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“Meh” Nook Wall Upgrade

I can’t be trusted. If left sitting around, looking at our house for too long, I’m going to come up with a project whether we need it or not. I also put off doing overwhelming projects by diving into fun ones. So, this week while cuddling with my girls on our basement couch, glaring at our nearby bathroom which desperately needs demo, I naturally decided to upgrade our basement bar nook’s walls.

It helps that I already had all the supplies and didn’t have to spend any $$. But if you need to buy all the supplies, you can still do an entire room like this for under $100!


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The only real issue with this space was the strip of magnetic chalk board that I’d put up for the girls a long time ago. It was peeling off in some places, and I knew it would be pretty ugly under there once removed. Also, I was not a fan of all the coloring that had happened on the wall where the girls “missed” with the chalk. 🙄

BEFORE: Walls in need of an upgrade.

Step 1: Remove whatever’s on the wall. My first step was to pull and rip off the chalk board strip. Hopefully you don’t have this problem, but basically step 1 is to just take everything off the wall you want to texture. As I suspected, quite a bit of the paint and first layer of drywall came off with the chalk board’s adhesive, but I knew my plan would cover this ugliness without a trace left behind.


Step 2: Spread on joint compound. If you saw my bathroom wall project, this method is even easier! All I did was take a small towel and wipe the joint compound on the wall in a back-and-forth pattern, mimicking how my bricks were going to be. It doesn’t need to be straight; it doesn’t need to be smooth. In fact, now is the time to add a lot of “character” with thicker and thinner spots and swipes.

Side note: If you want perfect bricks, getting the compound smooth and even will be much more tedious. I was going for a rough and rustic look.

It’s important to remember to only do sections of your space at a time if you’re doing a large area – you don’t want the compound to start drying before you roll it! I had small walls around this nook, so first I only did the main front wall and the side around the corner.

Spreading on the joint compound.

Step 3: Roll over the joint compound. I admit I had my doubts about this roller tool when I first used it to do this same thing to our home office wall. But it really works! Again, if you’re aiming for perfect bricks, there are probably better ways. (I’ve seen people use levels and their finger to make lines, for example.) Since I was going for a rustic look, this roller works perfectly. And it’s fast!! I held the roller at one corner of my wall and rolled quickly across the wall, trying to stay level-ish and also over my back-and-forth pattern I’d made with the trowel.

Bricks in no time!

Step 4: Smooth spots likely to be touched. I rolled that whole first wall and around the corner in about 5 minutes. Because we walk right against the front wall, I did smooth out the rough bits with my fingers. This was just a simple matter of lightly rubbing away compound that stuck out too much. For most of the higher wall, I left it as it was because no one will touch up there. Really, the rougher it is, the cooler it ends up looking once painted. You just don’t want any sharp edges or globs that are going to come loose at the slightest touch.

Once all that was done on my main front wall and corner side, I did the back wall the same way. Then it was time to let it dry.

Applying to other wall.

Step 5: Lightly sand. The next day, I took some sandpaper and quickly went over the dry compound. I concentrated again on the high-traffic area of that front wall, but I also very quickly swept the sandpaper over everything to knock off any pointed bits or globs that were loose enough to dislodge.

Quick sanding of rough spots.

Step 6: Paint! Our basement walls are all blue, and I wanted to make this space a little cozier, lighter, and softer. (In general for our basement’s “grown-up” area, I’m going for a kind of modern Spanish beachside speakeasy feel…which isn’t really a style but hey 🤷‍♀️🤣)

I had leftover “Accessible Beige” from our master bathroom counter project, so that’s what I used. I took a small roller and went over all the faux-bricks, making sure to get in all the little nooks and crannies. This actually took quite a while, but it dries quickly because the compound really sucks in the paint.


Once I was finished painting, I loved how it turned out! So much so that I might do another huge wall nearby… That bathroom demo can wait, right?

AFTER: Textured and interesting walls!

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1 thought on ““Meh” Nook Wall Upgrade

  1. […] painted this section my next lightest color. This was “Accessible Beige” like I’d used on my faux brick walls of our main basement room. The top of this section, remember, met my top white line at the level of […]

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