“The Problem Wall”

By Kate Riley January 12, 2011

Jennifer from I Heart Organizing wrote to me today asking if the board and batten loft solution from Monday would work in her home on her ‘Problem Wall’.  Jennifer wrote:

“I would love to do this project right in between our front door and large picture window in our living room/entry.  It almost looks to be a similar situation to the room you worked on . . . I have always struggled with no coat closet in this room.  When I saw what you did, it seemed like a perfect solution!  Just wondering your thoughts.” 

So I got a little creative with her entry and decided with a little Photoshop ‘cut and paste’ she could visualize her improved foyer. 

Here is Jennifer’s ‘Problem Wall’ now:



And what it would look like after installing some simple board & batten.   

jennifer wall after bandb


I hung her pictures a bit higher to accommodate for the ‘new’ wall treatment.   Since Jennifer is a busy mom of three boys, those extra hooks will come in handy.  She could use some extra storage, but there’s no need to make it drab or expensive, so I added this upholstered bench

While shopping online for storage benches, I found a few more stylish versions that work well for similar entryways!


overstocks seating

Manhattan Herringbone ($196); Jenny Santa Fe in blue ($189); Linen Mansfeld ($299); Hastings Brown Tufted Leather ($299)


brighton and home dec

Brighton Bench ($349); Lakewood Bench ($229)


ballard benches

Custom Tufted Bench; Custom upholstered Amelia Bench ($399+); Zoe backless bench ($399)


Be sure to pop on over to Jennifer’s blog I Heart Organizing, it’s full of great tips for simplifying the way you live!  

A fabulous giveaway is coming up next!




  1. I agree….2 amazing ladies in 1 post! VERy, very, cool!! Keep up the great work Kate and Jen….!!

  2. I am SOLD! :) Can’t wait to get started! Thanks again Kate for helping me visualize the space with your mad photoshopping skills!


  3. You know what, I think that I could maybe do this to the wall when we come into the garage (as we are missing a coat/backpack closet as well). Thanks for the inspiration, ladies!

  4. The board and batten will definitely give the blank wall some depth, but the best part was that you addressed the closet issue with a storage bench, and ones that are affordable. Great job.

  5. Fabulous! I’ve been looking around my house wondering if I can use this maybe on a blank wall by our staircase. This is the year we paint the main level & I may just need to photoshop this to see if I like it :)

  6. I love BOTH your blogs…you are both on my top bloggers…so funny how that works out…the bogging world really is smaller than you think. Amazing job…and so functional for a young family! Big kudos!

  7. It looks wonderful, Kate! Nice job. What a fun and functional entry! I like the floral (green and taupe) bench that you chose in the second photo.

  8. Can you do just one area of board and batten? Or does it need to be taken all around the room?

  9. How would someone do this in a home with wood trim, instead of the white trim? I would love to have white trim thorughout the house, or the time to paint it all but I don’t. Would white B&B look odd against a light oak trim?

  10. I have used Photoshop a lot, for photo retouching, album layout, etc., but I would love for you to share how to create previews of how rooms will look with new tweaks, before taking the plunge! :)

  11. I’m very new at this blogging thingy! I’m having loads of fun with it. I didn’t know what I was missing! My husband and I were just talking last night about our “problem wall”. Our problem wall is in our kitchen. It is the back wall of the kitchen and right now it hosts a place for my son’s Thomas the Tank Engine toy box and our telephone. We have a very tiny entryway just off the kitchen and we need some sort of storage/bench, chairs… something. I came across your blog later on last night and showed it to my husband. He said “great, you get the stuff I’ll do it”…
    problem solved. I’m excited to get started on this!

  12. I adore the green walls….could you tell me the name of the color and the brand? Thanks….

  13. I like this but personally, having lived in a house with a similar entry, I didn’t like having all that stuff to look at all the time (and hanging it up only partially improves the situation). I think it would be even better to add a small narrow set of shelves (about three feet high), set perpendicular to the wall, nearer the window,which would still leave enough space for a chair or bench. This creates an area that is more clearly defined as ‘the entry’ and provides a place for setting down mail and keys, as well, as hiding more effectively the shoes and bags that need to be left out. I think that to make it look even more integrated, the back side of the shelving could be done in the same board and batten as the walls.

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