The Top 5 Mistakes People Make With Wall Panelling
DIY How To Guide


Written by Maddie

What are the most common mistakes people make when panelling their walls? We’re going to tell you. 

We like to think that panelling your walls is a pretty straightforward process, but we’re panelling pros and sometimes we forget that not everybody is privy to the technical stuff. So we took some time and thought long and hard about the 5 biggest mistakes that people make when installing MDF wall panels and put together a list so you don’t make the same blunders. 


First and foremost, you must measure the space you’re going to be panelling. Heck! measure it several times to be sure – at least twice for good measure. You will need to take the skirting board into consideration too, unless you plan on removing the skirting entirely. If you’re panelling your wall floor to ceiling then take the coving into account as well (the skirting between the wall and ceiling). You don’t want to be wasting time cutting your panels down if they’re too long when you could be doing something more interesting, like admiring your newly panelled walls because you took the coving into account and everything fitted like a dream. 

Coving / Cornice
Coving – take this into account when measuring up for your wall panels.

When buying panelling kits online, always check how many pieces you are ordering and cross-check it with your measurements. This way you can ensure you achieve the desired coverage. There’s nothing worse than ordering an mdf cut to size whilst under the impression that you’re going to transform your entire living room, and then unwrapping six pieces of panelling that will only cover a quarter of the wall. We’ve been there – it hurts.

Always check your walls beforehand – for things like bumps, cracks, nodules, hidden doors, trap doors – the usual stuff. Lumps and bumps are easy to sand down or fill if necessary and this will prevent you from having bumpy panelling. For small areas that need filling you can always caulk it after you’ve glued the panelling to the wall this will fill any gaps and prevent your panelling from protruding. Panelling hides a multitude of sins but it’s always better to deal with any that are jutting out of the wall.

A general example of a wall that needs a bit of TLC before panelling.

When panelling it’s important to figure out the middle point of the wall, you can then work outwards to create a uniform design. Don’t start at one end and work your way down as it will be off-centre and ruin the entire aesthetic – unless you detest symmetry then by all means work from whatever point you want. 

We’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times. Always prime your MDF wall panels. MDF is very porous, which means if you paint it without primer it will essentially just absorb the paint – you’ll end up spending way more on paint than you need to and the colour won’t pop as much as it should. Try to apply two to three coats of primer before you start painting. 

If you paint without primer you’ll notice large bubbles appearing on the surface and if we’re completely honest it’ll just look a bit rubbish. 

MDF being primed before painting.

Keep these tips in mind when you start your wall panelling project and you won’t go wrong. We hope. 

Additional Information

We found a really helpful article by Jennifer Noonan and Bob Vila on how to paint MDF properly –

Not sure which primer to choose? Check out this blog from A Lick Of Paint –

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