Home Improvement: DIY Board and Batten

Oh my.  Once again, I’m so surprised what a little paint and some measly pieces of wood can do.

 

We decided right after we moved in to this house, that we wanted to gussy up the dining room.  And, oh my, I’m so glad we did!

 

The room was sort of a tan color, with oak baseboards and crown molding, and carpet.  So……..we tore out the carpet (the person who originally thought carpet was a good idea in a dining room, should be punished…  Kid or no kids, spill and crumbs happen.  Grrr.), installed hardwood floor, painted the walls, painted the ceiling, primed and painted the crown molding, Trimmed out the Window, trimmed out the entryway, and…….

 

 

……..added some Board and Batten.  Ahhhhh.  ((…swoon))

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Yeah, it took some time to complete.  But I would do it again in a heartbeat.  And I surely wouldn’t appreciate it quite as much as I do, had we hired someone to do it for us (oh yeah, and we couldn’t afford to to hire someone either).

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The Board and Batten wraps all the way around the bottom third of the dining room, and butts right up against the trimmed window.  (Yeah, the window is another satisfying project!)

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Along the top of the Board and Batten, there’s a slight edge, about 3/4 of an inch thick.  It creates such a nice crisp line, all the way around the room.

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And I’m kinda crazy about how it looks with our newly installed floors.  (I’m almost ready to share how we installed those bad boys ourselves and saved some cash.  We’re finishing up the kitchen section this week, and then I’ll be back with that.)

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Okay, and because before and after pictures are even more exciting then the projects themselves, here’s the best I had.  They’re different angles, but you get the idea.  (And sadly, I should have taken more photos of the house before we began ripping things apart.  I thought I had taken so many.  But apparently not of this room, oooops.)

 dining room before and after

 

 

 

 

Oh, and in case your dining room doesn’t need an update but you’re wondering how this would look in another room…

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The dining room is officially the first room in the house that is completely done.  (Except for replacing an outlet cover that was stepped on and broke.  Ooops.)   But I’m so happy that we took the time to really pretty it up with this Board and Batten stuff.  It adds such nice lines and really brightens it up!

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So, SO happy we decided to give it a try! :)

 

 

 

Would you like to tackle Board and Batten too?

 

 

Before you get started, you need to sit and stare at the room/area you’re making over.  Then ask yourself some questions…  Where do you want the Board and Batten to begin and end?  Do you need to re-paint?  Will you need to tear out your baseboards?  Can you make the current ones work?  How will the transition look from one space to the next, if I add it in? 

 

However, don’t let those questions scare you.  I think you can make this stuff work in most spaces…..it just takes some thought.  And if you have a set up different than mine, trying searching the internet, because maybe someone has done it already and you can piggy-back off their idea. :)

. . . . .

 

***Read through the tutorial completely before purchasing supplies, because what you need may differ from what I used. 

But here’s everything I needed to complete this project:

  • 3 1/2 inch wide x 3/4 inch thick MDF (for the top of the B&B)
  • 5 1/2 inch wide x 3/4 inch thick MDF (for the base of the B&B)
  • 2 1/2 x 1/4 pieces of wood (for the vertical slats of the B&B)
  • sheets of thin paneling (for the background of the B&B)…more info about this below
  • Construction Adhesive
  • Staple Gun (or hammer and nails)
  • Paintable Caulk
  • Wood Filler
  • Electric Saw (or a hand saw….and lots of patience)
  • Miter saw (or miter box and a hand saw)….you’ll only need this if you’re turning a corner with your B&B
  • Primer Paint
  • Top Paint

 

 

If you’re painting the main section of the wall another color, do that first.  (And if you’re painting ceilings and old crown molding, do that very first.)  However, you only need to paint the top 2/3 of the wall.  The rest will be covered…..so save yourself some paint.

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Now, measure the height of the wall you’re adding Board and Batten to and then decide how high you want it to go.  I’ve seen Board and Batten 2/3 of the wall height….and it’s beautiful, but I went with a 1/3 of the wall height.  (However, if you’re working with a vaulted ceiling, you’ll have to play around with the measurement a bit.  Look around at finished homes too, you’ll surely find an idea that you like.)  Our walls in the dining room are 8 feet tall or 96 inches, so a 1/3 of that is 32 inches.

 

Next, is when you need to decide if you want to cover the bottom section of the wall with a smooth surface or just use the textured wall as the background of the board and batten.  I’ve seen it done both ways and if your wall is only lightly textured, I’d say go for it.  But ours is heavily textured and I just really wanted a super smooth Board and Batten background.  So, I searched Home Depot for something really smooth and cheap.  And I found this thin paneling stuff for about $15 for a 4×8 foot sheet.  It’s smooth on one side (like a white board) and brown and un-sealed on the other side.  Written on the sticker, it said that one side was smooth and the other side was paintable, so I bought several sheets.  Then, we measured pieces of the paneling that were 32 inches tall.  (Steve is using a really long straight edge that we used to lay the hardwood floors.  It worked great for making a straight line on this stuff.)

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Then, we used a Jig Saw to cut right along the line.  (This paneling is kinda floppy, so try hard to keep it still while cutting.)  It’s pretty easy to cut but makes a bunch of dust. 

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But before you actually put this first piece up on the wall, decide where you want each of your vertical B&B slats to be.  The reason why, is because you’ll save yourself some finishing work (meaning, less wood filling, sanding, etc.) if you position the lines where the pieces of backing meet together, behind those slats of the vertical wood pieces.

 

So, the easiest way (at least for us), was to measure the wall and then divide it by your magical number of how far apart you want each vertical slat to be.  Our studs are 16 inches apart and we initially were going to nail them into the studs, so we went with 16 inches apart.  However, the studs weren’t evenly spaced at each end and may have driven me crazy to see my slats not evenly spaced on each end, etc.  So then, we realized that those little slats were so light and weren’t going to go anywhere after they were glued, nailed and then caulked in place.  So we ditched the “nail-each-one-into-a-stud” idea. However, we kept the 16-inches-apart idea. And made marks all the way along the top of the paneling, 16 inches apart and about 8 inches at both ends.  And then we put our big sheets of 32 inch high paneling along the wall (not glued or stapled in, only sitting there), making sure that any time we pieced the paneling pieces together, it hit right at one of the marks where a vertical slat would go.

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Then, if you have any outlets along your wall, it’s time to do some measuring.  Measure how far from one end and how high from the bottom edge of the paneling the outlet will pop through.  (This is the white side of the paneling, just so that you could see the marker line.)

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To get your Jig Saw in there to cut out the opening, drill a large hole within the lines of your outlet box.

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And then place your Jig Saw inside of that hole and then cut out the rectangle for your outlet.

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Then, be sure that your outlet openings are centered over your outlets (circled below).  And since this picture is a little closer, you can almost see the green marks, where our vertical slats will go (above each arrow).

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When you come to something that will interrupt the flow of the B&B, be sure to measure around it and cut out the exact shape in your paneling.

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However, if it’s not perfectly flush, remember that we’ll be caulking.  And caulking covers a LOT! :)

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After you’re sure all of your paneling fits, glue all of it in place.  We like to used Liquid Nails….it’s crazy strong and dries quickly (just don’t get it on your skin).  And add a few nails/staples if you want to.  But truly, this construction adhesive works incredibly well.  And the paneling isn’t super heavy.

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Now, it’s time to add the top and bottom pieces to your Board and Batten.  I put wider MDF along the bottom and more narrow pieces along the top.  Just be sure to use a level for the top board, so that they are completely level and are even with the top edge of the paneling.  (If the paneling was slightly lower in some spots, that’s okay, you’ll be able to fill it in with caulk.  But if it’s too tall, you’ll need to cut it down.)  Also, before you nail your MDF pieces in place, remark your little vertical slat markings up onto your wall, so that they aren’t hidden beneath those pieces of horizontal wood.  (Yeah, putting the marks on the wall to begin with would have been smart.  So yeah, maybe do that! ;) )

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If you are turning a corner with your Board and Batten, miter the corners at 45 degrees, so that they fit nice and snug.  (That just means that each end is cut at a 45 degree angle, so that they fit together nice and snug, in that 90 degree corner.)

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And if your top or bottom board runs into anything (i.e. a window), just cut it off straight, so that it butts right up to it.

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Then, place your slats up against the wall, and get a good look at your spacing.  Then cut each slat at the correct height, between the top and bottom horizontal wood pieces.  And because floors and walls are often times uneven, your slat heights may vary slightly.  So, measure each one individually.

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Then, put each slat beneath your mark on the wall, level it vertically……

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….then staple in place.  (You can glue it first and then staple it, but it really doesn’t need the glue if you don’t want to add it.  (The caulking will really seal it in at the end.)

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Also, be sure that your staple (or nails) or buried beneath the surface of the wood, so that you can fill with wood filler and disguise it later on.  If the nail sticks out, you won’t be able to hide it.

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Repeat with all of your vertical slats.

 

Now, it’s time to fill all of those holes in the short vertical slats and the long horizontal wood pieces.  Fill, fill, and fill some more. 

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And I forgot to take pictures of this step, so I’m borrowing some pics from the Window Trimming tutorial……..but after your wood filler has dried, be sure to sand everything down, nice and smooth.

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***And then sand down any other hard corners or curves along your Board and Batten.  Such as, where your top and bottom pieces meet a window or an entry way, etc.  You want things to look pretty smooth and uniform, but the amount of sanding and blending is up to your preference.

 

 

Once you’re done sanding, vacuum up as much as possible.  Then wipe with a damp cloth to get all of that dust off and then let dry.  However, if you don’t want to wait for the wood to dry (after wiping it with a damp cloth), using denatured alcohol on a cloth will make the cloth damp enough to attract the dust but dries instantly.

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Now you’re ready to caulk.  Oh, caulking, I love how you hide all those gaps and itty bitty mistakes.

 

And in case you didn’t see it, here’s an example of a before/during/after shot when I trimmed out my windows and then caulked and painted them.  Good ol’ caulk.

caulk window trim

 

 

Now, begin caulking all your cracks and gaps, hiding any imperfections.  I’m serious……this stuff is magic! :)  (Just be sure you’re using paintable caulk.)

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But here’s my secret.  A bowl with a bit of water and some wet paper towels.  ALWAYS keep your fingers wet when working with caulk because it keeps it smooth and easier to work with.  And then you can wipe your fingers off on the towels when they get gunky.

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Then, smooth out those lines with your wet finger.  (There are caulking tools to smooth out those lines…..but I prefer my finger.)  Then re-wet your finger, and repeat.  After every swipe, I wipe my fingers on the wet paper towels and continue on.  If your caulk is looking bumpy……just really wet those fingers and smooth it out.  Just be quick about it all, because caulk starts drying pretty quickly.

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Then, repeat until all of your cracks are filled and smooth.

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Now, add some primer paint to that dark paneling board.  It’s pretty dark and the primer really helped seal it.

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Now, paint your little heart out.  If you need help painting straight lines, check out my Painting a Perfectly Straight Line tutorial.

 

And like I was explaining above, you may have some spots that need some extra sanding to help blend.  For example, the top horizontal piece came out slightly more than the vertical entry way board on the left (and that’s because the horizontal board is sitting on top of the paneling behind it).  The arrow is pointing to where I sanding it slightly, so that it blended it.

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Here’s a close up.  See how it comes out just a bit more on the right.  I smoothed it out and rounded the edge a bit, so it blends in a little better.  And who would know whether or not it’s supposed to be like that or not.  I like it just as well….because it adds another line.

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Now, touch up any paint where needed………and enjoy your newly installed Board and Batten.

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Let me know how it goes for you…..and send pictures/links if you’ve done this already and want to share! :)

 

-Ashley

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

68 Responses to “Home Improvement: DIY Board and Batten”
  1. 1
    naomi says:

    it looks GREAT!! what is the name of that color(gray) in the dining room?

  2. 2
    Lauren says:

    Beautiful! :)

  3. 3
    Michal says:

    Beautiful.
    Did you also make that lighting fixture?!?!?

  4. 4
    Christine says:

    The light fixture over the table is beautiful! Where did you find it?

  5. 5
    Emily says:

    i love the hardwood floors! where did you get them?!?!?!

  6. 6
    sarah says:

    Definitely need the paint color name!!! Love that gray!!

  7. 7
    Marcelaine says:

    I had to laugh about your comments about carpet in the dining room. We live in student family housing where most people have at least one child. You’d think they would have designed the apartments to have an uncarpeted dining area, but nope. I have told the apartment manager a couple of times that they really should put some linoleum or hardwood somewhere in the living rooms, especially since in the past few years they have been replacing carpet anyway. It hasn’t happened. Lately when my kids spill stuff on the carpet, I keep saying, “I don’t even feel bad about it anymore, because the person who keeps replacing this area with carpet asked for it.” Lots of hardwood is my requirement for wherever we move next.

    • 7.1
      Ashley says:

      YES! I just don’t get it. They’d rather waste a ton of money replacing carpet, I guess. And I think living in all that student housing for years, is what cemented in my brain that I wanted hardwood floor throughout……and that day has finally arrived for us! Your turn will come too! :)

  8. 8
    Sarah R says:

    That looks great. It looks so complete now.

  9. 9
    Jenya says:

    a lot of work, but oh boy so worth it!!!

  10. 10
    Emilie says:

    Holy cow, my heart is all a flutter over that chandelier! It goes perfectly with the new board and batten! Well done.

  11. 11
    Kiersten says:

    It looks so good! I am so with you on the carpet in the dining room thing. I see so many people who put rugs under their dining room table and I don’t get it at all. We did it once, only because we lived in an apartment and we were trying to keep the actual carpet from getting nasty. It totally worked, but that rug went in the trash when we moved! Oh, and I love the chairs. I went back and forth on whether or not to buy them when they went on clearance at world market. Ultimately, I didn’t. I didn’t know where I would put them in my house, but I love them!

    • 11.1
      Ashley says:

      We did that same thing, when Connor and Elli were really little and we still lived in Idaho. We put an old rug under our table but on top of the existing carpet. And then we just threw the rug away when we left. It worked great for saving that poor carpet.

      And thanks about the chairs. Those guys are from Overstock but I remember seeing them at World Market and trying to decide where to actually buy them. Too funny. :) -Ashley

  12. 12

    That looks so pretty! I bet you just smile every time you walk by the dining room! ;)

    • 12.1
      Ashley says:

      Oh gosh, I totally do. We were just sitting in there last night, still surprised it turned out like it did. I love a good surprise! :)

  13. 13
    Runt says:

    Wow! That looks GREAT! It does look kind of time consuming… not that I think that’s a bad thing but whew! We are expecting out first little one and I contemplated doing this kind of look in the nursery. I am still going back and forth for some reason. I absolutely LOVE how it looks and it doesn’t sound TOO expensive, but we really are on a budget. And since this is our first baby, we have TONS of baby furniture and other necessities to get too. I think my other reservation is that I know the house we are in now isn’t our forever house, so I kind of want to save the things I REALLY want to do for a forever house. Does that sound weird? Every time I start leaning towards the idea I remind myself of the budget. Ah. Anyway, it looks really great and I think your tutorial is pretty clear and informational, so thanks! =]

    • 13.1
      Ashley says:

      Oh yeah, I know what you mean about not wanting to put a lot of work into a home you’re not staying in. After doing the work we have done, we keep saying, “we’re never moving from here!!!” And I hope that’s true. :)

      Good luck deciding on the nursery though. It would look so adorable in a baby’s room! :)

  14. 14
    Jaren says:

    Y’all are really doing such a beautiful job redecorating! Beautiful wall color! I have those wood floors in my house. I love them. They do show a lot of dirt/dust, but I still love them.

    • 14.1
      Ashley says:

      Yeah, they do show dust but not as bad as the darker floors. And also, not as much as the glossy finish floors. Do you hear me making justifications for these floors? Haha! I just love them, so we deal with a bit of dust. (Sounds like you love them just as much!)

  15. 15
    gina says:

    I also want to know details on that light fixture!
    Also – when you did the boards – did you paint the top and bottom ones FIRST and then install or did you install everything THEN paint?

    • 15.1
      Ashley says:

      I bought the light fixture from West Elm, during their big lighting sale.

      And the boards. Yeah, those little guys taught me a lesson. I should have painted the base pieces before installing. But I knew I had to paint the other pieces after they were installed (because of all the filling and caulking, etc.), so I just waited to paint everything. I taped the floor before painting but little bits of paints still dripped onto the floor. After tearing up the tape, I could see the small spots where the paint had leaked. However, it scraped off really easy with a mini paint scraper. It took some time but wasn’t permanent. Whew. That was lucky. :) But yeah, I would at least paint the very bottom base pieces before installing them. Lesson learned. :)

  16. 16
    Kelli says:

    This looks amazing! The before&after comparison is just incredible. I’d like to know the name of the gray paint as well – it’s perfect for a dining room!

  17. 17
    ira lee says:

    so pretty!!! it looks awesome and so crisp! love the imprefections that the caulk hides. im also in love with the light!!!!!!

  18. 18
    Tracy says:

    That looks great! The couple that bought our previous home did this in the living room and it looks great. Wish I had thought of it! Your floors look good too, very similar to the floors we just installed. We too were replacing carpet in our dining room and also throughout the kitchen. Carpet in those areas should be against the law! I read your post on spray painting light fixtures and now I’m going to try it too-we have the brassy gold throughout our house. I am going to do brushed nickel paint but i am worried it won’t look as real as the black and rubbed bronze. Hoping it works-don’t want to she’ll out the money to replace them!

    • 18.1
      Ashley says:

      Oh, you’ve been really busy too! It’s lots of work……but so fun to see it all come together! Good luck on the fixtures! :)

      -Ashley

  19. 19

    Wow! This is another amazing transformation! I can’t wait to do something like this to my future home!

  20. 20
    Karie D. says:

    Wow! The dining room looks AMAZING! I am so in love with all your home renovation posts!! I look forward to putting some of these ideas to use in my own future home! You’re wonderful to share all these tips, tricks and tutorials with the rest of us. Now I just need to know your secret…how to do home renovations with 3 little ones at home! :)

  21. 21

    I love how people can do a lot more with a lot less. Most people would have had that whole room redone and it would cost them a lot more.

  22. 22
    Christine says:

    Looks great! Where did you get the light fixture?

  23. 23
    Stacey says:

    The room was so sad looking and now its just totally fabulous! Congrats on another project well done.

  24. 24
    Julia says:

    Your tutorial is amazing. Thanks for all the terrific step-by-step pictures. You do such a nice job, it was really fun to read, and so great to see how someone does it. I have numerous rooms I’d love to do this to! Thanks for showing us how.

  25. 25
    Jamie says:

    I love love love your site!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    we bought a 1960′s house this may and have started renovating…………..the foundation first then the guts……..you have posted awesome how to’s…………have you considered an e-book?? I would totally buy :) thanks again for all the awesome tips!

  26. 26
    sahici says:

    merhaba ashley ben türkiyeden.Yaptığın işler çok güzel severek takip ediyorum.Blogumda senin projelere sıkça yer veriyorum.Gerçekten taktir edilecek bir bayansın.Paylaşımlar için teşekkürler:)

  27. 27
    molly says:

    LOVE this project! We’re planning on using this method in our boys bedroom, and I completely agree! The dining room carpets were the first to go from our new house! Slowly but surely getting rid of all of them!

    molly from mollyandkate.com

  28. 28
    lindsay says:

    Love this tutorial! Thank you :) you may have said it and I missed it, but did you just put the base of the board and batten over your previous baseboards?? Or dI’d you remove your previous base boards?

  29. 29
    Amber says:

    Can you tell us about your flooring? like what color, type it is from LL? I am in love with it!

  30. 30
    cindy says:

    beautiful! found u on pintrest! very good tute! after 26 years of marriage, we are buying our FIRST home and I have grand plans for my walls! lol :) I would say to #13 do it! you never know what circumstances will come! we’ve lived in a plain house for years because we were waiting for our forever house! doing it yourself will def save you money and by the looks of this house? it will be well worth it!!!

  31. 31
    Rachel says:

    This looks fantastic. Planning on doing this in our master with a nautical theme. I hate carpet period and can’t wait for it to be gone! (Everything in time). How long did this project take from top to bottom? My husband (son of a builder who taught him nothing!) is great with math and measurements and I am the painter and detail person ;)

  32. 32
    Bethany says:

    Hi!
    I recently found your site. What color paint did you use on your living room walls and trim? Also, if I do this board and batten do you think I need to reframe the windows in craftsman style? How do you hi k it would look in a living room with caulted ceilings?

  33. 33

    Thanks for this post on DIY board and batten. The before and after pictures are great.

  34. 34
    Barbara says:

    Was it hard to put down the hardwood and was it a floating floor or nailed? You site is great and I love the projects. Came in via the link on AllFreeSewing. Will definitely be checking back. Thanks!

  35. 35
    Dawn says:

    Thanks for sharing your board and batten project. My living rm already has oak panels below a chair rail and it is so outdated. The panels can’t be taken down because theres no drywall behind it. I also have a huge brick fireplace I would like to cover and bring into the 21st century. You have given me the idea to start with the walls. Now I’m excited to find a solution for the fireplace too. If it comes to fruition, I’ll send you before & after picts. Thanks again.

  36. 36
    Kelsey says:

    I just love the way this turned out!! My husband and I went to Home Depot to price out the wood but we have not been able to find 2 1/2 x 1/4 wood any where… well, we found some really good quality pine for $10 a piece. Are there any other options?

  37. 37
    Lorena says:

    Very good job, looks beautiful. Where did you get the slats for the vertical part of the B&B? Thanks

  38. 38
    Sarah says:

    What is the name of the floor from Lumber Liquidators?

  39. 39
    Melanie says:

    Did you use satin or semi-gloss finish for your white paint?

    • 39.1
      Ashley says:

      I used semi because that’s what I use for all my baseboards and trim and since the bottom of this board and batten serves as a baseboard……I wanted semi gloss.

  40. 40
    Jordan says:

    Hey, I am in the process of doing a large room right now. My question is did you continue the 16 inch spacing around corners, or did you do like a set size on each corner. I am having an issue with all my walls being a different length. Yours looks great, I hope mine only looks half as good haha. Right now I am doing 18 inch spacing but have 5 inch on each wall in the corners.

  41. 41
    Liz says:

    I love it! I’m in the middle of doing my hallway in board and batten right now, but I’ve been thinking about doing the dining room too. I think the white will add some much needed color in my dining room. I have the same chandelier. Love it!

  42. 42
    Seana Larson says:

    Love it! We just moved into a newly built house that lack SERIOUS character. I’m planning on doing this in the bathrooms, laundry room and entry. Can’t wait!!!

  43. 43
    Theresa says:

    I love this – I have done this in a little different manner, with basically NO money in my entry – I tried to post a pic here for you, but didn’t work. Here is the link to check it out – thanks for your inspiring!! I will do your way maybe in my bedroom!! <3

    http://www.junk2jewels-diy.blogspot.com/2013/11/zero-budget-entry-upgrade.html

  44. 44
    robert mcalister says:

    Looks AWESOME! I was wondering if you toyed with the idea of using the same 3/4″ for the vertical pieces or not? And why you decided one way or another?

  45. 45
    Megan says:

    Love this tutorial!! Great instructions! My husband and I (well almost, in 21 days) just bought a house & ars currently scraping popcorn texture off ceilings, but I really want to board and batten around our fireplace! Love!!!

  46. 46
    Kayla says:

    This project turned out beautifully! I will be using your tutorial this summer to do my kitchen, but I have no idea how much to budget for! Could you give me a rough idea how much this project cost you?

  47. 47
    netforumlari says:

    This project turned out beautifully

Notes and Comments