Fancy a January Project?… DIY Wall Panelling!

Updated: Mar 15

Finally! I've got round to writing my bedroom wall panelling 'How To'! So if you're looking for a little January project then look no further for your panelling inspo!

Panelling the back wall of our bedroom is the best decision we made. It’s really pulled the room together and gives it a dramatic but classy wow factor. It adds a little something to what would otherwise be a plain wall and also allows the wall to be left free of large artwork or wall hangings as the detail is in the panelling itself. Here’s how we went about it…

Just a quick note before you read on… these are definitely not the prettiest of pictures but, often, to go forwards you have to go backwards!

First things first... let's just start with a good old 'before' pic. I absolutely LOVE a before and after - I just love seeing a space transformed so here we go...

The most fiddly part of the whole process was the starting point.. working out what I wanted the panelling to look like then working out the maths and measurements. I decided on 5 ‘rectangles‘ across and 4 down and drew this out on the wall to check I was happy with the effect and spacing.

I then contacted a local builders merchants who were happy to cut lengths of MDF to size and deliver them. I went for the 6mm MDF as it was the closest match to our skirting board depth. The vertical lengths were delivered as whole lengths and the horizontal lengths as smaller ones…

Once wed marked it all out and measured up, we used double sided Diall tape to attach the first vertical panels to the wall.

Note: We had to get an electrician to change the placement of the plug sockets which is why this one is hanging off the wall here. I wanted the bed to be in the centre of the wall and originally it was offset to one side which meant the plug sockets were too to allow for bedside lamps to be plugged in. I think there must have originally been wardrobes built in in the room before our walk in wardrobe got built which would account for why the bed wasn't centralised... anyway, I digress! It wasn’t a huge job but unfortunately electrician wasn’t able to move the sockets down too so they were both right in the line of the lowest of the horizontal panels. This took a bit of working around but was do-able.

Once the vertical panels were all up, we popped in the horizontal ones, again using the double sided tape (And my little helper!)

I then filled in the gaps where the MDF met and all the edges of the MDF with caulk using a caulking gun. This is to hold the panels in place as well as the double sided tape and was SO satisfying to do. I had bought a special tool to scrape off the excess caulk but found it was actually easier to just use my finger to smooth it after application- have some kitchen roll handy though as it gets messy!

After I’d waited for this to dry completely I applied Polyfilla over all the areas where there was a join in the mdf. This is to give a smooth effect so you won’t be able to see the joins when its finished. I just used an old card for this which did the trick perfectly!

Once this had dried completely, I sanded the Polyfilla. It‘s a good idea to use a piece of sand paper wrapped around a wooden block to give a really flat finish. Note: Make sure your polyfilla is completely dry otherwise the top layer of paint cracks when applied.

Next, I painted two layers of Acrylic Primer Undercoat onto the MDF - don’t worry if some gets on the wall too you won’t notice once it’s painted.

I also used my good old trick of covering the roller tray with tin foil for a fuss free clear up! No need to wash out the tray so no mucky paint splashes around the sink- win win!

Then it was time to paint - I did two coats of paint covering both the primed MDF and wall in Cornforth White by Farrow and Ball. I actually got it colour matched at a local DIY store in a Johnstones paint- the quality of Johnstones is great and cheaper than Farrow and Ball paint.

And there you have it! How to do your own panelling. It creates such a classy effect and I love the feel of the room with it....

As always, I’d love to know your thoughts and to see any photos if you do this yourself!

Happy January, Kate x

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