Published: Jul 14, 2021 | Updated: Jul 08, 2021

What Is Board and Batten? Plus 7 Ways to Love It

Board and batten is one of the most popular types of exterior siding and interior paneling options today. Find out what it is and 6 ways to use it in your home.

Luxury home with board and batten exterior siding

Vertical board and batten siding on a home in Saluda River Club, Lexington, SC

What Is Board and Batten?

There are several different types of siding. Generally, most siding runs horizontally as traditional siding made of various materials (cement, cement fiber, composite, vinyl, wood, etc…). There are shakes (that look like cedar shingles made from wood, vinyl, etc…). Another option is board and batten.

Board and batten is a type of wood paneling that uses wide boards that are nailed side by side, often vertically. And there is a narrow strip of wood, called a “batten,” that is fastened over the seams between wood boards that adds 3-dimensionality and character to the siding.

Historically, the battens were added to make siding more energy efficient for barns and other structures. Sometimes, this type of siding is called barn siding.

The best thing about this siding option is the charm and curb appeal. It brings an informal, provincial, welcoming feel to a modern home. It is one of the most popular types of exterior siding in the United States and has been around for hundreds of years.

What type of board and batten materials are available? 

Board and batten is available in several kinds of materials.

  • Hardie Board and batten (fiber cement)
  • Cedar, pine, redwood, other natural wood, or engineered wood board and batten
  • Vinyl board and batten
  • Steel

What are the advantages and disadvantages of board and batten?


  • Unique 
  • Timeless
  • Attractive, high-end look
  • Very durable - can last for decades if properly cared for, depending on the material
  • Boosts curb appeal and perceived home value
  • There are a variety of creative ways to use it
  • Design allows for expansion and contraction (reducing cracking)


  • Board and batten looks more informal than some other types of siding.
  • It may not go with every type of architecture.
  • Installing board and batten takes longer than other types of siding
  • The cost may be higher than other types of siding
  • Needs caulking
Modern Craftsman-style home with gables and board and batten siding accents

Vertical board and batten siding used as gable accents contrasts beautifully with traditional siding for the rest of this home’s exterior.

6 Ways to Use Board and Batten

Most homeowners opt for vertical board and batten siding. But some people choose to mount horizontal boards with horizontal batten. Or you can create rectangles with a mix of horizontal and vertical battens for a unique effect. You can even vary the widths of the rows to create your own pattern.

No matter how you hang board and batten, there are plenty of ways to use it in your home.

1. Opt for board and batten siding for your home exterior.

Board and batten exterior siding is one of the most popular options today. It’s especially sought after in the high-end home market for its unique look and the nostalgic whimsy it adds to the ambiance of a home.

Board and batten exterior can be used by itself as the only type of siding, or as an accent with traditional siding, cedar shakes, brick, and/or stucco.

Front Porch With Half Stacked Stone Columns and Green Board and Batten Shutters

Nostalgic hinged board and batten shutters above with a slate porch floor and Craftsman-style columns.

2. Choose adorable board and batten shutters.

For shutters, the boards are vertical and the battens are horizontal, holding the boards together. Sometimes the shutters are hinged so you can open and close them if needed. This creates a romantic effect and it can be very practical in the event of a storm if you want to have functional shutters.

3. Design a unique board and batten ceiling

For a unique touch of elegance, consider a board and batten square or rectangular design for your master bedroom ceiling. This effect works well even in a tray ceiling, drawing the eye upward.

Or use a wide board and batten pattern on your large back porch ceiling for additional architectural interest and beauty.

board and batten trim around windows and board and batten accent wall above fireplace

A board and batten wall above the fireplace and accents around the windows make this two-story living space pop.

4. Splurge on board and batten interior siding.

Board and batten interior wall options are numerous. You can have an entire room done in this style or just have a board and batten accent wall, like behind the headboard in your master bedroom.

5. Take the plunge with a board and batten bathroom.

A great option for wainscoting, use board and batten for the bottom 4 or 5 feet of your bathroom wall. Then use painted drywall, wallpaper, or wall tile for the top for a dramatic effect. 

For bathrooms, be sure the wainscoting has semi-gloss wall paint or even full-gloss latex enamel paint, especially if there is a shower in the room.

Spacious Kitchen With Board and Batten Kitchen Island

Use board and batten for your kitchen island like this furniture-style island above.

6. Go with a farmhouse-style board and batten kitchen.

Interior siding can make for a stunning backsplash or even for the walls throughout your kitchen. Or use a board and batten effect on your kitchen island to add some extra architectural details.

Board and batten marries gloriously with farmhouse and modern kitchens.

7. Use board and batten wainscoting in the dining room, foyer, study, library, or home office for extra formality.

Having wood paneling in a room adds opulence and ambiance. It signifies that the room has extra care, details, and thoughtful design to elevate the aesthetic. And wood paneling is practical and more durable than drywall.

Board and batten siding colors

If you go with a material that comes with color already, your choices may be a bit limited. But if you choose Hardie board, wood, or fiber cement, you can pretty much have just about any paint color you can imagine for your board and batten.

White is the timeless choice. But many people are choosing darker colors with shades of green, blue, dark gray, taupe, and more for interior or exterior board and batten walls.

If you want an accent wall, let it pop by choosing a different color from the surrounding walls.

Ready to build your own dream house with board and batten in the Lexington, SC area?

At Blythe Building Company, we build luxury custom homes for our clients. We have plenty of experience in using board and batten and in building Craftsman-style homes.

Plesae contact us today!

We’d love to build your dream home in downtown Columbia, Forest Acres, Lake Carolina, the Lake Murray area, Ballentine, Chapin, Lexington, Pine Ridge, or other locations in the Greater Columbia, SC area.


7 Must-Have Features for Your Home Gym Design

What Is a Scullery and Why Do You Need One?

What Is the Best Decking Material for Luxury Decks?

Create Your Perfect Outdoor Kitchen and Grilling Paradise

8 Ways Reclaimed Wood Can Add Character to Your Home

Recommended Articles