Fair warning: this post is full of not-so-pretty pictures.  This post is about a project under construction.  We installed a DIY board and batten treatment in our dining room.  It was the first project on the path of transformation for the dining room.  Board and batten was a prominent element in our dining room mood board.  Here was the extra bland and b-o-r-i-n-g dining room before:

Dining Room Before

We looked at bead-board paneling and wainscoting kits, but to get the style we wanted and a better price, we chose to go the DIY route.  We spent about $150 on all the wood for this project.  We used select pine 1x4s, 1x3s, and cove moulding trim.  We also purchased an inexpensive ($20) laser level.  You know we just had to have a new toy.  In retrospect, we should have used this project as an excuse to get a nail gun.  Since we didn’t have a nail gun, we used a good old-fashioned hammer for nailing.  To avoid having to do too many nails we relied on screws and liquid nails.

Board and Batten top rail

The first step was to install the top rail.  This is where the laser level came in handy.  We used it to mark a level line across the wall.  We decided to make our top rail even with the center of the window.  This meant visually there was one continuous line around the room.  The top of our rail was about 5ft from the floor and 4ft from the cieling.  Along the level line we mounted 1x4s with screws.  We screwed them near the top of the board, knowing we would be able to cover the screws with the cove moulding.  We used a scarf joint to join boards at seems.  A scarf joint (I just googled to find out what it was called) is a fancy term for cutting the end of the boards at a 45 degree angle and then overlapping them to create a more seamless joint.  To create the ledge on top, we nailed 1×3 boards on top of the rail.  We used scarf joints to join the boards on the ledge too.  We used a nail set to sink the nails into the moulding.  Then covered the nail holes with sand-able wood filler.

board and batten trim profile

To finish off the top rail, we used liquid nails to install the cove moulding under the ledge.  The liquid nails worked pretty well for this, but we had to hold each piece for several minutes and ultimately put a few nails in temporarily while the liquid nails dried.  The above picture is after primer, but I wanted to show you the profile created with the cove moulding.  This profile is visible on each side of the window and each side of the nook where the armoire is.  We had to cut 45 degree angles here too to create a return. A return gives the corner a finished look.   To do that, we just mitered the end of the cove moulding at a 45 degree angle.  Then we cut another small piece of moulding mitered at 45 degrees to fit on the side and create the finished corner.

With the top rail done, the next step was the battens (vertical boards).  We did not want to remove or replace the baseboards (no need to risk damaging our pretty floor).  Instead, we cut the bottom of the battens at a 45 degree angle to taper towards the existing baseboard.  We spaced our battens about 24″ apart to make the spacing even and accommodate obstacles on the wall, like the air return, outlets, and light switches.  It was definitely wise to plan and measure this out in advance.  We marked the placement of each batten along the wall.  Then where each batten should be, we measured the exact height from the top of the baseboard to the bottom of the rail.  We measured and cut each batten individually for the best fit…although your top rail is level, it doesn’t mean your baseboards are.

Installing Board and Batten

So the above picture looks scary, but I promise this all looks fabulous when it is done.  Construction is never pretty.  We tried to use only liquid nails to hold up the battens, but it was a pain.  We both had to hold each batten for several minutes.  Once the liquid nails started to set, we taped the battens with frog tape to hold them in place until the liquid nails dried.  This only worked well for perfectly straight boards.  If the batten had even a slight bow in it, we had to nail it in place.  The liquid nails is not strong enough to grab the wood and pull it to the wall.

Board and Batten caulking

Once all the battens were in place (and scary tape removed), I applied paintable caulk to all the cracks and crevices.  This included the edge of every batten, the top and bottom edges of the cove molding, the bottom of the rail where it met the wall, the top of the ledge where it met the wall, and any joints along the way.  I used two tubes of caulking.  This step is critical for getting a good finish in the end, so I spent a ton of time caulking.  We were getting a little antsy to see a more finished look, so while I caulked, my husband started to put a first coat of paint above the board and batten.

board and battery installation

I am going to leave you with a slightly more finished look.  After caulking, I sanded all the boards and any spots where we used wood filler.  Then I slapped a coat of primer over the board and batten.  Notice already how those wall obstacles (air return and outlets) start to blend in?

board and batten primed

Before the day was out, we also cut in and did a second coat on the teal walls above.  The teal color was inspired by our love of the same color in the nursery.  It is Plumage from our whole house color scheme.   Okay, is it looking less scary now?  Wait until you see the finished wall treatment!




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15 Responses to DIY Board and Batten – Under Construction

  1. I can’t wait till you post the finshed project pictures! It is looking fabulous! ~ Barbara

  2. Dee at Home says:

    That is an ambitious project but I absolutely LOVE that look, and think it’ll be worth your while. It’s timeless.

    I also like the arched alcove on the right side. Did you design your home with that?

    Arches a really big in Texas.. Dee :)

    • Jackie says:


      Thanks! We did not design the home, but we love the arches it has throughout. Definitely reminds us of Texas homes. My husband is from Dallas and during the winter we wish we lived there!!

  3. My husband and I have wanted to do this but thought we’d have to rip off the baseboards and install flat ones. Seeing this is great timing! Now the project doesn’t seem so out of control if we just leave the original baseboard and do the taper at the bottom! Thanks!

  4. I am about to start a board and batten project and finding your post couldn’t have come at a better time!! I thought we were going to have to remove our baseboards as well. I like what you did, great idea and it looks great! Thanks so much for sharing this! OH, and LOOOOVVEEE your room!!! Awesome job!

    • Jackie says:

      Thanks Teresa. I tell you this project was so much simpler without messing with the baseboard. I would totally do it this way again. Nobody notices.

  5. Hey! Found you over at YHL. Love the wall color and wood trim! Turned out great! I’m a huge fan of all things turquoise and teal as well. :)

  6. Rachael says:

    I’d just suggest using picture wire on the back of the mirror and putting it in the top groove of the french cleat. It will allow you to not only adjust the angle but the height as well by adjusting the wire on the back. :)

    • Jackie says:

      Rachel, What a great idea. The mirror was originally designed to mount to a dresser with brackets at the bottom. I think there is enough frame around the sides to get the eye hooks in for the picture wire. Now to convince hubby to help me get the mirror down to make the fix :)

  7. Jen says:

    What a beautiful transformation – very inspiring! Thank you for sharing! I have a question about the board & batton. I’ve been wanting to try this in our nursery. Are your walls smooth or textured? Ours are textured & I thought I would have to cover the wall space between the boards with wood panels for a finished look. Obviously it would save time and money if I could get the look with boards & paint only. Thanks!

    • Jackie says:

      Hi Jen. Thank you! I am glad you liked the room. We do have smooth walls, which helps with the illusion. You should be able to attach a thin piece (1/4″) board to smooth yours out. I am not an expert, but i am sure they can help you at the home store. Good luck. Please come back and share. I love board and batten for a nursery!

  8. Wes says:

    What size are the vertical boards? 1×3?

    • Jackie says:

      Hi Wes. Yes, the vertical boards are 1 x 3. The horizontal board on top is a 1 x 4 with a 1 x 2 cap and 1.5″ cove molding.

  9. Laura says:

    Hi Jackie! I love your dining room and I am trying to recreate it in my house. What sheen of paint did you use on the bottom half? I am tempted to use semi-gloss to make it stand out a little more. Thanks!

    • Jackie says:

      Laura, The paint I used was a satin finish, but the Floetrol reduces a little but of the sheen (worth it though to not have brushstrokes). Just remember the glossier you go, the more imperfections can be seen in the finish. So, if you don’t sand really well, bumps and nicks will be more apparent in a glossier finish.

      Best of luck with your board and batten project. It is the most complimented project in our house!

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