Painting Wall Panelling 101: The Essential Guide

Unsure on how to paint your mdf wall panelling? We’ve put together an essential guide on how to make your mdf wall panelling look incredible. 

Painting mdf wall panelling isn’t as simple as applying a few licks of paint. You don’t want to fall foul to the common mistakes most people make when painting their wall panels. There’s a few tips and tricks you’ll want to know before you get started:

Check Those Walls

If you’ve read any of our articles, you’ll notice this comes up a lot. Checking your walls for holes and cracks, lumps and bumps, before you start your mdf wall panelling project is super important. Unsightly blemishes can be fixed really easily, but if you don’t – it could ruin your panelling project, boo! For lumps and bumps, simply sand them down. For small holes – we recommend a smidge of Polyfilla and a little bit of sanding once dry. We would advise having cracks and larger holes looked at by a professional. Just to be on the safe side. 

Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

Prep Those Walls

Painting your walls white before you adorn them with wall panels will ensure the colour you paint the wall panneling will match the wall once painted. It’s crucial to have a good base to start with. Especially if you are planning on using lighter tones when painting your wall panels. The white undercoat will provide you with a fresh base to work from. If the paint on your walls is peeling – you need to remove it before you get to work. The same applies for wallpaper. 

Photo by Lakeisha Bennett on Unsplash

Prime Your MDF  

This step should never be missed! Priming your mdf is imperative. Otherwise the mdf will absorb the paint and you’ll be left with large bubbles on the surface. Not a great look! Why does mdf need priming? It’s really porous so it will soak up the paint and leave you with a blotchy effect. Not only will this cost you more in paint, you might have to start again from scratch. We recommend applying 2-3 layers of primer to your mdf wall panels, make sure you allow drying time in between and before you begin painting them. 

Priming MDF via Bidvine

A Lick Of Paint

When applying paint to your wall panels you want to ensure the paint is evenly distributed, this can be achieved by using a small fluffy roller. By using a fluffy roller the paint application will be uniform, which is important because no one wants patchy wall panelling. You can use a paint brush to cut in and reach those nooks and crannies that the roller simply won’t reach. Or if you’re really into spending long hours simultaneously painting and daydreaming – you can just use a paintbrush to do the whole project. 

Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash

Drying time

Allow for drying time between each coat, this applies to both the primer and the paint. Check the instructions on both products as these will advise you of the amount of time you need to leave before adding the next layer. Drying time is important because paint can flake off or become tacky if you add another layer before it’s dry.

Spice It Up

One of our favourite trends right now is the combination of wall panelling and wallpaper. You can wallpaper above the wall panelling or apply wallpaper in the spaces between each panel. It enhances the wall panelling and allows you to introduce other shades and patterns to really give your interior walls some flair!

wallpaper with panelling
Image Courtesy of Graham & Brown

There you have it, everything you need to know about painting your wall panelling. If you’re stuck for wall panelling ideas – check out our gallery.

MDF Wall Panelling Kits

Should You Buy MDF Wall Panelling Kits Online?

Where’s the best place to buy mdf wall panelling kits – online or in-store? We take a look at the best way to buy an mdf wall panelling kit. 

Convenience is really important to us as consumers nowadays. Traipsing around the shops trying to find what you’re looking for just feels like a real chore. Especially when you can find it at the touch of a button online. Which is why it’s no real surprise that online sales are predicted to hit £4.5 trillion by 2023. It’s a lot less hassle browsing online, you can fit it in to suit your schedule and it won’t result in awkward encounters with people you’ve intentionally been avoiding. 

We’re often asked ‘Tablero, where’s the best place to buy mdf wall panelling kits?’. Personally we think online is best but we’ll take a look at your other options for buying mdf wall panelling kits first. 


There are several large diy chains in the UK that sell mdf wall panelling kits. However, we found them a bit lacking. There were no instructions included with the mdf wall panelling kit, we were simply handed some strips of mdf and sent on our way. This isn’t to say that all kits from diy stores are vague, but you will find that most of them revert you back to their website for more information – so why go in the store in the first place?

The Shaker MDF Wall Panelling Kit – Homebase


This one is a bit niche and to be quite honest it’s only suitable if you’re looking for reclaimed wooden wall panelling in a particular style from a specific time period. You would need to speak with specialists or the auction house itself to determine whether this would be a wise investment. Keep in mind that something with a lot of history isn’t going to be in the best possible condition and might not be the best option. Also, it will more than likely be made completely from wood and not mdf – so not really relevant here but it’s definitely worth a mention if you’re a collector of wall panels. 

Antique Walls Panels via Easy Live Auction


Ok, so there aren’t actually many options other than online or in-store for buying mdf wall panelling kits. Why do we think it’s best to buy mdf wall panelling kits online? Variety mainly, and the opportunity to buy from businesses that really do know a thing or two about mdf wall panelling.

When buying mdf wall panelling kits online, you have access to reviews, case studies and in-depth product descriptions. When you’re standing in the middle of a diy store, holding 9 strips of mdf – it’s quite hard to visualise how your mdf wall panelling will look once completed. Whereas online you can browse galleries and go through customer case studies to ensure you are buying the right mdf wall panelling kit for your project.

Plus there’s lots of wall panelling inspo available online to help you pick the wall panel style that’s right for you. 

Tudor Panelling
Jacobean panelling from These Three Rooms

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to buying mdf wall panelling kits online. There’s an abundance of stockists out there, take your time and find the right mdf wall panelling kit for you. If you aren’t feeling that creative and need a helping hand, check out our Wall Panelling Ideas page. 

MDF Wall Panelling Kits Wall Panelling Installation

What Do You Get With MDF Wall Panelling Kits

What’s included with MDF wall panelling kits? We take a look at what they have to offer, to help you pick the right one for the job. 

If you’re thinking of buying an mdf wall panelling kit there are a few things you need to know beforehand. We’ve put together a brief overview of what you get with the various types of mdf wall panelling kits on the market right now. 

Let’s start by looking at the different options of mdf wall panelling kits available. We’ve broken it down by price, starting with the least expensive option:

MDF Wall Panelling Kit – Strips

What’s included? With this type of mdf wall panelling kit you will receive pre-cut strips of mdf. These can be used to create a specific style of wall panelling, however they’re usually quite versatile and can be used to make several different wall panel patterns i.e. shaker, Tudor and slats. These are perfect if you’re looking to create the more popular styles of wall panels and can be installed with minimal fuss. 

MDF Wall Panelling Kit Using Strips to create Jacobean / Tudor panelling – What Hannah Did Next

MDF Wall Panelling Kit – Panels

These mdf wall panelling kits come as pre-made panels. Typically the supplier will note your wall measurements and tailor the panels to your requirements. There are a whole range of different wall panelling styles available which can be custom designed. These are usually intricate pieces or panels with more texture – panels that often protrude from the wall for a truly 3d effect. Depending on the complexity of the panels you can install them yourself or if they’re quite difficult the supplier may provide you with installation services – at a price. 

Custom made wall panels which protrude further from the wall – Panel Shack

MDF Wall Panelling Kit – Boards

These are the more expensive MDF Wall Panelling kits on the market. Once again these will normally be bespoke, the supplier will need to know the wall and room measurements to develop the boards for you. The wall panels are attached to sheets of MDF which are designed to fit the surface area you will be panelling. Installation should be provided with these as they may need to be amended or trimmed down for the perfect fit. This will be an additional cost.  

Wall Panelling Kit using panelled boards from James Mayor

As you can see when the mdf wall panelling kits become more complex, the price increases.

If you’re working with a tight budget, we recommend trying the more affordable option of the mdf wall panelling kit with strips. The versatility of the mdf strips means you can be more flexible with the application.

When it comes to wall panelling on a budget – we’ve put together a handy guide to help you reduce costs. It’s much cheaper than the other options available and easier than buying sheets of MDF and cutting them down yourself. You can completely avoid the stress of measuring and cutting each individual wall panel by hand – which is quite monotonous. 

In addition to your mdf wall panelling kit you will also need the following items:

  • Tape measure
  • Spirit level
  • Heavy duty grab adhesive
  • Caulk
  • Saw / Utility Knife
  • Sandpaper/ electric sander
  • MDF Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint Brush / fluffy roller & tray
  • Hammer (optional)
  • Nails (optional)

We’ve also included why you’ll need each of the above items, because we’re super helpful like that. 

Tape Measure – you’ll need this item to measure the space you’ll be panelling and to double check the measurements of the mdf wall panels

Spirit Level – this handy tool will help you to ensure your wall panels are well – level. Nobody wants wonky wall panelling. Unless that’s the aesthetic you’re trying to achieve. 

Heavy Duty Grab Adhesive – you’ll be using this product to attach your wall panelling to your walls. Make sure it’s high quality and most importantly once fitted – leave those panels to dry before you move on to the next step. 

Decorator’s Caulk – this is used to hide any of the seams between the wall panels – use sparingly and follow the instructions on the packaging. 

Saw/ Utility Knife – despite the strips being pre-cut for you – you will need to trim them down to fit the area you will be panelling or to recreate certain styles like Jacobean. For Jacobean you’ll need to cut the strips so the panels fit together instead of overlapping.  

Sandpaper/ electric sander – these are used to smooth any of the edges to ensure the strips of mdf fit together perfectly. 

MDF Primer – This product is really important. You must prime your MDF before you paint it, otherwise large bubbles will appear on the surface and completely ruin your wall panels. You need to apply 2-3 coats of primer before you paint. Make sure you let the primer dry before painting too. 

Paint – Of course you will need paint to bring your mdf wall panelling kit to life. As long as you prime the strips beforehand – you can use any paint you like. 

Paint Brush / Fluffy Roller & Tray – unless you plan on painting with your hands, you will need tools to apply it. We recommend using a fluffy roller to apply the paint to the panels and the paint brush to cut in those awkward spots. 

Hammer & Nails (optional) – for extra hold these can also be used to secure the mdf wall panels in place. Ideal for high traffic areas such as the hallway. 

In a nutshell this is what you will need to purchase in addition to your mdf wall panelling kit. For a more in depth look at the installation process – we’ve put together an informative guide on how to install mdf wall panelling kits. 

MDF Wall Panelling Kits

Where To Buy MDF Wall Panelling Kits In The UK

We’ve put together everything you need to know about buying MDF wall panelling kits in the UK. 

By now you’re probably very much aware that we’re very fond of mdf wall panelling. We get a buzz out of helping DIY’ers up and down the UK install mdf wall panelling in their homes. Our secret weapon? MDF wall panelling kits. Haven’t heard of them? Don’t worry all will be revealed. And if you’re aware of mdf wall panelling kits but don’t know where to buy them in the UK – we can help with that too. 

What are MDF wall panelling kits?

There are several options available in the UK right now. We’re going to focus on our favourite type of mdf wall panelling kit – mdf strips. These are fantastic because they are so versatile, you can use these strips to recreate any style of panelling you wish. Plus, it’s much cheaper than buying sheets of MDF and cutting them down yourself. You can buy mdf strips in a ready made wall panelling kit and completely avoid the stress of measuring and cutting each individual panel yourself – hurrah for convenience. 

Jacobean panelling from Panel Master

But why are MDF wall panelling kits better than doing your own wall panelling from scratch?  

It comes down to your level of skill with DIY, some folks have been doing it for years and some have just begun dipping their toes in. DIY home projects can seem quite daunting if you haven’t got much experience, but with the right advice – you can’t go wrong. There’s nothing we love more than helping people transform their homes and providing tips and tricks to ensure their mdf wall panelling project goes to plan. 

If you’ve got heaps of DIY experience and you think you’re up to the challenge of creating your mdf wall panelling from scratch – we’ve put together a helpful guide to help you on your way. However, if the thought of meticulously designing, measuring and cutting your own wall panels to size sounds quite frightening – there is a better option. MDF wall panelling kits come as strips of mdf already cut to size for you, make no mistake you will still have to make the odd amendment here and there but overall it’s a much easier process. 

Shaker Style Panelling Install from At Home With The Johnsons

You’ll be pleased to know that there are a lot of options in the UK for buying mdf wall panelling kits online. Essentially it’s the equivalent of buying flatpack furniture but without all the allen keys. You can also buy mdf wall panelling kits in some of the larger DIY chain stores. 

Whether you choose to buy your mdf wall panelling kit online or in store – there’s a few things you need to take into consideration first. Most importantly, which wall panel style do you want to install? There’s heaps to choose from and if you’re stuck for ideas – we have a whole page dedicated to Wall Panelling Ideas & Inspo. Once you’ve decided which style you want to create, you’ll need to workout whether you’re going to panel one wall or every wall. Perhaps you only want to install wall panelling in a singular spot to create a feature wall or maybe you’re looking to transform the entire room. Once you’ve established where you want to panel – you’ll need to measure the space. Be thorough with your measurements as you’ll be using those figures to quantify the number of panels you’ll need, from this you can then calculate how many mdf wall panelling kits you should buy. We always recommend buying slightly more than you need to be on the safe side. 

Stairway panelling kit install from Panel Shack

Now that you have all of the information you need, you can begin the search to find the best mdf panelling kit for your project. There are lots of companies in the UK to choose from, we always advise buying from a reputable supplier. How can you tell if they are reputable? Read their reviews, case studies and product descriptions.

All of the instructions should be available to you before you buy, so you can ensure it’s the right wall panelling kit for you. All high-quality mdf wall panelling kits come with instructions and if they seem pretty vague – check out our MDF wall panelling kit installation guide.

If you aren’t sure where to begin when searching for a supplier, try typing ‘mdf wall panelling kits UK’ into your preferred search engine, they are typically ranked by relevance to the search request. You’ll find that a fair few suppliers will appear, take your time, read the small print and don’t be afraid to ask questions. 

Personally, we think MDF wall panelling kits are the best invention since sliced bread, not only do they make the process quicker, they’re more cost effective too, and it’s a great way of kicking off your DIY journey.

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.

Designs Inspiration & Ideas Shaker Style Panelling

3 Reasons Why Shaker Panel Wall Panels Are On Trend Right Now

Want to know why Shaker wall panels are all the rage right now? We don’t blame you, read this blog to find out why. 

Shaker wall panels – we cannot get enough of them and neither can DIY’ers up and down the UK. This style of interior wall panel is currently on trend and we don’t see it disappearing anytime soon. From Pinterest to Instagram – Shaker wall panels are on every social media feed. We’ve put together three reasons why we think they’re the hottest trend in the UK right now and if you’re in serious need of some wall panelling inspo – you’re in the right place. 

  1. Firstly, you need less of them. Shaker wall panels are a relatively simple design, strips of mdf are vertically placed and evenly spaced apart to make a rectangular template, you then place strips horizontally above it to box it in. Imagine you’re framing the lower portion of your wall – that’s what it looks like. It lends texture to the wall and well makes it a bit more exciting because as we all know walls are usually quite dull. You can add a dado rail if you’re feeling fancy or leave it as is. If you’re feeling bold, why not use the shaker wall panels to span the wall floor to ceiling, it has a striking effect and still won’t require as many interior wall panels as other panelling designs.
Shaker wall panelling from Cloud Interiors –
  1. Secondly, the Shaker wall panels are so easy to fix to the wall yourself. Because you need fewer strips than tongue & groove wall panels and much less than Jacobean, shaker wall panels are quite possibly the easiest style of interior wall panel to install. The process is simple, and we’ve got plenty of installation guides to help you on your way. Shaker wall panelling requires considerably less time than other popular panel styles. Ease of installation means that you can panel even the trickiest of areas, you’ll find that the simplicity of the shaker wall panels will open up the smallest of rooms. It’s a staple in bathrooms right now, which are often the smallest room in the house with the least amount of natural light – thus making shaker wall panels the perfect choice to give the illusion of a larger space.
Bathroom shaker wall panelling via Pinterest –

3. Shaker wall panels are really versatile, so whether you want a modern aesthetic or a traditional classic feel for your interior walls – these are the optimal solution. But how do you go about achieving the right look for your home? Paint of course, with thousands of shades, hues and tones on the market – it’s easy to transform your interior wall panels. You can go bold with deep, rich colours like ivy green, mustard or raspberry. If you’re looking for a more subtle palette, there are an abundance of muted tones available, for instance dusky pink, sage green or duck egg blue.

Bold Shaker Wall Panelling from Real Homes –

There is plenty of wall panelling inspo already out there – we’ve put together a collection of our favourite interior wall panel designs and ideas to get your creative juices flowing.