Board and Batten & Beauty on a Budget: Cottage Charm Hallway Reveal

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Need ideas for decorating your outdated hallway on a budget? This hallway was given board and batten wainscoting, DIY gallery wall shelves, new carriage style lighting, a DIY decorative air return cover and grasscloth

It’s been a month-and-a-half in the making, but after wiping the sweat and sawdust off my brow, I can say that the board and batten hallway makeover is finally complete.

I’ve wrestled with the wallpaper, showed the nail gun who’s boss…lady, and told the Kreg Jig, “I don’t need no stinking YouTube tutorials”.

I might be exaggerating a little, but there is a certain amount of empowerment you get when you try out a new skill and don’t fail miserably at it, especially if that skill saves you money by doing it yourself.

The Board and Batten

To save money, my husband cut down a sheet of MDF and I adhered the strips directly to the walls with construction adhesive and a nail gun. I’ll share some tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way with you in a later post.

Today, I’ll show you everything we did to give this hallway some much-needed charm on a budget. I’ll include a cost breakdown and resource list at the bottom of the post.

The Before Pictures and Inspiration

It all started with an inspiration board and a hallway that hadn’t been updated in eight years.

Board and Batten Hallway Project

Long ago, we put up track lighting and painted over the dark wood doors and molding with white paint. She looked much prettier than her 80’s throwback style but she still sported her shiny brass knobs like a pair of gold hoop earrings.

Before and after hallway:Need ideas for decorating your outdated hallway on a budget? This hallway was given board and batten wainscoting, DIY gallery wall shelves, new carriage style lighting, a DIY decorative air return cover and grassclothOur hallway gained some cottage charm and character with the addition of gallery shelves and wainscoting.

Grasscloth Wallpaper

Texture was added with the grasscloth wall covering.

If you are hesitant to use grasscloth for fear that it will get dirty, installing it on the upper portions of the walls will keep it out of reach of little one’s PB&J-covered hands. You can also go the extra step to make the wallpaper more dirt and dust resistant by applying a thin coat of Minwax water-based Polycrylic with a sponge roller. The Polycrylic also gives the grasscloth wallpaper a subtle sheen.

Need ideas for decorating your outdated hallway on a budget? This hallway was given board and batten wainscoting, DIY gallery wall shelves, new carriage style lighting, a DIY decorative air return cover and grasscloth

DIY Gallery Wall Shelves

In my original plans, I wanted to build the knock-off version of Pottery Barn’s Holman Ledge using Ana White’s instructions. Instead, my husband and I built a set of picture ledges using pine boards, crown molding, and a strip of lattice wood for the front ledge.

You can find the tutorial for building these gallery shelves in this link.

Need ideas for decorating your outdated hallway on a budget? This hallway was given board and batten wainscoting, DIY gallery wall shelves, new carriage style lighting, a DIY decorative air return cover and grasscloth


They were a little over double the cost of materials of Ana White’s $10.00 shelf plans, but much less than what we would have paid for Pottery Barn’s shelves. I adore the side profile of the crown molding.

Side profile of DIY gallery shelf

Although we had a shelf for our family photos before, only half of the pictures fit on the old shelf. The other half had to be hung on the wall. Now, we have two shelves that allow us to change out or rearrange the pictures without putting any nail holes in the walls.

I reused the same frames. They were all spray painted white to keep the space fresh and light.

Need ideas for decorating your outdated hallway on a budget? This hallway was given board and batten wainscoting, DIY gallery wall shelves, new carriage style lighting, a DIY decorative air return cover and grasscloth

Hallway Lighting

I waited for about three months for Ballard designs to put their Carriage House chandelier on sale. Well worth the wait!

Need ideas for decorating your outdated hallway on a budget? This hallway was given board and batten wainscoting, DIY gallery wall shelves, new carriage style lighting, a DIY decorative air return cover and grasscloth

DIY Air Return Vent Cover Makeover

I was inspired by the open frame doors tutorial from Brittany of Pretty Handy Girl to give our HVAC air return cover a glam makeover. I made some modifications to make it work for our opening that I will explain in greater detail in a future post. Otherwise, check out her tutorial for building the frames.

Update: The vent cover tutorial can be found in this link.

DIY air return cover


Radiator screen vent cover


The hall bathroom that you see to the right will be getting an update soon thanks to Shannon from Fox Hollow Cottage who sent some samples of Maison Blanche’s La Craie paint!

Update: Click here to see the vintage-inspired hall bathroom makeover

DIY air return vent cover


Here’s the budget breakdown on how much we spent to give our 1980’s rancher some cottage charm:

Small Carriage House Chandelier from Ballard Designs (20% off plus shipping) $139.00

Oil-rubbed Bronze Knobs and hinges from Ebay for (6) doors $96.00

(1) 4 X 8′ sheet of 1/2″ MDF $25.00

Construction adhesive, nails, and caulk $11.00

Materials to build both of the gallery shelves $56.00

(2) double rolls of Grasscloth Wallpaper $90.00

(2) small containers of wallpaper adhesive $14.00

Materials to make the air return cover $37.00

Primer and Paint (not included in price since we already had these, but I used Sherwin-Williams Multi-Purpose Primer and Proclassic Enamel in gloss)

Total $468.00

If you’re like me, when you make over a room, you may ask yourself, “Is it all worth the time, money and trouble?”. But when you step back and see the results, you know it’s all worth having a home that truly reflects the things that you love.

Before and after hallway:Need ideas for decorating your outdated hallway on a budget? This hallway was given board and batten wainscoting, DIY gallery wall shelves, new carriage style lighting, a DIY decorative air return cover and grasscloth

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  1. Hi Tricia,
    What a beautiful hallway. Great inspiration! Thank you for sharing. Can i ask you, do you know the width of your hallway?
    Keep up the great work.


  2. Great project! I love the hallway! Nice way to display pictures too!

  3. Hi Tricia, Love the hallway, great details! DIY for these types of renovations can be really great!

  4. Hi Tricia! We are getting ready to start this hall project, but have a quick question- We have taller baseboards that we installed to replace the small old ones in our 1980 ranch. No we are wondering how to incorporate the molding into this design. i could not tell in your pictures what you did. Do you have an overhang where the vertical boards connect with the baseboard? Thank you so much!

  5. Wonderful, so glad I found this as we are planning on this type of shelf in our grandbabiesroom.

  6. I just found your blog. I love it. Your hallway is so bright now. You’ve inspired me to do something similar to my hallway, but I have stairs that I will tackle as well. πŸ™‚

  7. I love this! I am wanting to do this in my hallway. We bought a new house a month ago and just about every room needs to be redone. I was wondering if you have posted the tutorial yet or if you know when you will be? I wanted measurements for the vertical boards. I saw they are 1.75″ wide, but how tall? and how did you do the base? Thanks!

  8. This looks great do u have a board and batting hallway tutorial? What sized boards did u use for the vertical boards.

  9. This is great, and I have been looking forever for just the right light fixture. This one is it. Now I’ll just have to be on the lookout for the next sale. Thanks so much.

    1. Thank you, Aimee!!! And thanks for the invite. I’m heading over there right now. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  10. Beautiful. I love the change and how it looks. I think I need to buy some white paint and a few boards…well just a few. I feel a spring project coming on girls! hahahaha…

  11. I love your hallway! Great job! I have a couple of questions, if you don’t mind answering them…if I understand correctly, you cut the MDF to use as the battens? I was wondering why you didn’t use 1X2’s or even lattice strips? Just wondering if you had any insight. Thank you…again it is really beautiful!

    1. Hi Anna! I don’t mind at all answering questions! In fact, it will help me when I do the tutorial later on. I’ve used lattice strips before when I did my kitchen back in 2008 and they were super easy to cut. But now, they are so expensive. A 2″ strip costs $10.00 and I would have needed 10 just for the vertical strips. I couldn’t use 1 x 2″s since they would have been thicker than the door jambs and also more expensive. Instead, we only had to use one 4×8′ sheet of 1/2″ MDF which cost $25.00. That one sheet was enough to do the verticals, horizontals, and the baseboards. There were extra steps to make it look nice (which I’ll go over in the tutorial) but it was all worth it in the long run. I’m so glad you like it!

      1. Thank you Tricia for your very thorough reply! I appreciate the input…it all makes sense! So glad I found your blog. Have a wonderful Spring!

  12. I love your hallway. Just curious about the width. Our hall is very narrow and just wondering if I could make this work.

  13. I have a long hallway like this and have so much trouble decorating it. I love what you did here. It truly is an inspiration!

  14. This is absolutely fantastic! Where do I even start? Just know that I pinned it for future inspiration!

  15. Beautiful hallway!! I love every detail, especially the grasscloth! Did you follow any other page or tutorial for applying it? I was thinking of a similar look for our powder room (wainscoting and grasscloth) but I’m a bit afraid of doing the grasscloth myself and my husband will nix the project if I have to pay for a professional πŸ˜‰

  16. What a gorgeous transformation! It’s such a bright, charming and welcoming space, and I love that picture ledge! I’m going to have to file that one away for future reference! I have become such a fan of board and batten, and have added it in a lot of spaces in my home – I never tire of seeing reveals of it either! Yours is stunning! Well done!

  17. Following you on Pinterest and Google plus now too – love your blog and your hallway reveal! Heather at Setting for Four

    1. Thank you, Taryn! I’m so glad you like the hallway! It’s hard for me to remember how much different it looks now until I look back at the before pictures.

  18. Tricia
    It look amazing! Such a great job. I love that you took a transition space and made it a decorative touch! I’m following you on BlogLovin.
    I’m visiting from Tater Tots and Jello. I hope you can stop by my blog and leave a comment, too!
    ~ Megin of VMG206
    Spring JOY Frame ~ Printable

  19. Tricia you are the boss! My computer/internet has been cracking a tanty so I’ve just seen your hallway. Seriously lovely, inviting, warm and just gorgeous. I hope your super proud of yourself, major achievment. I just bought a Kreg and cannot wait for our first date!

    1. Hi, Sarah! “Cracking a tanty” sounds like something my car would do! I’m so glad you like the hallway. You’ll love Mr. Kreg! He is awesome!

  20. Wow! What an amazing transformation! I showed my hubby the air intake screen you made and he’s like “I’m so doing that!”. I love the light fixture, walls, frames, everything! Thanks so much for linking up to Give Me The Goods Monday!
    Jamie @

  21. Tracia, this transformation is awesome! One of my favorite features is the way you changed the vent. Reminds me something special from an old house. Now I’ll have to watch for that light fixture to go on sale. I have a few that need to be changed badly.

  22. I’m sooo jealous–of our beautiful hall AND of your courage to take the project on! I really, really, really want this look in ouir house, but…the courage to take it on is lacking. πŸ™ Great job! ~Zuni

    1. Hi Zuni,
      Seriously, if I can do it, you can too! I used to be so afraid of using any kind of power tool. I still won’t use a table saw or a tile saw. But I started off doing smaller projects with a miter box. I got hooked from that point and then realized how much easier it was to do with the right tools. Sometimes all you need is someone to help you with your first project and then you’re set.

  23. I Love this!!! You did a stunning job. We are actually just finishing putting up board and batten in our long hallway too and I plan to do some kind of gallery on ours as well. I also love your grass cloth wallpaper. Hopped over from Give Me the Goods Monday – can’t wait to explore your blog some more!

    1. Hi Krista,
      Thank you! I went and checked out your blog and got sucked in looking at the projects you’ve done so far. You have a cute blog!

  24. I don’t think I’ve ever said this before, but that’s an amazing hallway! It has sooo much character now. I’m fascinated by all you did to it. You had a great vision for it and carried it through with great style. If I had a hallway, I’d want it to grow up to be just like yours!

    1. Thank you Liz! I, myself, didn’t think I’d ever care about what my hallway looked like. And here I am, loving it and all. πŸ™‚

  25. Tricia, It turned out wonderfully! Everything you chose works so well together. Love it all! And I agree, the B&B really brightened things up. I noticed that in our room too.
    Love those shelves with the pictures…what a great idea! And the air return cover too.
    Hope you have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Jessica! This is the small one. It came with two types of mounting hardware where you can hang it with a chain (for high ceilings) or do a ceiling mount like how we have ours.

  26. I have been looking forward to your reveal and it has been worth the wait. Your board and batten walls look so bright and neat–I would like very much to do this in our family room. The way your hallway came out so beautifully encourages me to do this in our upstairs hall, as well. Your hard work really paid off! And, your treatment of the air return struck a chord with me–ours looks much like your old one and could stand a facelift. Thanks so much for your inspiring blog.

    1. Hi Ruth Anne,
      I’m glad you’ve been following along! I’m so glad you like how everything turned out. Let me know if you end up doing this in your family room or upstairs hallway. Hope you have a wonderful day!

  27. You’re so creative Tricia…I get so many good ideas from your site πŸ™‚

    1. Hey, Hope! I never know if people I actually know read my blog so I’m so glad you commented. Thanks so much for the compliment!

  28. I sooo love your talents!! It looks absolutely amazing. Fantastic idea on the vent cover. I just found your blog via Fox Hollow. I’ll be staying a while and checking you out! πŸ™‚

  29. As always… you’ve outdone yourself. I looks fantastic from top to bottom. You didn’t miss a trick or a detail. You do the prettiest room makeovers! It’s so light a bright now. Fresh, modern and perfectly cottagey.

    Now, come do mine! πŸ˜‰

    1. Hey, Shannon ! So glad you like the hallway! You can fly me out anytime and I’ll fix that hallway right up for you. Then we can fly to the east coat so you can do my open kitchen cabinets. Sound like a deal?

  30. It is SOOOO Beautiful! I especially love the grasscloth. You did such a wonderful job. Sometimes I think people forget that hallways are another room and living space. They often get neglected. You did a superb job of bringing life, energy and beauty into the space. LOVE it!

  31. Wow! What a difference! It looks amazing, and a month and a half time frame is impressive! (It just took me two days to install a faucet…haha). I adore the profile on the shelves! You and the hubby did a wonderful job!

  32. It is such an amazing difference! I am so jealous…my hall is still boring πŸ™‚ Every detail about it is wonderful…from the grasscloth to the vent cover. NICELY DONE!!! Sharing this πŸ™‚

    1. Oh, thank you so much for sharing! No need to be jealous! It only took 14 years of us living here to get it done. You have plenty of time to redo your hallway! πŸ™‚

  33. Tricia your updated hallway looks so great! I really adore the picture shelves. I’m going to need to incorporate these somewhere in our home. Thanks for the cost breakdown too! Great job!!!

    1. Thank you, Clydia! I follow your blog so I can’t wait to see when you do the shelves. I’ll be doing a quick tutorial soon to give some more info on how we made them.

  34. i love, love, love board and batten!! your hallway looks great – and great idea with that return vent!

    1. Hey, Katie! Thank you! I’m glad you like the hallway! I’m kind of addicted to the whole board and batten look. It’s really lightened our hallway tremendously!

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