Wainscoting- Board and Batten Part 1

So I decided to jump on the Board and Batten bandwagon. After seeing so many amazing before and after pictures I knew this would be the perfect addition to my living room. It is perfect indeed. It ties in the bead board from my kitchen (of which I will be showing you a few updates VERY soon) perfectly. I do have to forewarn that this isn’t quite as easy as everyone made it sound (probably due to the fact that we have textured walls and small baseboards which we replaced). However if you already have a thick baseboard and flat walls it would probably be a lot easier!
Supplies needed:
*These measurements are for my living room, make sure to measure accordingly for yours.*
  • 2 4×8 sheets of thin wood (I don’t know what its’ called but ours was about 1/4 in thick)* $6 a piece
  • 1 sheet 3/4 in MDF wood  * we used half the board, but it cost $30.. and now I have lots left over for another fun project :)
– We actually used furring strips for the vertical strips because that’s what we had… but if I were to do it over I would have just used MDF for the entire project.
  • trim for under the ledge* $10
  • primer ( I used Killz 2 because I already had it)
  • semi-gloss white paint (I used Swiss coffee by Behr because I had that on hand too)
  • paintable white caulk* $5-$10
  • sand paper
  • nail gun* $25
  • finishing nails* $5
I think total we spent around $75 for this entire project… not too bad for the look it achieved.
The first step is to measure your space. Decide how far apart you want your boards and how tall you want your panels. We decided our height based on the architecture of the room. It’s about 1/3rd up the wall (4 ft.). We decided to do the boards about 13 inches apart because the placement worked well for our wall. Some were a little off, but you really can’t tell. Once we had all our measurements we headed to Home Depot to get the wood cut. Just in case you’re wondering we fit all of the wood in our car… don’t ask me how! Sometimes I really wish we had a bigger car though!
We got all of our wood for the base and top boards cut from 1/2 a sheet of MDF. I had the baseboards cut at 5 in, and the top board at 4 in. The vertical strips are 2 in wide and 4 feet tall. I also got a shelf ledge cut at 2 inches. They did this all for free. What took them 10 minutes would have taken us hours! I love home depot!
spray painting wainscoting
Once we got all of our wood cut we came home and began to lay everything out. A few things didn’t match up so we had to use our miter saw to cut them down. One of the hardest parts was cutting out a square for the wall electrical outlets. But how would I know… the hubby did that part. lol. If you don’t have to add wood panels (because you have flat walls already) you won’t run into this problem.  You can simply just adjust the boards so they march out evenly while trying to avoid the outlets. Once we got all those problems figured out I began to paint. It definitely saved time painting everything first. I used a spray painter, so it went by super fast!
painting hazzards
I hate those darn bugs that fly onto my freshly painted projects.
removing baseboard
p.s. Learn from our mistake and remove the baseboards FIRST. I was debating to remove them (because it’s a pain) but after we started laying things down I knew they had to go!
wainscoting on textured walls
We don’t have the best nail gun out there ($25 electric one –which actually works pretty good), so we put glue (Power Grab caulk) on the wood first for an extra strong hold. Then once the boards were in the right place we nailed them up.
installing wainscoting
First board up… 2 more to go.
nail gun
You’ll want to cover where the boards meet with the wood, so measure accordingly.
After all your vertical boards are up you can lay your top board across the top. Don’t worry if they don’t all meet up… caulk (or wood filler) will  become your best friend!
installing wainscoting
Yikes… Caulk was definitely our best friend here! I wanted a top shelf but it was a little tricky with a rounded corner. You can see in the next pic that it actually covered pretty well with a lot of wood filler and sanding. It looks even better now that it’s all painted! Okay BACK to the top board… lol. Once we had the top board flat against the wall, we nailed the 2 in board perpendicular to the top board. This created the shelf. Make sense? Then in between the two we glued in a small piece of trim.
mdf wainscoting
Once everything was up I gave it another 2 coats of paint to finish it off. Then we were finally done! woo! It did take a little longer then expected, but it is definitely worth it!
white paneling
And I know your going to hate me for not showing you the whole thing… but the wall is not quite finished! I still have to move a few more things around and add some more pictures, but I am LOVING it so far! I can’t wait to share the whole room with you. Hopefully by this weekend! The board and batten panels added the perfect touch.
So what do you think? Have you tried this?
I want to see pic’s or hear about your future plans for it!
E-mail me if you have any questions. I’d love to help if I can!
**UPDATE: Click here to see the finished the rest of the room.
more by Jamielyn »

Jamielyn Nye

Creative director and founder of I Heart Naptime. Jamielyn aspires to reach women, get their creative juices flowing, and to genuinely inspire. When she’s not creating, Jamielyn loves to chase her three little monkeys and snuggle up on the couch with her man.

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8 comments on “Wainscoting- Board and Batten Part 1”

  1. I love this! I am wanting to do this in my foyer, so I might be emailing you in the near future. :)

  2. Dying to do this in out first LO due in June's nursery. Thank you for the tutorial!

  3. This is AMAZING!!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!! I think it's really special because you guys pretty much customized it. Really…it is awesome!

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  6. It looks like you, once you took down your old baseboard, installed 5″ tall 1/2″ x 5″ straight board for baseboard, which is great looking I think! Yes, the moulded, taller baseboards are very luxurious, but for adding your own (or even letting pros do it) wainscoting or just maintaining a nice, clean look to your house, I too love the straight, tall baseboard look.

    *Adding some reference to your adding this baseboard would be good as the pix skip from removing your old baseboard to a photo showing the lovely wainscoting sitting stop the new 5″ straight baseboard.

    I love the look of this, thanks for showing me how we can do it ourselves, and the detailed instructions. :)

  7. I am getting ready to put up some Batten and Board in my powder room. My walls are textured as well and I was literally trying to remove the texture! Did you buy those boards at Home Depot? The large thin boards? I am thinking this is what I should do.

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