Board and Batten Walls in the Foyer

Adding board and batten walls, plus extra millwork around the doors, gives this plain foyer a much-needed update.

board and batten wall in foyer with lamp

Unlike most of the blog posts out there that focus on board and batten walls, this one won’t be diving into a DIY tutorial. As some of you know, we aren’t the handiest homeowners, so our projects are hired out to someone who knows what they’re doing! We can handle some small DIY projects, but definitely not this one. In part 4 of our Evolution Series, the emphasis will be on how we added character, a little color, and personality to a very bland foyer.

plain foyer with white walls

The images above and below show where we started. Plain walls, no color, and definitely no charm. After gathering ideas and inspiration, I decided that a board and batten wall treatment would be the best way to add color, architectural interest, our personality, and our style. Rather than just adding a board and batten accent wall, I definitely wanted the wall treatment to include the entire space.

foyer wall with closet
foyer with french doors

Decide On The Board and Batten Style

There are many styles of board and batten, so deciding on a specific style takes some time. My advice is to do a little research before you begin. Google, Instagram, and Pinterest are great places to look for inspiration. It can be extremely simple, or very detailed, like the board and batten wainscoting in our dining room at the Sutton Place house. Since our foyer is a small space, I wanted a simpler look for this house. Plus we were installing extra millwork above the doors, which would add height and interest.

board and batten walls in foyer

We chose the height of the top horizontal board based on the height of the antique dresser that lives in the space, and the height of the lamps I wanted to display. I did not want the lamps to be taller than the board and batten. The height we decided on was 60 inches…but then we added a little ledge so the final height is 61 inches. We opted to have a very small ledge instead of a shelf as the top board, and I’m very happy with the way it looks.

board and batten in foyer painted sherwin williams modern gray

Figuring the width between the vertical batten strips is a little tricky, but my handyman got it right. I knew I wanted vertical boards at the ends and in the corners, so some simple math decided the layout. We opted not to cover the drywall with thin MDF boards, and used the drywall as the base for the battens. We have smooth walls with no texture, so eliminating that step made sense.

diy millwork added to top of door

Add More Architectural Interest

To add even more interest to our small foyer, we attached extra millwork to the space above the three doors. You can see in the image above exactly how the trim pieces are stacked. Paintable caulk filled in all the gaps for a seamless look. This was a very simple and budget-friendly way to add interest and style to our foyer.

french doors to office in foyer

Installation Tips

We didn’t have to worry about installing the battens around electrical outlets because, much to my dismay, there aren’t any. I thought one could be installed, but we ran into several obstacles, so that idea was shelved! We did have to figure out how to work around the light switches, but that ended up being very simple.

front door painted sherwin williams modern gray

To maintain continuity throughout the house, I felt strongly about keeping the existing baseboards. To make that work, the baseboards were removed, and a horizontal piece of the batten wood was installed behind the baseboards. The baseboards were then reattached. This extended them out just enough so the vertical battens rest correctly on top.

antique dresser with lamp

Choosing The Paint

The biggest decision when choosing the paint for our foyer was whether or not the board and batten would be painted white to match the rest of the trim…or a complimentary color. I love rooms where the board and batten is painted white, and the wall above is a dark, rich color. That wasn’t an option for us because the walls in the foyer open to the living room. The two rooms actually share a wall.

board and batten wall in foyer with vintage dresser

The color I chose for the board and batten, doors, and all the trim is Sherwin Williams Modern Gray. We used it in our guest bedrooms, and it’s more greige than gray. It perfectly blends with all the other neutrals in our home.

antique dresser in foyer with board and batten wall

A Foyer Decor Focal Point

To make the room feel like us, a plate wall was the obvious choice for the space over the antique dresser. It was also an easy way to bring in another accent color. The plates tie in the navy blue rug, and they allow the colors to flow from the entry into the other rooms. The really nice thing was that I had all the plates, so I didn’t need to buy a thing. It’s truly unfortunate that our doorbell is located on the long wall. Like the electrical outlet, it was going to be complicated to move it. So we painted it the same color as the wall and called it a day!

crystal door knob on french door in foyer

The Finishing Touch

The final touches to our small foyer renovation are the new and beautiful crystal doorknobs, along with a new handle set on the entry door. These are definitely a splurge, but I was determined to make the budget stretch to include them. Our son and daughter-in-law recently added French doors to a room they are using as an office. She chose crystal knobs for her doors, and I just loved them. It inspired me to do the same thing!

crystal door knob on french door 2

I mentioned above that there is no electrical outlet in our foyer. So…you might be wondering where I’m plugging in the lamps? Instead of admit defeat when the electrical outlet didn’t work out, and give up the idea of lamps, I turned to Google and found a solution. I didn’t know there was such a thing, but I found rechargeable light bulbs. They charge in a regular lamp, and come with a remote. They work perfectly! In the evening, the lamps cast a soft glow on the foyer, and it looks beautiful.

Update: about the rechargeable light bulbs. I don’t plan to turn the foyer lamps on every night, so the light bulbs won’t need charged very often. To charge them, I just remove the regular bulbs from our living room lamps during the day, and screw in the rechargeable ones. (The lamps have to be turned on for the bulbs to charge.) The charge lasts for about 8 hours. It’s a tiny bit of effort for a big payoff!

books lamp and flowers on dresser

Affiliate links included. Click HERE for my disclosure statement.

Shop + Source

Click the links below to be taken directly to the product listing. Every effort has been made to provide sources for the items found in this post. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options. If an item is out of stock but may be restocked, I left it on the list.

lamp books and flowers on marble top dresser

This project is one that I had imagined in my head since the first day I saw this house. It took a while to make it happen, and there were a few hiccups, but now that it’s finished, it was worth all the time and effort.

the sugar maple house

Evolution Series

Part 1: Our Living Room
Part 2: Our Dining Room
Part 3: Our Kitchen

Thank you so much for stopping by…and for your friendship. Now it’s time to send you along to see what my friends are sharing!

StoneGable | The Evolution Of A Foyer And Decorating Tips

neutral foyer decor animal skin rug stonegable blog

Designthusiasm | Our Front Entry Foyer Gets a Makeover

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105 Comments

  1. I love the foyer and the tip on the rechargeable light bulbs!

  2. Pamela J. Brittain says:

    i want to do this in my foyer right now!! Lol!

  3. Christine says:

    The foyer is beautiful. I would like to try this on one wall in my bathroom.

  4. Micaela Brundage says:

    So beautiful!

  5. Great job !! Looks like it was done by a professional.

  6. Beverly S says:

    Well done! Your foyer looks amazing. I especially love your plate wall. A+ on all levels!

  7. Eileen Sumner says:

    This adds so much to the foyer! Beautiful!

  8. Such a beautiful and classic addition! I love it!

  9. Terri Herman says:

    Wow! That is amazing! Love the color choice. & that dummy doorknob! I have old glass knobs on my closet doors, gives our bedroom a bit of old world flair.

  10. Amy @ Ms. Toody Goo Shoes says:

    Wow, Ann, it looks amazing! I love the finished product. And who knew? Rechargeable lights bulbs!

  11. Lisa Floyd says:

    I love the board and batten look! Adds so much to a room! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Love your board and batten style for your foyer. I actually didn’t know what that was until I read on down about your foyer and seen then pic.

  13. Hi Ann,
    Your finishing touches to your foyer renovations are beautiful! Because of you, I felt confident to add a beadboard and beams to our new addition ceiling that is starting in 2 weeks! Your photos show the beauty of the texture added to the space. And with texture comes comfort. Thank you for your help!

  14. Terri Euerle says:

    We did something similar to that in our entry of our home.

  15. I simply love the board and batten walls in your foyer! My husband and I having been making plans to do similar down our hallway but haven’t yet decided on height of top ledge, now I think I’ve decided. I like your style and can always learn something new when I read your blog, it’s my favorite!! I also like blue, it’s in every room of my house and I have plates hanging in my home too.
    Enjoy the rest of your summer.

  16. Love, love your foyer!!

  17. Love this design and color.

  18. I have always loved that chest and this makes it even more lovely!

  19. I have always loved your choice of blue and white in your home. So classic.

  20. Kristine Burke says:

    I’m enjoying watching the transformation of your new home and making it definitely your style.

    1. I actually didn’t know what that was until I read on down about your foyer and seen then pic. Love your board and batten style for your foyer.

  21. JUDITH A SHAY says:

    I just love, love your redo on your front foyer. It just makes me want to enter your lovely home! Enjoy!

  22. Janet McCready says:

    I would love to do this in my dinning room. How elegant!

  23. Always love your extra details that add so much without being over the top!

  24. Susie kolle says:

    I did board and batten in my guest bathroom. It’s such a transformation the little ledge on top just finishes it off.
    Installing is so easy.
    A lot of bang for your buck!

  25. The board and batten and extra trim in your foyer make such an elegant statement. I added Sherwin Williams Modern Gray to my Pinterest file with paint colors, as I like the soft contrast with white that it provides.

  26. Janice Gardner says:

    I just love your entrance foyer!!
    You have beautiful taste!

  27. Gloria Fredericks says:

    The foyer is beautiful. I’m definitely considering it for my foyer that needs a refresh.

  28. Architecture makes such a difference

  29. Gorgeous! I’ve been thinking of doing this in our dining room.

  30. Laura Wisniewski says:

    Absolutely beautiful. Would love this in my home!

  31. I gave fallen I love with your blue and white lamp. The board and batten on the entryway ways really adds some nice character to an otherwise ok space, but the French doors are lovely also!

  32. Your Board and Batten walls have absolutely transformed your foyer! Your blue and white plates are a stunning focal point. I am a big fan of blue and white and it runs as a theme through a good bit of our home. I just signed up for your emails and I look forward to them.

  33. That board and batten! Love the tips for the woodwork also. Ann, you always seem to know what I need.

  34. Sara Hucko says:

    Love, love, love your foyer! The rechargeable bulbs are brilliant! But…what do you do with lamp cord? Just cut off?

  35. Ann,
    You’ve created such a warm and welcoming entryway. It is perfect!

  36. Cheryl D Foley says:

    This is beautiful! And the rechargeable bulbs…omg I am getting those soonest!

  37. Ann, I don’t recall the marble top on the vintage chest, it looks nice! Those lamps are perfect with the right touch of blue. Great presentation!

  38. gail w turner says:

    Love the blue and white lamps.

  39. Lois Edwards says:

    The transition of your foyet was beautifully done! Thank you so much for your step-by-step process and tips especially the one about extending the baseboard. I am planning on a board and batten project and this gave me all sorts of ideas. I am pumped to get it started. As I read the article and noticed the finished product I kept thinking how is she plugging in those lamps? I had no idea there are rechargeable lightbulbs!!!! Who knew? All these wonderful tips helps so much as I try to create a comfortable and beautiful home like yours.

  40. Candy Long says:

    This is a must have in our next build…thank you!

  41. I love, love, love the part of this article talking about your updated foyer and also how your son and daughterinlaw used crystal door knobs on her office doors. And then when I read about the rechargeable light bells I almost fell off my chair … I never heard of these and am so grateful! Will definitely make a point of researching these! And also thank you for the tip of recharging from the lamps that you don’t use during the sunlit days.
    I have followed your blog and posts for a very long time and rarely comment due to time constraints.
    Your posts have always blessed me and encouraged me. Thank you for ALL you share!

  42. Ann,
    Just love your beautifully done entry. That lamp is to die for and the extra touch of those plates is such a nice touch as well. But I have been hankering for your chest since I saw it years ago in so many of your pictures. I am on the lookout (and have been) for one just like it! Love your style. Thanks for all your posts!

  43. Pamela Smith says:

    I love the board and batten! I would love to add it to my dining room! Thanks for the tutorial!

  44. It looks beautiful !

  45. Diane Tilden says:

    Very classic…and thanks for the instructions on how to do it. Looks great, really makes the space.

  46. I just started a board and batten in my bedroom your information was very helpful.

  47. Judy Cline says:

    Wow! What a difference that board and batten made. Brought out so much beauty. I so love all the rooms.

  48. love how welcoming & cozy the new foyer looks

  49. Linda Smith says:

    What an amazing transformation Ann! You nailed it and I love it! And what a clever idea for the lamp. I am definitely using that idea!
    Linda

  50. Emily North says:

    Perfect timing, I’m re-doing my guest bath downstairs and my husband will use your email as our inspiration. Thinking of doing the board & batten about 8 feet with either a wall color or wallpaper above similar to your living room.

  51. love the look! thanks for sharing some of the work around tips.

  52. I love it. It gives the walls so much character.

  53. Something I would like to try somewhere in my home someday!!

  54. Carolinn Devos says:

    Your style is beautiful and you inspire me! Every time I see your emails in my inbox, I get excited!! :) You’re awesomeness on a cracker!

  55. Joanne W. says:

    Your foyer turned out beautifully Ann. Job well done!

  56. Carol Kindt says:

    I just love all your remodel projects. The foyer is stunning! I’d like to tackle our little downstairs bathroom and brighten it up and you’ve given me plenty of ideas to make a start of my project. First thing is the ugly 50s brown wall tile!!!

  57. Mildred Hoppe says:

    Ann, The board and batten adds so much interest to your entry. I”m especially taken with the lovely blue swirl lamps on the chest.
    I hope you are enjoying your new home and putting your personal touch on it.
    Mildred

    1. Really enjoy your Wednesday posts. Excited to learn about rechargeable light bulbs. Didn’t know such things existed! Thanks for that info.

  58. Deena Aaron says:

    I’m putting board and batten in several places in my home soon.

  59. Your foyer is very pretty. You have done so many things to your home in a short amount of time. Thanks for the heads up regarding rechargeable light bulbs. I have a lamp in the great room that can’t be used because there isn’t an outlet. You have made my lamp useable again. Thank you. Oh, and thanks for the delicious recipes too.

  60. Your foyer is just beautiful!
    The rechargeable light bulbs are such a great idea! I think we all have nooks where we want a lamp, but there is no outlet.

  61. Ann it is all so beautiful. Loved the extra touches of the door knobs.I grew up in an old Victorian home. We had several doors with crystal door knobs. Oh how I wish I had one. I need to check out those lightbulbs. I don’t have an outlet in my foyer. I would love to have a lamp on my console instead of always depending on my chandelier.

  62. The renovation looks amazing. The board and batten would have been a wonderful and charming improvement; however, adding the architectural element has elevated the foyer to an even more desirable room. Very well thought out.
    It goes with out saying that you have always shown impeccable instincts for design. And the foyer decor does not disappoint. Brava!

  63. Mary Kasier says:

    I LOVE the board and batten you used on the walls. The treatment over the doors takes it over the top! It is absolutely beautiful!

  64. Melissa Bonser says:

    Love your foyer update! So beautifully done!

  65. I enjoyed this post so much. We have a smaller foyer but I can use some of your ideas. Love the ceiling light, light bulbs, and the rug! Your taste is exceptional and I appreciate your sharing where to buy them. Thank you!

  66. Karenann S. says:

    Your entryway came out absolutely stunningly gorgeous! I especially love the detail of the doorways. I love the marble-topped chest you added. The details are just so beautiful!

  67. Stephanie says:

    Ann,
    Your entry is absolutely beautiful. I love it! I love board and batten and the additional molding above the doors all make your entry look so classy. I love the architectural interest.

  68. I really like the transformation of your foyer. It’s very elegant! Thank you for sharing your resources. You’ve inspired me to make some changes in my space.

  69. The foyer is beautiful and what a difference it makes adding the extra trim to the doors!! 👏

  70. I love it!!!!!!!!!!!! You had a marvelous vision and it just fits the space. Good for you. I have a colonial style and I wonder if it would be out of place for me to try board and batten.

    1. I loved reading about your foyer remodel including the snaffos you dealt with. It really came together beautifully and you must be so overjoyed with the results!

  71. I love your foyer! A couple of years ago I decided my foyer needed an update. I would have loved to add board and batten, but I opted for something I could do myself. I bought a large stencil and added a bit of neutral color right over the existing color. I think of it as a trellis pattern and it’s subtle enough that it doesn’t compete with the art on the wall and the painted Bombay chest. I considered my efforts a success when my son asked me when I’d added wallpaper! I recently changed out the plain 1963 doors in my interior. I choose the same door style you have in your house. I also updated my front door for one with a window at the top. My foyer has a dropped ceiling so changing from a solid door to one with a window added a lot of light to the entry. Thank you for the continuing inspiration to make changes to my home!

    1. It’s just beautiful Ann! I actually like the contrast from the wall color to the board and batten color…….something different from the usual white you see on all the trim work. You are motivating me to give this a try in my own home. Thanks for the detailed post.

  72. Deciding on how high to make the board and batten go up the wall is difficult. I think yours looks perfect. I’ve saved this as we have plans to add detail above our plain jane doors soon and our entry takes a beating when our pups come and go as they seem to swipe the walls somehow?! Looks great Ann!

  73. Your foyer is beautiful! I especially like the French doors, the plate wall, and the tip about rechargeable light bulbs.

  74. I absolutely love the way the board and batten came out and especially the trim above the doors. It looks so stately! Love the color too!!

  75. LOVE your entry, can you say charming !! All the details are beautiful.

  76. Thank you for inspiring me to hang platters on the wall.

  77. Susan McKim says:

    The foyer looks perfect! As everything you’ve done to make the house yours. I never was a “blue” person until I started following you. Now I love it!

  78. Your foyer is an inspiration!

  79. Thank you for these beautiful and refreshing ideas

  80. It is absolutely beautiful Anne.
    I love board & battens. It like the finishing touch. Your crystal knobs are perfect.
    Did you get them at Restoration Hardware?

    You must be enjoying your new home.
    Rose

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Rose…I ordered the knobs from Overstock. I believe they are also available on build.com. Thanks!

  81. Kristi Flournoy says:

    I love custom millwork! The board and batten is lovely and adds so much character.

  82. Ellen Sorce says:

    The change is just stunning!

  83. I LOVE your new entry!! Everything you did is amazing!

  84. Your new home is being transformed beautifully. I am very curious about the battery-charged light bulbs, as I have the same problem in my foyer. Can you explain what you have to do to keep it charged? Must the bulb be moved to another functioning lamp each day for charging? Do you keep a lamp in reserve as a charging station? Any other suggestions as to how you make this solution work easily would be appreciated.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Janice…I added an “update” to the post so check it out!

  85. Carolyn King says:

    I love the renovation of your foyer. The blue and white accents add just color to make the area feel warm and welcoming. I enjoy your blog. It provides simple ideas that anyone can accomplish, and your recipes are always yummy. Thank you.

  86. You have a unique gift of envisioning change. Love the board & batten addition! And the crystal door knob reminds me of the house I grew up in! Thanks for the lightbulb tip. Lovely details in everything! I see a beautiful Christmas tree there in the future!

  87. I think one of the truly amazing things about your decorating is that so many things are “you.” If I had seen those lamps somewhere I would have said to myself that they look like something you would have in your home.
    The crystal knobs are also so you.
    You have a unique style and I wonder how many people out there “copy” you. I absolutely love those lamps and the price appears to be reasonable.
    This was a great job and makes your home so welcoming when one walks through the door.

  88. So lovely! It really added to the space, but so did your decorating 😊.

  89. It’s perfect! You did a great job planning every little detail. Thanks for sharing. It’s gorgeous!

  90. That made a huge difference in personality and presence. Love the paint color you chose for the trim too and the Crystal knobs. I can’t believe a builder would not have put an outlet in an entryway! And then to put the doorbell box in such an odd location. Crazy! Is that a stairway to your basement there off the entryway?

  91. Stunning Ann, your vision was right on bringing some of “you” into the space. I had to look twice to see your doorbell so you did well! Technology constantly amazes me, I had no idea there were rechargeable light bulbs, but I do now! 😃

  92. Beautiful foyer. It is such a challenge when the rooms open up to each other. It becomes a destination!

  93. Kathy Howlier says:

    What a dramatic difference in your foyer. Love what you’ve done.