How to Install Decorative Wall Panelling in your Home

Wall panelling refers to a decorative covering or cladding that is applied to the walls of a room or a building. It's a way to enhance the visual appeal of the walls and add character to the space. In fact, wall panelling can be made from various materials, including wood, medium-density fibreboard (MDF), fabric, metal, and even natural stone. So depending on your preferences and current design of your home, make sure that your wall panelling aligns with the feel of your current home decor. In fact, wall panelling can be installed in several different forms and so make sure to have a search and think about which style might suit your preference and your home best. Make sure to check out our blog on wall panelling ideas and inspiration to get you started.

The great thing about wall panelling is that it serves both functional and aesthetic purposes for your home. Functionally, it provides insulation, soundproofing, and protection to the walls whilst aesthetically, it provides texture and character to a room because of the increased interest. From traditionally to contemporary designs, wall panelling suits a range of different designs and can either be left in its natural finish or painted to suit your preference. Therefore, this blog will provide you with a general guide on how to build a panelled wall. They are installed on the wall surface, either horizontally or vertically, to create a decorative pattern or texture. Regardless of whether you're a big DIY enthusiast or not, with some advice and know-how, you can get the job done. So lets get cracking on installing your new decorative wall.

What you'll need:

- Panelling Material (MDF, Wood, Natural Stone etc.)

- Tape Measure

- Hammer

- Drywall Joint Compound 

- Sandpaper 

- Hand or Machine Saw

- Spirit Level 

- Construction Adhesive 

- Paint and Primer (If wanting to decorate with colour)

1. Plan and Measure 

Before you jump right in, taking a little time to plan and prepare your new decorative wall can make all the difference and can save a lot of stress and headaches later on down the line. Specifically, think about what the finished design will look like and what specific materials you will need to complete the job. Consider the size, shape and spacing of the panels.

Therefore, measuring the wall at the outset to determine the required length of your panels is a good start. Decide on how many panels you want within your design by thinking about the distance you wish to have between each panel. Some only like a half wall panelling whilst others prefer a fully panelled wall.

2. Prepare the Wall:

Next on the list... preparing the wall ready for installation. This is a vital step because you need to ensure that you're working on a clean, blank space for a effective and thorough installation. So make sure to check and with a hammer, remove any obstacles that may be sticking out of the wall, such as picture hangers, screws, or nails. Now, if there are any small gaps or dents, these can be filled using drywall joint compound. Using a putty knife, apply a small amount of the compound onto the dented area, making sure to fill it. Once dry, it can then be sanded for a smooth and flat surface. As well, remove any existing trim, baseboards or mouldings from the wall.

Another point to consider is the level of the wall and whether it is completely straight or not. Sometimes, an uneven and wavy wall might mean that you are unable to use this particular wall for panelling.

3. Cutting the panels 

Now, it’s time to cut the panels to the correct size ready for installation. After determining the height of each vertical panel within the previous step, cut these down to the correct height. Then, measure and mark the required spacing and position for each of the vertical panels.

Now, to understand the required length of the horizontal panels, begin by measuring the space in between each vertical panel to understand the size for each of the horizontal panels. The horizontal panels can then be cut down to the correct size ready for installation. Dependent on the measurements decided on previously and the height spacing you wish to have between each horizontal panel, mark these positions on the wall ready for installation.

4. Installing and fixing your panels

Now we get to the interesting part. Begin the installation process with the frame panels. Using a spirit level, ensure that the frame panels are completely straight when placed onto the wall. Then using construction adhesive, apply it to the back of the panel and press it onto the wall in the correct position. Press down firmly before leaving it to dry. Repeat this process for the remaining vertical panels, placing them in the correct position, based on your previous measurements and marking. Then, do the same with the horizontal panels.

5. The finishing touches

To finish the wall and complete the design, painting is the common go to method. So to do this properly, you need to prime your walls first with white wooden primer to give the wall a base coating and create a seamless application of paint, regardless of the colour. One coat of primer should be sufficient. Then, once the primer has dried, your main colour can be painted onto the walls.

Remember to follow safety precautions while using tools and materials. It's also a good idea to consult specific instructions and tutorials based on the type of panelled wall you want to build, as different designs may have specific considerations.

If you're not confident in your carpentry skills, it might be beneficial to consult a professional carpenter or contractor for assistance.

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