Board and Batten Spacing Tutorial

Learn how to calculate perfect board and batten spacing, even around doors, windows, and corners. 

Then see how to install traditional board and batten and full-height floor to ceiling board and batten

board and batten wall wity yellow Swedish Clock

Figuring Out Board and Batten Spacing

I was in the middle of writing a tutorial of how we did our living walls from our National Painting week project.

And I realized that I had a tutorial within a tutorial and one that needed to be addressed for board and batten style walls on it’s very own, so here I am.

One of the biggest signs that you are just learning how to DIY your board and batten is problems with your spacing.   You do not, and I repeat, you DO NOT want to have uneven spacing between the battens throughout and particularly on the opposite ends of the wall.  That is a sign that you are a beginner, and that you might have a bit more to learn!

To explain what I mean about uneven spacing lets start a hypothetical project.

Let’s say you start the wall by installing one batten, and then  just measure 24″ from the first molding and keep installing that way till you get to the other side.

But, at the end of the wall you are left with just 7 inches.  That means one side is spaced and “24 inches and the other side is 7”, that looks uneven and not ideal

(By the way, this happens with tile too, I am super picky about this, check out my tiling tips here).  

Instead you want the spacing to be even throughout the length of the wall, but one of the hardest parts is figuring out the spacing.

So let me give you two step by step ways to figure out how to accomplish the perfect board and batten spacing!

How to properly space board and batten Tutorial

 

Perfect Board and Batten Spacing Tutorial

Measure As You Install Version

(If you want to measure the spacing as you install each individual batten, follow these instructions)

A. Measure the length of the wall.

B. Decide how many battens you would like on that wall (this is the general spacing do you want them every 2 feet, every foot).  Now divide the length of the wall by the general spacing.  If you have a 10 foot wall and would like the battens about every 2 feet that equals 5 spaces.

C. Now in order to have 5 spaces you will need 6 battens, so 5 spaces + 1 equals the number of battens you will need.  (*You cannot forget the origin point or the “0” if you will, see the diagram below)

D. You cannot forget the thickness of your batten’s themselves.  Let’s say they are 3″ so multiply the number of battens (6) by the width of the battens (3″) which is 18″.

E. Subtract the width of the battens (18″) from the length of the wall (10′) which leave 8.5′.

F. Divide 8.5 (the length of the wall minus the width of the battens by the amount of spaces you would like (5).  Which leaves you with a spacing of 20.4″ (so just under 20 1/2″ between each batten)  This is the exact spacing between each batten.

G. Attach your first batten to the end of the wall.  Now measure from the edge of the batten 20.4″ and mark that will be the beginning edge of your next batten.  Install the second batten and measure from the edge and repeat installation.  Continue your way down the wall.

figuring batten spacing for board and batten wall, measure as you go

Pre-Measured, Then Install Option

(If you want to measure out and mark the spacing on the wall of all battens before beginning, follow these instructions)

A. Measure the length of the wall.

B. Decide how many battens you would like on that wall (this is the general spacing do you want them every 2 feet, every foot).  Now divide the length of the wall by the general spacing.  If you have a 10 foot wall and would like the battens about every 2 feet that equals 5 spaces.

C. Now in order to have 5 spaces you will need 6 battens, so 5 spaces + 1 equals the number of battens you will need.  (*You cannot forget the origin point or the “0” if you will, see the diagram above)

D. Subtract the 3″ for the “origin batten” from the length of the wall. (10′ – 3″)

E. Now divide the remaining length by 5 (the amount of spaces you would like).Which leaves 23.4″ or just under 23 and 1/2 inches

F. To begin, measure from the starting corner 23.4″ and mark the wall.  This mark will be the start of your second batten. Measure from the first mark another 23.4″ inches, repeat this step all the way down to the end of the wall.  You will be left with a 3″ space for the last and final batten.  The marks will be the leading edge of your batten board (see below for instructions)

board and batten spacing tutorial, pre-measured batten space

 

That is basically the tutorial.  I know it works and it makes all the difference in the final look of your board and batten wall to have everything spaced out nicely!

Now you’re ready for:

How to Install DIY Board and Batten

Board and Batten Spacing Examples

perfect corner spacing board and batten in master bedroom

Image from our first ever board and batten project 11 years ago, when we were in our first house during college.  Notice how nice the spacing in all the way into the corner!

and from our Park House living room — the board and batten looked amazing with the DIY interior columns (on the opposite walls) and built-in bookcases!

Living Room Remodel With Board And Batten Yellow Accents Wood Floors And Built In Bookcases And Columns With Arches

This is our most recent board and batten wall — this is a really thin board, installed floor to ceiling and we love it!

thin board and batten wall

You can also use this same spacing calculation to put board on batten on a kitchen island (with beadboard or just on the original island like this).

board and batten kitchen island makeover with corbels, Remodelaholic.com

Board and Batten Spacing FAQs

Can the spacing be different on walls in the same room?

Yes! It is okay if the spacing of the battens is slightly different on adjoining walls especially if you keep the spacing equal throughout the individual wall.

What do I do if a light switch or outlet is in the way of my board and batten?

If there’s an outlet or light switch in the way of your vertical battens, you can often adjust the spacing a little bit one way or the other for an easy fix.

OR, you can do like we did in our Park House living room when the light switches were RIGHT at the height of our top horizontal board. We notched the board and framed out the light switch.

(This does require a little extra electrical work, so be sure to consult a professional if you’re unsure about that part.) 

Board And Batten Spacing Around A Light Switch, Remodelaholic

Do I skip the corner or put a vertical batten in the corner?

This is probably just preference here — but we always start and end the wall with a batten. It gives the wall a really nice finished look on both inside and outside corners.

And on the outside corners, it’s also a nice way to dress them up and protect them from the inevitable dings and dents of everyday life (and kids).

If you look at our Park House living room, you can see how it looks with battens in the corners and around the corners.

Don’t miss the step by step tutorial!

How to Install DIY Board and Batten

 

More board and batten ideas:

How To Get Perfect Board And Batten Spacing, Remodelaholic

 

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56 Comments

  1. Perfect timing. I’ve been thinking of tackling this by myself in the bathroom when my hubby goes on one of his trips and wondered about the spacing. I’m real particular, but my results don’t always show it and I get quite frustrated. So thank you for this posting! I look forward to the next one as well. Here’s a question, for your opinion. All of our trim is stained. That’s how it was when we bought and that’s what my husband prefers. That’s our compromise. I do most of the decorating, but since he does live here, we have to let him have his say in some things. 🙂 However, since I want to do board and batten, I was thinking of at least doing the baseboards white and keeping the door trim stained. The vanity is stained as well and will probably stay that way in that bathroom. Do you think that will look funny? Oh yes, the door is also stained.

    1. Lisa,

      I think it could work! I think that you will have to paint the baseboards for sure! And while I think the door molding would be nice to paint the same, I think you could do the main project(meaning just the wall and base molding) get it all painted and then decide if the door molding looks off. I love having painted doors, so I know the stained door won’t look bad…

      By the way, good for you for compromising with your hubby! I think a marriage is more important that your interior design choices and I appreciate you considering his likes, and I am sure it means something to him too!

      1. Thanx Cassity! It’s definitely a project that will be down the road a bit. Right now I’m trying to take advantage of the beautiful spring weather (finally) with outside painting projects before the humid weather hits.

  2. Very nice! Thanks, we are getting ready to do this to our downstairs. Odd question, where does that cool door with the yellow wreath lead??

          1. Can I ask the color of the stain used on your Dutch door? In the picture above…not the grey from the tutorial. 🙂

  3. Great tutorial! I created a little spreadsheet with your formula so I can use it again in the future. I have a quick question about the corners. Do you use full width battens in the corners or do you trim them down so you have equal space on each side?

    1. Meghan, the spacing in a hall will have to be fudged a little bit and that is not bad. The goal is consistency, not perfections. In order for it to look clean I would be sure you get measure each section and then figure out and average space that would work for each section. (graph paper is a DIY-ers best friend!) Try to keep the spacing within a few inches for each section, so that the eye will make sense of the space! (good luck!)

  4. Thank you so much for this tutorial! One of the corners I will be working with is a rounded/bullnose outside corner. Any ideas on the best way to do the spacing around that?

    1. Heidi,

      There are a few things things you could do:

      1. You could just butt the edges of the wood together, in the board and batten area to create a square 90 degree corner
      2. Or if the corner is larger, you could try a 3 sided corner (sort of like half of a hexagon) to cover
      3. Or you could avoid the corner and not put molding right there (but I don’t recommend this!) this may appear to make the space unfinished

      Oh and I thought of one other option, my friend Jen from Tatertots and Jello, just did a planked entry and they off set the planks from the curved arch corner by like 1 inch, that way they didnt’ have to face the transition, or take the planking into another room. It worked out well, check out the post, hopefully you can see what she did.

  5. Hi! New to your website via Pinterest! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your space! This is exactly the board and batten I have been looking for the past year. I have been terrified to tackle the job, but this post has renewed my faith to start a diy project. A few Q’s: I really like how the batten is thin and closely spaced. “About” how far apart did you space it? And is your wall smooth or textured? My walls are lightly textured, so not sure if it will look funny if I don’t cover over it (which I don’t plan to do.) Lastly, how many walls did you finish like this? I am thinking of doing this in my music room which has four walls and not sure if it would feel “too heavy”. Thanks in advance!

    1. Taya, we are so glad that you found our site and thanks for loving it. Our living room has two walls that have the board and batten. The other wall is a rock wall. If you are worried about doing all four walls you could just start with one accent wall and then see how you like it. It depends on the size of you room as well, if its small it could feel like too much. We spaced ours at between 8-9 inches. That is what seemed to work for us. I hope that helps. Good luck!

  6. I have been pinning board and batten walls for months and finally got up the nerve to try it in my small bathroom. Easier said than done for me! I could not get the spacing right so I gave up on it but now want to try again. I appreciate this tutorial. I am trying to work around a mirror that is not framed yet,a light switch, electrical outlet, door, window, and the plumbing behind the toilet so I was not able to figure it out. I really like that the battens you used are thin….what size are they? I see that your battens were spaced 8 or 9 inches apart & since I have limited wall space maybe I should use 8 inch spacing. What is your opinion? I also like the idea of starting in the corner and was wondering if I am supposed to use a batten in the corner of the connecting wall as well?? so that there are 2 battens (1 on the left of the corner and another on the right of the corner)the 2 battens would butt up to each other. Would that be too much in the corner? What do you suggest? I almost gave up on this so thanks again! You are so very talented and I cannot wait to try your ideas.

    1. G, the width of the moldings here were 1 7/8″. When it comes to all the obstacles you are working around, I would focus on the maintaining the spacing width and ignore the switches, you can work around those like I did here in this post. It’s hard to give advice with out seeing it, but hopefully that helps. When it comes to patching, 3m has a great patch and primer that is really good and smooth. It dries fast and sands easy. It does take a lot of patience though for patching all the holes. Good luck!

  7. Hi, really looks good particularly in bedroom – I wonder how you would deal with built in wardrobes in alcoves of chimneybreast so that the wainscoating continues ?

  8. Hi. We live in a bi-level home and want to do board and baton in the entry stairway. What is the type boards that you tend to use. Were have been looking at mdf board that is 1″ think, using 5 1/2″ on top and 3 1/2″ as the baton and base board. Should we use a thinner type board?

    1. I like to use a 5/8″ board for the top and bottom and then something thinner for the vertical battens. With the case of this post I used a 1/4″ thick batten. Just keep in mind that a 1×6 mdf board is acctually 5/8″x5 1/2″.

  9. Wow, this is an awesome tutorial, very easy to understand. Thanks so much!!!!!! Just what i was looking!

  10. I have three solid walls should I butt two battens in each corner, Weare using 1\2 by 4 inch mdf? Will it look to heavy and unbalanced or finished?

  11. Hello! I’ve been pouring over your blog and I know this is from so long ago, but I have a couple questions…..

    1) I have a texture on my walls, a medium orange peel. Does the texture of the walls matter much? I guess one could put up a 1/4″ plywood if it looked funny without.

    2) I have generic, cheep contractor’s baseboards throughout the house. I’m thinking of doing the entryway and small nook. It’s about 2″ tall and wider at the bottom and tappers toward the top. Do you need to take out that original baseboard (I think so, to get the look)?

    Thank you! I just adore your work and the blog It always looks so good when you’re done! Keep it up!

    1. Hi Kelly,
      Thanks for the kind comment! Both of those are up to you and your preferences. True board and batten has a flat board (like the plywood you mentioned) behind it and then the vertical battens are to cover up the seams — but if the texture won’t bother you, I’ve seen it done that way, too. For the baseboards, again, your preference. I’ve seen people leave original baseboards and then taper the bottoms of the battens to meet up with the baseboards, or you could try using a really thin piece for the battens, like we did in our full-height board and batten here https://www.remodelaholic.com/board-and-batten-wall-tutorial, to see if it would match up with your original baseboards. We prefer the thick chunky baseboards, so we like to rip em out 🙂

  12. Thank you for this post. My biggest problem though is…how the heck do you know how many battons you want in the first place??? Do you just pick a number, then see what the spacing is, and keep adjusting till your eyeballs like it? thanks bunches!!

  13. I am doing board and batten in s stairway and because the stairway has a landing midway down, one wall is longer than the other. If I space the battens evenly within their respective walks, they are not aligned across from each other in the stair hall and in terms of the rhythm of the steps. Is that okay and is even spacing on its own wall more important than falling out of synch with stairs?

    1. Hi Jay,
      It’s been a couple weeks, but I posted your question on Facebook to see if our readers had any ideas, and one reader had a great suggestion to test it out! https://www.facebook.com/Remodelaholic/posts/10155211022179531 I think it’s really going to come down to what you like and what looks good to you. I personally would probably try to place the battens evenly along the steps, but try out that suggestion and see what works for you. Good luck!

  14. I am doing my dining room to achieve tbe board & batten look. I installed the 1st & last batten, then divided the remaining wallspace in half & installed tbe third batten dead center then repeated the process. All my boards were the same depth – 7/16″, top is 3 1/4″ Mission base, bottom is 5 1/4″. I had thought about leaving my colonial base, & if I had, I would have notched the top routed edge so that the base would receive the batten of the same depth, but decided that the clean lines of the Misson base would work best for me.

  15. Great Tutorial. I am about to do board and batten in entryway. I have roughly come up with around 20″ spacing. My question is how did you fasten your battens when they do not hit a stud? I was planing to use my air nailer but was concerned that they will not hold well.

  16. How do you deal with multiple windows you are going around? Do you try to space it evenly on the window? YIKES!! What size boards do you suggest?

    1. If you had two windows I would start in the middle of both and work toward the walls. It does depend on the spacing you choose though and the length of wall. I would sketch it out on a grid paper and try different spacings. Start at 24” then try smaller. The smaller the spacing the better for hiding areas that don’t line up exactly. Hope that helps!

  17. Hey there! Love this and we will be following these directions for our new baby room! Question, any suggestion for how to do this with a wall that measures oddly? For example, our wall is 174.5 inches so about 14.54 feet which as you can imagine makes our wall tricky if we want to have 6 board and battens (plus the 2 that boarder the edge of the wall).