DIY Board and Batten Tutorial

Learn how to build and install interior board and batten for less than $100. It’s a beautiful wall treatment that’s a great weekend project for any level of DIYer!

If you’ve seen my Fall Home Tour, then you’ll have seen my newly made over mudroom. The transformation is quite astonishing and was cheap, too!

How to build and install interior board and batten
Cheap and easy to install DIY board and batten tutorial

I love adding architectural detail to walls. The majority of our home has beautiful custom wainscoting that adds so much character. But our mudroom, where we enter our home, lacked a single ounce of that character that the rest of our home has.

A narrow room with a dark, wooden bench and square, wicker baskets below and a large level and unpainted plank of wood resting on top

I’ve wanted to create a more functional mudroom with storage for shoes and sturdy hooks for coats for some time, now. With my home tour approaching, several weeks ago we bit the bullet and completed our mini-makeover in just one weekend.

I decided to add a DIY board and batten treatment to the walls because it complements the existing moldings and details throughout the house. Plus, the vertical batten boards lend themselves nicely to attaching hooks! Our walls are nice and smooth, but this can also be done on textured walls. You might just want to downplay the texture by painting the wall with a flat (or at least eggshell) sheen of paint.

Materials Needed for Board and Batten

You will have to figure out the total length of boards you need for your own space.
  • 1 x 4 boards for both the horizontal and vertical batten boards*
  • 1 x 2 to to add as a trim piece to the very top horizontal batten
  • Nail gun (or an old fashioned hammer and nails – it will just take longer)
  • Brad nails for the nail gun
  • Stud finder
  • Saw (we use one of these but a regular hand saw and miter box will work too)
  • Level
  • Caulk and spackle
  • White paint & paintbrush/roller
*Note: We chose to purchase cheap pine boards. We selected boards that had no warping and few knots. If this is a concern to you, purchase a higher grade wood or MDF – just know that it will increase the cost of the project.

How to Install Your DIY Board and Batten Treatment

A man holding a level above a plank of unpainted wood that is now secured to the wall

Decide how high you want the top horizontal batten to go. Mark your studs using the stud finder. Checking first for level, secure the batten to the wall using the brad nailer, nailing into the studs.

How to install batten boards

To create the box effect, another horizontal batten is nailed 12 inches below the top one. You could do all the vertical boards first if you wanted to, but then your horizontal “box” cuts would have to be really perfect to avoid gaps, so this is a better way to do it.

Installing board and batten is cheap and easy, it can even be installed to textured walls

By doing horizontal first, then the vertical and repeating until the end, you get a much tighter fit, which means less gaps to try to hide with caulk!

Using a brad nail gun is the quickest way to install board and batten but a regular hammer and nails works too

We repeated the process for the entire wall, spacing the vertical battens every foot. When trying to figure out how far apart to space the vertical pieces, we first measured the width of the wall. Taking the width of each board into account, we divided the space up as equally as we could. The result 4 sections that were 12 inches apart with the last section being an inch smaller (but that’s ok!).

If you just have a one wall, you can butt the edges right up against the end of the wall or door trim. However, we decided to wrap it around so that it met the door frame.

Figure out the width of your walls to decide how far apart the battens should be
A mitered edge to join the corners of the board and batten

We cut the end piece at a 45 degree angle to create a mitered edge. If you don’t have a miter saw or miter box, you could also just butt the edges of the wood.

Adding a top board finishes the board and batten wall off nicely

Finally, to create a finished look, add the 1 x 2 board to the top batten.

Once all the wood has been installed, fixing all the gaps and nail holes commences. Caulk should be used to fill the seams between the wood and the wall and spackle (since it’s sandable and paintable) to fill the nail holes.  (Being real for a second – I still have a few gaps to caulk since I chose to paint it all first in the name of getting it photographed on time!!)

Paint and caulk are essential to get a professional look on your board and batten

If you didn’t sand the wood prior to installation, now is a good time to use some fine grit sandpaper to smooth out any imperfections. Seal the wood and get it ready for paint with a coat of primer, then apply two coats of white satin paint.

Easy DIY board and batten tutorial for interior walls

To really make the white board and batten pop, paint the wall above it and contrasting color. We had an unused gallon of Sherwin Williams Light French Gray paint in our  basement that we cracked open…and it proved to be the perfect color!

Easy DIY board and batten

A simple weekend project, right? I promise you, you can do this. In fact, a similar (lower height) board and batten wall was one of the first ever DIY projects we completed in our first home. Check out that dining room board and batten tutorial here.

An entryway with board and batten wood detailing on the left wall, a dark bench below with wicker baskets, and various pillows on top

*affiliate links included for your convenience*

We screwed in some oil rubbed bronze pilltop coat hooks, situated our new bench ($124!) and some rattan baskets and we had a fully functional mudroom!

Total Time

Installing board and batten: 3 hours

Caulking/spackling/painting: 4 hours total

Cost Breakdown

Wood: $70

Bench: $124 (I actually used a gift card for this, so technically it didn’t cost me anything)

Baskets: $60 (HomeGoods – similar at Target)

Hooks: $5 each x 4 = $20

Paint: Already owned – Sherwin Williams Light French Gray

Painting Supplies: Already owned

Nail gun/caulk/spackle: Already owned

Total Cost of Mudroom Makeover: $150

More DIY Tutorials

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A wall featuring board and batten design, with pegs for a large, brown bag holding greenery, and a wooden bench below, with assorted pillows resting on top

Board and Batten

Active Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day

Elevate your entryway with charming architectural elements that are also functional.

Materials

  • 1 x 4 boards for both the horizontal and vertical batten boards (measure your wall to find out how many you will need)
  • 1 x 2 to to add as a trim piece to the very top horizontal batten
  • Caulk and spackle
  • White paint

Tools

  • Nail gun or hammer and nails
  • Brad nails for the nail gun
  • Stud finder
  • Saw
  • Level
  • Paintbrush or roller

Instructions

    1. Decide how high you want the top horizontal batten to go. Mark your studs using the stud finder. Checking first for level, secure the batten to the wall using the brad nailer, nailing into the studs.
    2. To create the box effect, nail another horizontal batten 12 inches below the top one. By doing horizontal first, then the vertical and repeating until the end, you get a much tighter fit, which means less gaps to try to hide with caulk!
    3. Repeat the process for the entire wall, spacing the vertical battens every foot. When trying to figure out how far apart to space the vertical pieces, measure the width of the wall. Taking the width of each board into account, divide the space up equally.
    4. If you just have a one wall, you can butt the edges right up against the end of the wall or door trim. However, we decided to wrap it around so that it met the door frame. To do so, cut the end piece at a 45 degree angle to create a mitered edge. If you don't have a miter saw or miter box, you could also just butt the edges of the wood.
    5. Finally, to create a finished look, add the 1 x 2 board to the top batten.
    6. Once all the wood has been installed, fix all the gaps and nail holes. Use caulk to fill the seams between the wood and the wall and spackle to fill the nail holes.
    7. If you didn't sand the wood prior to installation, now is a good time to use some fine grit sandpaper to smooth out any imperfections. Seal the wood and get it ready for paint with a coat of primer, then apply two coats of white satin paint.

Notes

We chose to purchase cheap pine boards. We selected boards that had no warping and few knots. If this is a concern to you, purchase a higher grade wood or MDF - just know that it will increase the cost of the project.

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4 Comments

  1. That looks amazing. I wouldn’t mind doing similar in my laundry/mudroom. May I ask, what color is your door painted? I’ve been contemplating painting our backdoor navy but think I’d like a softer denim blue.

  2. This looks fabulous and I love your directions! I’ve been wanting to add a board and batten wall to my house so I”m definitely saving this one for reference! What a difference it made in your mudroom!

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