Trim Tutorial: Board and Batten

We’ve had a few requests to give a tutorial on how we created the trim in our boys’ room.  This is actually one of the most simple trim designs we have in our house.  To start, determine the height of the trim you want.  Our trim is 66 inches from the floor to the top if the shelf.

Start with your baseboards.  If you plan to keep your current baseboard, you may have to cut notches out, depending on the profile of the trim.  We had to cut out the designed area of the baseboard to meet the square stock pieces together.

Once you’ve determined your baseboard situation, install the top horizontal piece, keeping it level.  Our trim is 4 inches tall, but you can choose any size you want.  I think the verticals look better if they are slightly smaller than the horizontal.  To determine the spacing of the verticals, find the center of each wall and install a vertical, keeping the trim piece centered on the center line.  Here’s where you have a decision to make.  You can choose any width of spacing for your verticals.  We preferred the wider spacing.  We placed our remaining verticals half way between the centered vertical and the corners.  Then, we added verticals on each side of the corner.

We started with a traditional board and batten style trim.  A year later, we added a picture shelf, but of course, you don’t have to do this.

To create this picture shelf, cut (or buy) a piece of 1 inch thick material into 3 inches wide.  This piece will be the actual shelf.  We used a large sheet of MDF and cut it ourselves.  Cut (or buy) a piece of 3/4 inch material to one inch strips; this will support the shelf.  Securely nail the 1 inch by 3/4 inch piece to the horizontal piece, keeping the tops flush.  If you pieces are too short to span the entire length of the wall, cut your pieces at a 45 degree angle to keep them tight, rather than two blunt ends butted together.  Once you’ve installed the support pieces, you’re ready to add your shelf.  Place your shelf against the wall and securely nail the shelf into your trim pieces and the wall.

As I mentioned above, you can vary the width of your verticals to achieve the look you have in mind.  Here are a few more great rooms that have been updated with board and batten trim.

Jen at Tatertots and Jello transformed her Tuscan inspired bathroom into a beachy cottage with trim.  Karla at It’s the Little Things also has a great tutorial about her board and batten trim.

On a completely unrelated note, I did a little shopping at Pier 1 yesterday (more on that later) and had to share this:  Pier 1 will donate $1.00 for each person who likes Pier 1 on Facebook!  How cool is that?!

10 thoughts on “Trim Tutorial: Board and Batten

  1. Why do you torture me so? You have my dream moldings…. and I am pretty sure it will be many long years before I can convince my hubs to get off his hiney to help me install some around here! 🙂


  2. Love the notched out areas! I think board and batten tutorials are the rite of passage for all good bloggers and I hope to pass through that rite soon! Beautiful!

  3. This is great – thanks so much for posting. We are getting ready to work on our dining room and I am happy to have found your blog and the excellent advice 🙂

    1. Hi Rayne,

      Ben actually used a hack saw and utility knife to notch out the baseboards. The hacksaw cut both verticals and the utility knife scored the horizontal. Our baseboards have a groove, so he cut along that. Then he just tapped along the scored areas to pop the piece out. Because our trim is MDF, it’s pretty workable. Hope that helps!


  4. Thank you, thank you for your “notched baseboard” solution! I just boarded-and-battened a small bathroom, and used a Dremel Multimax to do the notching. I made sure to purchase 1/2″ thick battens (to match the 1/2″ depth of the baseboard) and they fit together seamlessly. What a fantastic way to preserve the original baseboards (which in my old, totally non-level, non-plum farmhouse, would have been a nightmare to replace). Other sites had suggested tapering the battens to meet the baseboards, but to me, it made the board-and-batten look like exactly what it was: a recent, DIY addition to an otherwise historic-looking home. Your notching idea makes the whole treatment look totally built-in, seamless and even original. Thank you for sharing it!

  5. Thank you so much for the info for notching the baseboard. I’ve been searching on how to do it since I’ve since it around but didn’t how how it was done. I’m going to give it a try and hope it is as easy and beautiful as yours.

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