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The dining room after we moved in was looking very blah.
On move in day, our dining room looked yellow, brown and pretty basic. Now, I’m not saying that the dining room was a bad space, it just wasn’t living up to the vision that I had in my head. The space itself is actually great! It has tall ceilings, two bright windows, and it’s connected to our kitchen. I’ve always loved homes with the main eating space so close to a kitchen – it’s so much more practical for modern family life.
Since the dining room is connected to the kitchen, I knew that I wanted to differentiate it as it’s own “space” within the open floor plan. The first thought I had was to add tall, bold board and batten.
Before we could work on my dining room project, we had other basic projects to get done around our new home. One of those was painting. When we painted the kitchen, we also painted the dining space, but we added an accent wall using a darker gray color. We liked that the dark gray would eventually contrast really well with the white board and batten. This was the first stage in our dining room project and we left the room like this for a few months while we finished other things around the house.
This past month we finally go around to building the board and batten walls in our dining room space. It was such an easy project that made a huge impact in that space. So now, I’m going to show you how we did it. Let’s get started!
Here’s what we used:
- 1 x 4 MDF boards
- 1 x 2 MDF boards
- Brad Nailer and Air Compressor with Hose
- Miter Saw
- White Trim Paint
- Sandpaper and a Sanding Block
- Paint Supplies – Roller, Pan, Brush
Before we started, I sketched a rough drawing of the wall and measured the dimensions. Our ceilings are 9 feet tall and we wanted our board and batten to be about 6 feet tall. If you look closely in the pictures from before, we had a couple of things to work around like a grate, a wall outlet, and a thermostat. I made sure to take note of where these were on each wall.
To create the board and batten look, we would need to divide the main wall into equal spaced segments using the vertical battens. We decided that 4” boards would be the best size to use for all the battens. And, a helpful thing to know is that a 1 x 4 board is NOT actually 1” by 4”. The actual size of the board is about 0.75” x 3.5”.
I took all of this into account when measuring the wall and deciding how many segments we needed to make. Using my estimate for how many vertical battens we needed and my wall measurements for the horizontal battens, I was able to calculate a rough estimate for overall board length, plus some extra just in case.
Before we nailed any boards to the wall, we primed the entire wall using Bulls Eye 2 Multi-Purpose Primer and Sealer to cover some of the gray and make it easier to paint over.
One thing that we wanted to avoid was replacing the existing trim. Tearing that out to add a new baseboard could have damaged the floors. Instead, we decided to add a small piece of 1 x 2 MDF just above the baseboards to give the illusion of the trim being more “built up.” Again, a 1 x 2 board is NOT actually 1” x 2” – the actual size was about 0.75” x 1.5”. Adding this board to the design allowed us to place the vertical battens right on top of the new trim piece.
To make the top square section for each segment, we measured down about 20” from the top board and installed additional horizontal pieces along all of the walls. We made sure to level each board as we nailed it to the wall so that our spacing was even.
Remember the segments that I was talking about earlier? This is where those came into the equation. Using our calculations for the main wall, we came up with 5 even segments. For the two smaller walls, we decided to make the each one its own segment. While I thought this might be noticeable at first, when we tested the idea of splitting each wall into two segments, it was more obvious to see super small segments rather than one larger segment. The angled wall by the staircase was split into two segments.
Now it was time to install the vertical battens. Starting at the left side of the main wall, we measured each space and cut each board to fit using the miter saw.
Then we measured the horizontal segment spacing and marked the location for the next set of vertical boards. We repeated this process of measuring and cutting one board at a time until we finished the main wall and the two smaller walls.
It was really important to measure each board individually because of the slight variation in the levelness of our floors. This ensured that we had the perfect fit for each vertical batten.
The angled wall required a slightly different process. Since the angled wall wasn’t tall enough to match the rest of our board and batten, we decided to frame the space in with the 1 x 4 MDF boards and install one vertical batten.
Our stairs already had a piece of decorative trim underneath the railing base, so we used a razor to cut the caulk and remove that piece of trim completely. That way our top 1 x 4 piece would be completely flush against the railing base.
We finished by adding a 1 x 2 MDF “crown” on top of the top horizontal batten. After everything was nailed into place, we used spackle to fill all of the nail holes.
We caulked wherever the battens met the wall to create a seamless look. After that, our wall was finally starting to look like one built-in piece.
Finally, it was time to paint. We had leftover trim paint from when our house was built so we used that to paint the entire space.
It took 4 coats to completely cover all of the board and batten.
Then, it was finished!!!
Look how much it has changed the feel of this space!
I love how it turned out! It’s just like I imagined when I first had the idea and I can’t believe how it makes the dining room actually feel like a separate room. The tall moulding makes the room feel custom made and the white ties in perfectly with the kitchen.
It’s like night a day from where we started.
We have so many ideas for the dining room, one of which is to get a large rectangular farmhouse table. It’s so exciting to see the house changing one room at a time.
Have you ever thought of adding something dramatic to define a space? How did it change the feel of the room? I would love to hear about some of your projects!