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DIY Board and Batten Wall Treatment

A Board and Batten wall treatment is one where strips of wood or molding that were traditionally used to cover seams on the wall. It is not only aesthetically  pleasing, but custom mill work can add value to your home.  It falls under the category of wainscotting. Wainscotting is a combination of decorative panels, trim and molding that extend partway up a wall. Adding a board and batten accent wall can be a very affordable upgrade as well and one of those very approachable diy projects. A small area such as a 10 x 10 wall can cost under $100,  depending on the amount and type of wood used.  We’ve added board and batten to our home  in several rooms and have been really happy with the visual interest it brings! The first thing to decide is how high up you want to take your top ledge, if you want it to go to the ceilings or do you want to leave space and paint over the top? There are all kinds of combinations you can do!

Dining room with board and batten and vintage dough bowls

For best success with DIY board and batten, start with a smooth wall texture

We used furring strips to do our walls in our original dining area for the vertical wood strips, and larger 1 x 3’s for the horizontal top strips. If your walls aren’t smooth and have heavy texture, you can adhere plywood boards or MDF boards on the surface to be covered first. but before we even did that, I realized our sad, whimpy original baseboard wasn’t going to cut it, so I used a trick to bump it up, make it look more beefy, and  match the profile size of the board and batten strips to be installed. Before applying any wood treatment to a wall, use a stud finder to mark your studs with a pencil, and know where your electric runs in the wall so you aren’t nailing through it. And as always, use proper personal safety equipment and tools as instructed.

room before adding batten board as an accent

Use extra trim to make existing baseboard already in place look larger if your trim tops are too narrow

Taking a 1.5 inch trim of pine board, we flipped it upside down so the thick end of the molding meets the bottom of the vertical boards. This helped make our smaller trim look more substanital and modern. To adhere, Use construction adhesive or liquid nails to apply the trim pieces to the wall. After the glue has dried, prime the raw wood and let dry.

Make your old trim look more expensive and substantial by adding extra trim

I have found that adding the top horizontal board that runs the wall length before adding the vertical boards is easier, using a miter saw on the corners if needed. Use a level to make sure the top board is level all of the way across and secure with construction adhesive and brad nails (Paintable caulk or wood filler is a a great way to fill the nail holes.).

When adding board and batten to your walls,add your top piece first so you always cut your vertical pieces to the corect length

Once the top board is in place, start measuring and adding the vertical batten board into place, adhering the boards same way as before.

The hardest part of creating a board and batten wall is deciding how far to take it up the wall

Math is needed to decided how far a part to place each strip of wood. Board and batten boards can be as close together as you like or as far apart as you like. I generally feel a width of 11-13 inches on center has the most classic appearance.

Board and batten over drywall in a bathroom renovation

Once your board and batten wood is applied to the wall, fill any nail holes, and make sure they are flush and smooth with the trim by sanding. If you want a seamless look, use a caulk gun and paintable caulk to seal any place the wood comes in contact with the walls so there are no gaps. I found the eggshell paint I used was thick enough to fill any small gaps or spaces.

Adding vertical boards to a board and batten bedroom wall.

Because of the raw wood, use an angle brush to paint all of the edges and top of the board and batten with primer, and then a paint roller for the flat areas in between.

Priming a board and batten bedroom wall

What finish is best for a board and batten wall?

Once the wall is completely primed, its ready for the paint! Use the same technique of cutting in all of the edges first with a brush and then follow with a roller. I find if you want a more classic board and batten look, using eggshell or flat / matte paint works best. This is such a great wall treatment for so many areas of your home! The entryway, bathrooms, bedrooms and more.

Make your batten board look cohesive by painting it one color. This is BM white dove

This area of our home is painted with Benjamin Moore White Dove. I love how clean and crisp and interesting it looks!

Board and batten DIY

It makes the room so much brighter and welcoming. Thought now this space is inside of an office area.

Board and Batten or batten board adds nice visual interest.

In our bedroom, the before and after is amazing!

Nightstands with lamp shelves. More room for books!
Bedroom with board and batten on the wall

And even in our bathroom, it really makes it feel so much brighter and cleaner.

Pretty sink area with board and batten and art

A board and batten wall treatment is a classic and timeless look, and now there are so many modern variations on it, it’s an affordable way to bring lots of character into your home!

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