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Designs Historic Wall Panelling Wood Wall Panelling

Understanding Wood Panelling For Walls 

Undertaking a panelling project? Want to know more about wooden panels for walls? We have the answers. 

Here at Tablero we’re often asked questions about wooden panels for walls – What are they? What does it involve? Are wooden panels expensive? Can I use tree bark instead?

The list is endless, and surprisingly there’s not as much information available on wood panels for walls as we’d like there to be. We figured what better way to spread the knowledge on wooden wall panelling than to put together the most popular FAQs on this subject. Let’s begin. 

Jacobean Style Wall Panelling in Oak from Oakleaf

What is wood panelling for walls called?

Essentially wood panelling is just an indication of the material being used – i.e  wood. There are many different names for panelling styles – you just need to stick the word ‘wood’ in front of it, for example wood shaker wall panels. See? Easy peasy. 

Hold On – Isn’t There A Technical Term?

Not really, people often get MDF and wood confused so generally people are normally searching for ‘MDF wall panels‘ and not ‘wood wall panels’. Wooden wall panelling is quite a dated interior design technique and a costly one too. If you’re looking to transform your home on a budget, wooden wall panelling may not be for you. But don’t worry, MDF wall panelling is a modern and cheaper alternative which still offers a wood panel effect.

Replicating Jacobean Style Wall Panels with strips of MDF – photo credit – From Evija With Love

What’s The Difference Between Wood Panels And MDF Panels For Walls?

Primarily, cost.  Wooden panels for walls are quite costly, however you can replicate the same wood panel effect with mdf wall panels which are considerably cheaper. Price aside, these two products are made up of different materials – wood wall panelling is derived entirely from wood – which is no real shock to anyone. MDF is an engineered wood product, it’s stronger than plywood and it’s typically used in cabinet making and for constructing storage units. Medium Density Fibreboard is the technical term – exciting right?

Although MDF is technically derived from wood fibres it is actually a clever alternative to using wood for panelling applications. And we’re here to tell you why!

MDF has the same qualities as wood – it’s sturdy, hard-wearing and can stand the test of time, but more importantly MDF won’t give you splinters. We hate splinters. 

It’s very easy to cut as long as you have the right tools – we would not advise attempting to cut MDF with a butter knife or scissors. If you’re not sure on the tools you need to successfully panel a wall – this guide will help.  

Once the MDF is primed and painted – you really can’t distinguish between it and it’s wooden counterparts. Moreover, MDF is really enjoyable to paint – we know we’re a bit sad. 

Georgian Wall Panelling
Georgian Wall Panelling using MDF

Are Wooden Panels For Walls Expensive?

In comparison to wooden wall panels MDF is a lot more affordable per metre, it’s certainly the cheaper alternative to wood panelling which is quite important if you’re looking to transform your home on a tight budget.

With wooden panelling for walls you need to hire a skilled tradesman to install them – which as you can imagine is quite expensive. 

However with MDF, you have multiple options. You can purchase sheets of MDF and measure out your panelling design, cut the sheet into strips and glue them into place. Or if you want the super easy and cheap wall panelling option, you can simply buy an MDF Wall Panelling Kit online. 

How Much Does It Cost To Wood Panel A Wall?

Wooden wall panelling typically costs around £300-£400 per square metre. Which is a huge contrast compared to MDF wall panelling which is usually around the £20-£50 per square metre mark. 

Now you have an insight into the differences between wood panelling for walls and MDF panelling. We have an abundance of wall panelling installation guides if you’re still torn between the two. Maybe you’ve made your decision but need some panelling inspo – right this way.

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Designs MDF Wall Panelling Kits Wall Panelling Installation Wood Wall Panelling

Why You Should Stop Buying Wood Wall Panels and Try MDF Wall Panelling Instead!

The benefits of using MDF Wall Panelling to upgrade your interior.

Just hear us out on this one, ok? 

Over the last year we’ve seen a huge resurgence in the popularity of wall panelling. Victorian walls are now back in fashion and personally we cannot get enough of them. Shaker, Jacobean, Strip, Georgian – there are so many panel styles to choose from – the options are endless. Social media is awash with trendy wall panel designs, from celebrities to high-end interior designers, everyone seems to be embracing the wall panel trend. 

Thankfully we’ve come a long way since the Victorian era. We’re sure the industrial revolution was heaps of fun but we’re somewhat relieved that we weren’t there to experience it firsthand. Wooden wall panelling was the height of fashion in this period, it’s sleek design has echoed through the ages and now it’s back, reimagined with a contemporary flourish. 

Shaker Style Wall Panelling
Wall Panelling in a Shaker Style.

Fast forward to today, new and improved products are readily available, namely MDF. 

What is MDF? Medium Density Fibreboard is the technical term – exciting right? MDF is an engineered wood product, it’s stronger than plywood and it’s typically used in cabinet making and for constructing storage units.

Despite MDF technically being derived from wood fibres it is actually a fantastic alternative to using wood in panelling applications. And we’re here to tell you why!

Firstly, it has the very same qualities as wood, for instance – it’s sturdy, hard-wearing and can stand the test of time, but most importantly MDF won’t give you splinters.

It’s easy to cut provided you have the right tools – we definitely would not recommend attempting to cut this product with a butter knife or scissors. If you’re unsure of the tools you need to successfully panel a wall – we’ve got you covered. 

When MDF is painted – you really can’t tell the difference from it’s wooden counterparts. Furthermore, MDF is quite enjoyable to paint, it just glides right on and the finished shade will really pop – but make sure you prime it first!

Compared to wooden wall panels, MDF wall panels are considerably cheaper. MDF is a lot more affordable per metre, it’s certainly the cost effective alternative to wooden panelling which is quite important if you’re looking to transform your home on a budget. 

For wooden wall panelling you would need to hire a skilled tradesman to design the panels, source the materials and install it – that’s big bucks. 

Traditional wooden wall panelling.

Whereas with MDF, you have multiple options. You can buy sheets of MDF and measure out your panelling design, cut the sheet into strips and glue them into place. Or if you want the super easy/ minimal fuss panelling option, simply buy an MDF Wall Panelling Kit – you won’t have to worry about cutting it down, the strips are pre-cut for you. All you need to do is follow the instructions to the tee and voila! Your drab and dreary wall has been transformed into a chic and trendy talking piece – with very little effort and cost. If you’re not feeling particularly inspired have a read of The Ultimate Guide to Wall Panelling for some stylish wall panelling ideas.