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How to create DIY Board and Batten wall panelling

Posted on 1st August 2019
Wall panelling

As a highly impulsive person who isn’t always great at forward planning, I write this tutorial knowing full well I should have prepared for it more and taken more photos along the way. But, I didn't. So I will have to make do with what I have! Which is nothing really other than finished photos. That said, I have had so so so many messages and comments asking me how to do the board and batten panelling in my spare room, that I couldn’t resist jotting it all down retrospectively and popping a tutorial up on the blog. 

Lots of comments asking where the bedding etc is from so I will link all of the items for you at the bottom of the page!

As you’ll know from my other tutorial on panelling, we have given it a go before in my office and it went pretty bloody brilliantly even if I do say so myself. So I was full of confidence and wanting to do it again in the spare room. The same cannot be said however for Josh. He flat out refused to be involved in any more panelling. He’d had enough of mitring perfectly neat 45 degree angled pieces of wood apparently. So if panelling was to happen, it was down to me to do it.

Fortunately, I knew I wanted a slightly different style panelling in the bedroom anyway. Browse Pinterest and you’ll see just how many different ways you can panel a wall. I already had a Pinterest board on the go from when I was gathering inspiration for the office, so I started adding to it for the bedroom, and decided after seeing lots of images, that the board and batten style was the one for me. Modern, clean looking and easy to do (no angles other than right angles), I was confident I could do it myself. This picture became my main inspiration for the room:

Neptune wall panelling inspiration

As is my go to before any DIY that I haven’t tried before, I took to Pinterest blogs and Youtube tutorials to watch how other people had applied theirs. What became apparent is that nearly everything I came across in my research suggested it was easy to do…yay! Here is a simple step by step tutorial for how I created and installed our simple and effective board and batten wall panelling.

Step 1: Measuring

(DISCLAIMER 1: There are lots of tutorials telling you how to apply this panelling, but lots don’t go into the details of HOW you measure everything, they just tell you to measure. So please excuse that this post is wordy… it just goes into a lot of details that lots breeze over.)

(DISCLAIMER 2:  I've used these measurements as an example only, they were not my measurements, so please don’t use the same ones and expect to get the same look. It’s so important you tailor them to your wall space.)

As was the case with my other panelling tutorial, the maths part is the hardest part of all. Grab yourself several pieces of paper, a pencil, tape measure, a bucket load of patience and prepare to get stuck in with some numbers. 

Firstly, measure the full width of your wall to work out the lengths of your horizontal panels. Measure across the very bottom, just above your skirting board, and measure further up the wall approximately where you would like your top panel to be. You can make your panelling any height you want, but I just decided to get approximately 2/3 of the way up. Make a note of these two measurements on your paper. For this example, I’m going to say that my wall was 200cm wide. 

Next, you need to decide how tall you want your vertical panels to be. As I mentioned above, I knew I wanted them approx 2/3 up the wall. All I did here was work out by eye were it would look good for the panelling to stop, measured that height and rounded that measurement to the nearest 10 to make it easier (remembering 160cm for example is easier than 162.5cm, and you won’t be able to tell the difference with that 2.5cm). For this example, let's say the total height of my panelling was going to be 160cm. I measured from on top of the skirting boards rather than the floor.

Step 2: Panel sizes and spacing

Ok, so you know how long your wall is (200cm) and you know how high up the wall you need to go (160cm). Next you need to work out the width of the panels. I did guess work here and working by eye which is how I work best. I picked 10cm as a starting point for the width of my panels, as I’m all about the round numbers. I checked this on my tape measure to see the size, and it looked like a good width to me. Not too thick, not too skinny that it wouldn’t make an impact.

Knowing that my top and bottom panels would be 10cm each in width meant that the space left in between would be 140cm. Which means all of my vertical panels needed to be 140cm tall. 

With me so far??

I now needed to work out the width of my vertical panels, and this was probably the hardest part because the width of them goes hand in hand with the positioning of them on the wall and the gaps between each one. This part makes up the main look of the panelling so you have to get it right!

First of all, you need to think roughly how many panels you want. I knew I wanted one dead centre in the middle, and I wanted one against each edge to perfectly frame the panelling. That meant that with those three in place, I could see the space left either side of the centre panel. I decide one each side more wouldn’t be enough, 3 would not leave enough gap in between, so 2 was just right. That meant I had 7 vertical panels in total and 6 gaps:

left end panel, GAP, panel 2, GAP, panel 3, GAP, centre panel, GAP panel 5, GAP panel 6, GAP, right end panel.

Still with me?! 

Final maths bit is the spacing. We still need to decide on the width of the vertical panels. We know they’re going to be 140cm long, but how wide? I wanted mine slightly more narrow than the top and bottom horizontal panels which were 10cm, so I took a random number of 8cm and tried that. I’ve got 7 panels, so 7 x 8cm = 56cm.

My wall is 200cm, so take away the 56cm leaves you with 144 cm of bare wall space. This is your gaps! 

I have 6 gaps, so 144 / 6 = 24cm

You now have your measurements! Your panels will be 8cm wide, with a 24cm gap in between each one. This will make you spacing perfectly symmetrical!

Wall panelling tutorial showing the completed wall panelling

Step 3: Mark it all out on the wall

Blimey that was hard to explain! But from now on the tutorial is easy!. 

Im a very visual person, so for the next step, just to make sure I was happy, I drew all of this out on the wall. I marked where the panels would be with the correct widths, and measured the exact spacing to make sure I liked how it looked. If you take care doing this, you’ll have a really easy and accurate template in place when you stick your panelling on.

Step 4: Get your wood cut

I used simple MDF wood for this, and had it all cut to size in Homebase, which they do for 50p per cut. I chose a 9mm MDF board. This gave enough depth for it to look effective and stand out on the wall, without it looking too overly imposing. The boards came in 200m sheets, so I was lucky that my top and bottom horizontals didn’t need any joins and could all be one strip. I also bought a length of decorative moulding to go across the top panel, to finish it off a bit more ornately. Other than that you just need the following:

Decorators Caulk

Instant grab adhesive 

Step 5: Stick it all on

I want to stress that this part is really easy, and I was so hungover when I was doing it! So don’t worry about it, just get stuck in and go for it. 

You’ll need to use your instant grab adhesive for this. I started by applying the top horizontal panel first, as the top section would be most visible so I wanted this part to look the best (you’ll see what I mean by this in a minute). Apply your grab adhesive generously to the back, and then stick onto the wall using the template you drew on earlier as your guide. Hold it tightly in place for a few seconds while is sticks, and work your way along the length making sure it's firmly stuck to the wall. If your wall isn’t dead straight and you’re finding one end pings off, you might need to drive a few pins into the wood to keep it in place. Sink the pins deeply into the wood so you can fill over the top of the hole afterwards and hide the nail. Use a spirit level to check its perfectly straight. The glue will hold it firmly in place but it's still pretty pliable for quite some time, so don’t be afraid to move the wood around to get it perfectly straight.

Next, stick on the bottom horizontal panel in the same way. I sat mine just on top of my skirting board, so it was easy to get it straight using the skirting as a guide. You can also add your decorative piece of moulding to the top panel.

Once you’ve done this, move on to gluing your vertical panels in exactly the same way as you did above. When you stick each piece on, make sure you perfect butt up the join to the edge of your top horizontal panel. This will ensure your joins are really neat and when you paint over they should blend in seamlessly. 

You might notice here that you have a few gaps and the bottom of your vertical panels… don’t worry! It was unlike that we would ever get the measurements bang on. This is why we neatly butted the joins up at the top, so the most visible part looks perfect and the bottom part (which for me will be hidden the bed and bedside tables) is the bit where we can fill the gaps using Polyfila. 

Wall panelling tutorial showing the completed panels attached to the wall

Step 6: Caulk and fill

Once it has all dried properly, fill over any joins and then sand it down finely when it is dry to make really neat, seamless joins. If you have any large gaps (I had a couple of 3 of 4 mm gaps at the bottom) just pad this out with filler and neatly sand it down. Make sure you use filler and not caulk in any area that you need to sand, as caulk doesn’t sand well. Apply caulk to all of your edges to neaten it all off, and you’re done!

Wall panelling tutorial showing the panels being filled

I didn’t bother to prime before I painted, I just painted straight over the top and didn’t have any problems, but check with your paint brand to see what it recommends.

I hope that guide wasn’t too complicated. I know it was long, but honestly it takes longer to write it down than it does to actually do it! Please tag me if any pictures if you’ve attempted this, I would love to see!

Wall panelling tutorial showing the completed wall panelling
Wall panelling tutorial showing the completed wall panelling

Shop This Room

Bedside Tables (I painted them black)

Paint colour was colour matched to Farrow and Ball Treron and then I mixed in white.

(This post contains affiliate links)

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      1. Hi. You’ve made it look relatively easy with this panelling, so I’ve done all the (hopefully correct!) measuring, marked it all out and tomorrow I gonna buy the mdf and get it cut to size. Never done anything diy before but I’m really excited to see how it’s gonna look. Wish me luck 😂😂

    1. Hi - I would love to do this, but I'm not sure what to do at the bottom, where the panelling meets the skirting? Does the panelling need to be thinner than the skirting board to stop it jutting out?

  1. Love this! Thank you for sharing we’re going to try and recreate this. Where are your cushion covers & duvet set from? Also is the top bar just a standard beading? Do you have the link to it or item number? Thanks Ebs

    1. I’ve seen it done in lots of homes! It would be a bit harder because the invoice of the stairs would mean it’s not a 90 degree angle for your cuts but once you’ve worked that part out it wouldn’t be too much of a nightmare! I really want to do it up my stairs 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for this guide. My husband and I are going to try this over the holidays! Just wondering which two paints did you mix together to achieve this colour?

    Thanks so much

  3. The picture you used as your main inspiration I also used as mine when I decorated our bedroom. It's from a company that I love and its called Neptune. I have had panelling done in two bedrooms so far and want to do some in my kitchen myself so thank you for the instruction

  4. I saw this on Pintrest and fell in love! I'm going to bite the bullet and do it in my master bedroom this weekend. Best how-to guide I've found also so thank you for that! Just wondering, where did you get the decorative moulding you used on top? I've been looking around and can't find any with 9mm thickness at the bottom - if that makes sense! Thank you!

  5. I LOVE this, we’re going to give it a go in our new home! I also love your wooden floor - would you mind sharing what make/model it is please?

  6. Love this, will be doing this in our new loft conversion bedroom. Can you tell me, did you paint it in emulsion or eggshell? Thanks so much!

  7. Hi there, you wouldn’t know where these wall light fittings are from at all would you? It’s the exact fitting I am looking for and can not find anywhere.


  8. Thanks for such a good step by step guide. I’m looking to do this in my bedroom and found this so helpful.
    I know it’s different for everyone, but was this expensive to do?

  9. This is so beautiful! You've inspired me to give this a go... By any chance do you remember the thickness of MDF you used?

  10. looking to do this but unsure about plug sockets falling in the middle of mdf panels. Any ideas?

  11. Hi! This looks amazing and I’m going to try and do something similar soon. Did you use standard emulsion paint on your MDF? Or a separate emulsion for the plaster and a wood pain for the MDF? Thanks x

  12. A very useful article which has given me some ideas on the redecoration of my master bedroom. I wonder if Homebase are still offering cutting service, will check this out.
    In answer to Joel Brown’s question asked in May, I note you have stated in the article that it was 9mm MDF.

  13. This is amazing. Thank you for sharing so much detail. I’ve watched and read so many other people’s posts on wall panelling and have been going round in circles re measurements as no one else mentions how they worked it out. Every room is different but this was such a great guide 🙌🏻. I had everything measured and bought from B&Q in a few hours. Wish me luck!

  14. Thank you for the in depth guide it is so helpful detailing how you did the measuring part especially! Much appreciated, I cant wait to get started on my daughters room followed by our living room! x

  15. I wanted to ask if you used the same wood paint for the walls or if they are two different paints, how did you get it to match so well?

  16. Hey there
    Love it! Love it so much. I don’t suppose you remember where green cushion covers are from?
    Thank you!

  17. Hi there, thanks so much this is so helpful! Just a quick question, when you say apply caulk around all the edges, do you mean literally up and down every edge where MDF meets wall? Sorry, I am a real novice potentially biting off more than I can chew! Thanks

  18. Absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this. Can you please tell me what colour window dressing you have? Are the cushions green? Thank you in advance x

  19. Hey! The wall panelling looks really good. I have a question though. The wall on which you did the panelling is dry wall or concrete one?

  20. Love this! Failed on my attempt to buy the boards yesterday to make it an Easter project as b&q were out of stock and they only do 4 cuts per person (I need 11 panels!!). Hit a wall. Anyway if and when I eventually get to doing it, may I ask if you just glued the moulding to the top bit of the top horizontal panel or above the panel on the wall? Thanks x

    1. I glued it to the top of the panel, if you do it above the panel it wont stick out as far as the panel and will look like its sitting behind it because the decorative piece is thinner in places.

  21. Hi Karly, this is fantastic, you've done such a great job! Could you use pins only instead of using wood glue to stick the panelling down? I'm just afraid of potentially damaging new walls if I ever decide to remove the panelling in the future. Would new build walls take pins well? Thanks so much in advance.

  22. Hi, do you remember what moulding you used on the top or where you got it from? I’ve looked in all the usual places but everything seems to small or too big. Thanks!

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Thanks for stopping by! I'm Karly Louise and I run an affordable interiors, fashion and lifestyle blog. I'm also the founder of Cloud Interiors - an interior design and styling company based near Reading, Berkshire.

Follow @karlylouise_x on instagram for updates!


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