• Leoma Harper

Simple DIY Panelling - Adding that extra touch of character

Updated: May 13

Over the last year I  have had so many questions about the panelling that we put up in then hallway and front room, so thought a blog post was well overdue... 


No matter what the space, panelling always seems to uplift a room adding that touch of luxury at the same time as character.   It is so simple and easy to do, yet super effective, completely transforming rooms giving them that extra finished look. There are an array of different styles of panelling to choose from today, which means pretty much any home can house it, as there's a style for all. We went traditional with ours to suit our Victorian home.



It all started in our hallway about 3 years ago, my main intention was to add character back into the space whi


ch felt a bit flat and bland. It already had the dado rail in place. So we decided to just add panelling in a similar traditional style underneath. Unlike our purely decorative purpose for panelling, back in the day it was put in homes to prevent damp and drafts through stone walls. I can imagine our house having similar style in its victorian era,  however by then it was already decorative. 

The Hallway


A distinct lack of photos from back then sorry (I wasn't documenting as much). This project all started with an awful lot of measuring up. The best way to do this is using a laser measure, especially for up the stairs which is the most tricky part. The key is to constantly stick with the same height, however the width might need to change at times to fit into tricky areas. The templates were then drawn onto the walls using a ruler, spirit level and pencil.  The scale was decided through the existing panels within our current door frame, we stuck to the same height as these and went a tad wider. There are a few tricky areas in the hallway where the walls are quite narrow, so the layout had to be adapted accordingly.


We went for solid pine beading that I found at The Victorian Emporium 32x14mm.  It was then cut to size, using a mitre box which helps get the exact 45 degree angles for the square panels, for the stairs angles were adjusted to align to the stair fall. We then laid it out on the floor to ensure that the joins met nicely, glued on to the template of the walls using Soundal Turbo glue and a spirit level and finally secured with a nail gun. All the gaps and holes were filled with filler, once dry it was ready for the first lick of paint. We already had Farrow and Ball Strong White Emulsion on the top section of the walls, so went for a slightly different lighter tone at the bottom to give a bit of contrast. The colour chosen for this section is Wevet, again by Farrow and Ball and as the hallway is a heavy traffic area we went for an eggshell finish. 

Before & After 

The Front Lounge


Loving the effect in our hallway we decided to do similar in the front room on a much bigger scale covering all the walls, floor to ceiling. This room already had so much character with a beautiful original ceiling rose and fireplace, so a traditional style similar to the hallway felt appropriate. The layout all started using the fireplace as a focal point, we then worked around the room designing a template, adapting widths accordingly.


I went for the same beading to the hallway and sourced a similar style dado rail from Timber Mouldings, approx 32mm tall and 14mm, again in pine with no knots, avoid knots if possible, as they just mean more filling at the end. 

The mounting was very similar to the hallway except for the fact we had no dado rail to work off, as it arrived a few weeks later. It is best to start with the dado rail and go from there, but we had to go by the template of the rail for a while. 

After a lot of testing we went for Zoffany Chateau, a pale grey toned pink. Using the Intelligent emulsion which can also be used on wood, we painted all the woodwork including the skirtings, door and even the mirror, which was glued to the wall to create a constant seamless feel to the room. One thing to bear in mind with panelling is that it can look a bit scattered if there are lots of different colours, such as a contrasting skirting, the key is to keep it simple with the same colour scheme on the walls and woodwork. 

Before & After

The areas that we have added panelling to in the house look completely different to how they were before. They feel grander, but strangely at the same time more cosy and inviting and have a ton more character to them. I am already planning my next room to panel, though the style in this one could potentially be a little different. 


A few of the tool essentials: 




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