DIY ‘Faux’ Panelling How-to (Tutorial)

DIY 'Faux' Panelling How-to 1Wow, thank you all so much for your lovely comments on my last post. I was really touched to hear so many positive comments and it’s great to know that some of you are planning to use some of the ideas in your own homes. Our little man has well and truly settled into his lovely new room so it’s had the seal of approval all around!

As promised, I’m back today to share the ‘how-to’ for the ‘faux’ panelling which turned out even better than I ever expected. It was so easy to do, I think this is almost definitely the first of many panelled walls in our home!

So, here is a step-by-step guide to how we created the high-end look of panelled walls without a lot of the fuss and expense! (Apologies in advance for the poor quality photos, many of which were taken on my phone at the end of late-night decorating sessions!)


  • MDF cut to size

We used MDF primarily because it was cheaper and we knew we would be painting it. I had also been slightly worried about wood knots showing through the white paint so this material avoided any of those issues too. We decided to fit our MDF pieces above our existing skirting to make the process quicker and easier. If you don’t have skirting already, you will need to fit that first. The top of our skirting protruded 1cm from the wall so we used this as the measurement for the depth of our MDF. We opted for a width of 10cm for every piece and measured up 1 metre from the skirting to get the height. For the top pieces, we stayed with the 1cm depth and 10cm width and went with the maximum length available which was around 2 metres. We then cut any excess off and joined the pieces end to end where necessary. We measured around the whole area we wanted to panel and decided on gaps of 45cm between the uprights. Note that once we had placed longer pieces along the tops of every upright, the total height was around 120cms from the floor.

  • ‘No more nails’ or similar grip adhesive
  • Primer and Undercoat in One
  • White satin wood paint

Step One

Paint/Paper the top half of your room in your desired colour.

DIY 'Faux' Panelling How-to

Step Two

Once the paint/paper on the top half of the room is dry, measure and mark the whole room for panelling before starting the physical process.

DIY 'Faux' Panelling How-to

Our measurements came partly from working around all our existing power outlets. I ensured the gaps between uprights allowed for the outlets to avoid any need to cut into our MDF.

DIY 'Faux' Panelling How-toThe beauty of this is that you can choose any measurement between your uprights, as long as they are all the same. Just go with what you think looks right for you. We started by placing one of the uprights against the door frame and measured 45cms to the next one. I marked the wall, then measured another 10cm (to allow for the width of the MDF) and marked again. Continue measuring and marking your entire space.

Step Three

Start gluing your uprights to the walls according to your markings.DIY 'Faux' Panelling How-to

When all the measuring was complete, Hubby glued the MDF pieces and I carefully lined them up between the two marks I had made previously. As you can see, we used plenty of glue (!) and I held each piece firmly against the wall for 30 seconds.

DIY 'Faux' Panelling How-toWe used a level to ensure each upright was straight although we didn’t really need it as it just sat on the skirting and didn’t really need any adjustment. Repeat this exercise around your room.

Step Four

When the glue on your uprights has dried, place the longer pieces along the top of your uprights. Cut the length to size and stick in the same way as before ensuring each piece is level

DIY 'Faux' Panelling How-to (Tip: if you have any gaps between the top of your uprights and the long horizontal piece, don’t panic, these can be filled later with filler).

Step Five

Once all the glue has dried, fill any gaps with filler and seal all edges with decorators caulk. Sand all the filled areas smooth and wipe with a damp cloth.

DIY 'Faux' Panelling How-to

Step Six

If you have painted the top half of the room, paint that colour all around the top of your panelling to cover the caulk and ensure a smooth line between the panelling and the wall.

DIY 'Faux' Panelling How-to

This will be straightened out when you paint the top edge of the panelling white. (You should probably use decorators tape all around the edges when doing this but I just used a small brush and tried to keep a steady hand!)DIY 'Faux' Panelling How-to

Step Seven

Undercoat all the MDF, skirting and the walls between your uprights with undercoat and primer.

DIY 'Faux' Panelling How-to

Step Eight

Paint all the MDF, skirting and the walls between your uprights with satin finish wood paint.

DIY 'Faux' Panelling How-toWe gave ours three coats in addition to the undercoat to ensure complete coverage. Allow each coat to dry completely (at least overnight) before starting the next layer.

You can just about see in the picture above that we only took the panelling up to the window opening and not around into the window recess. This decision was based on the fact that we had an existing wooden venetian blind and the panelling would not fit in the space without cutting a few of the blind slats. We didn’t want to ruin our blind and we knew that this area would be hidden behind the curtains anyway so we painted the window recess in the grey paint and anything facing the room in white. It has worked out well and looks fine with or without the curtains.

DIY 'Faux' Panelling How-to

And that is it my friends! I’m sure any painters, decorators or avid DIY’ers among you are horrified by my amateur approach (apologies) but it really was a simple job, the finish is actually quite good and we really enjoyed working as a team on this one. I am delighted with the final look and I don’t think it’s immediately obvious that we haven’t used ‘real’ panelling (at least I hope it’s not!) DIY 'Faux' Panelling How-to

Perhaps I have inspired a few of you to give the panelling a go? If you do, please, send me your photo’s – I would love to see them! You can email them to me at

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.

Home Heart Harmony 'Faux' Panelling Tutorial

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    • Sue Parfitt says:

      Thanks Stephanie, yes, it was great to work with them and yes, the panelling was so easy – it’s so great when something simple looks so effective. xx

  1. mummyofboygirltwins says:

    WOW! How amazing is this?? What a great job. I would be terrified to do this but it does look quite easy – she says! We had the real thing in our home in Chester and I spent hours painting it all, but it was beautiful. Great job again – and thanks for sharing. Thanks for linking up – much appreciated 🙂 Jess xx


  2. Caro | The Twinkle Diaries says:

    Am pinning this!! I wanted panelling in our ensuite and have been banging on about it for a while. I’d seen some sheets of it in Homebase that are super easy to fit but this looks amazing!! Am going to show my boy and see if he fancies giving it a go!! 🙂 Thanks so much for linking with us on #HomeEtc

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