How to build your own DIY Board & Batten wall

The trend for DIY board and batten walls is still going strong and there are tons of patterns and colours out there for inspiration.
Board and batten walls can elevate your space, they look chic and expensive (but they’re honestly not).
And they’re quite easy to do by yourself as a weekend project.

So let’s have a look at how you can DIY your own board and batten wall.

What you’ll find here

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How to build your own DIY board & batten wall

Hi, I’m Nadine

Interior design expert, globetrotter and the creative mind behind this blog and NH.DESIGN.

I’m originally from Germany but have been living abroad for over 10 years, from Canada and the UK to Sweden.

So I ask myself the question what “home” means every day.
I have made it my mission to help as many people as possible to find their own answer to this.

Join my creative world on Instagram @nhdotdesign or find out more about me

Choose the right wall

Deciding where your new gorgeous DIY board and batten wall should go is the starting point.
It creates a focal point in any room from bedroom over dining room to living room. The possibilities are endless so there are a couple of questions you should ask yourself before diving into this DIY project.

First, ask yourself if you have the space for it?
A board and batten wall is quite a feature and deserves to be shown off.
If you need lots of storage in a room it probably isn’t the best choice to cover the walls with a beautiful feature instead of cabinets.

Next, board and batten walls can go into any room but depending on the use of the space you should know that you’ll need different paint if you install a board and batten wall in your hallway vs your living room.
That’s simply because your hallway gets a lot more traffic and you don’t want to deal with scratches and scuff marks every day.

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    Design the pattern

    Just as there are many many many options for where to install your DIY board and batten wall, there are just as many pattern possibilities. You could go with simple vertical battens from floor to ceiling or create an elaborate pattern with diagonal battens, zigzag shapes and more.

    Have a look on Pinterest as a start and then sketch your pattern ideas on paper. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but if you want, you can use softwares like SketchUp to visualise your board and batten wall beforehand.

    When I designed the pattern for my board and batten wall in the living room I wanted to incorporate diagonal lines because of the sloping ceiling.
    I also liked the zigzag patterns I found on Pinterest so that’s what I used as inspiration.

    line art illustration lightbulb

    Pro Tip

    When designing the pattern think about anything you might want to put on the wall later. I knew the TV would go on that wall so I left a larger triangle space empty to account for that.

    SketchUp rendering of board and batten wall.

    The right tools and materials for your DIY board and batten wall

    Having the right tools to install your DIY board and batten wall is key, otherwise this project is going to take you forever!
    The batten size is completely up to you, some people prefer wider battens while others like the thinner ones better. It also depends on the pattern you want to create.
    The battens I chose are roughly the same width and depth as my baseboards (49 mm by 10mm/1.9″ by 0.3″), which I wanted to incorporate as part of the wall.

    This list will help you to get the right tools and materials to create your own DIY board and batten wall.

    • Mitre saw
      To cut the battens to the right length. You can use other saws as well but it’ll be a little more work. If you don’t have a mitre saw and don’t want to buy one for just this project, you can rent most tools at the hardware store.
    • Fine sandpaper
      To sand the edges of the battens after cutting.
    • Nail gun + extra nails
      To attach the battens to the wall. You can also use liquid nails for this, which is glue.
    • Wood filler (optional)
      This is only if you’re using a nail gun, to cover the nail heads. If you’re using liquid nails you won’t need to fill anything.
    • Caulk (optional)
      This depends on your preference and your walls. I didn’t use any caulk because my walls are quite even so I didn’t have any gaps and the minimal ones I did have were covered by the paint at the end.
    • Paint
      Depending on the area, make sure you get the right sheen or finish. The more traffic and use a space gets the glossier the sheen should be.
    • Large & small paint roller + telescope pole
      The large one is for painting the wall and the smaller one is for in between the battens and the battens themselves.
    • Paint brush
    • Masking tape
    • Floor cover like paper or plastic sheets
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      How to install your board & batten wall

      There are a few different ways to install your DIY board and batten wall. None of them are right, wrong, easier or harder, it just depends on your preference.
      The steps below are the ones I took to install my own DIY board and batten wall.

      Step 1

      Make sure the wall is clean and even. For me that meant removing old popcorn style wallpaper, yuk.

      Mask off other walls, ceiling, baseboards (if you’re not removing them) and floor with your tape.
      Then cover the floor with your paper or plastic sheets to keep them clean if you spill paint.

      Step 2

      Use the brush to paint the edges of the wall first, all along the ceiling, floor and other walls. Then use the smaller brush to even out that paint and to get the same finish as the rest of the wall which is painted next.

      Paint the rest of the wall wall with your chosen color using the large paint roller. It may take 2 coats depending on the shade, darker colors tend to cover less evenly.

      Let the paint dry (check the instructions on the paint to know for how long).
      In the meantime you can start cutting the battens.

      Battens attached to the wall.

      Step 3

      While your paint is drying start cutting your battens to the right length using a mitre saw.
      You can use other saws, too, but they don’t work as well and it takes longer to get the job done.

      Once you have the battens cut, use the fine sandpaper and smoothen the cut edges. 

      Now you can decide if you want to paint the battens once before attaching them to the wall or not. I decided not to do that because I didn’t have space to paint and let dry dozens of battens for hours.

      Step 4

      Once the paint is dry, attach the battens to the wall using a nail gun or liquid nails.

      If you’re using a nail gun, put nails through the battens with about 30-40 cm (11-16″) in between. That way the wood is attached evenly; once it’s painted it absorbs some of the paint and starts warping a little. Placing the nails evenly prevents that.

      If you use liquid nails you don’t have to worry about that. Simply spread the glue evenly across the back of the batten and attach it to the wall. You might have to hold it for a little until the glue dries a bit and can hold the weight of the batten.

      Step 5

      Paint the wall and battens one more time to get an even finish.

      Done! 😊

      The board and batten wall is installed.

      With these design tips it’s easy to build your own DIY board and batten wall.

      Thanks for reading!
      If you enjoyed this post, follow along for more interior design tips and inspiration on my Instagram @nhdotdesign and sign up for my Welcome Home Letter.

      Take care, Nadine

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