Adding board and batten walls, plus extra millwork around the doors, gives this plain foyer a much-needed update.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
- Navy + ivory tufted rug
- Rechargeable light bulbs
- My favorite plate hangers: for 8 in. to 11 in. plates, for 5.5 in. to 8 in. plates
- Navy patterned salad plates
- Vintage blue + white platters on eBay
- Baldwin satin nickel passage doorknob
- Baldwin satin nickel dummy doorknob
- Ceiling light – no longer available. HERE is something very similar.
- Small pitcher + bowl are vintage, found on eBay.
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.
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!
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