DIY Board and Batten, Ana Style

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Creating a board and batten wall treatment is easy and doable by any do it yourselfer. This step by step tutorial will help you add beauty and architectural interest to a blank wall on the tightest of budgets. Beyond style points, you can use the finished board and batten treatment as a picture ledge or for towel or coat hooks.

One Sunday morning a couple of weeks back, it poured. 

Rain = house cleaning. It's not the golden rule, but it's a contender for a silver or bronze one.

With the Ram off gold mining for the week, Grace and I tackled cleaning our small guest bath in no time. 
But when we finished, I did not stare at the clean bath, happy with our hard work. 
Instead, I stared at it in contempt. Why are you so ugly?

The bath just stared back at me, saying, you DID pick me out.  
And I argued back . . . But I had a baby on my back and ten zillion other decision to make at the time, like where to put the toilet and what size rafters we needed for the great room ceiling . . . and you were easy . . . I just bought the whole set . . .tiny mirror with a shelf seemed like a great idea at the time . . . and you didn't tell me that the shelves won't hang straight . . . I was BUSY . . .
The bath just kept staring at me.  I know what it was thinking.  That was like five years ago.  What's your excuse now?  You are not busy right now.
And that Sunday morning, I didn't have an excuse.  
I just gathered up my tools, scrounged up some leftover paint, dug out some boards, and we got to work.  The board and batten was done that night.  Picking out the perfect shower curtain online from Alaska - now that was the REAL challenge.
I've been wanting to do the Board and Batten treatment to the walls for quite some time, especially after seeing Kate's, The Nester's, Decor Chicks, Sarah's, Annicole's, Karla's, Beckie's, Tiffany's, Ashleys, Pink Toes and Power Tools, Mary Jean's, Kimba's, Melissa's, Donna's, Julia's and so many more beautiful and inexpensive Board and Batten wall treatments.
I hope you took a second to visit every single one of those amazing tutorials.  My particular bath did not have challenges like too thin base moulding, or windows or outside corners, and many of those tutorials show you how to work around those issues.  Not to mention all the ideas for different spaces and different styles.
The one major issue I will focus on in this tutorial is getting your Board and Batten attached to studs in the wall.  That's the carpenter in me coming out  :)
And if you want the rest of my bath, here's how you can get it

Springmaid Laran Shower Curtain

I estimate the entire room redo including purchases was about $150. I'll be spending a tad more on new towels and rugs and some accessories, but definitely, if you are looking at your bath in disdain, this quick makeover might just be the ticket to creating your most favorite room in your home.  
Board and Batten is white semigloss, walls above are leftover paint in a khaki color.


Shopping List

Per 8 feet of wall space, boards spaced every 12" and more than 48" in height, you will need . . .

1 - 1x3 @ 8 feet long
10 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
1 - 1x4 @ 8 feet long (if you need to replace moulding)
Liquid Nails Adhesive

I choose to use pine boards for my Board and Batten project because it is formaldehyde free. You can treat your walls with Board and Batten cut from MDF as well.

Common Materials
2 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
paint brush
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

First things first . . . let's look at how a standard stick framed wall is built. My walls are 24" on center, but yours could also be 16" on center. Find your studs and mark them - you will want as many boards as possible to be nailed to a stud.

Step 2

No inspect your baseboard. If your baseboard won't match the boards, you will need to remove and replace with a 1x4 board. Nail the new baseboard into studs in the wall.

Step 3

Choose the height of your board and batten wall treatment. I choose 60" - it just seemed like the right height for my tiny bath. Mark the studs in the wall and attach the top board, but be sure to use a level. It's not uncommon for floors to be off level. Trust your level over the floor.

Step 4

Now cut to fit 1x2s to fit between the baseboard and the top board. Attach with nails and glue, to the studs in the wall. Use a level.

Now of course you should be aware of the finished design, and if a board just doesn't work, or your wall wasn't built to code, don't feel like you must attach a board to every stud.

Step 5

Step 6

Cap the board and batten wall treatment with a 1x2 to finish off the top and create a picture ledge. I nailed and glued to the top board.

Step 7

Now the fun (NOT!) part . . . fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Sand sand sand. Remove any remaining sawdust, wipe clean, prime and paint.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth. 

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.
Comments - Click to Display Comments


Kevin M (not verified)

Wed, 07/13/2011 - 07:02

I did a similar treatment in our breakfast area, but because there was paneling there previously I used 1/4" plywood to cover up the glue marks/holes in the drywall instead of ripping it all out and putting up new drywall. That was quicker and cheaper. It turned out great - it is one of my favorite projects ever.

Denise B (not verified)

Wed, 07/13/2011 - 07:11

I've been trolling the internet and making plans to do this. Thanks for reading my mind!

Guest (not verified)

Wed, 07/13/2011 - 07:27

I find it easier to paint the wall first and to pre paint the boards, less potential drips. Then all I have to do is touch up the nail holes after they are all up.

Mesha (not verified)

Wed, 07/13/2011 - 09:31

Did you put up a board backing, behind the spacers? Or, is this drywall, painted white?

In reply to by Mesha (not verified)

Ana White

Wed, 07/13/2011 - 10:27

Hi Mesha, my drywall is flat (no texture) so yes, that's drywall there. But another reason you want to stay on stud is if you do need to put a backer board up, you will be able to nail it to studs, and then hide the seams with the boards, because the boards will be spaced every 24", it will line up perfectly with a sheet of backer board.

Guest (not verified)

Wed, 07/13/2011 - 11:17

What about inside or outside corners? What would you do if the measured space between the vertical boards hits a corner?

Stacy Tyhurst (not verified)

Wed, 07/13/2011 - 12:40

THANKS! I am getting ready to do this project in the coming weeks and needed some guidelines to go by. Your site is awesome by the way (I spend way too much time drooling over things I want to do).

Emily@Decorchick (not verified)

Wed, 07/13/2011 - 14:47

Hi Ana, your B&B looks amazing!! I'll never get tired looking at this stuff, and I just finished another wall treatment in our living room and can't wait to post it. Thanks so much for the mention girl, you rock! xo

Brittany I (not verified)

Wed, 07/13/2011 - 14:51

I've been thinking about doing this in my hallway for a very long time, but my main concern is that I have lathe and plaster walls and I don’t think it will be as simple to install. Do you have any suggestions to ensure it’s done correctly on that type of surface?


Thu, 07/14/2011 - 12:52

There you go again. I have had a bead board project for my master bedroom in mind for months now. I have just been putting it off because lets face it, the master is ALWAYS the last room to get done right? I was at a friends house this weekend and they had this done. I have seen it before, but now that I have been building and using these materials I looked at this and realized how CHEAP this would be to do instead of bead board. It will now be happening a lot sooner. Thanks for a tutorial on it.

I hope you are happy to know that because of you, I now look at EVERYTHING around me and think through the process and cost of how I could make it. :)

Guest (not verified)

Fri, 07/15/2011 - 17:14

Ana, you somehow always read my mind! I saw an episode of DIY Disaster (I think that's what it's called) where a man was supposed to do board and batten to the outside of his house but never finished it, so Brian (the main guy) came and helped him finish it... and I thought how wonderful that would be INSIDE our house in WHITE... this was about 6 months ago... and here you have it done in YOUR house! We're totally on the same wave length :)

OH and PS - the curtain is almost the most important part! Great find on that super chic curtain!


Mon, 12/05/2011 - 11:47

I wish there was some way to make these sort of things (think chair rail) temporary. I live in military housing (UGLY and very dated) and miss having these little touches that make things a home.


Tue, 12/06/2011 - 08:12

I'm going to do my guest bathroom with the board and batten, however, I want to give the room a rustic, manly look. Has anyone put the room color (besides black) on the board and batten and maybe use a white on the top? Also, if I use the lattice, wonder what I could to to maybe stain or just varnish the strips and wood, and maybe have a paint color created to match?? I'm in the process of remodeling an entire house, and would love to do things different. Any suggestions would be wonderful and very much appreciated! By the way, your bathroom is absolutely gorgeous!

Guest (not verified)

Mon, 02/06/2012 - 09:59


I just wanted to confirm that the parts of the wall that are painted white are the original wall just being re-painted. At times when i look at the photo, it looks like there is another layer on top of the original wall, aside from the dividers. We are in escrow for a new house and would love to do this!

Thank you so much, and love your site-- Im constantly telling my friends to check it out :)

Hannah Johnson (not verified)

Thu, 03/08/2012 - 10:36

Hi Ana,

We are updating our bathroom and will be doing B&B project on the walls. We have the yucky Orange Peel wall texture on our walls. What kind of board backing would you recommend?

Nicole R (not verified)

Tue, 05/15/2012 - 15:18

So, how did you do behind the toilet? Did you remove the whole toilet or just the tank? This might be obvious to some people, but I wasn't sure how to go about doing behind my toilet. Thanks! :)

shannon lang (not verified)

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 05:35

i love love love this idea. i live in an old bungalow. old bungalow=tiny bathroom+ugly plaster damaged walls. this would be perfect to spruce up my water closet errr...bathroom, if u can call it that. however, i have a pedestal sink...any suggestions? i guess i could always just do it on one wall???


Mon, 10/01/2012 - 22:30

Wow! This is just what I was looking for. I have been thing bead board for years but couldn't aford it but this is perfect. Thanks. I am so glad I found your site. Ive already foud a lifetime of other projects also.


Tue, 03/19/2013 - 08:02

Hello Ana,
I was wondering if you knew what the color name and manufacturer of the paint is in the very first pic on this page above the board and batten? Thanks!