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.
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.
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.
Resene Colour Expert Rebecca Long has some simple tips for ensuring your batten design looks its best:
Start by drawing, either digitally or by hand, the type of look you want.
Choose your wood. If you're colouring your finished battens with Resene Colorwood wood stains, remember the colour of the wood will influence the finished result. Use testpots to experiment first. You'll also need to decide on the width and thickness you want for your battens.
Measure the length and height of the area where you would like to add the wood accents and work out what type of spacing you are after. Will the wood accents be close together or spaced out? This can also help you work out how many battens you need.
To ensure you create a balance and symmetrical look, use a calculator to work out the spacing you will need between each accent to ensure it works cohesively in your space.
Use a level and pencil to mark where you want to install your battens.
Sand the wood to remove any rough edges or splinters or, if you're recycling older wood, remove any old paint or stain.
Always use a spirit level when installing to keep your battens straight
Use a nail gun, screws or construction glue to attach the battens to the wall.
If your battens will be a contrast colour to the wall, consider painting or staining them before attaching to the wall. It will help avoid any paint splashes on the wall, though, if you're attaching the battens with screws or nails you will need to fill and touch up those areas with a topcoat.
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."
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.
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.
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.
August 18, 2023
Resene's decorating blog
Paint your home beautiful! Discover the latest decorating trends, tips and colour news.