Transform An Entire Room For Super Cheap By Adding Interior Board And Batten From MDF Board
Have you ever been nervous about updating a room with the “latest” home design trend because you know in a couple of months it will not longer be popular?
Board & batten is not one of them Y’all! It has been around for a long time & it is here to stay. Over here at the Southern Yankee DIY house, we are all about the board and batten walls! So far we have installed them in Eli’s nursery & our half bathroom!
They are timeless & can be done so many ways!
For this season’s $100 room challenge, we decided to take on renovating the bathroom. That is not a lot of money for a makeover I know, that is why I decided to go with board and batten walls made out of wood MDF!
Erin from Lemons, Lavender, & Laundry started this challenge a couple of years ago (you can read more about that here). Basically, a bunch of very talented bloggers gets together to take on renovating a space for $100 or less! We have 1 month to complete the challenge & the hope is to have a swoon-worthy room at the end, all while staying in budget.
This week we transformed the walls 1 piece of MDF board!
What Is MDF
MDF (medium-density fiberboard) is made of recycled wood & super durable for projects. We used it to make Eli’s built-in closet shelving & also our built-in bookcases in the office! You can even use MDF for baseboards!
The best part is you can get one sheet at Lowes for about $30 which is all this budget would let me spend on wood.
The Most Budget Savvy DIY Board and Batten Walls
- 1 Piece of Wood MDF
- 1×4 Pine Boards
- 2″ Nails
- Paintable Caulk
- Oil Based Paint
- Paint in Semi-Gloss
- The first thing I do when installing board N batten walls is to remove all the skinny builder grade baseboards. I like for the battens to have a ledge to sit on & look flush.
If you follow along with us on Instagram you know this did not go as smoothe as it normally does because the builder put the baseboards behind the tile instead of on top of.
2. After you have the baseboards removed you can install new baseboards either out of MDF or 1×4’s or 1×6’s. Normally I would go the 1×6 route but the 1×4’s fit better under the vanity so I took the easy win.
I have used MDF for baseboards also & they work great too!
3. Next, I installed 1×4’s along the top of the wall to add a crown molding look to the bathroom. You don’t have to do this but I feel like it makes the batten board wall look finished.
4. Now it’s time for the fun part, cutting the battens out of the wood MDF! Use a table saw to rip 2″ wide strips the length of your wall.
This is NOT a one-person job y’all. Wood MDF is very heavy & it definitely takes two people to run through the saw.
You can also use a circular saw but you have to make sure your cuts are super straight.
5. Once all the strips are cut you can start nailing them up on the walls. Start by nailing your first one a couple of inches off the corner of the wall.
I like to plan my room out a bit before I start nailing anything so that I can avoid tricky outlet cuts.
Board & Batten Hack
6. My biggest time-saving trick for installing DIY board and batten is to cut two pieces of scrap wood the length you want in-between the batten boards. This way you can measure off of your first installed batten instead of having to measure & level every single time!
Ours are 8″ apart because I am going for a skinnier floor to ceiling version. In Eli’s nursery, I did tall batten board walls 15″ apart.
Putting up the battens goes super fast using the scrap wood spacer trick!
This next part not so much…
7. This is my least favorite step of the entire process… caulking. Caulk all the baseboards, molding, & battens. And after you have caulked your life away, fill all the nails holes. I know, I know but I promise it is going to be worth it!
It’s starting to look like real board and batten bathroom y’all!
8. Now that everything is caulked & filled it’s time to paint. When you are working with wood MDF it is very important that you first use oil-based paint on the MDF boards.
If you use regular water-based paint first it will absorb into the MDF & cause it to expand & crack.
9. After you apply one coat of oil based paint you can paint over that with whatever color you were planning on painting the batten walls.
This bathroom isn’t super huge & one way to make a small room look bigger is to paint the walls lighter opposed to darker so I am going to paint them Bright White by Sherwin Williams.
I usually go with a semi-gloss finish for board and batten, wainscoting, & molding to give it a little extra oomph!
$100 Room Challenge Bathroom Makeover:
- Week 1- Design Board
- Week 2- How To Frame In A Boring Bathroom Mirror
- Week 3- DIY Board and Batten Wall Using MDF Board
In the meantime check out all the other super talented $100 room challenge participants progress below!