Beginner’s Guide To an Easy Half Wall Board and Batten

After we finished our DIY Window Seat (using an IKEA hack!) in our mudroom/laundry area, I turned my attention to the wall opposite the window to find ways to create new and attractive storage. I created a half wall board and batten (dupe!) that is now an awesome drop zone for our family!

I’m not a super experienced DIYer – solo, anyway. Daniel and I as a team are unstoppable, but I don’t usually tackle projects like this myself. However, I did this one completely on my own, which means there were tons of mistakes- but I learned a LOT, and I still absolutely love the end result

I promise- if I can do it- so can YOU!

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Mail Holder | Hooks | Similar Calendar

What is Board and Batten?

Board and batten is a type of wall paneling or siding that features alternating wide boards and narrow strips (battens) that cover the joints between the boards. It is a type of wainscoting that can be installed vertically or horizontally.

This half wall board and batten project is not a true paneling, as I did not install boards on the walls- just the battens. This dupe works well on our house walls because we have smooth, non-textured walls- if you have a lot of texture, you may want to install the panels.

The Before

We started with a blank wall several months ago, and decided to add a simple board with hooks to hang our backpacks. This worked okay for a while, but it wasn’t as functional as I wanted, and looked a little boring. I painted the horizontal board Evergreen Fog by Sherwin Williams (same color as my kitchen!) but it clearly needed a lot more.

I also never got around to putting up the fifth black hook- I lost it and just never finished the job!

For my next board and batten project, I will NOT be starting with the horizontal board and hooks already installed- which will make it much easier!

Because this portion was done months ago (without a further plan) I had to go with the height of the existing board instead of deciding that based on the length of my battens. That ended up being really annoying! And, I did not want to move the hooks, so I had to work around those as well.

However, it still ended up being a really easy project that I’m super happy with. So, let’s get into how I made this!

Creating a Half Wall Board and Batten

Materials needed:

Baseboard Board (optional)
Horizontal Board- I used a 1×4 board, which we cut down to fit the length of the wall)
Lattice Boards- I chose to use lattice boards because they’re relatively inexpensive, and really light to work with. I used 1×2 boards.
Liquid Nails

Tools Needed:

Saw- I used our miter saw, but any saw that can cut a straight line will work.
Caulking gun
Nail gun
Painting brushes/rollers

My husband is the one who normally works with the power tools, but I made a new year’s resolution to get comfortable with doing these types of projects on my own, so I had to get used to using miter saws and nail guns, etc. Turns out- its super fun. I’m going to be a DIY monster this summer, lol!

Remove/Replace Baseboards (If Necessary)

For this project, I did not have to remove our baseboards because the baseboard here was a simple thick board without anything fancy. However, you may need to remove the board so that the lattice strips can butt up to the baseboard without looking weird. Here’s an example: (and yeah, I need to repaint my baseboards. They’ve been cleaned, believe it or not!)

Basically, you just don’t want your battens sticking out past the baseboard width, or not sitting flush. You can use the same type of board here as the horizontal board. You can install the boards using the same tools as the horizontal board.

Install the Horizontal Board

In my opinion, it is MUCH easier to have the horizontal board up first, and then install the vertical boards. Determine how high you want the half wall board and batten project to be- don’t just eyeball it like we did! Its a good idea to take into account how long you want the battens to be. Measure the height of the wall and mark the wall with a pencil to indicate where the top of the board will be placed. Use a level, and then install using liquid nails and screws or a nail gun.

TIP: If you aren’t comfortable cutting the board yourself, you can ask to have it cut to size at places like Home Depot and Lowes.

Paint the Wall and Board

Its a lot easier to paint the wall before installing the battens, as you can quickly do it with a paint roller and brush. Paint vents and outlet covers if needed.

I used two coats of Sherwin Williams Evergreen Fog.

I ultimately painted the baseboard as well.

Calculate the Spacing for the Vertical Boards (Battens)

Determine how far apart you want to position the vertical boards. Then, determine how many battens you need. There are board and batten calculators on-line like this one that you can use- or, you can figure it out yourself by taking the length of the wall, calculating how far apart you want the battens, and divide (taking into account the width of the battens!)

There’s no hard and fast rule for how far apart the battens need to be- you’ll find information on-line saying 10 inches, 18 inches- really it depends how long your wall is, and personal preference. For ours, I went 18 inches apart because I needed to work with the pre-installed hooks.

If you install battens on either side of the wall, you’ll need to subtract that width from the overall measurement.

For example, if your wall is 100 inches wide, and you install a 2-inch lattice board on either side, then have 96 inches left to fill. Divide 96 by the number of inches between each batten- if you want 10 inches between, but your battens are 2 inches each, divide by 12 inches- then you’d get 8. Subtract 1 to get the number of battens you need — in this case, you’d need 7.

Or, you can use the super technical technique I used of drawing lines on a picture, and then having your kids hold the boards up and measure in-between, having them move as needed and then mark the spot. This works great if you hate math (hi, that’s me) and are working with a very small wall!

Install the Vertical Boards

Measure each vertical board length, from baseboard to top board. Our floor is not level (old house probs), so each batten was a different length. I also decided not to try to go around the vent, and I had to work with the placement of the hooks, so it worked find to have the middle batten butt up to the vent.

I cut this batten too short- you can see that in this picture! Fortunately I knew I could add caulk and hide my mistake. Live and learn!

I used three dots of liquid nails to put the battens up (I didn’t need much as these lattice strips are super light!)

And then I used a level to ensure the board was straight.

Next, I added several nails with our nail gun.

Fill Nail Holes and Caulk Seams:

Fill any nail holes with wood filler or caulk, and caulk along the seams where the board and battens meet the wall. This make it look more seamless.

Don’t do what I did, and cut the caulk tip way too far back– I ended up with way too much caulk being squeezed out and had quite the time trying to get it smooth!

Sand, If Needed

Because I did such a messy job of caulking, I had to go back over it with sand paper. If you don’t make as much of a mess, you can probably skip this part!

Paint the Battens

Go over the battens and caulk with paint. I didn’t paint the baseboard initially, but decided it looked a lot better and looked more seamless as the same color.

Install Hooks

I kept the hooks as-is, and added a fifth. But, if the hooks hadn’t been there already I probably would have installed them differently. They look really cool when installed in between the battens, or a combination.

Create a Family Command Center

Finally, I added a mail and key holder from Amazon, a calendar I found at Dollar General, and a clipboard- I use a clipboard every day and its always getting lost! I love having a place where I can store it, and a place for lists that everyone can see (daily kids chore lists, for example!)

Mail Holder | Hooks | Similar Calendar

I also added a bench I found at Home Goods along with a basket for the kids’ lunch boxes. Getting the kids to remember to empty their lunch boxes AND put them away is a challenge, so having this basket helps a LOT.

Despite a lot of mistakes along the way, I’m so pleased with how this project turned out! Its functional and pretty- exactly what I was going for.

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