DIY Board and Batten- Instantly Gorgeous!

In: Home Decor Tutorials, Powder Room Tutorials
board&batten tutorial

DIY Board and Batten Tutorial.

Since the kitchen has had a much needed make-over and is probably the nicest room in the house, it’s time to move on to bigger and better things….

Well, not really better…and not really bigger.  In fact, I’m moving into the smallest room of the house.  The powder room.  Honestly, it’s so small that it should really be called the water closet, but I think that every closet in our house is actually bigger.  It’s the weirdest, saddest little room.  Something has to be done about it

It’s a 25 square foot room that has a toilet and a vanity, but here’s the thing… When you open the door, you kind of have to do like a “put your hand up on my hip, then you dip…” to get around the door to the toilet.  Go ahead, you can sing it, I won’t judge 😉

Phase one in the make this water closet somewhere I will enjoy hiding and looking at Pinterest is…

DIY Board and Batten.

That’s right.  A lot of you are like, “Oh yeah, that stuff is great!”  But then there are those of you who have no clue what I’m talking about.  I’ll  explain it to you the same way I did to my dad…Eh hem..

Me: “You know, when you put boards on the wall vertically and then cap them off with a nice like rail on top. You can make it sort of like a faux shelf.”

Dad:  Blank stare.

Me: “…Come on, like a chair rail with boards up and down underneath it, but it’s taller?”

Dad:  Crickets…

He didn’t get it either.  Often, I have trouble communicating my projects to Dear Old Dad, but he usually has an “Ah Ha! Eureka!” moment about 2/3rds of the way through.

Okay, well, here’s a before of the section of the bathroom we’ll be focusing on for this tutorial.

bathroom toilet and towel bar


Gorgeous isn’t it?  Somewhere you want to spend your time isn’t it?  What’s your fave- the salmon color enveloping you or the odd freakishly large towel bar directly above the toilet that has never held a towel, ever, or again, we’re back to the honey oak trim.  It’s slowly being eradicated On Bliss Street.

The worst part is while you are sitting on the toilet, you get to look at your self sitting on the toilet in a giant mirror.  Yes, it really does a lot for your confidence and pride.  And what’s with the giant towel bar?  You can barely turn 180 degrees, let alone do anything in there that would necessitate the use of a large towel.

I digress.

It’s the view, it gets me riled up.  Not the view from the toilet, the one above.

So, let’s brighten this place up and give it a little class shall we?

Supply List:

Lumber and cut list- See step 5.

Construction Adhesive

Brad Nailer with 2″ brad nails, or nails/hammer and a buddy to help.


Paintable Caulk- I cannot stress this enough, PAINTABLE!


Step 1:

Remove all ugly from room.

Right now, that just means the towel bar and toilet paper holders.  Once this is finished, you need to fill all those holes with filler and sand away before moving on.  It’s just what you do.  If you want to prevent a little of the sanding mess, have a buddy hold the vacuum tube up while you sand to suck in the dust.  Or you can try to hold it with your toes, teeth or any other super human ability you possess.

Step 2:

I added my Baseboard Upgrade throughout the entire little room.  I wanted to do it before I did the board and batten so that it was uniform.  If you are doing this, I recommend the same.

Step 3:

Measure out your wall sizes so you can figure out where your boards will go evenly.  I chose to make mine 48″ high (for ease of cutting lumber- we’ll get to that) and 12″ apart.

At first I was going to make them all evenly spaced on each wall, but when I marked them on the walls, it looked weird.  So I did the 12″ apart from one wall to the next and it looked awesome.

Step 4:

Make a level line for your guide and mark where your boards will be placed.


Step 5:

Now your going to need to figure out what size boards you want.  It really depends on your taste and the size of room.  For my tiny little room, anything larger than 2″ would just make you feel like you were trapped in a crate on your way to China when you sat down. (Family anecdote- when you were being naughty, you were threatened with being mailed to China in a box.  No wonder I turned out the way I did 😉

I chose to go with 1 3/4″ wide by 1/2″ thick.  I know, weird lumber, but I’ll tell you how I got it.  Plus, it only cost $30 for my whole room and I got to use real wood.  Yes, MDF would have been cheaper, but it would have taken longer to cut and sanding it is a bear.

I bought 4″ x 1/2″ x 48″ pieces of aspen.  Then I cut them lengthwise on the table saw.  This gave me exactly what I needed for each board.  So for each 4″ board, I got 2 boards for my wall.  You know, because lumber is measured weird- the 4″ really is 3 1/2″.

Step 6:

Add an “S” line of construction adhesive down the back of your board.  Mine looks funny because it was the end of the tube.  Sputtering.

Board with glue

Step 7:

Stick your board to the wall where it belongs.  Tip– put your level on the wall first and get it straight, then add your board against the side of your level.  Then you know it’s level the first time without smearing glue everywhere.

Board next to level

Step 8:

Shoot a few brad nails down your board- IMPORTANT– Do not shoot straight in, your board will pull them out and fall off of the wall.  Especially if it’s warped even a little.  The purpose of the brad nails is to hold the board on the wall until the glue dries.  That’s it.  The glue is what will keep your board on, not the nails.  Shoot them in diagonally downward.  Then the board won’t pull them out.

Step 9:

Add your top board.  I chose to just add the same size board as I have running vertically, but I put it horizontally.  You can choose to make that board bigger or smaller, then maybe place another on top lying flat.  The options are endless, be creative- it’s your house, you’ve gotta look at it all the time.  Make sure YOU love it!

I attached it in the same manner as the others.  Adhesive and then brad nails.  This part was easy because it’s already level because your other boards are level, you just have to set it on top.

For a little added pretty, I put some shoe moulding on the top and it just gave it a little…something special.  Plus, it only cost like $5 and matches my baseboard.

Step 10:

Fill nail holes and caulk all of the seams with PAINTABLE caulk.  This is what I do- cut the end of the caulk tube very small so that a small bead comes out.  Then using your index finger, run it down the bead pressing really hard and flattening your finger so the caulk is smoothed into the gaps really well.  I barely ever have any extra caulk mess.




Step 11:

Paint!  There ya go!  Super easy, super cheap way to class up and small space or wall.  This room needed  a little character. By George, I think we’ve got it!








Sorry, the bottom is cut off, but that is because I didn’t want to spoil the tile surprise!  Coming soon!