DIY wall panelling

The Ultimate DIY Wall Panelling Guide

Wall panelling can provide the perfect solution to breathe life into a cold, painted fitted bedroom without the busyness of conventional wallpaper. This in-between not only serves its aesthetic purpose but also conceals parts of your wall that are better kept a secret like unevenness and bumps. 


What Is Wall Panelling?

A budget-friendly method to add character to your walls by creating grooves, forming a larger pattern. Typically, this is achieved by using wooden lats or polymer filled moulds which are much lighter and easier to work with.

They are extremely useful at disguising structural flaws, insulating walls and even protecting the high traffic areas of your home such as hallways and living room walls that are prone to being hit by chairs.


Wall Panelling Ideas

The shape your decorating process takes all depends on the look that you are trying to achieve. Whether you intend to keep it simple with shaker style panelling or create ribbed walls with tightly aligned wooden slats, our guide to wooden panelling is universal. However, you may need to adapt how you apply these tips – but don’t worry we’ll keep you covered.


How to Create Wall Panelling

What You’ll Need:

  • MDF Panels / Lats
  • A foam or fluffy roller
  • Hippo pro 3 sealant & filler
  • Tape measure
  • Spirit level
  • Sandpaper
  • Nail pins
  • Hammer
  • Sponge
  • Acrylic primer undercoat
  • A paint of your choice

The first thing that you want to do before you start wood panelling is to measure out your walls using a tape measure or laser measurer to take note of how many panels you need and the sizing needed to achieve your look. 

This is arguably the most difficult part of the process as it requires calculations and numerical ability. What you’ll want to do is plot a frame before you start. Using a frame will allow you to create an even pattern without disrupting your design by the end of a wall or alcoves. You’ll need a base piece for the base of your wall and top piece for where you’ll like your design to end. You’ll also need two side pieces to create a box frame that you’ll then add your wooden pattern to. 

Lastly, what you’ll need to do is calculate the sizes of the pieces that will fill the frame. This is where it gets a little tricky and where you might want to ignore the bits that don’t apply to you.

Creating Vertical Panels

(Side Frame Panel – Top Frame Panel + Bottom Frame Panel = Vertical Panels)

Regardless of the design you’ve gone for, you will need vertical wooden runs to fill your frame. To do this, you’ll need to find your centre point and plot how many can fit equally to form your design, taking into account how wide or narrowly spaced the panels in your design are. This will be determined by the width of the panel you have chosen. While mapping this out, it’s also a good idea to plot rough markings with a spirit level of where these pieces should go.

If you’re going for cabin style panelling, this is pretty straightforward as you’ll fill your entire frame with these. Once determined, to calculate how long these pieces should be, deduct the width of both top and bottom frame panels from the length of one side panel. Now you should have a precise size which you can use to cut your panels down or give to your local DIY centre.

Creating Grid Panelling

(Side Frame Panel 1 + Side Frame Panel 2 – Sum Width Of All Vertical Panels)

If creating a grid you’ll also need to find out how long your horizontal pieces should be. To do this, you’ll need to tally up the widths of your long, vertical panels and deduct that from the size of the space inside your frame. By dividing this figure by the number of columns that you’ve created when plotting your vertical pieces, you should have the ideal length of each horizontal piece. The number of these pieces will be based upon your center point and how many equal boxes you can add from the top of your frame to the bottom. Again, map where you would like each piece to go to make the application process easier.

Securing The Panels In Place 

Now that you’ve done all the groundwork, you can glue your lats on to your markings using Hipp Pro 3 Sealant & Filler. You can also use headless pin nails for added security. Make sure to use a spirit level to ensure that everything is straight.

Use Caulk Where Needed

Now that you have stuck your panels down, you may have noticed that there are a few gaps between the walls and your panels. To correct this, you can use caulk to fill the gaps. Just remember to let it dry completely before sanding down for a smooth finish.

Dampening MDF Wall Panelling

If you’re wall panelling MDF, we recommend dampening it with a sponge before adding an acrylic primer undercoat. This should help the adhesion and improve the overall look and durability of your paintwork.

Painting Your Panels

Paint your panels with two layers of acrylic primer undercoat, waiting 4 hours between each. This will help to make your panelled walls pop.

Make sure to paint your panelling with the right kit. If you’re going for an emulsion, stick with a fluffy roller for best results and foam for satins and glosses. You’ll be surprised at the difference it’ll make. Make sure that you work in strips to avoid any patchiness and wait 4 hours before adding any further coats as before. Paint the wall interior of the frame as desired and you’re done.

Now you should have a beautifully panelled room, waiting to be marvelled by all your friends and family. Before you go, why not have a look at the wooden panels that we offer. They’re all available in custom sizing, perfect for a DIY job like this.