Ornate wall panelling guide by Daniel Bland

Wall panelling is a really fast and easy way to spruce up a room, small or large. For this home DIY ornate wall panelling project, I transformed my spare room into a home gym (to try and encourage myself to actually use the exercise equipment I bought months ago).

When it comes to ornate wall panelling, there are loads of different styles and materials you can use, however the principles are largely the same so feel free to take these tips and do your own thing… I’ve gone for ornate full length panels with a fun curved corner detail using the ORAC range from Manomano. It was perfect for my project thanks to its lightweight and slightly flexible qualities (my walls are rather wonky) meaning I could simply measure, cut and stick without any fuss.

Materials & tools you need for DIY ornate wall panelling:

The materials you need for your DIY ornate wall panelling

Step 1: Prepare the walls 

Start by checking over the walls and use some wall filler to fix any holes/dents and sand once dry, and because I started with a black room I gave it a coat of cheap white paint so I could actually see my pencil markings next.

Step 2: Plan proportions for the ornate wall panelling

Before you get started, you need to plan out your panel arrangement (this takes a bit of calculating so grab a piece of paper) and measure the width and height of your walls. First decide the number of panels you want on each wall (I went for 3 on each of the long walls and 1 on the back wall) and how big you want the gaps between each panel and the ceiling/floor (I went for a 10cm gap between and above, and 20cm gap at the bottom because of my plug sockets). If, like me, you’re repainting the room afterwards then go ahead and draw on the walls with pencil and see what looks good if you want to!

If you’re having the panels all equal width then you take your wall width, subtract the total sum of the gaps, and divide that by the number of panels.

e.g. 4m wall with 3 panels, 

subtract 4x 10cm gaps = 360cm

Divide by 3 (number of panels) = 120cm (width of each panel

(10cm, 120cm, 10cm, 120cm, 10cm, 120cm, 10cm = 4m)

Side note: I wanted a larger feature panel in the middle, marked out on the wall by eye and measured it to then subtract from the total width e.g. 10cm, 105cm, 10cm, 150cm, 10cm, 105cm, 10cm = 4m.

Step 3: Marking out wall panels

Using a pencil, mark out the placement for the panels on the walls. It’s a good idea to check the height of your walls at both ends of the room because it turns out my ceiling/floor aren’t parallel to each other, which means even if the panels have perfect right angles, they will look wonky to the eye. In order to avoid this I measured and marked my 10cm gap coming down from the ceiling and regular intervals and drew a line to connect them; this will be the top of the panels. Then do the same measuring up from the skirting boards so you have two lines running the length of the walls that mark the top and bottom of the panels. Along those lines you can mark out the spacing for the panels and use your spirit level or laser level to mark the vertical lines for the panels.

If you’re not adding any corner details then you can move on, if you are then you need to mark the wall for where they will go. I held one up to the corner of my drawn out panel and measured the horizontal and vertical until they were equal (in my case 13.5cm) and marked that measurement on all of the panel corners.

Step 4: Measure, cut, glue

Measure the panels you'll stick to the wall

Now you’re ready to start cutting! In an ideal world all the measurements would be nice and symmetrical but I’d recommend measuring your markings on the wall for each piece you cut, just in case. Using a mitre box you then cut each piece with a 45° angle at each end, remembering that the wall marking is the outside edge of the panel and you need to cut each end with opposite 45° angles to each other inorder to make a rectangle (I draw the diagonal line on the moulding before cutting it in case I get muddled up). Before glueing you want to offer it up to the wall to check its the right length and the angles are the right way round (always order a few extra lengths to allow for mistakes)

I like to cut all the pieces for a single panel and then glue them all at once, this way while the glue is still wet you can shimmy the pieces around once on placed on the wall in order to line up the corners as best you can (It’s not a big deal if there are some small gaps because you can fill those later).

Using the caulk gun and your adhesive, run a bead of glue down the entire length of your pieces to ensure good adhesion, and simply press onto the wall. Remove any excess glue that may seep out of the sides, and if you have any wonky walls where it won’t stay in place you can use masking tape to hold it down until the glue starts to set. 

Step 5: Caulk and paint your ornate wall panelling

Paint your wall panelling

Once your panels are all glued in place and dry, swap out the adhesive for decorators caulk and fill any gaps, be generous with it and then use a damp cloth to wipe away the excess. Once the caulk has dried for a couple hours you can go ahead and give it all a coat of paint, and you’re done!

Ornate wall panelling: finished project

I styled the room with some accessories from ManoMano, including a huge rug that basically covered the entire floor, a towel rail and side table, and even a selection of weights (x2 10kg dumbbells, x2 5kg dumbbells, and a set of 60kg dumbbells and barbell) for me to look at and feel guilty about not using. Et voilà!

Did you enjoy this article on DIY ornate wall panelling by Daniel Bland? Why not read our tutorial on a DIY sliding door or even our wall and ceiling paint buying guide!

Are you working on some ornate wall panelling too too? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway, #manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

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