Tue, 17 Apr 2012 by Allen, Kristi
A few years ago I tackled a quick home improvement project in my dining room and since then I've gotten tons of positive comments on the look. It was so easy and inexpensive to do, I decided to share the details here for those who want to create the same "paneling" look in their new home in Utah.
SUPPLIES & TOOLS
1X4 MDF, it took me about 15 pieces (each 16' long) to do my 11'X11' dining room
White paint that matches your trim, I used KWAL HHW 3090
An optional accent paint color to go above the paneling
Saw (a power miter saw will save you time but you could saw each piece the old fashioned way)
Paint brushes and rollers
1. First decide how high you want the paneling to go. It usually looks best to go 1/3 or 2/3 up the wall. For my 9' ceilings, I took my paneling up to a 6' height.
2. Next you have to determine how wide to space your boards. I suggest measuring your focal or main wall then dividing that by 4, 5, 6... depending on how long it is. Keep in mind that you will lose about 3/4" on each side at the corners, so first subtract that from your total length. For my main wall I did 5 sections that were each just over 25". It is most important that your main wall looks well proportioned, but you will also want to measure your other walls to see how the panels will lay out all the way around the room. Irregularly shaped rooms may require some creativity or a little give and take on spacing to make everything work.
3. Before beginning any cutting, painting or nailing, draw your room to scale or lightly sketch the panel locations directly on your walls. This will save you time in the long run and help you identify any difficult spots like outlets, windows etc and how they will intersect with your work.
CREATING THE LOOK
1. If you are using an accent color above the paneling paint this now. Mark a line or put up painters tape all the way around the room about 2" lower than the top of where your paneling will be. Don't worry about being too neat as the boards will cover the line.
2. The first board you cut and install will run horizontally right above your existing baseboards (NOTE: You can do this a fancier way, by removing the baseboards and installing your paneling "behind" the baseboard. I found this to be too much work and very complicated, so this is my simple version.) Measure so that the board runs continuously from corner to corner. Check that the board is snug to the baseboard and level before nailing it securely in place.
3. Next do your other base horizontal pieces. When you measure now, each board will not run completely to the wall, instead it will meet with another board. Just measure from the first board to the next corner and so on.
4. Once all of your base pieces are installed you can start with the top horizontal pieces. Start with your main wall and measure the length of the wall at whatever height you have determined for your paneling (mine was 6'). Don't assume that your top piece will be the same as the base piece you already installed, walls are often slightly tilted or bowed. You may need an assistant to help you hold your piece level as you nail it in place. Continue around the room until you have a complete horizontal band.
5. Now it's time to install your vertical "paneling" pieces. DO NOT assume that they will all be the same length. Measure each piece carefully, starting with the corner pieces. For a finished look, I installed two boards at each corner. The first board should be installed a little less than 3/4" from the wall. Double check that it is plumb (perfectly vertical) with a level before nailing. Install the next piece so that they meet and create a corner. There may be some small gaps, but nothing that can't be filled easily with a little caulk.
6. Once all of your corners are in place double check the spacing you have planned for your other vertical pieces. Measure each one carefully and install them at your predetermined locations. When measuring distances between each board it is easier to measure from the left side of the board to where the left side of the next board will be (or do this with the right sides) instead of trying to find the center of each board.
Ta da! You've finished the installation. Now there's just a few more steps until your room looks fresh and complete.
7. Caulk completely around the edges of your paneling, anywhere there is a joint between two boards and wherever a board meets the wall.
8. Paint the wall and paneling white to match your trim. You can use a brush to get the corners and a roller for everything else, or for a really finished look, use a spray gun. Just be sure to mask and tape off anything you don't want painted. Hopefully you have a spouse or friend to help with the painting; you will probably need several coats and it can get tedious!
After the paint has dried, relax and enjoy your work. Or maybe plan a dinner party or get together to show off your beautiful new home!
I'd love to see your results on this or any fun projects you have completed in your new home in Utah. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to show off your work or ask questions along the way. And if you find this post helpful or inspirational, please pass it along to your friends and family using the "Share" button at the top of the blog.