DIY Wall Panelling

Posted by Sophie Ingleby on

Some of you will remember when I decorated my master bedroom last year (you can read the blog post here). I painted it in Hague Blue and Ammonite from Farrow & Ball to get rid of the gold wall (pictured below) that was there when we moved in. I loved the colours but on photographs, the blue looked green and I hated that!

Estate agent photo featuring the gold wall     Hague Blue & Ammonite
The estate agent photo featuring the gold wall and the Hague blue after we had decorated. A big improvement on the gold wall but looked green on photos!

I had been researching panelling ideas on Instagram and Pinterest and fell in love. All the panelling images I had seen were on flat, straight walls though and I wanted to do it in a dormer loft conversion with a chimney breast (what a headache).

This image sold me instantly. I loved it! Give them a follow on Instagram here.

After pitching the idea to my husband, we were set! At this point I should warn you, if you're going to panel, I would highly recommend taking a week off work to do so. It's not a get-done-in-an-afternoon job. We got to work taking photo frames and shelves down, and filling the holes.

I decided I wanted the panels to be 10cm wide and spaced 40cm apart so I got a chalk pen and drew the lines on the wall. I would 100% recommend doing this. Anything to do with maths gives me a headache so I just started from the middle and worked my way out. If maths is a strong point of yours, you could measure it out. Our house is an old Victorian terrace and the walls are all uneven. We also had two different sized alcoves to navigate around so it made it easier not to measure, and just go by eye. 

You really get a feel for how it will look when you do this, and you can tweak the size at this point if you're not happy.


It really was a custom made job in the end!

My Father-In-Law is a joiner and had loads of left over MDF for us to use. We cut the MDF down to 10cm widths (the room is quite big and could take that size, if you have a smaller room, I would suggest maybe going thinner) and used wood glue and a nail gun to attach the panels to the wall. 
TOP TIP: Always start with the vertical pieces first.
Once the vertical pieces were on, it was time for the horizontal pieces. Each one was a slightly different size so we took our time and cut each piece individually. If you have nice straight, flat walls you could cut all the panels in one go, but always measure first. 

The bottom pieces were actually 14cm instead of 10cm because I could not be bothered to cut and fit 4cm blocks underneath! I tell you, I'm all for an easy life.
It looked amazing! Now it was time to fill all the holes with wood filler, sand it and caulk. Remember to fill the nail holes too, we forgot in some places and you can definitely tell up close. 
Then came the painting. I spoke to the wonderful people at Decorating Centre Online because I had no idea what I was doing. They told me I needed to prime the MDF first. I used an acrylic primer undercoat in white to treat the MDF and let it dry overnight. 
I knew I wanted the panelled wall to be pink but my word, there are so many options! I found inspiration on good old Instagram of Calamine by Farrow & Ball. The only problem was, what would I paint the other walls?

I decided to reach out to Decorating Centre Online (who I always use to colour match my paint) again and they suggested Strong White and Blackened, both by Farrow & Ball. Another Instagram search of both colours later, I chose to go with Strong White. I chose to get both colours in 'acrylic eggshell' form as it is scrubbable. With 2 children, 2 dogs and a clumsy husband, it was definitely the right choice.
While we waited for the primer undercoat to dry on the MDF, we did a first coat of the Strong White on the other walls. At first it appears bright white, but when it dries it looks like a very, very pale grey. We left that overnight to dry and did a second coat the following day. 
Then it was onto the main wall. At this point I had completely underestimated the time it would take to cut in around each panel. IT. TOOK. DAYS! 3 to be precise to finish that wall. It's also very tricky to put the frog tape around the slope of the roof and get a straight line. I cut in with a paint brush and then used a roller on the walls and wood. We did it in the end though, and I am so pleased with the results! We just need to buy bedside tables, a light shade, lamps and generally make it cosy.
I have even eyed up Charlies bedroom to do it in next (luckily, Harriet already has panelling in her room), and his walls are flat! (YAY). If you have any questions, please comment below and I will try to answer them as best as I can.
Don't forget to follow me over on Instagram for more makeovers, you can do so here or search @theenglishprintco

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment