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shutter wall tutorial Olive and Love

For a completed picture of my shutter wall click here

Wow what have I started this time? My dining room is a bit on the boring side. We’ve spent our attention on other rooms and have neglected giving it the character we desire. I’ve had ideas for lighting (see blog post here), and I’ve sewed curtains (more on this later). We have a table, an antique baby crib turned love seat (which is pretty cool and I’ll blog about later) and a couple plants. It’s even missing a rug since my lovely dog destroyed it (you don’t want details).
Every time I go to my favorite shop Anthropologie, I take photos of their displays. I find them so creative and inspiring. Last month I visited a friend in the L.A. area and on our way to the airport we stopped by the Pasadena Anthropologie for about twenty minutes. (A teaser of a visit). I snapped this shot of one of their displays:
Notice the use of shutters? This was my inspiration for the wall in my dining room. I’ll be taking it to the next level and plan on covering the entire wall, floor to ceiling, in painted shutters of varying shades of blue and green. You may remember my recent thrift store extravaganza? I was in search of shutters. Finding only one small shutter on that trip, I was a bit discouraged in my hopes of finding enough to blanket the entire wall! A friend suggested Habitat for Humanity Restore, where I found a car load of shutters! They had some great price tags:
I also posted an ad on craigslist asking for wooden shutters for an art project. I received an e-mail that night from someone asking a hundred bucks for about ten. I considered not even e-mailing back at that price but responded with my price of thirty. Sold. He was going to throw them out anyway and I nearly doubled my supply and saved them from the trash.
Milton is checking out the new art to be. I have to admit, they kind of stink. I don’t want to know why.

Besides taking over my house, the shutters are turning into a fun project. With this many to paint, I’ll have several opportunities to experiment with different color combinations, painting techniques and faux type finishes. Overall this project is proving to be very useful experience for future projects, especially because there is very little pressure for each shutter to look perfect in any way, it’s like art therapy.
I went through our paint cupboard and pulled out all the blue and green paints. We have tester cans and full size from previous projects. Some I mixed together in a jar to tweak the color a bit, and some I used straight from the paint can.
I found that adding water helped the paint to spread easier and faster, and created a nice uneven finish.
This shutter I painted a bright blue green, then rubbed a dark ebony wood stain over the surface, wiping it off after about 30 seconds.
This shutter was painted with a light blue green. After allowing it to completely dry, I brushed on a dark brown wash (50% dark brown paint and 50% water) and then wiped it off with a rag.
This shutter I painted the bright blue green, then brushed on and wiped off a full strength taupe colored paint (which was created on accident).

Before painting the shutters, I first remove all hardware and hinges. If it is really covered in grime or dust I clean them with a gentle household cleaner and rag. I am not sanding because I want the rough wood to show and help add character.
It’s turning into a fun project for the whole family!

See how the project has evolved!


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  1. tara Reply
    Do you put a wax or spray sealant on the shutters after painting?
    • Laura Reply
      No I did not seal them with anything besides the paint.
  2. monica Reply
    I am so excited to have found your blog! I am now attempting to do a shutter wall in my dining room as well, I am hoping to mix all sorts of styles plantation and vinyl, plastic, and fiberglass, along with wooden. Hoping the different designs will add lots of texture. I am only hoping it turns out half as nice as yours!. My husband is skeptical but I am determined.
    • Laura Reply
      Good luck! Everyone was skeptical when I started too.
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  5. Patty Reply
    I am surprised to have found your blog. I have seen the picture of the shutter wall a while back and it's inspired me to do a shutter headboard and a ... umm, I dont know what to call it but it is 2' by 6' with shutters fit togetther like your wall and will use it as an accent in my living room. Thank you for your creativeness, Patty
    • Laura Reply
      Thanks Patty! would love for you to share a photo on the facebook page!
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  7. AM from White House, Black Shutters Reply
    >found you via the link you posted on Young House Love's Facebook page, love your blog and ideas! I'm digging the shutter idea, I once considered hanging pallets on my walls after I saw it in an Anthropologie dislplay.

    looking forward to browsing your archives!
  8. olive and love Reply
    >Thanks Peggy!

    Meredith- Me Too!!! It's slow going, but with three kiddos, what project isn't?
  9. Peggy Reply
    >I'm so glad I found your blog. This is so creative; I'm LOVING the shutter idea. Thanks also for some great tips from previous posts. I'll have to put you on my favorite list and keep up with all your progress.
  10. Meredith Reply
    >I look forward to seeing the final reveal!

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