Before You Start DIY Wall Panelling Read This Guide

Before You Start DIY Wall Panelling Read This Guide

So, we have a confession to make, we are in love with everything wall panelling, and panelling your walls is actually not as difficult as you may think. In this blog post we provide an easy and cost-effective step-by-step guide on how to panel your bathroom and help to create a new and unique look in your home, no matter what room it is. 

First up, what you’ll need

Wall panelling Bundle

Here we have created the dreamiest Panelling Bundle, containing everything you’ll need to complete all your panelling makeovers. (There will also be links to lots items throughout the guide, so make sure to keep an eye out!)


Gathered up all your equipment? Ok, time to get panelling...

Step 1: 

Decide on what panelling design you would like and measure up your wall. Our wall was 167cm wide and we wanted the panelling to match the window height in the room so we were working towards a 127cm height. 

Step 2:

Sketch out your design. You will want a panel at each side of the wall as a starting point to frame your design. I prefer working with an odd number so that I can centre a panel so add this to your sketch! Based on the size of the wall I could comfortably get another two panels into the design making it 5 (I definitely wouldn't have been able to fit 7 based on the width of panel I was envisioning!). You will then need one final piece to top your panel design.




Step 3:

As you can see from your sketch with 5 panels you'll have 4 spaces... this is where you can start to focus on the maths! I decided on a panel with of 9cm after playing with the tape measure and holding it up in the space of the room. 

Now here comes the maths….

5 panels at 9cm wide and a wall width of 167cm. 

167cm - 45cm (5x9) = 122. 

122cm/4 (4 spaces) means each panel piece will be placed 30.5cm apart. 

Still with me?

Just as a final check I did 9+30.5 +9+30.5 +9+30.5 +9+30.5 +9 = 167cm. Whoop! 

Final measurement: the height of my panels versus the top piece that will run across. I came to a decision of 120cm height for my panels and 7cm on my top piece to get to my 127cm due to MDF being a standard width of 120cm. Less waste, more efficient, and it looks great! 

Our Carpenter Shopping List

  • 5 x 9cm by 120cm 
  • 1 x 7cm by 167cm 

Top Tip: to help with spacing your panels and if you have offcuts available you could ask for a 30.5cm width piece!

Step 4:

Ok I promise that's the tricky bit over and hopefully it wasn't that bad! Now to get your panelling up on the wall! Quickly sand each panel to ensure they're smooth before applying them to the wall. We used the 'Grip It' no more nails adhesive which we ran down the back of each panel (making sure we were generous with our application but not too much that it would ooze out of the sides!) and then placed them up against the wall. Once up in place check with a spirit level before popping a couple of tack nails in place to hold it until the adhesive is dry. 




Step 5:

Once dry, remove your tack nails and then it's time for filling, caulking and potentially some more sanding! Give the joins between mdf a good sand to smooth together and apply filler if required. Fill the holes from your tack nails and then caulk the inside of each panel making a seamless join between wall and mdf. 



Step 6:

You're ready for paint! MDF is such a porous surface that you need to use a primer before painting. The Leyland Acrylic Primer Undercoat is a fab product, its waterbased meaning no nasty odours, quick drying times and easy clean up!

Step 7:

Check over for any other filling/sanding/preparation then apply your first coat of topcoat. We opted for Leyland Hardwearing Acrylic Eggshell for this project for a number of reasons:

- it's a dark room so the gentle sheen of the acrylic eggshell will help to reflect light and bounce it around the room

- it has an anti mould formulation, perfect for use in a bathroom!

- it has its class 1 scrub rating making it a really tough and durable finish!


If you prefer a flatter finish then the Johnstone's Acrylic Matt is a great option also! 

We applied it using the Eco Union 4" roller sleeve/handle and the Kana Star Brush. The Eco Union roller is a lovely neat finish that doesn't splatter much due to its lower pile, we were really happy with it! 

Step 8:

The Hardwearing Acrylic Eggshell is a 4 hour re-coat time. Leave the appropriate time for your chosen paint finish and then get your second coat in place! 

There you have it! Hugely impactful and effective and relatively easy to do on a really low budget! 

Paint colour choice is Intuitive from the Voice of Colour range. Wallpaper choice is Mali Leopard Dusky Pink

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