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Behind the Scenes :: Master Bedroom Board + Batten

Last week, I showed you a little of what we were doing around here to prepare for little man’s arrival – mainly replacing our awful carpet with beautiful hardwood floors. Today, I’m going to show you what we did to finish the room off.

It still strikes me as funny that we started the major renovations in this house with our master bedroom, library, and laundry room. Most of the time, we go straight for the kitchen, because that’s where we spend the most time. However, there’s something really nice about knowing that the place you retreat to at the end of the day is comfortable, clean, and just how you want it. It feeds your peace of mind, for lack of a better term.

Peace of mind was what I had in mind when we were picking out materials for the room. I wanted to balance the warmth in the wood on the floor and in our furniture with cool greens and blues, but add enough white in to give it an airy feel. I just can’t do the all white farmhouse or modern rooms. But I do like enough white to mellow the color a little.

My favorite way of adding white to the room to balance a bold color is installing board and batten wainscoting.

Board and batten is a comfortable country style of trimwork or wainscoting that consists usually of alternating wide boards and narrow wooden strips {the battens}. The batten was traditionally placed over the seam in the wide boards to create a seal, making them stronger and more energy efficient. You still see them in actual use a lot in country homes, barns, and garden sheds, and in decorative use in houses all over the place.

Our board and batten isn’t actual board and batten, but a faux molding type that’s really easy to install and still gives a large amount of character. The trick? Instead of installing the boards and having to make a lot of cuts in them for outlets and such, we simply add a thick coat of primer and an easy to clean paint such as Behr to the wall.

Our “battens” in this case aren’t covering any seams at all. They’re just spaced at regular intervals across the wall to add detail and character to an otherwise boring wall, and to allow us to interject some bright white into a wall full of bold color. You can see how we set it up in the picture above.

Most of our board and batten walls are a single row, but we decided to do a double row across the wall where we put the head of our bed. Our bed has a headboard, but it’s very small and doesn’t offer the focal point I usually like to see in a room. We used the double row of board and batten instead to get that effect and show where the “head” of the room was.

Our trim boards are simply MDF boards cut to size. We use a 6″ board for the baseboard, a 4″ board for the top board, and a 2″ board for the battens. Paint, cut, nail to the wall, add a little sealant, spackle, and caulking, and paint again, and no one is the wiser!

We added a picture rail to the top of the headboard wall also so that we could display art over the bed. I didn’t want it just hanging on the wall, and thought the picture rail added interest. And I just love how it all turned out.

As far as I’m concerned, this room is finally ready to go! We even have little man’s Pack ‘n’ Play all set up for his arrival, my bag is packed, tons of diapers are purchased, and…well, I’d say we’re good, but there’s always something that comes up! We’ll figure this out as we go!

What do you guys think of our board and batten technique?

About the ChefKristin

Career Army officer with a tendency toward workaholism. On the side, self taught cook, carpenter, and gardener, working to build a beautiful life for my family. Trying to tilt my balance in the right direction.


  1. Our house was built in the 1980s when ceilings were only 8’ high. We have a tall four poster bed in the main bedroom and I have been wanting to put a board and batten treatment on the wall behind the bed similar to yours. Do you think it would look right with such low ceilings?

    1. I think it all comes down to the rule of threes, frankly. When we install board and batten, we’ve used a 1/3 – 2/3 rule. Either 1/3 board and batten (wainscoting) to 2/3 wall or 2/3 board and batten (what we have here) to 1/3 wall. As long as we kind of keep that ratio, it looks right, so I think you could definitely get away with board and batten treatment on a shorter wall!

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