Make your own framed fabric panels for a cosy and dramatic effect.
Here, we present an easy and contemporary way of constructing and installing panelling. We “filled in” the wooden-trim-edged panels with bright fabric – a great alternative to an upholstered wall.
To really jazz up this room, we've done it in a soft cranberry-red floral, with swaths of warm fabric – it’s a softer take on the traditionally hard-edged look of wood 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, select less intricate mouldings or choose inexpensive fabric.
For this project, fabric is “framed” with painted moulding to create a panelled effect. By painting the frames cream and the wall a lighter shade of the red in the fabric, the fabric panels really stand out. Variations on this look include painting the frames a darker shade of the colour used on the wall, or, with white walls, painting the frame a shade similar to the fabric.
Materials and Tools
- Tape measure and pencil
- Spray fabric adhesive
- Mitre box and saw
- Hammer and nail punch
- 1-1/2" finishing nails
- Panelling adhesive
- Caulking and caulking gun
Step 1: Determine panel size and placement
Determine the dimensions and placement of your panels, with your room size and ceiling height in mind. Ours were 6' x 2-1/2' on an 8' h. wall. We spaced the panels 1' apart. Adjust these dimensions to suit your room.
Step 2: Choose fabric and moulding
Choose fabric (we chose a pretty floral pattern) to coordinate with your room's decor. If you want to repaint your walls, do this now. Ours were painted with Benjamin Moore 1342 latex paint. For the frames, select decorative wooden mouldings.
Step 3: Mark wall with frame outline
With a pencil, mark the inner and outer edges of the moulding frame on your wall. Use a level and T-square to ensure right angles and even horizontal and vertical placement.
Step 4: Cut and attach fabric to wall
Cut fabric pieces larger than the inside dimensions of the frame but smaller than the outside edge. Spray adhesive onto the back of each piece of fabric and attach it to the wall within marked lines. Smooth out any air pockets from the centre of the fabric, moving outward (much like you would with wallpaper).
Step 5: Paint and cut moulding
For each frame, use a saw and mitre box to cut four pieces of moulding to the appropriate lengths with ends cut at 45° angles. Paint each piece and allow to dry. We painted the frame with Benjamin Moore 925 latex paint to coordinate with the cream in the fabric print, and so that the frames really stand out against the red wall.
Step 6: Attach moulding to wall
To attach the moulding to the wall, apply daubs of panelling adhesive 1' apart along the back of each strip. Position them on the wall, staying within penciled reference marks. Once each frame is attached to the wall with adhesive, reinforce with 1-1/2" finishing nails, countersunk at 1’ intervals all around.
Step 7: Touch up frames
Touch up any gaps at mitred corners, and fill nail holes with caulking. Once caulking is dry, use paint to touch up frames where you have used caulking.