Add Instant Casual Elegance To Any Room
Here’s a secret Board and Batten hack that will make your home look more expensive! And, you can do it yourself, it’s super low cost, but brings a super high end look to any room!
So what the heck is board and Batten, you ask? Back in the day, in the old cottages , when old plaster walls started to show their age, people would take a piece of board and nail it over the cracks to hide the imperfections. To hide the unsightly seams created from butting the pieces together they used a batten, a vertical thin strip of wood. Once painted it became paneling. This quick fix technique has now evolved into a creative decoration for the home, nodding to, and taking it’s cues from the Arts and Crafts movement. Board and batten is wainscoting/paneling that is reminiscent of Arts and Craft style aka Mission or Craftsman style because of its simple lines and casual elegance.
Most Homes Lack Character
Unless you own an older home your home probably lacks character unless you’ve added some. My favorite way to add instant character and elegance to any space is by adding architectural elements like wide moldings, wainscotting, columns, architectural ceilings…
I absolutely love chunky white moldings, board and batten, beadboard, shiplap, any wainscoting! They add such a classy look to any room and give loads of character! My favorite is board and batten. I even put it in my bathroom.
When painted white, it’s classic and works with most design styles and it’s so low cost!! You will get a big bang for your buck with my simple hack method for installing it.
So What’s My Secret Board and Batten Hack?
This diy wainscoting board and batten technique is crazy simple! Are you ready??? Have you guessed it??? The secret is-you leave out the board and just nail the battens to your walls….and….you use inexpensive MDF(medium density fiberboard) instead of wood!
At the time of this installation I paid roughly $35 for a sheet of MDF and I only needed two 4×8 sheets. Of course this technique needs to be painted and not stained and no one will know it’s not a full sheet of paneling but actually just sheet rock under the battens because it’s all painted out with a semi-gloss paint finish. It’s really easy to do. I did my whole living room by myself in one weekend. Then I did my bathroom in a day!
Another of my tricks was having Home Depot do the majority of the cuts for me so I didn’t have to “rip” any boards. That’s when you make long cut pieces (strips) from a big piece of whatever you start with…plywood…MDF. Here it’s an 8’x4′ piece of mdf. (Call me Tool Belt Diva, lol. Anyone remember that show?). You’ll need a lot of strips so unless you have a table saw and even if you do, I’d recommend having the big guys do it!
Make a Plan
You’ll have to measure your walls and do the math. It helped me to draw it all out on graph paper so I could maximize the 4×8 sheets of mdf with the amount of cuts I needed. I used 2″x 44.5″ battens. My existing base molding was 4″. I added a 5″ wide horizontal top piece which gave the wainscoting an overall height of 52″ in my living room. I spaced the battens approximately 12″ apart. In my bathroom I added a shelf to the top piece so I could use it for display and shortened the battens so the overall height was lower. I also opted to not use the existing baseboard and replaced it with a 4″ base which I cut from the mdf. You will need to use a nail gun which I borrowed from my generous neighbor. Caulk everything, sand, then paint in a semi-gloss. Please contact me for more details if you need them. Good luck, send me your pictures, would love to see them!