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Modern Hallway Design

Today is the day! Our Modern Hallway Design with board and batten is finally complete! A few weeks ago I shared the linen closet in this hallway, but I am happy to report, the rest is finally done! I am not sure how I ever thought this would only take a few weeks. To say I misjudged the amount of work up here would be an huge understatement! The downstairs hallway went so much faster, but this hallway started off in quite a different state. Let’s take a look at where we started.

Modern Hallway Design

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For some reason I was never compelled to tackle this hallway in all the years we have lived here. I know it sounds crazy, but it just seemed intimidating to me. Yes, I do get intimidated from time to time with design. But after I did a modern batten wall treatment on the downstairs hallway last year, I was inspired.

This is what the hallway looked like before the renovation started.

Garrison Street Design Studio - Modern Hallway Design

Modern Hallway Design with Board and Batten Wall DIY

Let me first explain what was not working in here. Basically everything. Aside from it being a blank canvas, everything else had to go from the carpet and the popcorn ceilings to the boob lights. It was dated, dirty, and had zero personality.

Garrison Street Design Studio - Modern Hallway Design

The first thing to happen was scraping the popcorn ceilings. This is definitely not my first rodeo with the popcorn ceilings. They are very messy to remove, but I find it oddly satisfying.

The boob lights also got replaced with these which are the same lights I used downstairs. They are perfect for the space because they are low profile and still have two bulbs which give off more light in this windowless area.

Garrison Street Design Studio - Modern Hallway Design

Next on the list was the nasty carpet! I will be completely honest. I never expected to keep this carpet as long as we did and as a result we were not exactly careful to keep it clean. I am a little embarrassed to say that, but it’s real life guys. No tears will be shed over that disgusting carpet.

Garrison Street Design Studio - Modern Hallway Design

When I started this project, I did not plan to install new interior doors, but as I got deeper into it, I changed my mind. We replaced the door to our room when we tackled our bedroom makeover and added barn doors to the bathroom and my closet. And the more I looked at our door next to the old doors, I realized replacing them all was the way to go.

If you follow me on Instagram you might recall the sketchy drive home with doors hanging out the back of our SUV, haha!

Garrison Street Design Studio - Modern Hallway Design

Next up was the flooring. If you have been around for a while, you already know that I HATE carpet! So it should come as no surprise that the carpet was replaced with Pergo. We have used Pergo in our room, our office, downstairs hallway, and our family room and have been very happy with it. Over the next few months we will be adding it to the bunk room and  other guest bedroom as well.

Garrison Street Design Studio - Modern Hallway Design

With new doors hung and wood floors laid, the modern hallway design continued with updating the baseboards, door trim, and adding a two tone batten accent wall design. I decided to go bold and paint the top half of the walls Sherwin Williams Iron Ore. This color has quickly become my favorite! I used it above the fireplace, on the wet bar, on the herringbone wall in our room and on the exterior of our house.

I started the feature wall off by adding the top horizontal board. This not only separated the top paint color from the bottom but acted as a stopping point for my vertical pieces.

Garrison Street Design Studio - Modern Hallway Design

Next up I added the vertical boards for the board and batten. I taped out my pattern with painters tape before using my brad nailer to nail everything to the walls. I do not recommend tackling this DIY project without a nail gun.

Garrison Street Design Studio - Modern Hallway Design

With all the major components in place, it was time to add the finishing details to this modern hallway design. I would be lying if I said this wasn’t my favorite part! Finding the right rug was definitely a challenge, but when I saw this one I knew it was the perfect fit! Mine is the 12ft runner. 

Garrison Street Design Studio - Modern Hallway Design

For art, I decided to do a modern gallery wall of black and white family photos. I am a big believer that any photo can look modern in black and white. And if you are creating a gallery wall of photos it is a great way to make them all feel like they go together rather than having multiple colors competing for attention.

Garrison Street Design Studio - Modern Hallway Design

Board and Batten DIY Tutorial

DIY Board and Batten Supplies

1×2 MDF Boards
Miter Saw
Brad Nail Gun
Laser Level
Wood Filler
Paintable Caulk and Caulk Gun

Before I walk you through the how to, let me explain what board and batten actually is. True board and batten consists of a backer board and thin vertical trim pieces or horizontal that hide the seams. This is a common look used on exteriors in batten siding. This batten tutorial is technically faux board and batten as I am only really adding the batten pieces.

First, measure out the length of your wall. For large spaces like a whole room or a long hallway like this, you will want to use as few pieces for the top board as possible. I used 10ft pieces for the long stretches for a a more seamless look.

Next, choose your pattern. As I mentioned above, I mapped my pattern out with painter’s tape first. Once you feel good about the design, you can add up how many pieces you will need so you can buy your materials. This will vary depending on the exact measurements of the length of the wall.

You can purchase 1x2s at Home Depot or another local hardware store.

Before adding the first batten or the top piece, set up a laser level to make sure the rest of the walls will line up. It is likely your floors are not completely level and if you measure from the ground up, your top batten piece may not be level.

Start in the center of the wall and nail in your first piece with just a nail or two. By starting in the center you can put a long level on top and pivot each end a little like a seesaw.

If your batten wraps around a corner you will need to cut these at a 45-degree angle.

For the next board or the first vertical piece, measure between the top board and the existing baseboards. The 1×2 will likely not sit flush with the top of the baseboard. I like to cut my vertical pieces at a 45-degree angle on the bottom to avoid having to install a new baseboard or a bottom board.

To better space out the pattern, cut a scrap piece of wood to the size of your spacing so you don’t need to measure every time. Simply place it between your boards and this will give you the correct spacing. 

Once all the boards are nailed in, come back and fill in your nail holes with wood filler. I do not use a putty knife for this, just my finger. I think it is easier to smush it into the holes.

You will also want to fill in any small gaps between the vertical batten and the horizontal.

Because I like to use MDF I fill my holes on several boards and then come back and wipe of the excess with a wet rag once it is starting to dry. This way I can avoid sanding which isn’t a good idea on MDF.

You will also need to caulk in both the horizontal and vertical pieces where they meet the wall. Make sure you use paintable caulk. With a caulking gun, run a small bead of caulk along the seam. Then come back with a wet finger and lightly smooth it out as you run your finger along the seam pressing down.

A good rule of thumb to remember is wood to wood = wood filler. Wood to Wall = caulk.

Once the caulk and wood filler are completely dry, come back and do any touch up paint or put a few coats of paint on if you have not already done that. I find that a foam roller works best on the 1x2s but you will need a brush to reach the tight corners.

Board and Batten Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need smooth walls for this batten project?

This is really going to come down to personal preference, but my walls are not smooth. They are an orange peel texture and I think this modern board and batten looks amazing! It creates a ton of visual interest in an otherwise boring hallway.

What spacing did you use?

I used alternating batten spacing here. There is 6 inches between the small spaces and 11.5 inches between the big spaces. I landed on this method to avoid running into the electrical outlets and to keep the spacing looking good on the entire wall since I have several doorways.

What is the height of the horizontal pieces?

I set my horizontal boards at 44 inches tall which is just below my light switches. If you can, position it just below so you don’t have to work around them.

Can I use pine boards instead of MDF?

You can, but in my opinion they require too much time in prep work. They tend to have a lot of rough areas and require a lot of sanding for a smooth finish. Also, real wood is much more prone to warping and bowing. This makes installation much more difficult. For me, the extra cost of pre-primed boards like MDF is worth the time savings.

What if my batten pieces don’t hit studs, do I need to use liquid nails?

No. They don’t need to hit studs. I didn’t even use my stud finder on this project. These are light weight pieces and they will be caulked in. They aren’t going to fall off the wall unless you don’t use long enough nails and don’t caulk them in. I used 2 inch brad nails on mine.

Can I do horizontal batten instead?

Absolutely! I did a ladder style pattern in my downstairs hallway that incorporates horizontal pieces. But I will warn you, they get dusty and that drives me nuts! I chose vertical battens here because it makes the ceilings feel taller and they get less dusty, lol!

What colors did you use?

I used Sherwin Williams Iron Ore on the top half of the wall and Valspar Ultra White (straight out of the can, no tint) on the white walls on the bottom. Both colors are a satin finish. I used the same white on the rest of the hallway trim work as well. 

Can I use a circular saw for the whole thing?

Maybe. If you decide to run a horizontal piece on the top and on the bottom that is the same width of your batten instead of using existing baseboards and you don’t have any stairs, then yes. You can get away with all straight cuts. However, if you are using existing baseboards you will need to miter the bottoms of your batten. Also, if you are running your batten down a stairwell like me, you will need to do a compound miter cut on the bottom of those.

Garrison Street Design Studio - Modern Hallway Design

This modern hallway design with board and batten turned out even better than I imagined. It feels so sophisticated and the ceilings feel even taller with the dark paint! It creates such a focal point! And did I mention the rug is SO soft! I spent some time laying on it trying to flatten it out, haha! 

Garrison Street Design Studio - Modern Hallway Design

Garrison Street Design Studio - Modern Hallway Design

Garrison Street Design Studio - Modern Hallway Design

I am so excited to have a new modern hallway design! This space was tired, dated and completely lackluster before. It honestly doesn’t even feel like the same space anymore! Next on the list is the stairs. To see behind the scenes and what else we are working on follow along in my Instagram stories

Garrison Street Design Studio - Modern Hallway Design

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Garrison Street Design Studio - Modern Hallway Design

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Modern Hallway Design

This post, Modern Hallway Design, appeared first on Garrison Street Design Studio.


  1. Hi. I just found you and love the hallway. This is exactly what I did in my bedroom. I would love to do it in the hallway, but here is my dilemna… how to you end it? I find I get confused when doing an open area. So, if if do that look down the hallway, continue down the stairs… then what? My stairs open to my living room. There’s no molding. Nothing. It’s just opens up. How did you end yours?

    1. Thank you so much Jackie! I am glad you are here :) I totally understand your issue. Our hallway has more of an ending point with the front door at the bottom of the stairs, but I did cheat a little by extending the door to the ceiling to get that clean break. You can get a better look at that in this post and this one which was before I did the hallway. You could add molding if it makes sense, but I know a lot of times it does not. The other option would be to carry the color or board and batten into the next room. You could also do just one wall if your stairwell has a larger dominant wall. I hope that helps some. Best of luck to you!

  2. Hi! I am late to the game but just came across your post and Instagram page. I adore your work. I am just embarking on my first DIY project and I am going to try this in our 2 story condo. Couple questions:
    1. In order to not have to mess with our light switches I only have 32 inches vertical. Is that too low? Not sure why our lights are so low?!? Maybe city condo living?? lol

    2. Is the top vertical board also 1×2 MDF?

    3. We have a pantry and coat closet on the one wall that are not framed. Do you think it will look ok still? The other doors are framed 🤷🏼‍♀️

    1. Hi Richelle! Thank you so much, I am glad you are here! Yes, the top vertical board is also 1×2 MDF. For the rest, send me a DM on Instagram with a picture and I will let you know what I think ;)

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