DIY Board and Batten Wall in Just a Couple Hours!

9 Materials
$100
2 Hours
Medium

We just moved into a new house that doesn't have much character, despite being an older home. This home was built in the 1950s, and generally, homes built after 1950 seem to have much less character than homes built in the 1920s, for example. So, we have to find creative ways to add character to the home. One of my favorite ways is by adding a feature wall. I love how feature walls add depth, texture, and interest to any room. These projects tend to be inexpensive, simple ways to add a little interest to an otherwise basic room, much more effectively than any décor items could. For most, this could be completed in a couple hours if you’re doing one wall, so even if you’re busy you don’t have an excuse!


First, you need to plan which wall(s) you are going to work on and what look you want. It depends greatly on the space and your personal taste, but I recommend one large feature wall that doesn’t have any windows or doors. However, if your room has a lot of windows and/or doorways, I might put it on all of the walls as it will be a nice pop on the little bit of wall space in that room.

Now it’s time to plan and measure to determine how much lumber you will need. To a certain extent, the process of sizing and spacing is going to come down to personal preference. I will share the process we went through so you have an idea of how to apply this to your own space.

 

Depending on the walls you are working on, you’ll have to make decisions on the size and length of the boards you want to purchase. In our case, since the wall in this room is 15 feet long, we went with two 8-foot-long pieces (4” width) for the top piece. We did this so there is just one seam in the middle. There were 16-foot pieces which would have meant I didn’t have to have a seam, but I didn’t want to worry about trying to get those home. I also like to add a 1.5-inch-wide piece to the top, so I purchased two 8-foot-long pieces of that as well.


I decided on the spacing for the batten (the strips of wood running down the wall) and wanted 20 inches of wall space between each piece. You can put them closer or further apart depending on the look you want. I chose 2.5 inch width pieces, so I needed to purchase nine 6-foot pieces.


I like the bottom a bit chunkier, so I went with the 6 inch width. I purchased two 8-foot pieces.

 

I prefer to use MDF (Medium-density fiberboard) as opposed to wood because it is a dense, engineered wood product that is smooth and looks great painted. If you use wood, you will still see the texture of the wood after you paint it, and I think it takes away from the finished look.

Cut, glue, and nail the bottom and top first.

For the top piece, make sure it is level, as it will really stand out if it isn't level at the top.

Then add the batten pieces, being sure to measure each one first before you cut. Don't assume they will all be the same length, as the floor is likely not level, so the length will differ from one end of the room to the other end. This is especially common in older homes, but may still be the case in newer builds. The floor in this room varied by a half inch from one end to the other.

Put some wood glue on the back side of the board and put into place. Be sure to make sure each piece is level before securing with a few nails in each piece.

Now to make it pretty! There will be nail holes all over and you'll want to cover those up!

We like to use wood filler for the nail holes and white caulk for the larger spaces. Don't worry! Those unsightly holed and spaces will disappear!

It doesn't look pretty yet, but be patient...allow time to dry before painting. See the packaging on whichever product you use to see how long they recommend waiting. Wherever you use wood filler, make sure you lightly sand once dried to smooth any rough spots.

Now use the same paint you picked for the bottom color and see how much it cleans up and transforms the look!


And voilà! This little project completely transformed the space. Now we just have to hang all of the photos will still have leaning against our beautiful new wall : /


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Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Reg
    on Feb 2, 2020

    What size is the baseboard in the rest of the room? I see that you used 6 inch baseboard on the feature wall.

    • Hi Reg,


      Because the baseboard is 6", most other baseboards will be smaller and it looks fine since it they don't really compete with each other. We will be using a more decorative baseboard that's about 4" in the rest of the room, but we haven't finished putting the rest of the trim up. I will post a pic so you can see how it looks!


      Thanks for your question!


      Lauren

  • Linda Voigt Conlon
    on Feb 7, 2020

    Where do you find mdf in small sizes or did you cut it yourself?

  • Robyn Garner
    on Feb 10, 2020

    I don't have a nail gun. Could I just as easily put in screws? Also, would screws be sufficient or do I have to commit to this forever and glue the wood in? Thanks for the inspiration! 😎

    • Robyn Garner
      on Feb 11, 2020

      Lauren,


      Thanks so much for your advice! I even have a nail set already lol!

      ~~Robyn

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