Guest Bathroom: Board and Batten

Step 2 of our guest bathroom reno was the board and batten wainscoting.

board and batten pic

If you are just joining me, a few weeks ago we decided to almost-gut our guest bathroom. You need to read the post here about how it got started.

Step 1 was the tiling- see all the deets about that here.


So after the floors were done we could work our way up to the walls. I decided on a board and batten treatment because I love the architectural interest, especially in a small room.

Here is my inspiration:

How to install Board and Batten

Since we (meaning my hubs) tore down the tile on the walls we opted to do the original B&B treatment to cover the damaged drywall- no cheating for us (which skips the backing board and just does the battens). Womp womp.


So I did some (what I thought was) meticulous measuring and thinking. I drew a diagram and read lots of Pinterest posts.

We headed to Lowe’s with all my measurements and got what we needed:

  • Boards: 1/8” plywood sheets. We went with 62” high which was about 2/3 high on the wall.
  • Batten: ¾” thick MDF and 3.5” wide- enough to space them 14” apart (that looked good and helped avoid any obstacles like light switches). We also used this for the top trim.
  • Baseboards: ¾” thick MDF and 5.5” wide.
  • Small trim piece about 1.5” wide MDF for “shelf” look
  • Liquid nails

This first run of supplies cost about $140.

It seemed simple enough:

Attach board to wall first with liquid nails then add nails for reinforcement.

IMG_1517 IMG_1516

photo (4)

He used the jig saw to cut out the holes for electrical places. IMG_1519

Followed by baseboard first, then the battens (planks) and then top board…


Which was about the time things got complicated.

I forgot to account for the fact that all the B&B installed would be deeper than our beginning door trim.

So out it came and the hubs bought and installed new door trim (this cost about $50).


See how now it is flush? Much better.


Then we realized that it was going to be a pretty difficult job without a nail gun. It was hard to get the nails in enough with a simple hammer so that they were flush. Since I was going with semi-gloss paint, any bump or imperfection would show.

So, we bought a nail gun. There was a great one with an air compressor on sale at Lowe’s, and with a coupon we got it for less than $170 with tax!

It made things so much easier and quicker. The big deal is that it helped ensure a quality job. Our DIY mantra has become, “go big or go home.” Do it right, or why bother?

We moved on by finishing the other walls and adding the top shelf.


After it was all up we began the process of spackeling and caulking. You can see in the photo above all the gaps between the battens. So I did lots and lots of caulking and spackeling. But it’s necessary to hide gaps and holes and imperfections.

It looked so much better after…


Then it was finally time to prime! Most of the pieces were already primed so it wasn’t too bad. We used a brush where necessary and a foam roller any chance we could.


After 2 coats of primer we painted everything with 2 coats of semi-gloss in off-the-shelf white.

And gave a big sigh of relief.

IMG_1651 IMG_1650 IMG_1647

Whew. Even though things got dicey for a while, it was definitely all worth it. We LOVE how it looks. The bright white and height makes the room look so much bigger, cleaner, and updated!

We somehow ended up with lots of extra supplies (somehow I measured wrong. lame), so I am not sure realistically how much this project actually would have cost. If you were not replacing door trim, probably in the neighborhood of about $120. Not bad considering the transformation and how much icky drywall it covered!!

What do you think of our board and batten? Do you have any in your home? Have you added any interesting architectural elements lately?

Linked up to Thrifty Decor Chick


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