How to cover your walls in panels to add texture and bring character to a tired room.
Here, we present an easy and contemporary way of constructing and installing panelling. Because our panelling is painted, we were able to use inexpensive medium-density fibreboard (MDF) and still achieve the look of elegant panelling.
The cost of each panelling project will depend on the size of the room being panelled as well as the costs of the materials you choose. To keep costs low, run panelling only to chair-rail height as opposed to full ceiling height and select less intricate mouldings. Here, the vertical strips are taken from the floor right up to the ceiling. Depending on the width of the panels you choose, the look of this project will vary.
Materials and Tools
- Tape measure and pencil
- Mitre box and saw
- Hammer and nail punch
- 1-1/2" finishing nails
- Panelling adhesive
- Caulking and caulking gun
Step 1: Determine panel size
Determine the size of the panel strips. Also decide how much space you want between each vertical panel (so you know how many vertical strips you'll need). Go to a building-supply store and have them "rip" (or cut) 4' x 8' x 1/2" sheets of MDF to the desired widths. To determine the height of the vertical boards, measure the distance between the top board and the baseboard, then cut the vertical boards to this length so they fit snugly between the top board and baseboard. We were working with a 9' ceiling, and our base and top boards were each 6" h., so our vertical boards were 8' long. We made them 3-1/2" wide and placed them 7" apart.
Step 2: Attach horizontal boards
Using panelling adhesive and 1-1/2" finishing nails, attach the base and top boards to the wall. Counter sink the heads of the nails with a nail punch.
Step 3: Attach vertical boards to wall
Apply a 1/8" bead of panelling adhesive from the top to the bottom of the back of the first vertical board and place on wall. Use a level and T-square to ensure that everything is straight before nailing board to the wall using 1-1/2" finishing nails at 1' intervals. Countersink the heads of the nails with a nail punch. Continue this process, measuring the distance between the boards each time another vertical board is added to ensure even spacing. Make pencil marks at the top and bottom of the wall where each board is to be attached to make this easier.
Step 4: Paint wall and panelling
Use caulking to fill any space between boards and wall or between vertical and horizontal boards. Prime and paint the wall and panelling, allowing to dry in between coats.