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Best way to create white walls?

I've been having an internal debate over whether I want the purity of all natural wood walls, or if that amount of wood will overwhelming and make me sick after a while. Paint fumes may make me sick in another way, but I'm leaning more and more towards a cleaner white look for the walls, though I don't know how best to achieve it.

Clothesline Interior - photo credit Clothesline Tiny Homes

Clothesline Interior - photo credit Clothesline Tiny Homes

Carrie and Shane Caverly of Clothesline Tiny Homes did a great job using drywall. They seem to have some tricks up there sleeves involving flexible mud and tape to prevent cracking during travel. I'm not sure they'd share their secrets, nor am I sure I'd want to use drywall anyway (no experience with it, and want to do the work myself if I can). But there results are fantastic and super clean looking.

I believe the Protohaus folks used painted grooved plywood, for a clean look with subtle texture. This is a nice, inexpensive way of doing it. I want to avoid anything that looks like cheap paneling, but if done as well as they did, I think this might be a good option.

Protohaus Interior

Protohaus Interior

I've heard of at least one instance of simply painting over some nice sanded birch plywood. This sounds like a nice way to go, but I wonder if the seams between boards look cheap on the finished walls? Depending on the look of the birch, it may also work to use some semi-transparent white stain, thus creating a cleaner white look while keeping some of the natural wood grain.

What other methods are out there?

Does your tiny house have white walls? if so, what materials did you use?

Please share

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6 comments on “Best way to create white walls?”

  1. Stay away from any kind of drywall. I'd totally go for a ply paneling option, either left natural wood or painted white.

    1. Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking. Probably going to spend some time looking for a relatively cheap product that looks good when painted.

  2. The easily one the nicest looking you go around and look at different sites and plans...the only difference I can see to change for me is to change out for a gambrel roof vs. traditional gable...more head room...still goes under bridges.


  3. I read that you settled with the 1/2" birch painted white. I'm about to build a model with white walls too, which is how I found this article! I'll throw this out there as food for thought. Instead of covering seams with a trim piece, perhaps consider "celebrating" the seams. I am going to use a hardwood ply too, probably 1/4" birch to save weight, but will figure out a system to stagger the joints so I get a subtle brick pattern going on. This might mean cutting my ply into 2x8 or 2x4 pcs. With 1/2" birch, you could also cut rabbets along the edges and that way your seams become a very intentional design element. I think another thing that would like cool is to cover your seams with something completely different, like a rustic lathe strip 1/4"x1 1/2", or maybe a piece of thin steel stock. Of course, the simplest of means would to just use butt joints and leave them as is! Yet another thing you could do is leave a 1/8" gap between pcs and fill it with caulk before painting. If you are going for the smooth modern look, this might be the best option! Good luck!

    1. Yes, I decided to do just what you suggest -- celebrate the joints. I'm just using simple butt joints and have taken care to make each joint nice and tight. I won't be filling with caulk. I think it will be nice and clean, even with the joints and do show. I don't mind having the materials and process on display a bit, even if it's not as clean and perfect as drywall would be. Thanks for the comment.

  4. I've been watching Tiny House shows and learning how to build one. I can do it I built a free standing music studio. Does any one where to find a black water tank that can be welded under the frame? I just can't get on board with a composting toilet. How wide and tall are the steps? I'm making it easy 1 ft. x 1 ft. I need to know how to use those water tubes that stick up as ventilation to make the sinks drain. Does anybody know where to get marine water storage bags? I haven't had much luck, but I will keep looking. Thanks for any help y'all can give me.