Renter Friendly Reclaimed Wood Wall DIY

A while back  PJ and I found our way into an adorable interior design boutique in downtown Los Altos (that we blogged about here), where I picked up a pretty awesome reclaimed metal and wood rhino. I had plans to put him on the wall above our TV (which is way too big for our space, I know), but thought he needed to go up there with something else or it might seem a bit out of proportion.

TV wall before. Don’t mind the mess (or the football).

I love love love the rustic and industrial look of reclaimed wood walls, but I thought there was no way I could manage to pull one off in our little rental. That is, until I stumbled upon this Apartment Therapy post and got the idea to use reclaimed wood on a small portion of our wall instead of the entire thing.

After stumbling upon the article, I immediately turned to Craigslist and was lucky to find someone giving away old hardwood for free that was weathered and mis-colored and all – perfect for my project. I was planning to follow the instructions to a T, but then thought twice about all the holes that would result from drilling each board individually. After doing a little bit of brainstorming with PJ, I came up with plan B.

The Supplies

  • Old wood flooring
  • Small pieces of wood for the backbone (cut to size at Home Depot)
  • Wood screws
  • Drill
  • French Cleat picture hanger (we used this one)
The Process
1st up was prepping the wood. There was a lot of dust and even some spider webs in there that needed to be cleaned and removed. We used a shop vac to quickly clean each board.

Other than the cleaning, we did the entire project in our living room. We put down some garbage bags to keep things clean and then laid out the boards in the pattern we wanted them. We then flipped each one over so that the backside was facing up bc we planned to drill the support beams from the back. Unfortuantely, we started off with the wrong size screws, so it ended up being a two-day process. Guess that’s what happens when you start in the evening –whoops. Before we put the back outside for the night, we drew lines where the support boards were to go and numbered the pieces of wood based on their order.

Once we were ready to finish our project, we placed the wood support beams in their place.

We wanted to hang the french cleat (which is how we hung the piece on the wall) to be as centered as possible, so we made sure to measure where to place the middle support and the smaller piece of wood at the top to allow us to drill in the cleat in the right place.

We (well, my husband) drilled in the wood screws at an angle to make sure that they didn’t accidentally go through to the front. He made holes with a drill bit before screwing them in to prevent the wood from splitting.

We lifted it up to see our work and… Ta Da! All one piece and ready to be hung with minimal gaps and no screws poking through. Success!

Then it was time to attach half the cleat to the wood and the other to the wall. It took a bit of finagling to get things perfectly level since we made the installation non symmetrical. Once we got it just right, we took it down, hammered a nail in and put our rhino (who we named Rhonald) onto his new home.

I must say, we’re pretty happy with how it turned out. It definitely adds to that boring wall and is the perfect mix of color + texture + rustic + quirky.


Here’s a little closeup for you. Isn’t he fun?!


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