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Planning & preparation

  • We’re going to show you how to transform a room with wooden panelling, step by step.
  • It’s a low-effort decorative DIY project that has really high impact.
  • Opt for a design that you think you can tackle and like the look of; there are plenty to choose from.
  • This project doesn’t require too much time or experience to complete and uses materials that are all available from Wickes.
  • It should take a DIYer with moderate experience around 2 days to complete when you factor in your drying times, but this can change depending on the size of your wall and how many coats your wall requires.

      Staying safe

      • Always make sure that your power tools are unplugged while you’re setting them up or changing accessories, to ensure your safety.
      • Keeping the plug in sight acts as a visual reminder to prevent accidents and hazards.
      • For extra safety when using power tools and painting, be sure to wear protective equipment, including your ear defenders, goggles and a dust mask.

      Planning and choosing your materials

      You can use a range of materials to create your panelling, whether you want to embrace the natural grain and knots of soft timber or use MDF boards for a cleaner but less natural approach.

      You could use architraves and other mouldings for a more decorative option that suits both contemporary and traditional styles.

      Sketching out your design is a great way to visualise it and feel out what you’re going for, so make sure you really take your time at this stage and decide on a design you really love.

      Measure your wall, your space and your panelling materials and work out how it’ll fit.


      Prepare your wall by clearing the area, filling any holes that exist and sanding it down to get a smooth surface. See our video on preparing a wall for painting for further advice.

      Cutting your wood

      View instructions

      Position your mitre box on your workbench and screw it into place to make sure it’s sitting securely.


      Measure and mark your first piece of timber for your wood panelling.


      Then line it up in your mitre box and saw across at the relevant angle.

      Repeat this process for all of your wood and get all of your cutting done in one go.


      Once all your pieces have been cut, sand the cut ends so that all of the frayed edges are smooth, either by hand or using a palm sander.


      Once you’ve finished cutting and sanded your ends, you can unscrew your mitre box and remove it from your workbench.

      Undercoating your timber

      View instructions

      Brush down your work surface before you do any painting.


      Apply a thin undercoat to avoid your paint from pooling on the timber, starting by painting one side to about half-way down, along with the top and sides.


      Repeat this for all of your lengths, including the long vertical lengths and set them aside to dry.


      Once they’ve dried, paint the other half and remaining sides while still leaving the underside, which will be the side that is fixed to your wall. Give them time to dry.

      Fixing your panelling

      View instructions

      Set yourself up a workstation where you can put all your tools and materials.


      Take your first long vertical length and partly hammer-in pins along it the painted side, making sure to avoid going too close to the end.


      Flip it over and apply construction adhesive to the opposite side.


      Hold it in position on your wall, using your spirit level to guide you.


      Once it’s in place, hammer in your pins the rest of the way so that your first vertical length is fastened to the wall.


      Then take your first short horizontal length of painted timber and repeat the process, butting it up against the bottom of your fitted vertical length so that it forms a right angle.


      Fit your second vertical length on the opposite side so that it’s sitting parallel to your first one. Use a loose horizontal length as a spacer for your two vertical lengths.


      Take two loose vertical lengths and use them as spacers to find the height for your second vertical length, placing them inside vertical lengths so that they’re sat on the bottom rung.


      Place another rung on top of them and hammer in your pins to secure it in-place.

      Make sure to keep using your level to check as you go.


      Remove your spacers and use this same process to complete the rest of your squares, working up to the top until your first panel is complete.


      Then work along your wall horizontally until all your panels are fitted to the wall.


      Once all your panelling has been fitted, give your timber one last sand down.


      Take your caulk and fill in the holes where your pins are as well as any small gaps in and around your timber.

      Painting your panelling

      View instructions

      Prepare for painting by gathering your paint and painting materials, clearing your area, putting down dust sheets to protect your floor and taping off any joints, edges and other areas you want to protect from paint.


      Cut in around the edges of each of your squares using a brush.


      Once you’ve completed all of your cutting in, finish off painting your squares with a roller until your entire wall and panelling is painted and give it time to dry.


      Once your first coat has dried, you might need to second and possibly even a third to achieve an even finish with your desired colour.


      And there you have it; stunning wooden panelling that completely transforms your room.

      For more ideas, advice and DIY how-to guides, visit the inspiration hub; and share your #WithWickes project with us online.

      More inspiration from Wickes