21+ Bold Feature Wall Ideas That Use Upcycled Materials

Add pizzaz to any room with a sustainable, one-of-a-kind feature wall you can do in a weekend.

Published January 16, 2023
Wall decorated with different wicker handmade trays and baskets

If you're looking to update the style of a room in your house, a striking feature wall can add flare and showcase your creativity. You can achieve the look with upcycled materials that are budget friendly and eco conscious. Use unexpected items and feature wall ideas with designer expertise to create a wall in your home that's one-of-a-kind, stylish, and easily completed in one weekend.

Create a Modern Slat Wall With Reclaimed Wood

Slat walls are trending and oh-so sleek. Recreate the look with an easy DIY featuring reclaimed wood. Consider sanding and staining your wood pieces for a more streamlined look. You'll want to make sure that your wood is all the same size. You can cut pieces to be more symmetrical, but what you want to look out for is similarity in depth when selecting your wood. Try to choose reclaimed wood pieces that are only 2" deep. A slat wall works best with wood that doesn't jut out too far after application. You can also use plywood for this project, especially if you have leftover sheets from new construction in your home.

Use Collected Corks for a Textured Feature Wall

If you're a bit of a wine connoisseur and have collected a large amount of bottle corks over the years, there's a feature wall application perfect for you. You can use collected corks to create stunning accent walls or backsplashes. You can hot glue your corks together before attaching them to a few sheets of plywood and nailing them to your wall. Make sure to measure for any outlet covers first and cut your plywood accordingly.

Use Reclaimed Metal to Create a Farmhouse Accent Wall

Reclaimed galvanized or corrugated metal is the perfect material for a farmhouse style feature wall. Measure, cut, and nail sheets to your wall according to the amount of metal you want to showcase. You can place metal on the lower half of your wall for an understated option or apply metal to the entire length of the wall for a big impact.

Use Old Clipboards Creatively

Antique and thrifted clipboards can be the perfect material for a weekend DIY project. Based on the size of the wall, collect enough clipboards to cover the space. Since this is a feature wall, you'll want enough to create a striking accent rather than just a gallery wall arrangement. Paint them all the same color, like a sleek black, or leave them in their natural state for a rustic look. You can even use chalkboard paint so you can write beautiful messages and quotes on them. Hang the clipboards in any arrangement you like, careful not to place them too close to the floor or ceiling. Hang them with nails and twine, command hooks, fishing line, or on gold or brass hardware knobs for a modern look. Attach pages from your favorite books, copies of beloved poems, or family photos for a personal touch.

Display a Collection of Baskets

Whether antique, artisan, or collected from department stores over time, baskets can create a striking feature wall in your home. This is an easy DIY you can accomplish in just one day. Make sure you have enough baskets that aren't too deep and don't have bulky elements like bows, oversized handles, and fabric liners. Arrange them close together for an abstract display or space them out in a pattern. Once your positions are determined, simply place nails in the wall to secure each basket with the bottom of the basket against the wall and the inside of the basket facing out.

Recycled Lattice Can Give Walls Elegant Detail

Looking for an upcycled and DIY panel wall? Recycled lattice is a great option that will cut down on your budget and time. Nail painted lattice under chair rail for an elegant application. Be sure the lattice is painted in the same color and finish as your wall. For a bolder statement, use stained lattice against a black wall to create a modern and sleek accent wall.

Use Leftover Flooring Planks to Create Shiplap

Modern Interior with Leather Room with Wooden Wall and Plants

If you've recently updated your flooring with luxury vinyl plank or a similar material, you can apply those to your wall for an easy DIY that looks just like shiplap. You will want to paint a primer over your wall before beginning the application to make sure that the adhesive sticks to the wall. Apply your flooring to the wall with construction adhesive in the pattern you prefer. Use a horizontal pattern to mimic shiplap, a herringbone pattern for modern and trendy look, or a vertical pattern for a timeless application. Don't forget to make cuts for your outlets or light switches.

Create a Sophisticated Feature Wall With Tile

Whether you're working with leftover tile from new construction or reclaimed tile you plan to recycle, you can create a high-end feature wall in any room of your home. Even if the tile you have is intended for flooring, you can still use it to create an accent wall. If you have a small amount that doesn't cover the entirety of your wall, get creative with the application. Try a fading tile look by starting with a tightly spaced arrangement and flowing into a more sparse arrangement of tile as you move across the wall. Tile installation will be much the same as installing a backsplash.

Use Reclaimed Windows for a Vintage Feature Wall

A collection of reclaimed windows can come together for a rustic or vintage feature wall, and you can do the project in an afternoon. Plan to arrange windows edge-to-edge so it doesn't resemble a gallery wall. Cover the entire wall or just stick to one section. For a truly vintage and rustic look, keep windows in their current state with varying colors and finishes. Hang windows in a symmetrical pattern or try a fun approach with asymmetry and dissimilar placement.

Hang Antique Plates & Patterns for a Striking Showcase

Two or three plates or platters hung on a wall is much like hanging a photo or art piece in a gallery wall. But an entire wall of antique plates and platters create a collection showcase that defines a room. Hang your collection in a linear fashion across your entire wall, or arrange an even larger collection edge-to-edge from one corner of the wall to the other. A grand display like this will garner all sorts of attention and compliments from guests.

Mimic a Built-in Bookcase With Wooden Crates

Antique or reclaimed wooden crates can be fashioned to your wall to create a built-in bookshelf. Consider painting your crates with a high gloss finish for a modern look or leaving them bare for a rustic style. Arrange them together and nail to your wall, being sure to secure them on studs. Hang crates so the bottoms are touching the wall and the inside faces outward. The interior sides will act as the shelf of your DIY bookcase.

Create a Feature Wall With Recycled Shutters

Shutters can be repurposed as a creative and rustic wall application. Hang shutters edge-to-edge on your feature wall. You can paint them all to match or stick to an eclectic approach. For various sizes, get creative with placement to make sure the entire wall is covered. You can even hang shutters horizontally in some areas to make sure everything fits together nicely.

Use Cedar Shingles or Shakes to Create a Feature Wall With Texture

New cedar siding shingles make an attractive wall.

Unused wooden shingles or shakes can give your room a textural update. Give them a refresh with new paint or stain before applying to your wall. Be sure to consider any outlets or switch covers on the wall, and reserve this type of feature for walls without windows or doors to avoid a cluttered look.

Make Wall Panels With Plywood

Spare plywood from construction or remodels can easily be turned into elegant wall panels. Cut panels into square or rectangular shapes that are about ⅓ to ⅔ the length of your wall. Paint panels in the same color and finish as your wall and nail them in place. Be sure to leave 1-3 inches between each panel for a streamlined and balanced appearance.

Use Fabric to Cover a Wall

Fabric can be used in a variety of ways to create a feature wall. Try wrapping panels made of plywood in fabric before applying to a wall. You can wrap a series of canvases in fabric for a DIY art gallery. You can even apply fabric to a wall for a look similar to wallpaper.

Upcycle Paint Sticks or Rulers for a Feature Wall

Affordable and easy, a DIY feature wall using paint sticks or rulers can bring texture and interest to any room. Paint your sticks or rulers or use a wood stain to get the look and style you're hoping for. Glue or nail them to plywood before nailing to the wall or just apply them directly to a primed wall for a room-transforming project.

Spare Trim Pieces Create an Easy Wainscoting DIY

Modern apartment living room interior with large sofa, in front of a blank wall with classic mouldings

Use spare trim pieces to create your own wainscoting for an elevated feature wall. Make sure the sizes and lengths you have are scaled in a balanced way for your wall. Paint trim the same color as your wall in the same finish for an elegant and classic look.

Make an Elegant Accent Wall With Repurposed Ceiling Tiles

Vintage or reclaimed ceiling tiles transform an ordinary wall into an elegant feature of any room. Paint tiles in the same color with a matte finish for an elegant and understated feature that showcases the architectural details of the tiles. Try dark, high-gloss paint on ceiling tiles for a high-end look. Mix and match patterns, colors, and wood stains for a collected style.

Create an Eclectic Look With Old Doors

Old and reclaimed doors in varying colors, finishes, styles, and materials create an eclectic feature wall. Look for doors that are short, narrow, or part of a bi-fold set to keep the feature wall from being off-scale. Use nails in studs to hang them vertically on your wall, edge-to-edge, for a quick and easy installation. Be sure to lay out your pattern beforehand and measure so you know exactly where to place nails for a perfectly parallel arrangement.

Use Drawer Fronts for a Fun Feature Wall

Drawer fronts from old cabinetry or vintage furniture are a unique way to create a feature wall in your home. Carefully remove drawer fronts from the rest of the cabinet or furniture and sand down any rough edges. Give them a glossy, fresh coat of paint or try a rustic look with a mixture of colors and finishes. Hang them horizontally, vertically, or a mix of the two. Fill in and sand down the holes left behind by hardware or use drawer pulls and knobs as handy wall hooks once your drawer feature wall is installed.

Use Your Leftover Paint to Add Flare to Any Room

Kids room with geometric painting in the wall

Leftover paint from other rooms of your home, projects, and even arts and crafts can be an affordable and easy way to give your home an update with a feature wall. Use paint you have and a few extra tools to create a feature wall that adds plenty of flare to your room.

  • Create a splatter-effect with small amounts of leftover paint. Cover surrounding surfaces with plastic or a tarp and use bristle paint brushes to fling paint on your wall abstractly. Step farther back for small splatters and stand close for larger spots.
  • Use leftover metallic paint to add a gold or shimmering edges to archways, trim, or other painted elements on your wall.
  • If you're working with roughly a quart of wall paint, try painting a geometric shape on your wall in a modern way. Try a painted arch, a rectangular frame, or a half of the wall vertically or horizontally. You can even carry these features onto the ceiling for a fun and unexpected feature.
  • Use a 1-2" paintbrush to paint short brush strokes all over your wall for a pattern that people may mistake for a fun wallpaper.
  • Use paint sponges to create a blended watercolor effect on your wall. This doesn't require much paint if you're going for a subtle look. You can even mix colors for a dreamy watercolor effect.
  • Use leftover paint in fun colors to create simple geometric shapes in patterns or easy florals for a wallpaper dupe.
  • Create a striking background in your built-in shelves with spare paint in a fun color.
  • Paint an easy mountain silhouette with multiple shades of leftover paint. Use a pencil to create a jagged line in three to four layers, working upward on the wall. Paint each section a different color using darkest at the bottom and lightest at the top.
  • Create a rainbow mural on a feature wall in a playroom, nursery, or kids' bedroom using leftover paint. It doesn't have to be an accurate representation of rainbow colors. Just use what you have to create a unique color scheme.
  • Use painter's tape to create a stripe feature on your accent wall. You can stick to one color or use a few different colors from your leftover paint stash.
  • Use black and white leftover paint to create a buffalo check pattern on your wall. Combine the white and black to create the gray needed for this pattern.
  • Mix leftover paints to create your own custom color for an accent wall.
  • Use remnants of spray paint cans to create a confetti print on your wall. Cover surrounding surfaces with tarps or plastic and spray circles up close, overlapping colors, to create a confetti close up print.

Give New Life to Used Materials With a Striking Feature Wall

A trendy, eye-catching design that's budget friendly is just one DIY project away when you use upcycled materials. Breathe new life into used materials with a feature wall that's stylish and easy to install. Guests will ask how you came up with such a fun design, and you'll feel good knowing that you used an upcycled approach to get the feature wall of your home dreams.

21+ Bold Feature Wall Ideas That Use Upcycled Materials