Hardwood Flooring on Walls: A Vertical Twist to Interior Design

Hardwood flooring on walls is an innovative design trend that elevates the aesthetic appeal of any space by adding warmth, texture, and a touch of sophistication. Despite being traditionally used for floors, hardwood is a versatile material that can easily adapt to vertical surfaces like walls, creating a unique and eye-catching feature.

Installing hardwood flooring on walls might seem intimidating, but with the right approach and tools, it’s an achievable project even for DIY enthusiasts. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this design choice, the types of hardwood suitable for wall installations, and the tips and tricks for a successful project.

Why Choose Hardwood Flooring on Walls

Hardwood flooring on walls provides an aesthetically pleasing and timeless design element to any residential or commercial space. When installed correctly, wall treatments featuring hardwood add warmth, texture, and visual interest that amplifies the ambiance of various interior styles.

Some benefits of choosing hardwood flooring on walls include:

  • Durability: Hardwood materials have a long lifespan, often lasting many years with proper maintenance. This makes them a reliable choice for adding a sense of permanence and sophistication.
  • Customization: Hardwood flooring is available in a wide array of species, colors, textures, and finishes, allowing for highly personalized design choices to enhance the visual appeal of any space.
  • Insulation: Besides its visual aspects, hardwood material can also add an insulation layer to walls, increasing the thermal comfort of a room and potentially reducing energy costs for heating or cooling the space.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Many hardwood products are sourced from sustainably managed forests, making them an eco-conscious choice for green-minded designers and homeowners.

Considering these advantages, it’s no surprise that more and more people are opting for hardwood flooring on walls to elevate their interior design while being mindful of the environment and the long-term value of their investment.

Types of Hardwood for Wall Installation

When it comes to installing hardwood flooring on walls, there are a couple of main options to consider. These include solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. Both options have their advantages and drawbacks, so it’s essential to understand the differences before making a decision.

Solid Hardwood

Solid hardwood is made from a single piece of natural wood, which makes it a classic choice for wall installations. Some popular types of solid hardwood used for wall installations include:

  • Oak
  • Walnut
  • Maple
  • Cherry

Solid hardwood typically lasts longer than engineered hardwood and can be sanded down and refinished multiple times. However, it is also more susceptible to moisture and temperature changes, which could cause warping or shrinking over time.

Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood is a composite material made from multiple layers of wood. The top layer is a hardwood veneer, while the core layers consist of plywood or high-density fiberboard. Engineered hardwood features the following benefits:

  • Better stability against moisture and temperature changes
  • Easier installation process
  • Wide variety of styles and finishes available

Engineered hardwood can be more budget-friendly than solid hardwood, but it may not last as long and can typically be refinished only once or twice.

Both solid and engineered hardwoods come in various finishes and styles, making them suitable for any design preference. By understanding the features and benefits of each type, you can choose the best option for your wall installation project.

Installation Methods

There are several methods to install hardwood flooring on walls. Here, we will discuss three common techniques: Adhesive, Nail, and Cleat. Understanding the differences and benefits of each method can help you select the best option for your project.


Using adhesive is a popular method for attaching hardwood flooring to walls. This method typically involves the following steps:

  • Ensure the wall is clean and free of dust
  • Select a suitable adhesive for both the hardwood flooring material and the wall surface
  • Apply adhesive evenly on the back of each plank using a trowel or other suitable tool
  • Press each plank firmly against the wall, ensuring they are properly aligned
  • Wipe off any excess adhesive immediately with a damp cloth

Adhesive installation is often preferred for its simplicity and reduced risk of damaging the wall. However, this method might not be suitable for heavy hardwood materials or uneven wall surfaces.


Nailing is another common method for installing hardwood flooring on walls. To use this method:

  • Mark the location of wall studs as attachment points for the planks
  • Cut hardwood planks to the desired length
  • Attach the planks to the wall studs using nails, with approximately 6-8 inches between each nail

Nailing can provide a secure attachment for the hardwood planks, but it may result in visible nail holes and risk of damaging the wall or planks if not done carefully.


The cleat installation method involves attaching a horizontal support system (cleats) to the wall, then affixing the hardwood planks to these cleats. The process generally involves:

  • Locating and marking wall studs
  • Installing horizontal cleats on the wall studs, spaced evenly apart
  • Cutting hardwood planks to the desired length
  • Attaching planks to the cleats using nails or screws, resulting in a hidden fastener system

This method offers a secure and concealed fastening solution but may require more time and effort to install due to the additional cleat installation step.

Surface Preparation and Layout

Before you begin installing hardwood flooring on walls, proper surface preparation and layout planning are essential for a successful project. This ensures that your wall will have a professional appearance, long-lasting durability, and minimal maintenance requirements.

First, inspect the wall surface for any visible defects, such as cracks, holes, or uneven areas. Repair any damage by filling holes with a suitable compound and sanding uneven surfaces smooth. Clean the wall thoroughly, removing any dust or debris that may interfere with the adhesive bond.

When choosing the layout for your hardwood flooring, consider factors such as the room’s size, the presence of windows or doors, and the desired visual effect. Here are a few common layout patterns:

  • Horizontal layout: Running the planks horizontally can make a room appear wider.
  • Vertical layout: Installing the planks vertically can create the illusion of height in a space.
  • Herringbone pattern: This classic design adds visual interest and a touch of elegance.

Measure the wall’s dimensions carefully and plan the placement of each plank to avoid narrow strips or awkward cuts. If necessary, use a chalk line or a laser level to mark guidelines on the wall to ensure straight and even installation.

Lastly, gather all necessary tools and materials, such as adhesive, a notched trowel, a level, and a saw for cutting the hardwood planks to size. By preparing your work area and materials in advance, you help ensure a smoother installation process and a beautiful result.

Benefits of Hardwood Wall Accents

Hardwood wall accents offer several advantages, adding character, warmth, and a touch of uniqueness to interior spaces.

First, they provide visual appeal. Hardwood accents create depth and texture to flat walls, enhancing the room’s overall aesthetic. Many homeowners appreciate the natural and timeless qualities of wood, making these accents suitable for various design styles.

Second, hardwood wall accents are durable and long-lasting. With proper care and maintenance, wooden wall accents can last for decades, retaining their beauty over time. They are less susceptible to everyday wear and tear compared to painted walls.

Third, they contribute to insulation and soundproofing. Wood is a natural insulator, and when installed on walls, it can help retain heat during cold weather and maintain cool temperatures in warmer months. Additionally, hardwood wall accents can reduce sound transmission, providing a quieter living space.

Lastly, using hardwood accents is sustainable and eco-friendly. Many hardwoods are sourced from well-managed forests, helping reduce carbon emissions and promote environmental responsibility.

These benefits make hardwood wall accents an excellent option for homeowners looking to improve their interior spaces both practically and aesthetically.

Creative Design Ideas

Hardwood flooring on walls allows for unique and stunning design possibilities. Below are a few creative ideas to transform your space using this versatile material:

  • Feature walls: Add a dramatic focal point to your living room, bedroom, or office by creating a feature wall using hardwood flooring. The natural grain patterns and rich colors add warmth and character to your interior design.
  • Accent niches: Enhance hallways, entryways, or other narrow spaces by installing hardwood flooring in niches and inset areas. This adds depth and visual interest without overwhelming the space.
  • Headboards: Replace traditional headboards with a hardwood flooring design for a unique and earthy touch in your bedroom. Pair it with stylish bedding and accessories for a chic, cohesive look.
  • Kitchen backsplash: Opt for a hardwood backsplash to create a warm, inviting atmosphere in your kitchen. Choose a finish that complements your cabinetry and countertops.

As you consider these design ideas, remember to select a hardwood species, grade, and finish that suit the overall style and color scheme of your space. It’s essential to consider durability and maintenance when making your decision, as this will impact the appearance and longevity of your hardwood wall application.

To make your hardwood installation process easier and more efficient, consider the following tips:

PreparationEnsure the surface is clean, dry, and level before installing hardwood planks. This will guarantee proper adhesion and provide a smooth, even appearance.
LayoutExperiment with various plank arrangements before final installation. This allows you to envision the final result and optimize the design to your preference.
InstallationUse the appropriate adhesives, fasteners, and installation techniques for your specific hardwood choice, ensuring a secure and professional finish.

Cost and Budget Considerations

When considering hardwood flooring as wall treatment, it’s important to be aware of the cost and budget implications. The price of hardwood can vary depending on the type of wood, finish, and installation method.

On average, the cost of hardwood flooring ranges from $3 to $10 per square foot, with exotic and high-end options going as high as $14 per square foot. Additionally, professional installation can add another $5 to $8 per square foot.

For a DIY installation, you’ll need some tools and materials, such as:

  • Adhesive or nails: $10 – $30
  • Level and measuring tools: $20 – $50
  • Table saw or circular saw: $100 – $400

Keep in mind that these are rough estimates, and actual costs may differ based on your location and chosen materials. Aside from material and installation costs, other factors to consider include maintenance and potential repairs, which could add to the overall expenses over time.

In conclusion, hardwood flooring on walls can be an investment worth making if it fits within your budget and design preferences. Be sure to compare prices and consider all related costs before deciding on the best option for your space.


In summary, hardwood flooring on walls adds a unique and stylish touch to interior spaces. This versatile design choice has many benefits, including durability, easy maintenance, and eco-friendliness.

Installing hardwood on walls can enhance both residential and commercial spaces, offering an inviting and warm atmosphere. With numerous wood species, colors, and textures to choose from, there is a perfect hardwood option for any design aesthetic.

Embrace the trend and elevate your interior design by incorporating hardwood flooring on your walls.

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