wall according to the design plan. 

two wood pieces installed on modern accent wall

Each time, we measured the location based on either the large diagonal board or another board that was in place on the wall. 

measuring spacing between pieces on a modern accent wall
installing diagonal pieces for a modern accent wall
using a speed square for a modern accent wall
attaching wood to the wall for a modern accent wall


Once all of the boards were attached to the wall, the design was ready. We just had to add the finishing touches.

wood pieces of modern accent wall installed

Since we attached the boards to the wall with a nail gun, we needed to fill all of the holes. Using wood putty, we filled the nail holes and sanded them so they were flush with the wood surface. 

To make the accent wall look like one built-in piece, we decided to caulk the gaps between the boards and the existing wall. This would hide any gaps or spaces and make everything look seamless.

You can see in the photo below the gaps between the boards and the nails from attaching the boards to the wall. This was before all of the caulking and adding wood putty. 

modern accent wall structure

After the caulk was dried, it was time to paint the entire wall.

I decided that I wanted the accent wall to be white. We used trim paint that we had on hand from the rest of our house projects. The trim paint is a semi-gloss white. It really gives the accent wall a nice finished look. 

I used a small foam roller to paint the wall between the boards. And for the corners of the boards and the wall, I used a small angled paintbrush. 

I used two coats of paint to completely cover the accent wall. After everything was dried, the modern accent wall was done!

white modern accent wall in nursery

I love how it turned out! I can’t wait to show you the finished space. The accent wall really pulls everything together and creates a beautiful focal point. 

I’m so excited to share the full nursery reveal soon!

You can follow along as we makeover the nursery via the links below:

Neutral Feminine Nursery Design Plan

How to Test Paint Colors

How to Create a Modern Accent Wall (You’re Here)


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  1. we like that you said that this process is not your favorite but is always worth it. My wife and I plan to our room. We will need a Painting Contractor Service to help us out on this.

  2. My problems is that my walls are heavily textured. I hate the texture..but don’t want to n out up white msf board first. Do you think this design will work with textured walls?

    1. With a textured wall, you may want to add an actual board to the wall before you add the battens. Something like finished plywood if you want the flat finish to the wall. A heavily textured wall might not give you the look you are going for

  3. Really like that you used software to map out your design and your cut lines. I’m wanting to do the same but am not familiar with the software. Do you have a tutorial or instructions on how you used the software for this project?

  4. Frederic Bean says:

    Hi Christene,
    Any chance you could share the sketch-up layout you created?


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