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MDF Wall Panelling ~ How to Create Board & Batten Panelling

Posted on by Kirsty Fletcher • 44 comments
Reading Time: 6 minutes

MDF Wall Panelling ~ A step by step beginners DIY Board and Batten MDF Wall Panelling guide ~ How to panel a wall with MDF in your home.

MDF Wall Panelling is a really easy and very cost-effective way to transform a bedroom, living room or bathroom. In fact, you can transform any room in your home with MDF Board and Batten Wall Paneling but it takes a bit of measuring, calculating and planning before you get your hands dirty.

Here’s my step-by-step beginner’s guide to help you get started with planning your DIY Board and Batten MDF wall paneling.

DIY Wall Panelling MDF

Stage One

Before you do anything, you’ll need to decide;

• What thickness of MDF you’re going to use. MDF comes in varying depths. 6, 9, 12, 18 & 25mm. (We opted for 9mm as that worked best with the depth of our skirting board).

• What width you’re going to cut your panels to (or have your panels cut to). We went for 100m (10cm)

Stage Two

Equipment you are going to need for this stage.

• A tape measure
• Pieces of paper
• Pencil
• A large Spirit level
• A bit of patience!

Step by Step guide to calculating and measuring out for your panels.

1. Start by measuring the width of your wall – measure it 3 times to make absolutely sure you’ve got it right! (My wall is 400cm)

2. Next, work out roughly the distance you’d like between each vertical panel which will determine how many panels you are going to need. I went for 8.

3. Times the number of panels you’d like by the width of a panel (so in my case it was 8 x 10cm = 80 cm

4. Take the width of the wall and subtract the figure in step 3. This will leave you with the total sum you have to play with for the gaps between the panels. My workings were 400cm – 80cm = 320 cm

5. Divide that figure (320cm in my case) by the number of gaps you’ll be left with. So I wanted 8 panels which gives 7 gaps between the panels. So I divided the figure of 320cm by 7 = 45.7 cm.

Still with me?!

6. Now, you’ll need to work out the height you’d like the panels to be. Taking into consideration other items in the room such as window sills, bed heads, etc. We went for 143cm

7. So next, you need to work out how many horizontal panels you are going to need to sit across the top of your vertical panels. Take your chosen height of panels (this will help keep the cuts to a minimum) and then work out how many you can fit across the width of your room. Here are my workings as an example.

MDF Board and Batten Wall Panelling Calculator

Width of room = 400cm
Height of panels = 143cm
400cm divided by 143cm = 2.79 times!
So we needed 2 panels at 143cm = 286cm
leaving 1 panel at 114 cm (400cm – 286cm)

So our final workings for the cutting of the MDF were

10 x 143cm x 10cm (8 vertical and 2 horizontal)
1 x 114 cm x 10cm

It’s a lot of working out but you’ve really got to get it right!

Stage Three

Next, it’s time to draw out the panelling on your wall.

For this, you’ll need a tape measure, a pencil and a spirit level (the bigger the better!)

This stage is important as it’ll highlight any incorrect measurements you may have made as well as any issues with plug sockets or light switches.

Stage Four

Now it’s time to purchase your sheets of MDF. We sourced ours from B&Q. The sheets we found in our local store were 1830mm H x 610mm W x 9mm

I then took the sheets of MDF to the cutting area and gave over the measurements. I have been told that not every B&Q offers this service so it’s worth checking first.

Stage Five

It’s now time to attach your panels to the wall.

There are a few ways to do this.

Option 1

You could opt for the glue and nail gun option. If you don’t have a nail gun you can hire them from a Tool Hire company but it’s not cheap! I think they quoted me about £75 for a weekend! If you know someone who has one you can borrow, then I’d recommend doing that!

This option is by far the quickest & easiest but if you like to change the décor in your home regularly (like me) this option may in the long run cause you to need to re-plaster the wall behind the paneling as removing the glued down panels may bring the plaster off along with it.

Option 2

Screwing the panels to the wall. The No glue option. This is the option we went with.

Now, this option takes a lot longer but will save you money and time in the future should you decide you don’t like it anymore.

Step 1

First, you need to drill 3 holes in your panel top, middle and bottom. (You may only need a screw at the top and bottom of the panel if your walls are straight! My house is 1930’s and there isn’t a straight wall in the house! The reason for this is the panel may bow in the middle if the wall isn’t straight.

Step 2

It’s now time to mark where the holes are on the wall with a pencil. (Start with the vertical panels first).

Step 3

Next you need to drill holes in the wall and insert wall plugs so your screws have something to grip onto.

Step 4

Now you need to use a countersink drill bit to create a small cavity so your screws sit flush in each drilled hole of the panel.

Step 5

It’s time to screw it to the wall. This is where you really start to see it coming together.

Repeat for each panel.

Step 6

Your next step is to caulk all the edges and fill all the holes with poly filler so you get a nice finished when you paint them. I did the caulking with my finger and a cloth but there are tools you can buy from most hardware stores to help with this if you’d rather not use your finger!

Step 7

Once everything is dry, sand back the poly filler and repeat if needed. The screw holes will show if you don’t do this properly (I speak from experience!)

Step 8

Then it’s time to prime the mdf! I really would advise that you don’t skip this step because you will regret it later!

Step 9

This is the fun part! It’s time to get the colour on! We needed 3 coats to cover it all! We used eggshell paint as it covers imperfections brilliantly.

Step 10

Now it’s time to sit (or lay) back and admire all your hard work!

Other Panelling Ideas

I’ve also written another blog about another style of panelling called Tongue and Grove panelling. To have a read click here.

This is my Tongue and Groove Panelling in my hallway which I love too!

MDF Wall Panelling

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You can also find lots more inspiration over on my Instagram Page @greenbank_interiors

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44 Responses

  1. Lisa says:

    Just love this and your colour scheme. The green is beautiful. Very inspirational. Thank you, again 😊

  2. Kate says:

    Was it hard to get the colour on the wall to look the same as on the mdf…different surfaces ?

    • The wall was white initially. We then primed the mdf and then painted the wall and Mdf with colour. X

      • Rachael says:

        I just want to say a massive thankyou! I’m a single mum with little to no support and I really wanted a half panel wall for my little girls room because I love the look it gives a room. I searched and searched and thought I can’t do this then came across your page and honestly from start to finish I’ve followed and I’ve just tonight finished the panels I’m so proud of myself! And I’ll never be able to thank you enough for this step by step guide! 🥺😍 xxx

        • Hi Rachael

          What a wonderful message!

          You should be very proud of yourself! I’m so impressed! Well done!

          You must send me some photos to my email as I’d love to see what you’ve created.

          Thank you for taking the time to send such a lovely message.

          You’ve literally made my day.


          • Maureen Butcher says:

            Hi Kirsty
            Your bedroom looks fabulous.

            I’m just about to start mine, but I’m worried about the paint to use as there are both wood and walls involved. Could you tell me what you used please?

            Many thanks


          • Hi Maureen

            Thanks for the note.

            As long as you prime the wood or mdf you will be fine to use the same paint on the walls and the panels.

            I would recommend an eggshell.

            Hope that helps.


  3. Jill says:

    Thank you for this tutorial, helped so much, off to get the materials now xx

  4. Dave says:

    Diy gold..

  5. Leann says:

    Just gorgeous! Hope you dont mind me asking but did you use a matt paint or an eggshell?
    Kind regards

  6. Stephen Mckee says:

    What make and colour was the green please.

  7. hayley whyman says:

    Hi, lovely result. Did you have an issue with B&Q limiting the number of cuts they would do due to covid?

    • Hi Hayley

      I did this panelling pre-Covid but I have heard since writing this that some B&Q stores are a bit funny about the amount of cuts they’ll do.


  8. Andrew says:

    Love the look of your panelling could I ask what size and type of screws you used to secure your panels, and were they brass? I also have a 1930’s house, so think your method will work best for me.

    • Hi Andrew

      We used countersunk multipurpose screws. The wall they are screwed into is brick so we used raw plugs and fairly long screws at 40mm.

      It doesn’t really matter what colour screws you use if you are going to fill and paint over them – but yes we used brass coloured – not for any particular reason other than that’s what my father-in-law had in his garage!

      Hope that helps.



  9. Ali says:

    This looks great and really helpful step by step! Did you paint the wall and the MDF with eggshell or did you use emulsion on the bits inside the panelling?

  10. Great project, thanks for the info, debating whether to glue or screw on our walls? Would you have any thoughts about doing a whole living room? We have a 1930s house with a square bay window and a few buttresses breaking up the lines as well as a chimney breast which will be staying. I will be using MDF (thus painted) I’d rather not go round them but it would make that totally fitted look. What do you think?
    many thanks

  11. Katy says:

    Hey, I’ve made the mistake of not sanding properly one bit of caulk. It’s been painted now and it shows! Any tips on how to fix?
    Should I sand then start again?

    Thanks 🙂

  12. Geri says:

    Absolutely fab loved this and colour scheme is great
    I ant to do this on my top landing and there are plasterboard lines for long time passed so I’m thinking of using theses as guisdes lines for distance fingers crossed

  13. Tony Falvey says:

    Hi. Just wondering why did you use Mdf instead of plained precut timber?

  14. Wes says:

    Hi thank you for sharing this great diy guide. Very helpful to diyers like me 🙂
    Did you use the same emulsion colour for both walls and MDF.


  15. Chris says:

    We are looking to panel our bedroom wall however with it being a new build, the wall at the top is slightly longer than the wall at the bottom. Anyone else have same problem and then worked out the measurements correctly?

  16. Ben King says:

    Hi Kirsty,

    Love the panelling here and it has inspired us to do ours over the Easter break. What cream did you use for above the panelling? Finding it hard to pick a cream that is subtle enough to compliment that green

    Thank you

  17. Nicky Gounaris says:

    This is so helpful!
    Thank you so much. Gluing the mdf down today 😱 Excited and nervous, i’ve wanted this wall panelling for ages! Do you have a home instagram page??

  18. Tina says:

    Absolutely love this, we are starting on our bedroom transformation following your guide,
    Where did you get that beautiful bed and bedside cabinets from please?

  19. Sri says:

    I’m so glad I came across your blog post on pannelling, I need to convince my husband and I might just be able to with this blog post! I’m tired of bare and white walls. We have wooden bed furniture like yours and wondered how it might look with panels so thank you so much for taking time to write and post the pictures. I wanted a new bed frame but didn’t want to spend unnecessary money.
    You mentioned eggshell a couple of times I think he comments, what are you referring to and what Color green and brand did you use? Thank you so much

    • Hi Sri

      So pleased you enjoyed this blog post.

      Eggshell is the finish of paint. Eggshell is between satin and flat on the sheen (and durability) scale and gets it’s name because it’s essentially a flat finish with little shine, like a chicken’s egg.

      Eggshell is great as it covers wall imperfections brilliantly.

      The colour on our panelling is Lichen by Farrow and Ball.

      Hope that helps.

      Kirsty x

  20. Wendy Seaton says:

    Lovely, going to do this.

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