How to Create Simple DIY Wall Panelling

It was surprisingly easy and cheap to create this DIY wall panelling effect on my bedroom wall. The key is in the preparation, if you get that part right then you’ll be good to go. We spent around £35.00 altogether on materials, and in case you want to try it out yourself, I have put a full shopping list of the things we used at the end of this post.

DIY wall panelling

Planning Our Wall Panelling

I had been debating panelling the wall behind my bed for a while. I wanted to make the process as simple as possible as we don’t have many of our own tools and our DIY skills are questionable, so I knew I would need to buy the wood pre cut to the correct size. In my typically impatient style, I didn’t want to order online and wait for delivery, so I decided to purchase MDF boards from B & Q and have them cut to size by their handy in store cutting service.

I took down the wall measurements and calculated how many pieces of MDF I would need and in what dimensions. For me this was the trickiest part as I’ve done little to no maths since leaving school at 16! I decided 7 vertical pieces would fit well in the space leaving a gap of 493mm between each one, and that I wanted the horizontal pieces to be slightly wider than the vertical pieces. I measured and sketched part of the design onto the wall to make sure I was happy with it.

In the end I purchased 2x MDF Boards (TH)6MM (W)610MM (L)1830MM, and a very helpful young man in B&Q cut 1 into 4 equal pieces measuring (w) 120mm and (l) 1830mm for the horizontal pieces across the top and bottom, and the other into 7 pieces measuring (w) 100mm and (l) 900mm. I also bought 2 pre primed picture rails to run along the top.

B&Q wood cutting service

Applying the Wall Panelling

Once I was back home I used B&Q’s grab adhesive to stick 2 of the longer pieces of MDF above the skirting board level with the top of it, using a spirit level to ensure it was straight.

I then started to apply the vertical pieces starting from the left hand side, again using a spirit level to ensure they were straight. I carefully measured 493mm between each one.

Finally, I applied the final 2 horizontal pieces across the top. The last 2 pieces didn’t quite fit next to each other – either because the walls aren’t entirely straight or the pieces weren’t. My OH used a saw to trim one of the pieces to size and the problem was solved.

My OH trimmed the dado rails to size, and I stuck those above the top horizontal piece.

All in all it took around an hour to stick all the MDF pieces to the wall.

B&Q grab adhesive

DIY wall panelling

DIY Wall Panelling

I left it all to dry for 24 hours before caulking in between any visible gaps. Once that was dry I sanded it then it was time to paint.


Controversially, I didn’t prime the MDF before painting. I hate primer – it sets off my asthma and whenever I’ve used it before it’s left a really bumpy finish. After a quick google search to see if priming really would be necessary, the results seemed 50/50 so I thought I’d risk giving it a miss.

I went straight in with simple dulux matt white emulsion using a small roller.

When the first coat had dried I sanded down the painted MDF. This is because (according to my google search) the moisture in the first layer of paint is absorbed by the MDF causing the surface to bobble. When it felt nice and smooth, I applied further coats of paint.

The MDF actually looked pretty good after just 2 coats. However I also had to cover up the navy blue walls beneath so I ended up having to do more coats than I care to mention (definitely lost count!).

A more sensible, patient person would probably have painted over the navy blue beforehand. However I came to the convenient conclusion that this would a) waste time and b) when the day comes to remove the panelling it would probably pull several layers of paint (and possibly plaster) off with it anyway!

DIY Wall Panelling
DIY Wall Panelling
DIY Wall Panelling

DIY Wall Panelling

I was a little worried that the wall panelling would end up looking messy or just plain ridiculous, but I’m really happy with the end result. And I can’t believe how easy it was! For more pictures, check out my Instagram page @luckyplot13

If you enjoyed reading this, you may also like this post about how I upcycled my ikea hemnes cabinet.

Drop me a comment below and let me know what you think 🙂

Frankie x

Click the text for link to buy

2x B&Q MDF boards (TH)6MM (W)610MM (L)1830MM
2x Primed picture rails
2x Grab Adhesive
Hand Saw
Tape Measure
Spirit Level
Fine Sand Paper
Dulux Matt Emulsion in Brilliant White

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