How to Board and Batten Cheap and Easy

July 15, 2021
nicole

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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Board and batten is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to makeover a room. With just a few materials and tools even a novice DIY’er can transform a room over a weekend. While there are so many different wall treatments out there that I love, board and batten is still my favorite. Why? Because it is timeless. This one has been around since the early colonists of America. Quite a long time!  🙂

Black bench in front of a white board and batten wall

SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE ADDING BOARD AND BATTEN

DESIGN…There are several different patterns of board and batten:

bench in dining room with blanket and basket of flowers on it

After some updates, here’s what this room looks like now….

Juniper Print The Mesa in Dining room

I am loving these paint changes! The black board and batten is perfect!

Board and batten can take on different looks. The one above has a trim piece at the top of the board and batten whereas, the one below has strips going from floor to ceiling…. boys bedroom. Bed with gray and white striped comforter and board and batten walls in background

Both are a classic look.

This look was a lot of fun to pull together!

Green board and batten behind an mcm king bed

This accent wall is my most recent and probably my favorite currently. Don’t let the pattern fool you, it’s actually quite easy to do….and a lot of fun too!! Get the full tutorial on this Square Board and Batten technique here….

Full view of staircase with finished square board and batten wall accent

These are just a couple examples. Of course Pinterest is full of ideas too. You can check out my Board and Batten Pinterest board here.

HERE’S ANOTHER DESIGN TO CHECK OUT TOO! 

BASEBOARDS:

The thickness of your battens (vertical boards) versus the thickness of your baseboards is something to consider. If the battens slightly hang over the baseboards, it shouldn’t be a problem. But if the battens are much thicker than the baseboards, it could be quite a noticeable thing and you probably won’t be very happy with the look.

You have two choices in this matter:

six panel door with craftsman trim

However, that is a huge undertaking and probably not the route most people want to go. If the area that you are applying the board and batten is its own space, and separate from the other walls, you could probably get away with changing out just the baseboards in that area.

  • Apply thinner battens. You can choose anywhere from a 1/4 to 3/4″ thickness, when applying my favorite board and batten technique.

BATTEN PLACEMENT:

It’s best to measure out your space before placing your boards. Not only because it’s always good to have a plan, but also if you are wanting to avoid having to cut around outlets, etc with a jigsaw. However, sometimes there’s no way around this. The best technique is to start in the center of the wall and work your way out both directions. This will help keep your work more symmetrical.

HOW TO BOARD AND BATTEN CHEAP AND EASY

Materials Needed:  (Affiliate Links Included)

4×8 Sheet of MDF Board (Amount and thickness is based upon space and preference; I prefer 1/2″ thickness)

Miter Saw

Table Saw (optional) Home Depot will usually cut your boards to the size you need

Jigsaw (optional)

Nail Gun (Hammer and nails work too, but much faster and easier with a nail gun)

Nails for Nail Gun (Size depends on thickness of MDF board)

Tape Measure

Level

Paint

Wood Filler

Sandpaper

Paintable Caulk

How-To:

STEP ONE:

Tape off area and paint walls white (or whatever color you’re planning on painting your board and batten).

blue wall taped off and painted white on bottom

STEP TWO:

Cut MDF boards the length and width you desire for the look you want. For my hallway project, I cut my boards (battens) 47 inches long and 4 inches wide. My top border piece is also 4 inches wide and spans across the top of my battens.

sheet of mdf board

STEP THREE:

Cut to fit and place top board first, using your nail gun and a level.

STEP FOUR:

Now you’re ready for the battens. Again, I ripped mine at 4″ wide, but it’s all about personal preference. Choose a starting point–preferably in a corner or at the beginning of a wall. Attach your first batten using a level and nail gun. Work your way across the wall, placing a batten every so-many inches (whatever spacing you have planned out). For my project, I spaced my battens 8″ apart. But again…personal preference. 🙂

board and batten wall

Note: You may be wondering, where does the word “board” come into play for board and batten….The traditional way to board and batten a wall is to place boards, cut to fit, in between your battens. To save money and time, I choose to use the wall as my “board” section. It really doesn’t change the look at all and you still end up with a beautiful (less expensive) board and batten wall.

board and batten wall

As I mentioned before, sometimes it’s impossible to not hit a faceplate/outlet. When this happens, use a jigsaw to cut the opening needed out of your batten…

light switch with batten cut around it

STEP FIVE:

All of your battens are attached and you are ready for the finish work…Run caulk all along the edges of your battens, making the transition from battens to wall seamless. Caulk is awesome and great at covering up any flaws/mistakes you may have made. Caulk is your friend! Use it liberally.

STEP SIX:

Use nail filler to fill in all of your nail holes and then sand to make smooth.

STEP SEVEN:

The fun part! Paint!!! Paint your walls (again) and the battens all the same color.

board and batten painted white

Allow to dry and you are finished…

board and batten wall treatment

Wall treatments are the easiest and most inexpensive way to update and change the look of any room. Here are a few more wall treatment ideas.

CLICK HERE FOR A FULL TUTORIAL ON HOW TO MAKE A SLIDING BARN DOOR

Check out this post all about adding shiplap to your walls…

alcove with sliding barn door and white mini goldendoodle pup

Here are a couple more super easy wall treatments, I put together in my brother’s office.

You can find this wall treatment tutorial here…

bistro table in front of a wall treatment

couch, chair, coffee table, windmill on a wall treatment wall.

I recently updated this hallway too. From this..You can read all about the pallet wall treatment technique here.

wall treatments and a large turquoise vase

To this….

Juniper print The Otis with new frame

Want to try your hand at this super easy board and batten technique? Here’s the link!!

Juniper print The Otis in family room

As always if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below. I love to help you see how easy these projects are to DIY and overcome your fear of power tools. You’ve got this!!

PIN IT FOR LATER….PINTEREST PIN

Until next time,

Happy Building, Friend!!

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7 Comments

  1. KariAnne Wood

    So many awesome projects! Can’t wait to see you at Haven and I’m following along with your blog on my reader!

    Happy day friend!
    karianne

    Reply
    • Nicole Nigg

      Thank you so much KariAnne! That means so much to me. I can’t wait to meet you at Haven!! And am SO excited to be a part of your mentor group!
      See you soon!
      Nicole

      Reply
  2. Promise

    Do you have a source for the black bench in the first photo?

    Reply
    • Nicole Nigg

      Unfortunately, I don’t have a source for that. Sorry.

      Reply
    • Tameka

      It’s the Paragon Bench-Merlot from American Signature.

      Reply
  3. Sasha

    What color green paint did you use? It’s gorgeous.

    Reply
    • Nicole Nigg

      Hi Sasha,
      Thank you! The board and batten behind our bed is painted Sherwin Williams Shade Grown. It’s a beautiful green, that kind of takes on a green/black color.
      Have a great day!
      ~Nicole

      Reply

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