MDF from True Value in the house!

Hey there!

It was nice and sunny out today, (yay!) so I was able to snap some pics of our progress in the master bedroom.

You may remember how it looked BEFORE…

…well, this is where we’re at CURRENTLY…

Keep in mind, we’ve still got LOTS of nail holes to fill, outlets to re-cover, base boards and crown molding to cut & attach (the base boards are just laying against the wall in the photo above), corner trim to attach (to make for a nice, smooth transition where the wood wall meets the “Blue Hubbard”-painted wall), and 144 square feet of planks to paint (the boards in this photo are just primed- not painted)- not to mention, we’re gonna clad the wall next to this one in wood too. But man does it feel good to have some of those suckers up off the floor and attached to the wall!

We’re using 1″x6″ planks of MDF we got at True Value. They’re smooth and straight, and thanks to our new, high-powered nail gun- they’re a cinch to put up, too!

We started by breaking up the window wall into three sections…

Obviously, we worked on section 2 first. Kevin used our laser level/stud finder to mark where each stud was within that section…

Next, he drew a vertical line where he found each of the studs…

Then he used a measuring tape to determine how long each plank should be…

(I made the line a little darker so you could see it better)

Here’s a little video we shot right after we had finished working on section 2…

(Click here to watch it on YouTube)

Once we got all the boards up in sections 1 and 3, we added a little schmarchitectural interest (that’s schmancy, as in “fancy schmancy”, architectural interest) by using a 1×2″ in the gap created by the window sill…

(Section 1)

(Section 3)

It looks sorta chair rail-ish. I dig it.

We intentionally planned for the “seams” between sections 1, 2 and 3 to hide behind where the curtains would fall- so it’ll look like the boards stretch from one side of the room to the other. Move your cursor back and forth over the photo below to see what I mean…

(If you’re reading in Google Reader, you’ll have to come over to our site to see it!)

As for the rest of the room, well, this is the old view from the doorway, into the room…

Ya see that weird “bump out” thing at the back of that picture?

That’s actually the end of our front porch…

Two feet of the living room and the entire master bedroom were added on to the house in 2003. The red line in the photo below shows where the old house and the new part of the house meet…

(They had to use a different type of decorative cinderblock on the addition. Apparently you can’t get the other kind anymore. Boo. We’ll have to do something about that eventually.)

Anywho, we’ve decided to embrace the bump out, so we’re gonna attempt to build some kind of built-in bookcase to the right of it. Sort of like this:

I’m not sure exactly what it’ll look like, or if it’ll have doors or not have doors, or if it’ll have five shelves or six shelves, etc. etc.- but I think it’ll be nice to have a little extra storage/display space in the room.

And it won’t take up any valuable floor space either- yesssss!  Plus, the cable hook up is already right there on that wall. Double yesssss!

I’m really happy with how it’s all turning out.

So happy, I’m including another presto chango…you know the drill:

I love presto chango’s.

And True Value MDF.

*We were selected by True Value to work on the DIY Blog Squad. We’ve been compensated for our time commitment to the program as well as for the materials needed to complete our DIY Blog Squad projects. That being said, our opinions are entirely our own and we have not been paid to publish positive comments.

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  1. says

    Great woodwork in the bedroom! I love that look. I’m going to have to post my family room paneling redo. It was tons of work because we did the ceiling as well. It came out beautiful though. Thanks for the great pictures! Desiree

  2. Margaret says

    Love the look and you are so creative. If you don’t mind me asking, what program are you using for the perspective…love the detail it provides. Thanks if you can share and will continue to look forward to your post.
    Best to you both,

  3. says

    I am so proud of & excited for you two. Making your dreams come true and every day working on something you’re both passionate about. What could be better than that?!

  4. says

    It is going to be as cheerful and sunny as the rooms you’ve already done. I’m looking forward to seeing it finished – come to think of it, I bet you are too!

  5. Dorothy says

    Looks great. I think I’m really liking the Blue Hubbard wall too. Are you pleased with it? I wish our house were progressing as eficiently as yours is!

  6. says

    Its just as great as I imagined! I’ve been thinking of doing the same thing in my entry but the wall I’m planningon is bumped out. Are you doing anything special for your edges?? And is a table saw necessary or did you use something else? Curious and jealous!!

    • says

      Hi Caroline,

      We are using our compound miter saw to make all our cuts.
      We’re going to cover the edges with some kinda little flat trim.
      We kinda wing it as we go- but I’ll be sure to post close up pics when we get to that point!

      Layla :-)

  7. Andrea Thornley says

    Super amazing!

    What colour did you guys paint the bedroom again? I can’t find the post where you decided on the colour… Thanks!

  8. says


    My bedroom as a teenager up had walls like these. I love them! Incorporating that bump out into a built in shelving unit is brilliant!

    Your Friend,

  9. says

    LOVE. IT. :)
    I need your photoshopping skills! I have been trying to figure out what kind of portico to build over our front door and my presto chango skills are not up to par….you need to rub off on me! LOL
    I KNEW you were gonna love that nail gun….TJ and I have used ours more than I ever even thought we would….we enjoy dragging out all our tools and playing with them! :-) Have fun working on your room…can’t wait to see the finished product! Oh, and if it makes you feel better, I would never have realized your cinderblocks are different…..can’t tell in the picture anyway. :)


  10. says

    I hope you all don’t get tired of hearing how amazing you both are because YOU ALL ARE AMAZING! I look forward to seeing the finished product (and the progress updates, too!).

  11. geri says

    Well Layla, only you & Kevin could take MDF and make it
    stand for Mafnificently Deliciously Fabulous!!
    the horizontal look verses the wood vertically.
    I am also emracing my “stucco’ farmhouse with a coastal flair.
    I have given up the ghost however with my adorable blonde Lab Henry
    that is really an adorable blonde “pit”. hehe
    I am so excited to see the next installment.
    Can you please also tell me what kind of wood you
    used for flooring. Thank you, geri.

  12. Nadir@StitchSense says

    Love it! It’s coming along so nicely & brightens the room up & what a perfect spot for a built in bookself too. Once can never have too much storage :-)

  13. says

    Hey kids…I gotta know. Is it really MDF that you used? In the photos where the outlet is cut, it looks like standard pine. (MDF is pressed wood and usually very dark color, was this like that? I thought I saw woodgrain.) I am just wondering because I have never seen MDF come in 1×6 size. I am in the process of doing this same treatment to my guest bedroom and want to know if I should seek out MDF in my area. I had it all planned out to use some salvaged wood, but I am going to be short so have to try to whip up a plan B! ;o)


    • says

      Hey Mary!

      Yep! It’s MDF alright!
      Some of the planks were primed on all four sides, and some of them were only primed on the front and top.
      (Hence, the plank you saw in the first outlet photo)
      The True Value we went to had a HUGE lumber yard out back- so I have a feeling you might have to seek out a local lumber yard to find the 1×6 size.

      Good luck on your room!
      Layla :-)

  14. says

    Looks great. At first, I wondered why you planned the three distinct sections, the curtains made it make sense, great planning ahead. Can’t wait to see it done. Looks great so far, very Pottery Barnesque!

  15. says

    Did I miss a post where you guys did the floor? I noticed it was wood in your first nail gun video but didn’t see anything before that! I love the varying shades of light and dark!

  16. says

    Looks INCREDIBLE! Love the planks (i got addicted to those after doing our attic), of course, and really love blue hubbard in there! Thanks for your sweet comment on the mustard chair! -shaunna :)

  17. says

    Lookin’ good! I know you are excited to have it finished. You’ll have a gorgeous bedroom and your dining room back!

    You are a freakin’ genius with putting the seams where the curtains will hide them. I never would have thought of that (at least before it was finished!)

  18. says

    The roll-over shot of the window (with the curtains) looks soooo amazing it practically took my breath away! I was still having trouble visualizing the space and now I can see your vision! It’s going to be lovely. Not that I had any doubt.

  19. Patti says

    At first I wondered why you went with straight seams instead of staggering the planks, but once I saw the rollover shot with the curtains I got it! As usual, lovely. And seeing even just that little bit of blue hubbard wall proves that we readers made the right call with that color!

  20. says

    such a cool idea! (I’m doing the Wayne and Garth bow- I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!)
    I never would have thought of using MDF planks. I’m rethinking a project in our master bedroom and bath now….. nice job!

  21. Trisha says

    Hey Layla:

    I’m going to be in Prattville this weekend. I’m from New Orleans…my daughter is a newlywed/new resident of Prattville. Me and my other daughter are coming for a girl’s weekend. We plan on some Yard Sales, junk stores, etc. Also, helping her decorate her living room.

    Do you have any suggestions of some thrift stores, junk stores in the area that we shouldn’t miss??? Would love any ideas for shopping.

    Trisha Ray

  22. says

    I love what you have done so far. So much more interesting than the former wall!

    I wanted to give you a little tip. After adding to the depth of the wall, you don’t want to just pull the outlet out and screw in into the new wall. You’ll want to add an outlet box extender. They are super cheap and super easy to install, but they will keep your house safer from electrical fire–especially since it is now surrounded by not-fire-resistant wood.

    From one DIY-er to another . . .

  23. says

    i absolutely LOVE the wood planked room! but, i do have a question… will you embrace the wood ledge that has filled in where the gap was? will you cut it down to be flush? will you use it as a display ledge? I love everything you guys do! wish i could afford your help with a design dilemma i have, but i will just have to take my cue for now from your other projects. LOVE you guys!

    • Layla & Kevin says

      Hey Cece!

      Like I mentioned in the post, we wanted to add some “schmarchitectural interest”. (That’s schmancy (as in fancy-schmancy) architectural interest) :-) It’s sort of like a chair rail, and yes, I had thought about maybe propping something on it every now and then. Who knows!


  24. Amber says

    LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! ooooh i cant wait to see it completed :) think the built in bookcase is a fantastic idea-i can just picture all the lovely bits n bobs you’ll have on those shelves. thanks to you-i have decided to do a ‘plank wall’ in my master bedroom too! we have just built our house & we’re almost at second fix carpentry stage and i had originally planned on a salvaged brick wall but i have that in our dining room and it was workin out too expensive,so then i thought vertical planks but i much rather the horizontal planks now since seeing them on your blog-thank you for the wonderful inspiration. hope you have a lovely weekend :)

  25. says

    I love it! :)
    We’re currently getting ready to put up some wood planking above our tub surround!
    And now that I see the wood planks in the master… we’ll definitely have to carry that look over!

    Oh, oh!
    And guess what I got Cason yesterday!? An air compressor! It’s a little guy, but now we won’t have to borrow. Thanks for the informative video post on yours!

    Now, if you could just tell me when your HGTV show airs, here in Utah… It would be greatly appreciated.
    Haven’t you had an offer yet? Jeesh! I would watch you two transform a room, over some of the goofs on there… ANYTIME :)

    Happy planking, you two!
    ~Shelley Smith

  26. Nichole says

    Layla- Looks great and I have a question for you. How do you think the MDF planks would look on a ceiling? I have an old plaster ceiling I would like to re-do. Do you think the seams would look bad (I would stagger them)? Thanks and keep up the great work!!

    • Layla & Kevin says

      Hey Nichole!

      We’re actually considering doing that on our ceiling in there!
      Just trying to decide if we want to go through all the back-breaking work or not!


      • says

        We did the ceiling and walls of our family room and the seams did not match up (which we knew that they wouldn’t because the panels on the walls are smaller than the ceiling) but we put up crown molding and it looks like a professional did it.


  27. says

    It’s starting to look amazing—I love the presto-chango photos. What a great idea to have the wall color dark so that if any gaps showed the wall you wouldn’t notice. I would have been so thrilled to cover the paint I would have just put it up over the old paint. You guys have taught me so much! Thank you.

  28. says

    I love the look of those wood planks! I have been wanting to do this in our bedroom and now I know how. Thanks for the tutorial! Can’t wait to see more!

  29. says

    That’s so funny!
    I just installed the boards in my master bedroom, too.
    It’s just one wall though. :)
    Love it! Love it! Love it!
    You blog is awesome!
    So inspiring! :)
    Thanks, Layla!

  30. Sarah Teske says

    Looks great! Will you use planks on 2 or 3 of your walls? I’m also anxious to see what you do with the windows/window treatments!

  31. Missy says

    Did you guys switch web hosts without me paying attention? I just realized I haven’t seen any of your posts in my Reader for a looong time and have been going through withdrawal! Probably my fault, but I just got to wondering. :)

  32. Laura says

    Great solution for the “bump out.” And sooo glad you explained about the curtains hiding the seams! ‘Cause I wasn’t liking it with those seams and I didn’t think it looked much like your typical work. So I was wonderin’… Then you said the curtains would hide it and I thought, “well, of course.” Duh! :) It’s gonna look great!!

  33. Sandra says


    It is already looking great. The finished product will be even better. Looking forward to seeing more on the room!


  34. maggie says

    Looks really good! I wish I had the nerve to tackle something like that. Have you considered putting beadboard ceilings in? My friend did that in her kitchen and I love it! :)

  35. says


    The room looks wonderful!! You guys are awesome! I am very sorry to hear of your loss…What a blessing I know you were for your GrandFather as it sounds like he was to you guys too….We recently lost our Uncle and last time we were at his house to visit his our Aunt his widow she had the neatest sign on the wall that said this….”To have a little piece of heaven in your house is to have someone you love in heaven”…Isnt that neat! I hope I got the saying right I think its beautiful….Hugs, Cookie

  36. says

    I really like what you have done so far…clever putting the seam by the window. It has been fun watching it come together step by step.
    Happy Day

  37. says

    Love this! Another reason I really want to buy a house….

    And Kevin is so handy! My husband wouldn’t even know what a nail gun was!! I’m so jealous!!

  38. says

    Hey I found the saying I was a bit off here it is….”Because someone we love is in Heaven,
    We feel a little bit of Heaven in our home.”

  39. reader says

    Love the look of your walls, but not convinced MDF is safe enough for my family – might be worth checking around on health concerns related to it (treated w/ formaldehyde, other toxins) before committing to it. Everything I’m seeing urges caution, and especially when cutting it – masks advised since the dust can be hazardous. Just don’t want tons of your faithful readers doing this w/o researching first, especially if kids are in the picture. Wonder what alternatives would work in terms of cost and final look?

    • says

      Hmmm…that’s a good question!

      I found this info online tonight:

      “MDF has a reputation of being a questionably safe building material, so we hear from concerned moms and dads all the time asking us to clarify its merits. In short, yes, it is 100% safe once it is used to construct a finished piece of furniture, but it does require care if you decide to do a DIY project with MDF where there will be sawdust flying about. (Wear a mask!) The main issue perceived with MDF is that its production involves a resin containing formaldehyde which is a known toxin and carcinogen in high concentrations. In the process of cutting and working with MDF in building, sawdust and formaldehyde are released. Both of these are bad to inhale (particularly the formaldehyde), there are very strict health and safety regulations in place around the world governing MDF dust and its extraction and disposal to ensure a safe working environment in the workshops. During the ‘machining’ process, is the only time that MDF poses any kind of health risk. The reality is that once the MDF is cut and finished with sealant or paint, it is no more harmful than a tomato. In fact, weight for weight, MDF and tomatoes have the same percentage of formaldehyde content. I am quite sure no one would be tempted to eat a lethal dose of 56 pounds of the fruit in one sitting, just as no one would sit in a room of MDF saw dust all day every day for years and years!”

      Good to know!
      But just in case, I think we’ll invest in some of this: Safe Seal.
      Unless, I find out that painting it with low VOC paint will do the same thing.
      I’ll keep you posted!

      Thanks so much for the heads up!


  40. says

    Looks awesome so far!!! Can’t wait to see the finished product!! What program do you use for the 3D rendered view? I would love to use it with my clients at Ethan Allen. Thanks!!!

    Love reading along,


  41. says

    Hey darlin’ – I’m lurking. I have to say, visiting your site is like eating a Reese’s peanut butter cup…decadent…perfect…soooo yummy (however that translates into interior design). It just tickles me watching your new room take shape and seeing how your brilliant mind works. Thanks for the inspiration! Hope all is well with you guys

  42. says

    !! Layla!!! I just followed your Safe Seal link! I’ve been looking for the “Hard Seal” Product forever! I didn’t know it’s name, so I couldn’t find it. I’ve asked people at paint stores all over town and no leads! You just solved my problem!! “I love you, man.” ;) Thank you! :)

  43. sherri says

    So lovely! I am considering this treatment for one wall of a small powder room as well as the ceiling of my kitchen. Bad drywall and a need for more lighting mean we’ll have to make swiss cheese of our current ceiling. This looks easier than new drywall.

    My question… I know you’re going for a more “authentic” look using inch thick boards but do you think you could achieve the same look with a thinner profile product? I was thinking of lauan since it’s so light and cheap. I’d like to rip “planks” out of a 4×8′ sheet and install just as you did here. Since the boards will be butt jointed together (penny spacing between the long stretches), will the causal observer be able to tell that they aren’t a full inch thick? Thanks for all the inspiration Layla!

  44. Kiki says

    What about an electric fireplace with a concealed tv above in the bump-out space? I saw that done on devine design the other day, and it looked fabulous. It was actually in a dining room, though. You could still flank it with bookshelves but have the added romance and warmth of an electric fireplace.

  45. Michelle says

    I love this and think I can do that’s how easy you make it look. Pennies as spacers and sand after you painted to get the worn look??? Just asking this chicken is going to do this …hmmmmm what room??

  46. Emily says

    So, in your opinion, would you say to put up beadboard horizontally or get the 1″x6″ planks of MDF? I’m just wondering which would be easier…but I also don’t want to sacrifice the final outcome by going the easy route if it’s not going to look great.


    • Layla says

      Hey Em! I think it depends on which look you’d like to go with! Which room are you thinking about paneling/planking?

      • Emily says

        I’m wanting to do the 3 walls on the eat-in side of the kitchen (french door wall, 3 windows wall, and the wall with our laundry room, but stopping before the dining room door). The walls are just too damaged and my spackling isn’t THAT great (although, it worked good enough in the dining room! wahoo!). Patrick planted the idea in my head about beadboard, but I’m liking the wider planks more I think.

        On a side not, I look forward to 11/11 :)

  47. says

    wow! that looks awesome. It adds so much interest to the wall and gives your home more “old world charm.” Love this look and I am going to attempt this on our living room wall. thanks for the inspiration!

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