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Adding board and batten to our entryway has been on my DIY list ever since we moved in. Our entryway is very long and dark and it needed something to brighten it up. Adding a front door with a window would be the most logical option, but it’s not the most economical. The wall is so long and mostly a wasted space, so it was begging for a decorative element. Board and batten was also a great way to tie in the look off the garage entry in our mud room.
And, it probably goes without saying, but from here on out when I use the term “we,” I pretty much exclusively mean AJ only. We’ve tackled a few DIY home renovations over the years and we’ve settled into our roles. I’m the designer who dreams up all these ridiculous things and he’s the braun that makes it happen and he really outdid himself on this one!
I had every intention of doing a step by step tutorial, but as with most DIY projects, it went on longer than expected. DIY and kids isn’t a good match, so I missed getting pictures of a lot of the steps because I was just trying to keep them out of the way. Keeping Nolan away from the nail gun was a task in itself and he may or may not have been behind a hammer-meets-tile situation that resulted in a chipped or two. But, I’ll do my best to give you guys a look at how we did it. I’ll link to all the amazing tutorials we found online to use as a guide. Seriously, what did we do before the Internet?!
If you follow us on Instagram, you may recall from stories we put tape on the wall to give us an idea of what it would look like. I had a lot of trouble deciding how far apart the battens should be and we had just tape up for about 2 weeks. I liked them closer together and literally everyone else liked them farther apart. We originally were going to use 1×6″ battens, but ultimately decided to go with a 2.5″ batten spaced farther apart.
This little wall required so much math, I thought my head was going to explode. You know the saying “measure twice, cut once”? Well, we probably measured 3949 times. Two sleep deprived parents trying to make calculations was so much harder than it should have been, and AJ is good at math.
I won’t go into too much detail about our exact calculations, because unless you have our exact house, everything will be different. Also, I couldn’t tell you them anyway!
First, we removed the baseboard. We did this carefully with the intention to reuse it. We did end up buying new baseboard though because while the old stuff was in decent condition, it just looked old and worn next to the new board. Baseboards take a real beating after only two years when you’ve got two toddlers in the house.
Then, we used construction adhesive and a brad nailer to attach hard board to the wall. We intentionally went just below the light switches so it was one less thing to cut around. The two outlets were enough as it was.
Next, AJ attached the battens (the vertical pieces) and the bottom board to the wall using more construction adhesive and brad nails. We found finished white boards ready to go at Home Depot. We had originally planned to use plain common wood, but ended up with these instead because the wood was better quality and it would eliminate a lot of filling and sanding. They were a little bit more expensive, but it was well worth it to cut out some work.
For the ledge at the top, we just used a simple 1×2″ in the same finished white board. I had originally intended to do a fancier trim piece under the 1×2″, but I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. Everything was either too ornate for my taste. I like a simple, clean aesthetic, so to maintain that we decide simpler was better.
This was when things got interesting because our wall was very crooked. AJ found an awesome YouTube video that showed exactly how to fix it and you cannot tell at all!
Once everything was in place, we got to work filling and caulking all the seams and nail holes. Then sanding and filling again.
Last, we painted. This was probably the hardest step because we could only do it when the kids were asleep (which is basically never). Then, after a coat of paint, we found places that needed more filler and caulk. Everything has to dry and set before you can go on to the next step, so it became very tedious. We ended up doing four coats of paint.
It’s always the simplest designs that are the most complicated. We had hopes of getting this done in a weekend (I know, dumb!), but it ended up taking about two weeks. It could definitely be finished more quickly if your kids are older, but ours just can’t be trusted around paint trays and wet walls just yet.
Overall, I’m so happy with how it came out and super proud of my handy husband! The board and batten wall has added so much to our entryway and made it feel brighter and more inviting. I added this rug to bring in even more color and hung these frames on the wall.
A table like this would have been perfect, but kids. I really don’t trust them with the glass, and anything I styled the shelves with would have to be kid proof, so it really took all the fun out of it. Maybe in a few years. As hard as it is for me to make my design choices around the kids, it’s their home too. Plus, I couldn’t handle the stress of living in a museum with these two human bouncy balls. I do love this table that we used. AJ actually built this too a few years ago!
Are you a DIY person? We really do love to do things like this, despite the challenges of trying to do it with kids around!