How to add panels to your walls

The regencycore and royalcore trends are still going strong, and the world of home decor hasn’t been left unscathed.

As a result, wooden wall panels are having an especially big moment right now.

That being said, the look is classic – and capable of being loud or understated depending on your tastes – so is unlikely to fall hugely out of fashion in the years to come.

Therefore, as DIY projects go, adding panels to your walls is likely to be more than worth the time and effort.

For anyone looking to undertake the task, we’ve got step-by-step instructions from Thomas Goodman, construction expert from MyJobQuote.co.uk.

What tools and materials will you need?

  • MDF wood panelling
  • No More Nails glue
  • A spirit level
  • Decorators caulk
  • Saw or cutter
  • Paint
  • A notebook and pen for jotting down the sizes
  • An electric sander or sandpaper
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Pin
  • A calculator
  • A respirator mask (for while you’re sawing)

Prep and planning

Thomas says you need to have ‘a clear idea’ of what you want the finished look to be.

‘Sketch your desired look in a notebook so that you can keep on track,’ he recommends, ‘and you’ll know how many panels you’ll need for the job.’

You’ll also need to measure the wall and figure out how many pieces of MDF you’ll need.

‘This is one of the most difficult parts of panelling,’ Thomas warns, ‘so make sure you take your time with it.

‘First, use a tape measure to work out the full height and width of the walls that you want to panel.

‘Decide the number of panels you want. Some people prefer to panel just half of the wall, and others prefer the complete panelled look.

‘Remember to account for the base and top panels and the vertical and horizontal panels.’

Cut the panels to size

Once you’ve got everything planned and measured out, it’s time to saw the panels down to the right size.

Thomas says: ‘You can either choose to cut the panels yourself or have them cut at your local DIY store.

‘If you are doing them yourself, use a saw and a mitre box at a 90-degree angle. Carefully cut the panels that will be placed horizontally according to your measurements.

‘Repeat this same process for all of the vertical panels and then sand the ends off until they are completely smooth.’

Sand and smooth the walls

Yes, you’ll want to sand the walls down, too.

‘Doing this will help remove any bumps or lumps that may otherwise show through’, says Thomas.

He adds: ‘You may either use an electric sander or sand it by hand using sandpaper.’

Fit the panels to the walls

Now it’s crunch time.

‘Start by fitting the frame,’ advises Thomas. ‘Begin with the base panels and then fit the top panels. Place the panel on the marked wall and use a laser level to make sure the panel is completely straight.

‘Apply some strong adhesive to the back of the panel and apply it to the wall. Make sure you press it down firmly and then leave it to dry.

‘Continue to add the panels, starting with the vertical panels and then followed by all of the horizontal panels.

Fill in any gaps

Once the panels have been stuck to your wall, you’ll want to keep that attention to detail laser-focused.

‘When you’ve finished applying all of the panels to the walls,’ says Thomas, ‘go over them with some decorator’s caulk to fill in any unsightly gaps, holes, or cracks. If any gaps appear, it may be necessary to fill in some of the sides. This can be covered with paint later on.

‘Once you’ve filled everything in, sand it all down to complete the smoothed look.’

Paint to taste

Once the adhesive and filler are totally dried and set, you can get to painting.

‘You can simply paint over the area with your chosen colour,’ explains Thomas.

‘We recommend using a fine brush to paint the panelled area to ensure every part is covered.’

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