DIY Bathroom Board and Batten

Oct 15, 2021



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Welcome to Lake and Lumber! I am so excited to help you gain the confidence to pick up the power tools yourself and start tackling DIY projects in your home!

Hi, I'm Melissa

Our master bathroom has this little “alcove” where the stand-alone tub sits and it has always seemed “unfinished” to me. I remember when we were running through the plans for the house, there was an option to extend the floor tile up behind the tub, but not only was it pricey, it wasn’t going to give me the modern traditional vibe I was hoping for. If there is one thing I have learned during the building of two houses it is this; don’t pay for something you won’t love just because the builder doesn’t offer what you DO love!

My bathroom “alcove” when we moved in.

So I waited. A year and a half later, I finally had a vision for the space and it included a classic board and batten with a rich color that would give the space a relaxing feel. When I stumbled upon Elephants Breath by Farrow & Ball, I knew that I was heading in the right direction! It paired well with my existing wall color, City Loft (SW), and complemented the wood look tile on the floor. I would paint the board and batten AND all of the trim this warm, saturated color while leaving the rest of the walls this creamy off-white.


Because this is a bathroom and there is often moisture, I opted to use select pine boards for the B&B and window trim. Under normal (less wet) circumstances, I use primed MDF boards which are less costly, however, they are very susceptible to moisture and are a poor choice for this project. I purchased 1×4 boards for the vertical and horizontal portions of the B&B/window trim and chose a 1×2 piece as a cap on both. I also decided to add a decorative trim piece inside of each “box” for a more classic style. This trim is PVC and can be cut using these miter sheers.

Determining Spacing

I always get asked how I determine the spacing for my board and batten projects and the honest answer is…I just eyeball it! Start by laying out your boards and see what appeals to your eye. Once you have a general idea of how many boards you want for each wall, measure things out and get as close to even spacing as you can. You will almost NEVER be able to have exact spacing, but this type of trim work is very forgiving and small differences (an inch and a half or less) will not be noticed.


Attach your boards to the wall using a nail gun and 1 1/2in brad nails. If you are new to DIY and would like to know what tools you may want, click here to see my top 5 tools for getting started. You do not need to hit a stud. Instead, angle your nail gun back and forth (shooting one nail slightly left and the next slightly right) to lock in the boards. Be sure to use a level to keep your boards aligned! Once your boards are attached to the wall, fill your nail holes and your joints with wood filler. Sand until you can’t feel the joint with your eyes closed. Do NOT skip this step! Trust me when I tell you, if you can feel the joint/bump/etc with your eyes closed, you will see it once it is painted. Caulk around each board where it meets the wall. That’s it! Once the caulk has dried you are free to paint. Because I used raw wood and not primed MDF on this project, I opted for a primer. If you are working with primed MDF you will be able to skip this step.

Board and batten is the perfect “starter DIY” project, so don’t be afraid to try it! My very first solo DIY project was the board and batten in my home office. Click here to check it out!

+ view comments

  1. Meredith says:

    How did you handle the baseboards as I’m assuming the wood is not flush up against the baseboard. I have a decorative style base board and not sure how to do this without making it look funny.

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