How to Cover & Decorate Wood Paneling With Fabric

Written by rosallee scott
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How to Cover & Decorate Wood Paneling With Fabric
Cover up old wood panelling with decorative fabric (man on sofa image by Gina Smith from

Covering wood-panelled walls with fabric provides an instant style update. Even renters can use the technique, as the fabric is easy to remove and the adhesive does not damage walls. If you want a design that is more suitable for long-time use and a little fancier, try upholstered panels, or even upholstered panels with tufting.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Removable Project:
  • Soap & water
  • Sponge
  • Fabric
  • Starch
  • Velcro
  • Upholstery Project:
  • Paint
  • Chair rail or decorative moulding
  • Fabric
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Tufting Project:
  • Fabric
  • Plywood squares
  • Batting
  • Staple gun & staples
  • Screws
  • Fabric-covered buttons
  • Fabric glue

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  1. 1

    Wash the walls to ensure a clean surface. Use mild soap and water, or a product suitable for wood panelling. Allow the surface to dry thoroughly.

  2. 2

    Select a fabric for your walls. Renters may want to choose a lightweight fabric as it will take less adhesive to adhere to the wall. Using less adhesive will allow for easier, and faster, removal.

  3. 3

    Spray the back of the material with starch and apply it to the walls as you would wallpaper, smoothing it out as you go to remove any wrinkles. Attach Velcro strips along the wall where it meets the ceiling, and to the top edge of the back of the material. If necessary, use Velcro along the sides of the material.

  1. 1

    Paint the bottom half of the wall. Separate the top and bottom areas of the wall with a strip of wood to create a chair rail.

  2. 2

    Choose a heavier fabric, something that has the thickness of conventional wallpaper. Try to select a fabric that can be wiped down with a wet cloth for easy cleaning.

  3. 3

    Spread a thin layer of wallpaper paste on the wall before applying the fabric. Apply fabric, smoothing wrinkles as necessary.

  1. 1

    Choose a heavyweight decorative fabric that can be wiped down with a wet cloth. Have plywood squares cut to cover the wall that you are upholstering.

  2. 2

    Wrap each plywood square in batting material to the desired thickness before attaching fabric. Wrap batting-covered squares with decorative material. Staple the fabric's edges to the back of the plywood square. For a more tufted look, wrap the corners tightly while leaving the sides a little more loose to allow the batting to puff them up.

  3. 3

    Screw the upholstered panels into the wall. Position screw in centre of fabric-covered panel and screw into wall. Cover screw with a fabric-covered button. Use fabric glue to attach button.

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