How to Panel a Wall

Wall paneling is a popular decorating technique, because it adds a distinguished style and beauty to almost any room. You can hire a professional to install this look, but this option is costly and in many cases unnecessary, since you can learn how to panel a wall or a room with the right tools and a few basic instructions.


  1. Image titled Panel a Wall Step 1
    Select the type of paneling you like best, as there are many wood options to choose among. You will need to decide whether you want to install wood sheeting or boards and in what size and wood type. You can research the various styles and colors online or at your local hardware supply store to help make your choice.
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    Measure the room you would like to install paneling in, so you can calculate exactly how much you need to purchase. Use a tape measure, begin at 1 end of the first wall, and extend the measuring tape along the length of the wall until you reach the other side. Repeat this step on any other walls you wish to panel, and record the results so you can take them with you to the store.
  3. Image titled Panel a Wall Step 3
    Purchase the wood paneling. Most manufacturers offer guides that can calculate how much paneling to purchase. If you are unsure, ask a sales associate for help.
  4. Image titled Panel a Wall Step 4
    Lay out the wood panels in the room you will be installing them in, and allow them to acclimate to the room temperature and humidity level for approximately 2 to 5 days. This will prevent the wood from shrinking or expanding once installed.
  5. Image titled Panel a Wall Step 5
    Position the first panel at the corner of the first wall, and use a second person to hold the wood. Use a level to make sure the paneling is plumb or even. Use a compass to mark the corner edge of the panel so you can cut it to fit tightly in to the corner, and make sure to draw the compass down the adjoining wall as you go. This will copy any wall unevenness on the panel board and make for a tighter fit.
  6. Image titled Panel a Wall Step 6
    Remove the first panel from the wall, and shave the edge along your marked line with a saber saw. Use a fine-toothed blade to avoid fraying or shredding the wood.
  7. Image titled Panel a Wall Step 7
    Ask your helper to assist you. Replace the paneling flush against the wall, and nail it to the corner with wood-paneling nails. For best results, use a nail gun, but a hammer will also work. Place the nails in the dark groove surfaces to achieve the best look.
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    Repeat the installation process with the next panel piece, and continue along the wall or walls until you have completed the room.


  • Most walls have electrical outlets, windows, or switches that you will need to cut holes in the panel to accommodate. For this, ask your helper to hold the panel against the wall where the obstacle is, and mark its position on the back of the panel piece. Measure the distance from the end of the adjoining panel already installed on the wall to both sides of the window, switch, or outlet. Mark the distances onto the panel backing for accuracy. Use your saber saw with a fine-toothed blade to cut the exact shape, and install the paneling piece as normal.
  • You may opt to use 1-by-4 wood furring strips to attach the paneling to your walls. While this adds bulk to your wall and makes the overall room size slightly smaller, it will help level the walls if you have wallboards, uneven plaster, or other wall damage. If you choose the strips, you need at least 1 furring strip per wall stud. Nail them to the studs first, and then continue with the paneling installation steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Wood paneling
  • Level
  • Compass
  • Saber saw with fine-toothed blade
  • Paneling nails
  • Nail gun or hammer
  • 1-by-4 wood furring strips (optional)

Article Info

Categories: Interior Walls Ceilings and Floors