DIY BOARD AND BATTEN FOR UNDER $40!
I absolutely love beach homes. From rustic little cottages to sleek and modern glass boxes. I just love the feel of a light and bright, breezy home. For me personally, I truly love the feel the more hand-crafted style of beach houses. Love lots of white, hand painted items. A little beat up, and not so perfect. So inviting and calm. I love the mood that's instantly created from white wood panelling or board and batten. It just sets a tone. It's subtle and airy. In one of my past homes, I had created a feature wall with wood strips, creating a little board and batten look. I never tired of it. Which is saying something. I'm so easily inspired by decor and design, that I often want to change things up! But my one constant is that I love lots of white and coastal coloring and feel. So I knew in this new house I wanted to add a bit of beachy character to my "formal" living room. I also knew I didn't want to spend much money. So, my husband and I came up with an inexpensive approach to board and batten. How to board and batten our living room walls for under $40!
Here's a look at the room before. It gets a ton of morning light. A ton! So I knew it'd be the perfect place for some beachy white walls! In my opinion, you need a lot of natural light to really make "white" in a room look it's best. Darker rooms tend to just look "dirty" to me. So this room was a great candidate. Plus, we had a fairly large wall that was kind of boring.
I've hung a million different pieces of art on here. Gallery walls of all sorts. Nothing ever really made me satisfied. It just never looked right to me! I hate clutter, so I knew I ultimately wanted only one piece of art. That meant, the wall itself needed to be more interesting. I recently got this drone beach print that I LOVE and decided it was the only piece that I wanted on the wall, so it was time for board and batten to rescue this room!
I priced out different ready to go primed trim from Home Depot. It really wasn't too bad. It was going to cost around $150. Then a gallon of paint and a few other little items. It was going to cost me around $220. A reasonable price for big impact I thought. However, I needed it to be cheaper! We've been renovating our ensuite and bleeding money in other areas of life, so this was kind of a non-essential project! Although, to be honest, the more I envisioned the finished project in my mind, the more "essential" it became ;)
So, finally after going back and forth, my husband, Ryan, suggested we just get an 8 x 4 piece of MDF (medium density fibre board) and cut it to 1 inch strips, cutting as well, 4 inch baseboards. That way, we'd save money, but also have the wall strips be exactly the same depth as the base, and everything would sit flush. So that's what we did. The sheet of MDF was around $34 I think! Cheap, cheap.
I primed and painted the baseboard pieces and the ceiling trim pieces, simply because it'd be harder to do so once installed. I didn't worry about the wall pieces until they were installed.
We then decided what spacing made sense for our specific walls. Originally, we were going to install a piece every 24 inches, but that would have meant the one piece would just hit an "off-centre" point on the wall sconces. It just didn't look right. So, we adjusted. We measured, drew our lines, and air nailed them in place. You'll find every wall is different. You might want a piece to hit perfectly on a centre point of a window or a cabinet, so you'll have to adjust accordingly. We ended up starting on the WRONG wall, creating a little extra head scratching for ourselves. But, we made it work in the end. We found that a wall can be slightly different in spacing to the wall next to it without it looking "off" or "wrong". From different vantage points, even, perfectly spaced pieces look different. So you have more wiggle room than you might think. Clearly, planning is key though. Measure twice, install once ;)
You'll notice we put a piece of painters tape on the floor where the studs in the wall are. It was just useful, we found, when installing the base. Less nails in the base if you hit more studs. Which ultimately means less filling, sanding....etc.... So make your life easier!
We could've stopped here on this one wall and received a ton of impact for our efforts. However I wanted to carry it around the room, on the large window wall and a tiny return wall. Just felt it was more complete looking. Less of a feature and more of a true, intentional room design. Feels more finished in my mind.
Now began, the more time consuming part.....the filling of nail holes, caulking the sides of each piece of trim so there were no gaps, sanding, and then finally painting everything. I used an eggshell finish for everything. Some may suggest a satin finish for any kind of base or trim, but I didn't want to switch sheens and I didn't want any extra sheen to this room as it gets so much light. So right or wrong, I made the choice to just cover it all with eggshell latex. I colour matched the paint to Ralph Lauren's "Brilliant White" paint colour. I'm not sure if it's sold anymore, but I still had a swatch from when I painted the house originally using that colour. I actually colour matched at Lowe's and I'd say it came out slightly cooler that what I originally had. And, it's perfect! So I'm keeping the paint can lid and going to just use that formula from here on out in my place, so it's consistent.
It's a little hard to see how it's carried on the other walls because of there being so much light. But, I promise, it's there and it's better in person :)
I think the true key to this, is all the filling and sanding after the install. When there's no gaps or shadows, it looks seamless and clean. I just listened to a podcast and worked away at it! "Up and Vanished" if you're curious! It's so addictive and so well done! You'll love it if you love true crime podcasts.
But, back to board and batten! I stinkin love it! For $34 worth or MDF and $35 worth of paint, I feel like it completely transformed this room. Yes, it's still white like before. But somehow adding those strips of wood, adds a subtle visual interest to the wall that takes a room from boring to interesting! Great bang for your buck!
Eventually, we'd love to finish the ceilings. Get rid of the "popcorn" and add beams since the room is vaulted and begging for it. But, that's for another time!
I don't have a ton of stuff in this room, but I was thinking I'd do a separate post itemizing what you see in the room for anyone who's interested! If you haven't already, you should SUBSCRIBE below, so you'll get the latest posts delivered to your inbox!
There you go folks! Easy! Inexpensive! Yes, it takes a bit of time to actually just "do it"! It'll take an afternoon to install, and probably a good 6 ish hours to fill, sand, caulk and paint. But, the beachy, coastal, breezy feel is alive and well in this room, and it was worth the DIY hours!
Lastly, I'll leave you with an image from the realtor's brochure we received when we first walked through the house! You'll see where this room started and hopefully appreciate how far she's come!
This room perfectly suited it's previous owners. Just not us! But I think this is a great reminder that the power of paint and some fresh bright whites and pops of colour can bring a room to life. We kept the hardwood and haven't even refinished it. (yet!) Dark colours, heavy drapery, and dated furniture make this room look so tired. But with the board and batten white walls, removing the drapes, and bringing in some inexpensive furnishings, we created an entirely different look! Hopefully you agree! I'd love to hear your thoughts! Comment below :)