DIY: Wood Paneling

Updated February 21, 2017

By installing wood panelling on your walls, you will add beauty and value to your home. Wood panelling adds a look of richness and texture to plain walls, and comes in a variety of styles and colours. Bead board panelling is popular in bathrooms and kitchens, and dark wood panelling is popular for libraries and studies. If you are capable of basic carpentry, you can install wood panelling on your walls without hiring a professional.

Stain or paint the wood panelling pieces, along with the baseboard trim and moulding. This will be much easier than doing so after the panelling has been installed. Place each piece on a sawhorse and use a paint roller to paint or stain the panels and a paintbrush to paint or stain the moulding. Let the paint or stain dry for two full days before proceeding.

Mark a line on the wall with a pencil and straight edge where the top edge of the panelling will sit on the wall to use as a guide. Be sure to leave enough room at the top for the moulding. Hold a level against the mark to make sure it is level.

Run a stud finder along the wall to find the studs. Mark the location of the wall studs above the line for the top edge of the panelling with the pencil so you can use these as guides.

Install the first panel at a corner of the room; put an "S" pattern of adhesive on the back of the panelling with the caulking gun. Place the panelling against the wall and apply pressure to adhere it. Hammer panelling nails into the panelling where the wall stud is located.

Continue to install the panelling in this manner, cutting pieces to fit with a circular saw. When cutting, always cut from the backside of the panelling.

Install the moulding on top of the panelling by hammering panelling nails through the moulding and into the wall studs. Install the baseboard at the bottom of the panelling and hammer it in place with the panelling nails, hammering into the wall studs. Install cove moulding and L-shaped outside corner moulding to the outside corners hammering panelling nails into the moulding where the wall studs are located.

Fill the nail holes with wood putty using a putty knife, sand when dry and touch up with paint and a paintbrush.

Things You'll Need

  • Straight edge
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Panelling
  • Panelling adhesive
  • Panelling nails
  • Moulding
  • Baseboard trim
  • Level
  • Stain or Paint
  • Paint roller
  • Paintbrush
  • Sawhorse
  • Hammer
  • Circular saw
  • Studfinder
  • L-shaped corner moulding and cove moulding
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper
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About the Author

JIm Cooper is an attorney and business consultant. He serves on the board of many corporations. He is also a published writer with more than 30 years of experience. Cooper's articles have been published in "American Executive," "Men's Health" magazine, "Newsweek," "Marie Claire" and "Mademoiselle" magazines.