Everything You Need To Know About Georgian MDF Wall Panelling
Georgian Interior Design

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Written by Maddie

Are you looking to install Georgian wall panelling in your home? Here’s everything you need to know about recreating this iconic style with MDF.

An Introduction To The Georgians

The Georgian period spanned from 1714 to 1837, it was a formative time for the UK which at that time was known as the British Empire. The Georgian era was named after the Hanoverian King George I and the other three kings all named George that subsequently followed. We sense a theme here.

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It was a time of enormous change, trade rapidly expanded, popular culture and consumerism flourished. The industrial revolution was born, it was an era of great change socially and politically, the slave trade was abolished and yet social inequity worsened. It was a time period of both the ultimate luxury and extreme poverty simultaneously.  

In this period Britain shrugged off it’s medieval past and evolved into a trading superpower. The urban industrial expansion resulted in the country teetering on the brink of revolt, this was due to the immense poverty and working conditions the ordinary folk were subjected to.

Despite all of this poverty and misery, consumption amongst the upper classes grew at an unprecedented rate. A new wave of architects and designers emerged, Wedgewood, Capability Brown and Sir Christopher Wren to name a few. The Georgian era is renowned for its opulent fashions and interior design. Georgian architecture was all about high ceilings, symmetry and columns. Lavish designs adorned the walls of many grand Georgian homes. So let’s begin with the Georgian interior design style. 

A contemporary Georgian Interior courtesy of Nazmiyal Antique Rugs – https://nazmiyalantiquerugs.com/blog/georgian-interior-design/

Georgian Interior Design Influences

Georgian interior design incorporated many style elements from other eras, it took inspiration from Roman architecture and design – classical columns, an abundance of marble, hand-carved statues depicting their gods and goddesses, vases and urns. The Georgians also took interior design inspiration from the Ancient Greeks adorning their homes with soft pastel colour palettes and animal figures depicting both real and mythical creatures. 

The Georgian style didn’t have just one main interior style, much like now fashion is constantly changing and the same applied to the Georgian time period, four main artistic interior & architectural styles dominated this century: Palladianism, Rococo, Neoclassicism and Regency.

Global influences played a huge role in Georgian fashion, we’ve covered the Roman and Greek sway on Georgian interior design but other countries inadvertently contributed to – the Chinese and the Egyptians left their imprint on the Georgian style. But how did this happen? Well, in the 18th Century it was fairly common for the young rich men of prominent families to go travelling and return with all manner of trinkets, textiles, art and furniture – they also wanted to replicate the styles they had become accustomed to on their adventures. 

Simplicity and symmetry is a recurring theme in Georgian architecture and interior design, symmetrical columns and pilasters were a focal point in high end Georgian homes – mimicking the Roman and Ancient Greek temples witnessed by the younger generations on their travels. 

A Classic Georgian Home with columns inspired by the Ancient Roman & Greek temples – courtesy of Homedit – https://www.homedit.com/georgian-style-homes/

The Interior Style in Georgian Homes

Georgian walls were typically adorned with bold colour schemes, of course there were limitations when it came to shades, as many hadn’t yet been invented. Commonly the Georgians opted for burgundy, sage greens, muted blues and off white shades. 

Wall panelling was the epitome of grandeur, Georgian walls were panelled to dado rail height with striking wallpaper placed above – the wallpaper themes were often patterned, oriental or featured flora and fauna. Georgian wall panelling can also be classified by simple yet stunning wall mouldings, these gave the illusion of wall panelling and made the walls appear as if they were framed. The mouldings weren’t just for Georgian walls, they also decorated their ceilings with intricate designs such as classic figures and ribbons. 

Georgian panelling wasn’t just for walls, they also panelled their doors. As you can tell the Georgians highly favoured wall panelling, wall panels perfectly complemented their grand abodes. 

An example of the intricate decorative wall mouldings found in Georgian Homes – credit Country Life – https://www.countrylife.co.uk/interiors/farrow-balls-advice-create-right-colour-scheme-georgian-home-195021

Did the Georgians have wall panelling?

Yes, although the Georgians didn’t have the mdf wall panelling we’re accustomed to today. They had their own wooden versions which mdf wall panelling mimics.

Did The Georgians Invent Wall Panelling?

No. The Georgians did not invent mdf wall panelling for two reasons. MDF wall panelling wasn’t invented until the 1960s and wall panelling itself dates back way before the Georgians. Wall panelling in the UK dates back to the 13th century when it was installed as a practicality instead of a luxury. As you can imagine homes were a bit chilly back then, wall panelling provided much needed insulation and kept the damp at bay. Practicalities aside, the popularity of wall panelling grew and soon turned into an intricate art form, which can now be found in the form of mdf wall panelling throughout homes in the UK. 

What’s the difference between Georgian and Victorian houses?

Victorian houses are typically more complex in their design, porches and bay windows are a key feature. Georgian houses were more simplistic in their appearance. The difference between Georgian and Victorian interior design, well they’re worlds apart. The Victorian interior style is busy and loud, it consists of: rich colours, striking patterns, rectangular shaped wall panelling and ornate furniture. Whereas the Georgian interior design style is more muted and minimalistic, recognisable by pillars and columns, decorative wall mouldings and wall panelling, bold pastel shades and soft furnishings.  

What’s the difference between Georgian, Stuart, Edwardian, Tudor and Victorian wall panelling?

There wasn’t really a niche panel style for every period,wall panel placement was often the key element that set the different styles apart.  Some of the panel designs were created in specific periods but you will find that they have been replicated across many different eras. 

What type of wall panelling did the Georgians have?

The Georgians used wooden wall panelling and mouldings as that was the only material available to them in that period of time. Now we have a much more cost effective option, namely Georgian MDF panelling. This really sucks for the Georgians as they could have saved themselves some serious money. 

What Did Georgian Wall Panelling Look Like?

The Georgian style of wall panelling was somewhat more restrained than other eras (cough Tudors cough). There are of course different versions of Georgian wall panelling.

Walls that would today be considered as feature walls, were panelled from floor to ceiling and split into three sections to mimic columns – as if they didn’t have enough of those already. The cornerstone of Georgian interior design was balance and proportion – which does explain the obsession with pillars – this obsession translates into the style of wall panelling they favoured.

Often wall panels were placed throughout the home up to dado rail height, wallpaper would be placed above – thus achieving balance. Another favourite method of wall panelling in the Georgian era was through the use of mouldings (pictured below), these elegant wall designs, although simplistic, give an elegant texture to the wall which suited the Georgians perfectly.  

Decorative Georgian Wall Mouldings via Artichoke – https://www.artichoke-ltd.com/journal/wainscot-paneling-paneled-walls-history/

Are Georgian Walls in fashion?

They certainly are, in fact you’ve probably stumbled upon this article because you were searching for something along the lines of ‘georgian mdf panelling’ or ‘mdf Georgian panelling’ and Google thought ‘we’ll send you to the experts’. So here we are. With mdf wall panelling in the UK being so popular right now, everyone seems to be searching for the right style of wall panel for their homes. Victorian and Georgian MDF wall panelling styles are now experiencing a contemporary revival. 

A contemporary Georgian Interior from Louise Holt Interior Design – https://www.louiseholtdesign.com/georgian-manor-house-oxfordshire

What style of panelling are Georgian walls?

There are a couple of styles of Georgian wall panels. Firstly decorative mouldings which were a simple yet effective way of making a room look elegant and grand. Secondly, wall panelling that was applied to dado rail height, usually in a shaker style pattern. Thirdly, we have the strip panels most often found in hallways and bathrooms. As you can probably tell by now – each era took different wall panelling elements from the previous periods – if anything it’s more about placement than the shape. 

How high are Georgian wall panels?

Traditionally Georgian wall panelling was placed up the middle portion of the wall and capped with a dado rail. However wall mouldings could take up the entire wall. There was a lot of variation with Georgian wall panelling placement, it depended largely on which area of the house it was installed in. 

Georgian Wall Panelling via Louise Booyens Interiors – https://www.louisebooyens.com/post/interior-design-style-georgian

Did the Georgians use MDF wall panelling?

Unfortunately no, the Americans didn’t invent MDF until the 1960s. The Georgians had to make do with wood wall panels and mouldings – which were quite time consuming to design and install. We’re lucky to have MDF wall panelling as an alternative, which has the same properties but is considerably easier to fit and cheaper.

Can I Recreate Georgian Panelling With MDF?

What better way to recreate Georgian wall panelling than with MDF. It’s super easy to install and will stand the test of time. We’ve included some handy MDF wall panelling installation guides to show you just how easy it is to recreate Georgian wall panelling in your home. 

MDF is used to build cabinets and storage shelves, it’s an incredibly dense and sturdy material – which is what you need when you’re fixing it to a wall especially in high traffic areas such as the hallway and stairs. 

Is Georgian MDF Panelling Hard?

We don’t think so and we spend all day everyday thinking about the various different wall panelling styles and applications. Georgian mdf wall panelling is quite a simple process, more so because you’ll be using MDF in place of wooden wall panels.

If you’re still thinking about whether you should use wooden wall panels for your Georgian wall panelling project – have a look at our article on Why You Should Stop Buying Wood Wall Panels and Try MDF Wall Panelling Instead! Whether you’re a DIY pro or a beginner – Georgian mdf wall panelling can be fitted by anyone. 

How do I recreate Georgian wall panelling at home?

With relative ease! There are a few steps you need to take to recreate the Georgian MDF wall panelling trend at home. Most importantly, which room will you be panelling? You don’t have to panel just one room, you can panel them all if you so wish.

Next, you need to pick the type of Georgian wall panelling that you want to install, will you be opting for ornate wall mouldings or perhaps shaker style wall panels

Will you be panelling the entirety of the wall height or stopping midway? Dado rails were commonplace in Georgian homes, so if you want a truly Georgian vibe – these are worth considering.

Now for our favourite part, what colour scheme do you have in mind? The Georgian aesthetic was bold but not quite as bold as the Victorian interior design style. Think sage green, burgundy, or pastel tones for a more muted effect. Of course, you aren’t restricted to these colours – you can choose any shade and finish you like. 

Modern Georgian Wall Panelling via House & Garden – https://www.houseandgarden.co.uk/gallery/wall-panelling

Is Georgian MDF panelling expensive?

MDF wall panelling is definitely the cheapest option when recreating Georgian wall panelling. Unless of course you have an enormous budget and want to try the wooden wall panelling option. You can purchase Georgian mdf panelling kits online for considerably less money than the wood alternative, plus it should only take a couple of hours to install, depending on the size of the space you wish to panel. 

Where Can I Buy MDF Georgian Wall Panelling?

Where do we buy anything these days? Online of course. Thanks to the beauty of the internet, you can pick and purchase your panelling within the space of a few minutes – make sure you read the product description though. Furthermore, ensure the supplier you buy it from is reputable, always read the reviews and the terms and conditions. Alternatively, you can utilise our online mdf cut to size service, simply pick your sheet material and input your measurements – we’ll do the rest.

In conclusion Georgian wall panelling can be easily replicated at home with an mdf panelling kit. So if you’re looking to breathe some life into your period property or adorn the walls of your contemporary home – Georgian Wall Panelling is for you. 

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