If you have spent any time on Pinterest, TikTok, or Instagram lately, you have probably seen the rising trend in board and batten. Gone are the days of shiplap everything and I am certainly happy to see that trend go. Everything in moderation right? Inspired by the moody blues and greens that are becoming popular I decided to jump on the regal living room trend.
After countless hours of research, I finally came up with a vision. Deep blue, moody walls with a subtle board and batten that would make even the most die-hard shiplap lover stop and stare.
The question was, how could I complete this look on a budget? How could I recreate this timeless classic without breaking the bank. I began looking at paneling that you simply cut and install in one full piece, but those were quite expensive and didn't have the 'look' that I wanted.
After drawing up a mock image of what I wanted I headed over to my local Home Hardware. Thank god for the wonderful staff at my local shop, they were beyond helpful and together we came up with a plan I knew would give me a beautiful finished look for less. The secret? Masonite.
Masonite is a wood product but it looks and behaves almost like cardboard, but far more durable. The Masonite sheet I purchased was only $10 dollars for a 4x8 sheet. I opted for the 1/8 inch sheet because I wanted to make sure the board and batten did not stick out past the gorgeous 8-inch wood baseboards that are original to my 100-year-old house. Now, if you have a table saw and a steady hand you can save yourself the next $10 expense, but honestly... it was worth EVERY penny.
For only $10 the wonderful staff at Home Hardware cut my Masonite board into 2-inch x 4-foot strips. This was perfect as the vertical boards were going to be about 3.5 feet long running around the room. Thanks to the beautiful cuts made by someone way more talented than me I ended up with 47 beautiful 2inch strips, which wrapped around the entirety of my 15x15 living room.
I wanted it to blend in with the existing wood and charm of the house. This meant that I could not and would not be removing the baseboards. It also meant that I needed to incorporate certain features that already esisted. The living room has a beautiful stained glass window with thick wood trim around it. I decided the best way to make the board and batten look as if it had always been there was to make the horizontal piece of the board and batten the same width as the window trim. The results were a seamless line across the main focal wall.
Leveling this so it was absolutely perfect was the most important part of this job. Once I had a perfectly level board I would then quite easily install the vertical pieces. I went with 1/8inch thickness for the masonite because I wanted to make sure it did not hang over the top of the beautiful 8inch baseboards. Again, I wanted it to look as if it had always been there.
Using "No more Nails" and my nail gun, I quickly fastened the horizontal boards around the entire room and was ready to start the vertical boards. Picking a height for my board and batten was easy, as I simply lined it up with the window. However, if you do not have anything on your walls that you need to tie in, picking a height might be a little more difficult. I recommend using painter's tape to mark off your pattern on the wall before you begin. This way you can adjust anything that doesn't look quite right.
I measured out the length of the wall I had to work with and did some quick math to figure out how far apart each vertical board needed to be. This beautiful, old home has a LOT of windows and doors therefore most areas didn't matter, so I focused on making sure that the large flat wall, the "focal" wall was perfectly spread apart. Once I knew the distance between each board I cut a piece of Masonite to the exact length I needed between each board. This was a game-changer and one I wish I had used when I was mapping it out with painter's tape. With this pre-cut piece of wood, I was able to quickly, without measuring, make sure that the vertical boards were exactly the right distance apart.
Around the windows and doors it sometimes did not work out exactly how I wanted it, but I think it made the board and batten look more real and natural.
Once everything had been glued and nailed onto the wall, I then went around and caulked any places that weren't "perfect". Now, I was lucky, my walls were surprisingly flat and even for a 100-year-old house. So I did not have to caulk around every piece of wood. I just did the corners and that was enough for this project. I then took wood putty and filled in the spots where the vertical pieces met the horizontal pieces to ensure it had a seamless look. I wanted it to look as if it were all one piece.
In the end, I think it added the perfect amount of class and interest to this big beautiful space. It is subtle enough that it doesn't overpower the room but bold enough to make everyone stop and stare. Now... we won't talk about the fact that after this photo was taken I realized the walls needed a THIRD coat of paint. Dark paints are an unforgiving mistress, but the pain is worth the gain.