You Can Totally Fake This Luxury Home Upgrade — Thanks to Command Strips

published Jul 2, 2020
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board and batten wall with pictures hanging

Board-and-batten has been around for ages, but it’s recently re-emerged as a a wildly popular architectural feature that is perfect for adding a huge dose of character into any room. Unfortunately, most of the examples you see involve nails and caulk, which is not always feasible for renters. Good news: I figured out a way for renters to get the same effect without damaging their walls. 

The idea came to me while trying to figure out what to do with a paneled wall in my apartment. I heard myself saying, I just wish I could cover up those lines! The lines/indentations were spaced exactly 16 inches apart and after years of being painted over by who-knows-how-many tenants, they looked more like accidents than a design feature. So I started searching Pinterest, saw all the lovely board and batten tutorials, and immediately knew what I wanted to do. 

Our landlords are exceptionally generous when it comes to allowing us to make improvements in our flat, but I felt like using a nail gun to permanently install batten (trim) was too much to ask. Having been both a renter and homeowner, I’ve come to have great respect and admiration for Command picture hanging strips — there’s nothing I haven’t been able to ask of them. So I immediately began researching weight limits and surfaces they would stick to. I found out they would stick to MDF boards, so I ordered a few packs and figured I’d test it out. I picked up my 8’ boards from the hardware store, brought them home, and low and behold, it worked perfectly. The walls are uneven, so the thickness of the strips actually helps in the areas where the boards wouldn’t have otherwise come into contact with the walls. 

If you’re a renter looking to create an accent wall in your apartment, or a homeowner who doesn’t want to commit to putting a thousand nail holes in your wall, this technique is a must-try. I decided to use just vertical boards and was lucky enough to need exactly 8-foot lengths, so there was no cutting involved besides a tiny piece at the bottom to go around an outlet. All I had to do was buy the boards, paint them, and hang them on the wall. However, you can certainly change it up and add horizontal pieces to create squares, or run the vertical boards part way up the wall and cap it off with a shelf. If there hadn’t been crown moulding in my dining room I would have added a horizontal piece at the top as well as the bottom like you traditionally see on a board and batten wall. The great thing about this project is that you can make it as simple or complex as you like. Follow along for instructions on how to get started! 

What You’ll Need

The 4 Easy Steps To Fake Board and Batten

1. Measure the wall to figure out how many boards you need.

Measure your wall and determine how far apart you want the boards to be placed. Mark out each area by drawing a vertical line from the top of the wall to the bottom. Next, look for the straightest boards you can find online or at your hardware store. I ended up finding 1” x 2” Primed MDF boards which worked perfectly, but you could also use something thinner like 1⁄4” lattice moulding if you have a perfectly smooth wall (in which case you could probably get away with using the thinner Command poster strips). 

2. Trim and paint the boards.

Trim the boards to size (if needed) and paint. Once the paint dries, place five Command strip pairs down the back side starting at the top, middle, and bottom; then fill in the two gaps so the strips are spaced evenly down the board. 

3. Position the boards.

Remove the backings on the Command strips and position the board on the wall over the vertical marking, pressing lightly in just one area. I found when doing this it was easiest to press the fourth strip from the top to the wall, I could then easily pivot the rest of the board to get a plumb reading on my level all the way up and down the board. 

4. Keep going!

Once the vertical board is plumb, press it onto the wall in each area where you’ve applied the adhesive strips, then move on to the next board. After the second board you’ll start to get the hang of it and the rest of the boards go up quickly. 

That’s it! This process is so simple and so worth trying. It’s so simple in fact that I took it all down, painted it white again, and put the boards back up because I decided I didn’t like the “calamine lotion” pink vibe. It was just as easy the second time around—my only advice if you remove the boards is that you number each one, so you know which goes where when you put them back in place. 

My boards have been up for about a month, some have artwork hanging on them (each board holds up to 5 pounds) as added weight, and I’ve had no trouble with them popping off the walls. This is one of my favorite DIYs to date, I highly recommend all renters take a stab at it. It adds instant coziness for not too much money and not too much time, and you can always change things up later.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: The Luxury Home Upgrade You Can Fake with Command Strips