With the DIY revolution that’s been going on for the last 10 years, we’ve seen a lot more fun and beautiful wall treatments becoming more mainstream. Wall treatments like shiplap, unique board and batten wall ideas, picture frame molding, and even slatted walls have given homeowners an opportunity to make their homes even more of an expression of their styles. Of all the wall treatments out there, I love the versatility of board and batten.
- What is Board and Batten?
- What's the difference between a Board and Batten Wall and Shiplap?
- Can Board and Batten Add Value to Your Home?
- Where Should I use a Board and Batten wall?
- A Note About Faux Board and Batten
- Quick Board and Batten Tutorial
- Board and Batten Wall Ideas
- Wrapping Up
What is Board and Batten?
Board and batten has been around for centuries. Seen in medieval and gothic architecture, it became popular again in the late nineteenth century in exterior home construction. It rose in popularity around Europe before becoming popular here in the United States during the Victorian era.
According to the popular home site, Bob Vila, board and batten is, “a striking dimensional finishing treatment, board and batten, is enjoying renewed popularity, with homeowners installing it both on the exterior and indoors. Historically a staple of Arts and Crafts architecture, board and batten originated as a form of house siding. The term “batten” refers to the strip of molding placed across the joint between boards. The resulting look boasts an attractive geometry: strong vertical lines balanced by a sense of texture across the horizontal.”
Drawing from that inspiration, today, board and batten is a popular exterior and interior wood construction that goes on existing walls creating a unique wall treatment. There are many modern board and batten ideas for use in your home and we’ll get into some of them soon. Board and batten accents are popular in hallways, as bedroom accent walls, it’s even been done on ceilings.
What’s the difference between a Board and Batten Wall and Shiplap?
Shiplap and board and batten are two different wood construction wall treatments. Traditional shiplap has a groove cut into the top and bottom of the board that allows the pieces to fit together snugly, forming a tight seal. This gives shiplap its distinctive appearance of snugly fit tight horizontal boards. Board and batten walls have a less uniform look and can be created in many different ways. Traditional board and batten use narrow strips (batten) of wood alternately with wider spaces (board).
Can Board and Batten Add Value to Your Home?
Yes, it can. Board and batten is custom millwork. If done tastefully, it can add value to your home by giving it a more custom look. Adding board and batten to a home that has mostly builder-grade finishes can help the home stand out when it’s time to sell.
Where Should I use a Board and Batten wall?
Interior board and batten wall treatments have become really popular in the last few years and you see them in many areas of the home. I love traditional board and batten in an entryway, mudroom, hallway, bathroom, and bedroom. For more unique or modern spins on board and batten, you can do a board and batten accent wall in a bedroom or make a grand statement on a stairway. Board and batten is a really nice way to add visual interest to otherwise blank walls. I don’t think you can go wrong with it in any of the areas mentioned above. I would just advise that you not overdo it. There is such a thing as too much board and batten so if you love wall treatments, try to mix it up.
A Note About Faux Board and Batten
True board and batten has actual boards (plywood or MDF boards) that cover the walls and the narrow strips of wood (batten pieces) are used to cover the seams of the boards. It is very common now to do a faux version of board and batten that doesn’t require the use of the boards. With a faux board and batten wall treatment, you would attach the narrow strips of wood directly to the wall using brad nails to create the look of board and batten without the actual boards. When doing this version of board and batten be sure to consider wall texture and the existing baseboards before you begin. Board and batten typically have a smooth texture and require you to replace your baseboards. The faux version of board and batten is very common and can look amazing when done well. It is popular among DIYers and will be included in a lot of the examples that I share below.
Quick Board and Batten Tutorial
These are two more detailed tutorials but for a quick rundown of installing board and batten, see below: Horizontal Board and Batten and DIY Board and Batten Without Removing Existing Baseboard
1. Determine how high you want your board and batten to be, then find the width of the wall you are placing the board and batten on.
2. Determine the spacing of the vertical batten, you’ll want to be sure to avoid placing batten over an outlet cover.
3 Using a miter saw and the measurements of your space start cutting your vertical boards. Once done making the cuts be sure to sand down the ends using medium grit sandpaper for a nice smooth appearance.
4. At this point you will want to lay out your battens to make sure you have the desired amount of boards.
5 Now it’s time to attach the boards to the drywall using a brad nailer and level. I also used liquid nails (or any construction adhesive) to ensure better adhesion to the drywall.
6. Once all your battens are up you will want to fill nail holes with wood filler. Once your wood filler is nice and dry sand it down for a smooth finish.
7. Use paintable caulk (a caulk gun is a lifesaver here) to fill all the seams.
8. Once the caulk is dry you can now paint the board and batten. Make sure to use a quality primer. I also prefer an eggshell sheen to my paint. For the smoothest paint finish, I like to use a paint roller for the board portion and an angled brush for the seams.
Board and Batten Wall Ideas
Next, we’ll explore different board and batten wall ideas that are worth trying out. These range from traditional looks to some that are more unique and modern!
Traditional board and batten
If you have a craftsman-style home then board and batten and your home already go hand in hand. Even if you don’t, traditional board and batten goes with a lot of different home styles and is a great way to get your feet wet with DIY wall treatments. Let’s take a look at some ideas for traditional board and batten.
Board and batten walls in a hallway gives such character to an otherwise boring space.
The bathroom board and batten wall is an ever-classic trim idea. We did a faux board and batten in our bathroom and added a couple of towel hooks.
This board and batten entryway has a timeless look. Crisp white board and batten with a contrasting color on top is always beautiful and inviting.
How about a board and batten wall that goes almost all the way up to the ceiling with a tiny hint of wallpaper? I like it.
Horizontal Modern Board and Batten Ideas
Board and batten can be horizontal as well as vertical. A horizontal board and batten is exactly what you’d expect. The batten trim pieces go horizontally instead of vertically. A unique play on traditional board and batten is a modern nod to an old favorite. Horizontal board and batten have a more coastal feel to me. I love the look. Let’s take a peek and some inspirational photos of horizontal board and batten.
The horizontal board and batten in our girls’ bedroom served as a fun accent wall. The paint color here is Sherwin Williams Chantilly Lace.
I love this modern take on a dining room board and batten. It almost has a shiplap feel without taking on the whole farmhouse vibe.
Grid Style Board and Batten Ideas
One of my favorite board and batten looks is a grid-style board and batten accent wall. These board and batten accent walls look modern but can be made to look a bit more traditional with crisp white paint or they can look bold by adding a punch of color. Either way, a grid-style board and batten accent wall gives unique visual interest to any space.
White grid-style board and batten is a fun play on traditional board and batten without being too bold.
See what a difference a bold paint color can make on a board and batten accent wall? This moody space is full of style starting with that black board and batten accent wall.
Non-Traditional Board and Batten Ideas
Now that we’ve seen traditional board and batten looks, let’s see what non-traditional, modern board and batten looks like. Board and batten can be pretty much anything that includes narrow strips of wood and boards that are a little wider. I’ve seen herringbone style board and batten, diamond-shaped, and more. Let’s take a look at a few really unique board and batten ideas.
If you want something different and unique, this diamond trellis board and batten accent wall is really pretty as a bedroom board and batten option.
Herringbone is another pattern that looks great as a full wall board and batten accent wall. It’s playful and looks great in a kid’s space as you can see above.
This arched board and batten wall has to be my very favorite of all the board and batten ideas I’ve seen lately. It’s so elegant yet unexpected. Bedroom board and batten along with dining room accent walls are great options to zhush up a space. I love this board and batten feature.
Board and batten is a really versatile wood wall treatment that is a totally affordable, and DIY-able upgrade for your home. Board and batten can be added to so many different home styles to execute a more polished design. I hope you found some really good board and batten ideas that are worth trying. I know I have a few favorites from this list!