How to make lighted wall panels

Decor, DIY, Lighting

Plain white walls, or even worse, ugly walls, are often something renters have to deal with. In this episode, you’ll see how to build decorative floating wall panels using inexpensive materials from the hardware store. They can be customized to fit any style or look using anything from paint and stencils to wallpaper or fabric and even incorporate decorative wall lighting with the use of rope lights. Not only will these floating wall panels add architectural detail to plain white box rental apartments, they will also provide just the right amount of mood lighting in the evening. It’s the perfect alternative to painting or using temporary wallpaper when you’re renting: it takes less time to do and you can take the wall panels with you when you move out!

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48 Comments

  1. Oh so clever! Love these!

  2. What kind of primer do you suggest using?

  3. i love the wallpaper where did you get it ?

    • I know, I really love it too! Unfortunately, I have no idea what brand or company originally sold it or if it’s still being sold (I only had a little bit of this wallpaper – I inherited it from a friend who gave me her leftovers after she finished renovating her house). I was waiting for the perfect project to use it, and it turned out to be these panels. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

  4. Hi Isabelle, thank you SO MUCH for this great idea !!! I put up my first lighted panel just now, and I’m so excited to put lights around it. I’ve also watched all your other design videos, and I hope you’re making millions of dollars because this kind of talent is really special !

    I followed your instructions for the most part, but with a couple of variations that others may also want to try:

    – Instead of wallpaper, I used a vinyl wall decal from wallmonkeys dot com.
    – Instead of 1″ deep furring strips, I used 2″ deep furring strips for more spacing from the wall and more of a floating look
    – Instead of rope lights, I went with multicolor customizable remote controlled LED tape lights, which allow you to control color, brightness, and add special effects like fading between colors, etc.

    Many thanks to you for this wonderful idea, Isabelle !

    • Thank you so much for your kind words – so nice to hear!! I love this project because there’s really an infinite number of possibilities to decorate them… I hope you’ll share some pics of your finished wall panels, would love to see them!

  5. I love the idea. I was looking for a way to make a lighted design on the wall panel. I saw lighted tree branches on a wall panel in a hipster lounge and wanted to recreate that look.

    • Thanks, glad you like it!

  6. Fantastic, you really have a winning formula. Thank you so much.

    Do you think it would be possible to somehow incorporate the “accent wall and sconce” idea with this one? Perhaps by adding a sconce to this wall panel? Would this setup be able to support the weight of just one light weight sconce such as the one in the previous video? Or would that just be overkill?

    Thanks.

  7. I love these panels! How would I go about attaching material to it instead of wallpaper?

    • I would use a staple gun to staple the fabric to the back of the panel – you’ll want to use 1/4″ staples so they don’t pierce through the panel. You could also make upholstered panels by adding 1″ foam to the front (you can use spray glue to secure the foam), add batting on top of the foam, then the fabric that you staple to the back. Hope this helps!

  8. Thank you for all the great information! I stumbled upon your site when I bought a Kvartal track to hide a storage space in my store and was looking for installation videos. I have never been a DIY type; I always felt too intimidated to try. I’m now inspired to try a few projects because you do such a good job explaining the whole process. Anyway, I am expanding my store by converting some of the warehouse space to retail footprint. The space is feeling too closed in/boxy/boring to me. Our walls will have shelving on them. I was thinking a vinyl sky mural on the ceiling might help open the space up, but the ceiling is fairly textured and not sure anything would stick (renting and cannot alter things too much). This might be a good solution. Do you think this might work as ceiling panels? Any suggestions on the best way to mount to a drywall ceiling? Thanks again!

    • Great to hear my videos are helpful! It’s hard to say if the vinyl will stick to a textured surface – you could try cutting the mural into smaller sections, and mounting those on foam board panels (that material is really light) and then securing those to the ceiling. To do that, you could try screwing/glueing eye screws into the back of the foam board panels in the four corners, and in the ceiling and use small s-hooks to join the 2 eye screws together (I’ve made my own tiny s-hooks using paper clips). Installing stuff on a ceiling isn’t the easiest with gravity working against you! Good luck!

  9. Hi

    I just love this idea as I am doing Zen theme in my living room. Do I need to use a primer on the board? I have paint that is a primer + paint in one.

    Thanks!!!!

    • Hi! You can definitely use primer+paint in one on the board – hope you’ll share pictures of the ones you make!

  10. Your videos are so clear and precise. I am consistently inspired! Is there a way to hang these on the hanging room dividers you set up in another video using the tracks? I know you hung the pictures on the hanging room dividers using foam, I think. So, how could I attach the lighted wall panels to the hanging room divider using the same track system you used from Ikea? If at all possible…
    Thanks!

    • Hi Stacy, The lighted panels are much heavier than the pictures (the foam is very light), so I wouldn’t recommend it. If you were to do it, I would use very strong anchors and I would also add some extra supports for the track to distribute the weight. Thanks for watching!

  11. hi.
    your idea is very very creativity and nice.
    Thank you!

    • You’re welcome – glad you like it!

  12. Hi Isabelle,

    I wanted to know, where can I get wallpaper for this project? I wanted to add a bright color waller paper.

    Thanks,
    Nidhi

  13. Hi Isabelle,

    Thank you so much for this wonderful website! I am attempting to merge two of your projects, in a way. I am covering the back of a book-case with a wall-papered board without the back-lighting.To do that, i will have to screw on the board to the sides of the book case with small screws. Can you think of anything I could do to conceal the screws? I was also thinking of using the paper to go all the way around and not use paint at all, since my sheet of wallpaper is 36″ wide. Do you think going the paint way will be a better option since i want to conceal the screws? Please help!

    • I think if you countersink the screws and fill in the hole with wood putty, then you can either cover it the screw heads with paint or wallpaper. Otherwise the screw heads will show. Hope this makes sense! Isabelle

  14. Oh golly Isabelle,

    I am moving into a very tiny apartment for graduate school in Nebraska with a roommate because that’s what poor graduate students can afford. But your ideas on how to maximize your apartment space with such amazing DIY ideas got me VERY excited to try literally almost everything out. It is comforting to know that if I hate my kitchen floor, that I can actually do something about it and don’t have to live with ugly floors it for an entire year.

    I tried out the pendant lamps and it turned out AMAZING! 🙂

    THANK YOU THANK YOUUU

    • You’re very welcome!! And thank you so much for telling me your story – it’s so great to hear that by sharing my ideas, I’ve been able to inspire you to see the possibilities of your apartment, and not its limitations. That’s why I do what I do 🙂 I always love to see projects inspired by my ideas, so I hope you’ll share some pics of yours!

  15. Hi Isabelle,

    I stumble on your site via youtube and loving this as I am a renter. Would you do a video on the tools you think a person who is just starting to do DIY progjects should have. I would love to know where to get the tools? Drill bit that can make a hole? I can’t find it in my area. Lubbock, TX. Thank you.

    • Thanks so much for your message – I’ve been getting a lot of requests lately for more info on tools so I’ll definitely add that to this list of future videos. In the meantime to help get you started, take a look at this post I did a while back on the tools I use the most, above and beyond the standard hammer, screwdriver, and tape measurer: http://www.engineeryourspace.com/whats-in-my-tool-box/. You can order all of these on amazon.com. Hope this helps!

  16. hai isabelle, can we use a printed fabric instead of wallpaper on the tempered sheet??
    thanks

  17. Hi Isabelle,

    I just loved your idea and I am gonna try it with small multiple canvases to cover my entire waLL…but still thinking how do I hide the wire of lightS going from one canvas to another…Let me know if you have a suggestion

  18. Do you think RGB lighting will work for this?

    • Of course! I’m thinking of doing another project with those lights. Send me pics of yours, would love to see it when it’s done!

  19. I really love your website and your awesome DIY projects!!! Please create more videos!!!

    My husband and I recently purchased a home with high ceilings (about 20 feet tall), and it’s been difficult finding wall art that’s affordable and tall enough to decorate without looking tiny. After looking at this video, I knew this is what we had to do!!! The instructions were easy to follow and fun to do. However, due to our circumstances we made a few changes:

    the tempered hardboard we purchased was a bit heavy, and we were concerned that glue wouldn’t be enough to hold it up, so we (carefully) nailed the hardboard to the furring strips. Luckily the wallpaper covered up the nail holes so you can’t tell.
    Instead of rope lights I found these LED strip lights on amazon (link below). The whole set, which includes a remote control, was only $17!! score!!

    We included a pic so you can see how it turned out. We love it!

    Another special shout out to your video on hanging mirrors. I always hated hanging anything on my walls because I would always end up making a million holes in the wall before I got it right. This was the perfect solution and I use it all the time!!!

    http://www.amazon.com/16-4ft-Flexible-Non-waterproof-Gardens-Kitchen/dp/B00HSF64JG?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00

    • Hi Sal, Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing a picture of your awesome project with me!I love the LED lights – it’s definitely an upgrade from the rope lights! And cute dog too!

      And I’m glad my mirror hanging tricks were helpful – I use them every time I have to hang something and it’s been a lifesaver for me too.

      Thanks for watching and I can’t wait to see what other projects you make!

      Isabelle

    • Hi Sal, I love your modifications to the original project. Can you please also share the wall paper you used here to cover the panels? I have similar situation as you we purchased a home that has high ceiling and very big 8’x10′ niches (3 of them in my foyer) and we are searching for budget arts to fill those niches.

      I am going to replicate as many projects from these website as I can. I loved Isabelle’s work and the tutorials are very detailed too.

      Thanks for sharing Sal and Isabelle…..!

      zinal

      • Hi Zinal, I love how we are all building on each others ideas to make our individual homes more beautiful 🙂 Isabelle

      • Zinal:

        Thanks for the kind words, and good luck on your project! This particular wallpaper is York Wallcovering Dimensional Effects – Fortuna. I bought it on Amazon and will post a link at the bottom of this message.

        I have to admit it cost a bit more than I originally planned on spending, but it looks AMAZING and it does create a really cool optical illusion. Most people don’t realize it’s a flat surface! Plus it includes over 30 ft of wallpaper, so not only was it enough for these panels, but I had enough left over to create some other smaller borderless panels!

        http://www.amazon.com/York-Wallcoverings-TD4724-Dimensional-Wallpaper/dp/B01CK71XII?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s

  20. I love website because I have a small apt with no light in the living room and I’m always coming to your page and about four months ago I ran across your video and I said I have to try to make this it took me three months to save up to get the material I front got the material I had to boards cut to small so that cause me to delay it then I got it right the next time I had already order up all the stuff I wanted to use I painted my board grey and I use contact paper but I had to spread glue on the board cause the contact paper wouldn’t stick here is the finish project I just have to hand it on my wall thank you so much for doing this video please make more next I’m gonna try the drum shade

    Daylight-Non-waterproof-Lighting

    http://www.amazon.com/Flexible-Lights-Daylight-Non-waterproof-Lighting/dp/B00HSF65MC?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00

    DIMMER CONTROLLER
    http://www.amazon.com/Remote-Controller-Wireless-Control-Dimmable/dp/B00MHKCTLE?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00

    • Hi Arlene, Thank you so much for sharing your project with me, you did a great job!! Can’t wait to see your drum shade you make! Thanks again for sharing, Isabelle

  21. P.S I forgot to say I made Two Large ones and one small one

  22. How did you attach the lighted panels you made in this video to the wall? Did you do the same with the entryway panels?

    • Hi Jennifer, the panels are not that heavy so I hung them like a picture frame. For the entryway panels, I used french cleat hangers like these: http://amzn.to/2iayih8 because the panels were going to have things hung on them (coats, etc). Hope that helps! Isabelle

  23. Dear Isabelle,

    I love your decor ideas. They are easy to execute and the tutorials are well explained in your videos. Keep up the good work lady.
    Inspired by you, I have also made lighted wall panels for my renter space since my landlord did not allow me to either paint it or put wallpaper on it. I used heavy duty command strips to hang the panels on the wall.

    Love,
    Garima

    • Hi Garima, Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing your beautiful panels with me, makes me so happy to see that – keep on DIYing! with love, Isabelle

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Isabelle LaRue of Engineer Your Space Gives Us The Dirt on DIY | Appliance Parts Pros Blog - [...] the opposite side of the spectrum, my lighted wall panels were really easy to make and once I hung…
  2. Cool Wall Covering Ideas - Best Home Inspiring innovations - [...] Covering Ideas for Dining Room Contemporary design ideas with contemporary wall light Image by: Engineer Your Space Startling Wall…

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