How to Create a Modern Board and Batten Accent Wall

We finished our basement a couple of years ago, and turned part of it into a work out room. We’ve used it a lot and it’s been great to have, but Brooke and I have always felt like it needed a little something from a design standpoint. Four plain white walls were becoming a little boring. So we decided to add an accent wall.

If you’ve seen the exterior of our house, you know that we’ve used quite a bit of board and batten. Why not bring that inside and give it a modern twist?

In this article, I’ll show you how I created our modern board and batten accent wall.

Materials and Tools

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • finish nailer
  • 1 1/2″ finish nails
  • 1″ x 4″ primed boards
  • stud finder
  • tape measure
  • caulk and caulk gun
  • spackling

Step 1: Measure and Design

The first thing I did was measure the width and height of the wall. Then I started designing how the batten strips would be laid out. I mentioned that this would be a board and batten accent wall with a modern twist. Well, the “twist” was literal. Instead of running the battens vertically like normal, I decided to run them turned at a 45 degree angle.

If you’ve read any of my other DIY tutorials, you know that I am a huge fan of using Sketchup to design and plan projects. If you’re currently using pencil and paper, I highly recommend trying it out. It’s extremely intuitive and there is a free version that runs right in your browser.

So using sketchup, I drew the wall based on the measurements that I took. From here, I created some 1×4’s and started playing with different designs. The main goal was to create a cool design and try to miss as many electrical outlets as I could. Cutting around those can become time consuming.

I also made it a priority to have balanced spacing in the design. Each piece ended up being spaced 12″ apart.

Here’s what I came up with:

Since I modeled everything to scale, I was able to use the tape measure tool in sketchup to get the exact measurements for each strip.

Step 2: Find and Mark the Studs

In order for the strips to be securely attached to the wall, they need to be nailed to a stud, which are the 2×4’s behind the sheetrock. I used a stud finder to locate each one across the wall, and marked them with a pencil. This allowed me to see where to shoot the nails.

Step 3: Cut and Nail the Battens

Using the measurements from my Sketchup model, I cut each piece of 1×4, making sure the miter saw was set correctly at 45 degrees. It’s easy to get mixed up, so double check which piece you are cutting and which way the 45 degree cut is running.

I started by nailing up the two longest pieces.

To make spacing easier, I found a scrap piece of wood, and cut it to 12″ in length, and used it as a spacer as I nailed up each piece.

I continued this until all of the pieces were nailed to the wall.

Step 4: Fill Nail Holes and Sand

Once I had all of the pieces nailed up, it was time to fill all of the nail holes. I try not to go crazy with the nail gun when doing this kind of project. I use just enough nails to hold, because filling holes is probably my least favorite thing to do.

I filled each hole with spackling using my finger, leaving a little extra on the surface. This will insure no indentions after sanding.

Once the spackling was dry, I sanded all of the battens with fine sand paper.

Step 5: Caulk and Paint

Once all of the sanding was done, I caulked all of the boards so there were no gaps showing between them and the wall.

And once the caulk had dried, the very last step was to paint the wall. I used the a foam roller for a smooth finish., and used the same paint that I used on the wall.

And here it is with work out equipment and TV back in place!

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  • Reply Vicky

    Do you have a stud finder you could recommend? It always seems ours is inaccurate.

    May 3, 2019 at 1:24 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Hi Vicky. I use a Zircon, and it’s one of the smaller ones. It works really well.

      May 3, 2019 at 1:58 pm
  • Reply Lura

    Looks great Henry and as always your attention to detail is spot on! I love it. I am hoping you will give us a tutorial on your shiplap wall in your livivg room. I love that too!!
    Thank you for all your informative detailed information

    May 3, 2019 at 3:01 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Thanks! Glad you like it. Hopefully we can get around to doing a shiplap tutorial.

      May 7, 2019 at 11:55 pm
  • Reply Caroline

    I love this wall. We are about to do a wall in our home like this. I was just wondering, do you use clear or white caulk?

    May 17, 2019 at 3:37 am
    • Reply Henry

      Thanks! I always use white paintable latex caulk for interior trim. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      May 17, 2019 at 12:00 pm

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