How To Guide Shaker Wall Panels
Shaker Style Wall Panelling


Written by Maddie

Looking for Tips To Help You Install Shaker Style MDF Wall Panelling? Look no further, we’re here to help with the ultimate shaker wall panels installation guide. 

You may be new to the wonderful world of mdf wall panelling, or perhaps you know a thing or two about wall panels but would like to try your hand at shaker-style mdf wall panelling. Either way we can provide you with everything you need to know about this simple yet striking style, from planning your panelling project all the way through to installation. Let’s start with the basics. 


Wall Panelling – What Is It? 

Think of it as a form of decorative art but for your interior walls. Panels are fitted to the wall in a symmetrical pattern, they can be applied to a single wall or the entire room. They give a bit of oomph to rooms that need a bit of texture, after all walls are pretty bland. Wall panels usually consist of strips which can then be fitted and glued together to form geometric shapes like squares or rectangles. Panelled walls aren’t a modern phenomenon, this clever technique dates back hundreds of years, and if you’re really interested in the history of wall panelling, check out The Ultimate Guide To Wall Panelling. 

What You Can Use For Shaker Wall Panelling

When it comes to wall panelling products, you have options. There are two primary types when it comes to the materials you can use for panelling, we have the contemporary option of MDF or the traditional technique of wooden wall panels.

So what’s the difference? Firstly, cost – MDF is the more cost effective choice. Wooden wall panels are expensive and the installation should be carried out by an experienced carpenter – unless of course you know what you’re doing. MDF wall panels are considerably easier to install yourself, they require less time and skill – you can also replicate a number of wall panel styles with them. You can buy mdf wall panels online either as a kit or simply the sheets of mdf which you can then cut to size yourself. 

Why Choose Shaker Style Wall Panelling?

First and foremost, you need less of them. Shaker style wall panels are a super simple design – you place strips of mdf evenly apart to create a rectangular space. The rectangle is then boxed in with a strip of mdf placed above and below. In essence you are framing the lower portion of your wall. You aren’t restricted to this part of the wall you can install shaker style wall panelling up to any height you please. We particularly love the mid height shaker wall panels which are really on trend right now. Shaker wall panels lend texture to walls via a simple yet effective design. You can add even more character by placing a dado rail above the wall panelling or alternatively you can place a strip of mdf above it to act as a small shelf. 

Part of a Shaker Wall Panelling Install from Green Bank Interiors

 If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can place shaker wall panelling spanning floor to ceiling, it has a really striking effect and won’t require as many mdf wall panels as other panelling designs on the market. 

One of the best things about Shaker-style mdf wall panelling is how easy they are to attach to the wall, in fact they are so easy to install – you can do it yourself. Because you will need fewer strips than tongue & groove wall panels and considerably less than Jacobean. Shaker wall panel is quite possibly the easiest style of interior wall panel to install. We have heaps of installation guides to help you with your wall panelling project and we’ll go into more detail on the shaker wall panels installation process further down. 

Due to Shaker-style mdf wall panelling requiring considerably less install time than other popular panel styles – you can panel even the trickiest of areas. 

The simplicity of shaker wall panelling opens up even  the smallest of rooms – which is why it’s such a popular choice for bathrooms right now. Bathrooms are well known for typically being the smallest room in the house, in turn they have the least amount of natural light – thus making shaker-style wall panels the perfect choice to give the illusion of a larger space.

Shaker Style Wall Panelling in the bathroom from Homebuilding & Renovating

The versatility of Shaker wall panels allows you to tailor your interior walls to a specific design aesthetic. You can go ultra-modern with bold colours and kitsch furnishings or you can opt for a more traditional and classic style with soft palettes. 

High Shaker Wall Panelling via Style Your Sanctuary

Planning Your Shaker Style Panelling

Planning your Shaker mdf wall panelling is probably the most important part. You know the style of wall panel you wish to install, so what next? Well, you need to pick the area you wish to panel, be it a singular wall or an entire room. Once you’ve established where you’re panelling – you need to decide how high you’ll be placing the shaker wall panels.

Now that you have an idea of what you want, you can measure the space. Triple check your measurements and use them to draw up a blueprint of the area you’ll be panelling. 

If you’re planning on using a shaker-style mdf wall panelling kit, you will already know the measurements of the strips. With these measurements you can then compare them with the size of the area and work out the size of the spaces between each strip. If you don’t plan on using an mdf wall panelling kit and want to do the entirety of the project from scratch, you will need to work all of the measurements out beforehand to ensure the mdf strips you cut are uniform and work with the space. If you like the sound of this method but are somewhat unsure on where to start, check out our guide on how to install DIY mdf wall panelling

What thickness MDF should I use for Shaker Wall Panels?

We recommend using 9mm MDF for Shaker wall panels. 6mm MDF is an option but if you want your wall panels to have texture and stand out – 9mm mdf is the perfect thickness. Most shaker wall panelling kits contain strips of 9mm mdf as this is the optimal size for shaker style wall panelling. 

Shaker Wall Panels Installation – What You Need

  • Shaker MDF Wall Panelling Kit
  • A spirit level
  • Heavy duty adhesive
  • Caulk
  • A Saw / Utility Knife
  • MDF Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint Brush / fluffy roller & tray
  • Sandpaper
  • Tape measure

How to Install Shaker Wall Panelling in six easy steps

  1. Measure wall 
  2. Panelling strips
  3. Spruce walls up
  4. Glue strips to wall & caulk
  5. Prime strips
  6. Paints strips

Step 1 – Measure Your Walls

The trick to successfully installing shaker wall panelling – measure your walls beforehand. It’s super important to measure the surface area before you buy your shaker mdf wall panelling kit. Before you measure up, you won’t know the quantity of strips you’ll need. It’s normal to need more than one mdf wall panelling kit. Especially when you consider they usually contain 9 strips – which isn’t going to fully cover a medium sized wall. Measure the full width and height of the walls you plan to panel, take things such as skirting boards, coving, plug sockets and fitted furniture into consideration. Always, triple check the measurements to make sure the panels will fit. 

Step 2  – Check your Shaker MDF Wall Panelling Kit

It seems like a silly step but you should always check your shaker-style mdf wall panelling kit over beforehand. You want to ensure you have the correct number of strips and that they are in good condition. If the strips of mdf are too long to achieve the look you want, simply trim them down. You can cut mdf strips down with a variety of different tools: table saw, mitre saw, circular saw, hand saw or a good old fashioned utility knife. Make sure that if you do cut the strips – you sand them afterwards to leave a smooth edge.

Shaker Style Wall Panelling Layout

Step 3 – Spruce Up Your Walls

Giving your walls a little touch up before you begin fixing the shaker wall panels is crucial. What do we mean by sprucing them up? Essentially making sure they are blemish free. Initially you will need to give your walls a check over for things like lumps and bumps. If you find any of these blemishes and they don’t affect the overall structure of the wall, for instance: a gaping hole – you can fix them yourself. 

You will need to address any lumps or bumps with sandpaper and ensure the wall is nice and smooth. You can use an electric sander if you have a large area to cover or if like us you find sanding pretty boring.

Small holes can be filled and sanded until unnoticeable. You need to sand the wall to ensure the mdf wall panels are fitted to an even surface, otherwise it could throw off all of the lovely symmetry you’re trying to achieve. 

It’s always best to paint your wall white before you apply your wall panels, this will ensure the shade on the wall matches the wall panels when you apply the final colour.

Step 4 – Glue Shaker Panels To Wall & Caulk

To fix your shaker-style mdf wall panels to the wall you will need to use a strong heavy duty grab adhesive. In order to attach the strips of mdf to the wall, you should apply the glue in a zigzag motion to the MDF strip and then press the panel firmly against the wall – make sure you leave it to dry. For extra hold you can use both glue and nails.

When installing the shaker wall panels follow the instructions that come with the mdf wall panelling kit. They will outline the order and direction you need to place them in. 

Once your shaker wall panels are dry and securely attached to the wall, you should inspect them for gaps. Most walls aren’t very even so you may find there are some gaps that need filling. Which is easy enough to do, simply use decorators caulk to fill the gaps, disguise any blemishes and create seamless joins. 

Strips of MDF
Strips of MDF photo credit

Step 5  – Prime Your Shaker-Style MDF Wall Panels

How do you achieve a great wall panelling paint job? Simple – prime your mdf panels before you paint them. Make sure your mdf wall panels are securely fixed to the wall and that the caulk has completely dried before you begin. 

Why is it so important to prime your mdf wall panels before painting? MDF is an incredibly porous material, if you apply the paint without priming it beforehand it will absorb as much paint as it can and leave large bubbles on the surface. Ultimately it will ruin your mdf wall panels and you’ll have to start again. We recommend applying 2-3 coats of primer with drying time in between and after. Once dry – you can begin the painting process.

Step 6  – Painting Your Shaker-Style MDF Wall Panels

In our opinion painting your Shaker Wall Panelling is the best bit. This is when it really comes to life and you get to see all of your hard work pay off. Paint is the key element in transforming your shaker wall panelling. But how do you go about achieving the right aesthetic for your home? With thousands of shades, hues and tones on the market – it’s easy to transform your interior wall panels with a lick of paint. You can go bold and adventurous with deep, rich colours like ivy green, mustard or raspberry.

Or if you’re looking for a more subtle palette, there are an abundance of muted tones available, for instance dusky pink, sage green or aegean teal. You can spice it up with wallpaper too, this can be applied above, below or in between the wall panels in the spaces – it’s a very contemporary style and one that will be on trend for quite some time. 

Shaker Style MDF Wall Panelling Inspiration

If you’re stuck for shaker style mdf wall panelling ideas, there are an abundance of options available. Elements to consider include: placement, height, spacing and of course the wide assortment of shades to complement the room you wish to panel. Take a peek at our gallery of Shaker-style MDF wall panelling for some super slick shaker panelling inspo. 

Shaker Style Panelling In The Bedroom

Shaker Wall Panels In The Bathroom

Shaker Panelling In The Kitchen

Shaker-Style MDF Wall Panelling In The Lounge

Shaker Wall Panels In The Hallway, Stairs & Landing

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