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Closet Makeover with Bead-board Wall Paneling

Yikes, writing this I’m realizing how behind I really am on updates to the Master Bedroom I’m featuring for Better Home & Garden’s One Room Challenge (I explain more here). Week 3’s update is about the closet, an add-on part to the bedroom itself. It’s a huge part of the overall finish of the Master and I thought it would be a great opportunity to offer some tips if you want to add beadboard wall paneling in your home.


The Before

The closet was a mess, to say the least.

Beadboard Wall Paneling ORCAfter moving everything out and stripping it down to the crappy wire shelving a previous owner had installed, we realized there was quite a bit of work to do to clean it up. The old shelving required two screws for every connection to the wall. After removing them all there were 60+ holes to caulk and sand two to three times. Another thing we realized was how uneven the baseboards were. We decided to replace them entirely. Removing those gave us yet another hurdle, the walls didn’t go to the ground. There was about 6″-9″ between floor and end of the drywall. We could see right through to the studs so we knew we had to find a solution without having to replace the walls entirely.

First, to essentially bring the “wall” to the floor we had to cover the gap. Putting on new baseboards along would mean they would have to be extremely high, and I just knew it wasn’t the right look. So, I came up with bead-board wall paneling. We could attach it to the wall and then finish with a simple baseboard, connecting wall and floor with no gaps or spaces. No one would ever be able to see how the old drywall/plaster wall is basically floating behind it.

After measuring, planning and getting the right tools we got to work.


How We Installed Bead-board Wall Paneling

Watch a quick TikTok Video of how we did it here, or read a more specific step-by-step process below!


Step 1: Purchase finishes and gather the correct tools.

For tools and products we used:

  • Measuring Tape
  • Level
  • Brad Nailer
  • Drill
  • Compound Miter Saw
  • Circular Saw
  • Wood Filler
  • Caulk
  • Caulk Gun

Finishes we purchased:

  • Paintable White Bead Hardboard Wainscoting Panel from Home Depot
  • 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ Boards for the Baseboard
  • 1/2″ x 2 1/4″ Boards for the “Chair Railing”
  • 3/4 in. x 3/4 in. PVC Interior Quarter Round Molding for the Corner and Baseboard Trim

Note: We measured the walls prior and planned how we were going to cut down everything at home based on the tools we had.



Step 2: Nail beadboard paneling to the wall.
Beadboard Wall Paneling ORC
Installing Beadboard Wall Paneling ORC

We decided on a height that we wanted the chair rail to sit at. Marking the same distance from floor to that height periodically around the room we then used the level to try to make it as straight and parallel as possible despite the irregular measurements an old house brings.

After cutting our paneling to the correct sizes we nailed the pieces to the wall using 2″ brad nails.


Step 3: Install chair rail.
Installing Beadboard Wall Paneling ORC

Again we measured, drew leveled lines, and cut all of the pieces to the appropriate lengths to go wall to wall. We then made 45-degree beveled cuts so the pieces met to make 90-degree angles in each corner.


Step 4: Install baseboards.
Installing Beadboard Wall Paneling ORC
Beadboard Walls with Trim for Closet in Bedroom
Installing Beadboard Wall Paneling ORC

We repeated the same process here with the thicker pieces on the baseboards. However, we did not have to level as precisely since we just wanted them to be flush with the floors.


Step 5: Install corner and toe-kick trim.
Beadboard Wall Paneling ORC

We used 3/4 in. x 3/4 in. PVC Interior Quarter Round Molding for the Corner and Baseboard Trim.


Step 6: Wood Filler.

Next we filled in all of the nail holes with wood filler and let that dry.


Step 7: Caulk.

In each corner, space, gap and hole left we caulked. You’ll want to get into a rhythm with the calk gun, getting used to how much and how fast it spits out the caulk. Have a paper towel or rag in hand to wipe away excess.


Step 8: Paint.

Finally, we painted all of it. I chose to keep it simple and test out the baseboard as being the same color as the walls and I love it. Once the paint was on and the caulk and bumps were covered up I really couldn’t believe how pretty a closet could be (LOL). It was perfect and ready to install a closet kit, which I’ll circle back on soon.


The Finished Product:

Beadboard Walls with Trim for Closet in Bedroom

Beadboard Walls with Trim for Closet in Bedroom

Beadboard Walls with Trim for Closet in Bedroom

Coming Soon: The Closet System

I simplified it big time but YouTube and the right tools made the biggest difference in being able to do it ourselves. It was a huge leap because this DIY job gave us the confidence to do so much more to the house. It taught us that things can be a bit imperfect, that they are fixable, or that once finished not to be too hard on oneself.

Can’t wait to share the install of the closet system I designed with Ikea’s Boaxel System! Stay tuned!


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