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Battens and slats

From the Resene decorating blog

How to use wood accents inside and outside your home.

Battens and slatted wood panels have often been confined to practical uses in interiors and exteriors.

Battens add lightness and visual texture

A simple, well-thought-out batten design cleverly breaks up a long stretch of wall adding lightness and visual texture.

The wall is painted in Resene Carpe Noctem with battens in Resene Epic, Resene Ocean Waves, Resene Boost and Resene Lakeside. The floor is finished in Resene Colorwood Shade, coffee table in Resene Epic and planter in Resene Boost. Glassware from Bodum, sofa from Interior Warehouse. Project by Megan Harrison-Turner, image by Bryce Carleton.

Painted patterns create a colour connection throughout the room

A few painted patterns help create a colour connection between the front part of this room and Resene Wallpaper Collection 409543 on the rear right wall.

The front left wall is Resene Wallpaper Collection 25733 with battens painted in Resene Paddock. Floor finished in Resene Colorwood Breathe Easy, sideboard in Resene Travertine with large vase in Resene Concrete, small vases in Resene Thorndon Cream, Resene Travertine and Resene Clay Creek and planter in Resene Half Tasman. Artwork by Hometime from endemicworld. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

While wood battens and panels offer excellent functionality for things like privacy, draft prevention and noise absorption, they can also add architectural interest to an otherwise plain space. Paint them in vibrant Resene colours and you have the makings of an eye-catching visual feature, that might have a practical function, or could simply be a work of art.

Practical installation tips

Resene Colour Expert Rebecca Long has some simple tips for ensuring your batten design looks its best:

Floor to ceiling battens add a sense of space and texture

Floor to ceiling wood battens in a paler tone give this largely monochrome room a sense of extra space and texture. Walls painted in Resene Tuna, with battens and floor in Resene Quarter Tuna, sideboard in Resene Quarter New Denim Blue, coffee table in Resene New Denim Blue, side table in Resene Neutral Bay, DIY artworks in Resene Freestyling and Resene Neutral Bay, pendant lightshade in Resene Quarter New Denim Blue with stars in Resene FX Nightlight glow in the dark paint, bowl in Resene Quarter New Denim Blue, vases in Resene New Denim Blue and Resene Quarter Tuna and tealight holder in Resene Quarter Tuna. Sofa from Nood, glass vase from Freedom, charcoal cushion from Bed, Bath & Beyond, throw and blue cushion from H&M Home. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

Inside vs outside

Wood accents like battens or slatted screens can work beautifully both inside and out, whether to create a design feature, or a more functional space. The important thing to remember, Rebecca says, is to treat the wood differently for outdoors, than you would for indoors to ensure the best finished result and a long-life for your project.

"Internal wood accents need to be protected for wear and tear such as scuff marks, knocks and dust," she says. "If you're looking for a painted finish, often wood accents are treated the same as the wall or joinery paint, depending on where they are located."

Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen will offer protection while delivering an aesthetically pleasing low sheen finish. whereas Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss will add further abrasion resistance to your joinery.

Rebecca suggests turning to Resene Colorwood stain colours if you are looking to enhance the natural grain look of your chosen timber. Finish with a protective clear of Resene Aquaclear.

"Resene Colorwood Natural and Resene Colorwood English Walnut are great shades to try if you're looking to achieve a natural look," she says.

Outside, wood accents need to be protected from UV and weathering so Rebecca recommends Resene Waterborne Woodsman stains and Resene Woodsman Wood Oil Stain as your go to stains for protecting your external wood accents.

For painted exterior wood features use Resene Hi-Glo gloss or Resene Sonyx 101 semi-gloss tinted to your chosen Resene colour.

Natural-hued wood slats add freshness and soft texture

Natural-hued wood slats add freshness and a soft texture to this neutral living space. The rear wall is painted in Resene Concrete with wooden slat feature finished in Resene Colorwood Bask. Floor in Resene Colorwood Shade, side cabinet and lightshade in Resene Nocturnal, stump stool in Resene Colorwood Bask, coffee table in Resene Triple Concrete, dark bowl in Resene Colorwood Shade, vase in Resene Gold Coast and wooden pot on sideboard in Resene Colorwood Bask. Sofa from Freedom, throw from H&M Home, cushions from Freedom, Adairs and Kmart. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

Design ideas to try

Room dividers:  Break up a large living room, or a children's shared bedroom with a wooden slatted screen. Attach your screen to the wall or try a more adaptable style with a classic folding screen or add some castors to the frame to keep it mobile. Try staining the timber in the caramel tones of Resene Colorwood Oregon teamed with Resene Eighth Drought and accents in Resene Dell for a pared back Scandi look. In a children's bedroom, take the opportunity to play with colour and add bright gradient in pinks such as Resene Pompadour, Resene Scrumptious and Resene Pale Rose or aqua such as Resene Gulf Stream, Resene Java and Resene Surfie Green.

Classic panelling:  Rebecca suggests lending a study or living area a note of classic gravitas with wood panelling framed with wood battens. Go all in and take the panels all the way to the ceiling, opting for shorter wainscoting panels on the bottom third of the wall, with taller, oblong panels up to the ceiling to give the room a sense of height and drama. Stain the panelling in a classic shade like Colorwood Dark Oak and stain the wooden beading in a paler shade like Resene Colorwood Rock Salt for contrast. Alternatively, keep your panels as wainscoting over just the bottom third of the wall and paint the walls in a plush deep shade like Resene Red Oxide or Resene Cioccolato.

Feature ceiling:  A timber slat ceiling stained in Resene Colorwood Natural will add an elegant, eye-catching and modern finish to your living area. If you have hard tile or concrete flooring it will also have the added effect of reducing noise.

Patio backdrop:  Soften a concrete or tiled patio area with a wooden slatted feature wall. Stain or paint it in a contrast colour to your patio backdrop, then add some shelves and hooks for plants, lanterns or outdoor art.

Unique artwork:  Think outside the square and play with offcuts of timber or upcycle older wood from a renovation project. Layer different types of timber together to see what works, and experiment with shapes, patterns and designs until you create something you love. Bring it to life with colours you love, or even leftover paint from your last decorating project.

Resene Breathe Easy

Resene Bask

Resene Shade

Resene Lakeside

Resene Epic

Resene Ocean Waves

Resene Boost

Resene Carpe Noctem

August 18, 2023

Visit your Resene ColorShop for advice on the right paint finish and colours to make your batten feature look it's best or Ask a Resene Paint Expert free online.

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