A Step by Step Guide - DIY Wall Panelling

wall panelling bathroom house reno victorian painting girl with pearl earring gold taps dulux eygptian cotton

Hello lovers!

Welcome to my first Interiors Blog! 

Most of you will know me as Dani from Deluxe Blooms, but this past year I decided to take a massive leap and utter plunge out of my comfort zone and head into uncharted waters. I'm now also daniandthetownhouse and I've stepped into the interiors and house renovation world. So of course I had to set up another 'gram account to document the whole thing.

Now, I know you're here for the step by step guide into 'How To Achieve DIY Wall Panelling' and that's coming shortly. But first lets have a brief summary of where I currently am in this reno journey...

Here she is!

victorian house ilkley renovation townhouse bay window wall panelling

We bought a doer upper. Actually, that's putting it lightly...

Correction! We bought a four storey, fourteen room, knackered Victorian Townhouse in the heart of Ilkley, with severe issues in the roof, damp in the lower ground and mild vibes of a crack den. And don't even get me started on the wood chip wallpaper gracing every single vertical surface in the house. 

Now I certainly enjoy a challenge, but at times its felt like going for a gentle jog and finding yourself in the midst of the London Marathon. But, after digging deep into our motivation (and pockets!) we've made a LOT of progress in the 4 months we've lived here, that's for sure.

The roof is fixed! We've had all the broken tiles replaced and the whole vast area re laid. Two dormers were fixed, fitted with brand new insulation and sexy AF black cladding on the exterior. And then we also had to re-point a massive fuck off chimney breast which hosted 7 pots!! So that was a fun and unexpected cost. I told you, we've dug deep. Its been an overall spend of circa £20k just to fix the roof. It's a big bastard.

Internally, we've had an entire new heating system installed, along with a water tank large enough to swallow the tallest of men. Brand new cast iron radiators on the ground floor and each pair of valves of the 13 other radiators have been replaced and totally replumbed.

radiator cast iron grey black ilkley victorian house wall panelling

We moved in on the 7th Sept and come mid October when the central heating was being updated, we had many teeth chattering evenings. But now its January, its practically Narnia-esk outside and thanks to our new boiler its like living in a Southern climate. So that's definitely been money well spent. Never underestimate the essential need for heat and hot water.

As well as plumbing, we conquered the electrics. Stated in our eye watering survey was, "replace anything that might kill you, starting with the electrics". So naturally a total rewire was our no 1 priority. And that's certainly been no mean feat in this house. Especially as each room required 4-5 new double sockets chasing in the walls and sometimes several light switches. In total, I've dropped around £600 in new sockets and switches alone, and only on the ground floor are they the expensive brass kind. I haven't even totalled the new pendants for each room and hallways and the expensive light fitting in the living room. I don't think my heart (or husband) can cope just yet.

But let's move on to some positive news... we have a new bathroom! A brand new and clean one that wasn't put into production before I was born. If you brace yourself and you're in a seated position, then you can scroll to see the said bathroom below in the next picture and what it looks like now, minus the skirting board! What? I've been busy! :)

victorian house bathroom reno wall panelling freestanding bath neutral

So how did we get from A. Ugly AF bathroom to B. A beautiful one? I'll make this quick...

First, we ripped out the crap bathroom, which revealed an equally crap and crumbling wall that needed to be re-plastered. (Again with the digging deep £). After the walls and ceiling were saved and skimmed and modern spotlights installed, we re-plumbed ready for the new suite. Boarded then tiled the floor in white mosaic tiles. Then put the bath, toilet and freestanding sink in. The sink design was a personal achievement of mine, the idea to buy an old school desk off Facebook Marketplace and turn it into a sink stand. No, I'm never shy about singing my own praises, it was a fucking genius idea to be honest and I'm unashamedly proud of myself. 

Don't worry, I link all suppliers below for you! :)

After the messy part comes the fun part! And its probably the appearance of the new bathroom and more specifically, the sexy wall panelling that has drawn your knowledge thirsty eyes to this blog.

ilkley house reno victorian bathroom sink gold brass taps mirror wall panelling

Full disclosure, this wall panelling is something I did on my own, self taught, winging it, hoping for the best. To be honest, its how I function in most areas of my life. Motherhood included.

So here we go. How did I do it?

Things you’ll need to add wall panelling a bathroom wall;

Step no 1 - Pinterest the shit out of panelling ideas

Hit that app hard and daily. Look at styles of panelling, the different bead moulding cuts you can get, the thickness of the panel wood strips, the width and size of the accompanying dado rail. Pour yourself into paint colours too. Are you after a dark panelled wall or neutral?

All of this affects the end result, so research the bejesus out of it. In the end, for my panelling I went for a thin dado rail, a moulding strip which was symmetrical (Wickes W305 model to be exact) and Egyptian Cotton (silk) paint by Dulux to finish.

wall panelling dulux eygptian cotton ilkley house reno victorian bathroom


Step no 2 - Measure, measure and measure again!

No, I'm not even fucking kidding. I'm talking tape, pencil, spirit level on the whole space until you want to poke yourself in the eye with the damn pencil.

An example of how I did mine; I started on the only wall in the bathroom with nothing touching it, i.e. the wall behind the bath. So the wall is 230cm across. I figured I'd have the height at 145cm as we have a high ceiling so going half way up would have looked a bit ridiculous.

After measuring, several times for a straight line across the whole length of the back wall for the dado rail, and using the spirit level to make sure it was, well, level, I started to break up the wall into sections for where I wanted the panelling. I have a 1m spirit level which I doubled up as a ruler for marking my lines. If you don’t have one of these you’ll need a smaller spirit level and a large ruler. 

wall panelling bathroom victorian house ilkley renovation freestanding bath

So how did I even begin to do this? Well after drawing the dado line, I decided that a 10cm gap between each panel would look pretty cute. And also factored in a 10cm gap from the dado line to the top of each of the panel boxes too and a 10cm gap from the wall edge to the start of the 1st panel box. I knew I wanted 3 panels here, so I did some quick maths - 240cm wall width minus the 2 x 10cm from either corners of the wall for the gaps, minus another 2 x 10cm gaps in between the 3 panels, leaves 200cm to play with. Are you with me so far?

I knew i wanted a larger panel in the middle to frame the bath and taps, so I just winged it and thought if I have a 90cm wide panel in the middle that leaves 2 x 55cm panel boxes either side. And that brings my total measurements, of panels and gaps, back to 240cm, the full width of the wall. I randomly decided to have the panels be 70cm tall on the two smaller side panels (I'm after a deep skirting board you see so didn't want them going too low).

Then for the wider panel behind the bath, I brought the height up, making it just 45cm deep on the wall. I wanted you to see the whole panel, and not have it disappear from view behind the tub. So I drew all this out, using the spirit level to ensure I was getting all the pencil lines as straight as humanly possible.

Two cups of fresh coffee and an entire Rihanna album later and I'd finished the first wall.

And believe me that was the easy bit! The other 3 walls had windows, a cast iron rad, sink and toilet to work around. 

I moved on to the wall where the window is. I thought it was important to carry on with the 70cm height box panels and try and get the width as close as possible to 55cm across to make the whole look coherent and like I actually knew what I was doing. All while baring in mind the 10cm gap between everything. So I managed to fix two box panels on either side of the window at 43cm across for one panel and 45cm wide for the other and both 70cm in height. Drew it out. Looked pretty fit. Moved on.

wall panelling victorian house ilkley renovation bathroom remodel

You get the idea now? To achieve the best look, try and make as many panels as you can the same size. Also lining up the top and bottom strips of all the panels and equal distancing throughout your design will give you a fantastic professional finish. 

As most of mine were a similar size, that's why I thought I could be brave and give  the bath and radiator their own special extra wide panels, because, well, why the hell not!

Step no 3 - Cutting the wood strips

So if you've made it this far in the process (or indeed this mammoth blog) then well done. You deserve a god damn medal. For this you'll need your mitre box, a good saw, pencil and measuring tape. Using the 90° line cut all your moulding wood strips and dado wood to the correct lengths that you've measured on the wall. You should have four long cuts of dado rail (one for each wall) possibly more if you have more than four walls or your walls are wider than 240cm across, as that tends to be the max length for these wood strip things. And you should also have four strips of moulding wood cut for each box panel.

mitre box ilkley renovation victorian house

Now comes the tricky bit, or at least it was for me, I found this to be somewhat of a total mind fuck. I got an A in maths and I still wanted to kill myself at certain points of this stage. You need to saw each panel strip at 45° angles on both ends (NB with the flat bit of wood laid flat to the mitre box base and the design facing you) so that they join together for the panel look on the wall. I can't even explain how to do it properly to be honest.

All I know is, each strip will have one longer side (outer panel edge) and a shorter side (inner panel edge). The mitre box has 45° angles on both sides AND on right and left for cutting. Keeping the wood strip in position, cut one end at at 45° angle, slide across the other end to the other 45° mark on the mitre box and saw again.

If it helps you to visualise, lay the strips of wood for each square out on the floor into a rectangle and work out where your cuts need to go. I did this below and drew my angles out to make it easier for my struggling brain. The moulding I used was symmetrical so I could cut either way, but if your moulding is a different shape and has a higher side to it because of the curved shape, then you’ll need to make sure you cut the same way on each strip. 

When matching it all together all the longer sides go on the outside of the box and the shorter lengths on the inside where they, by some miracle of god, align and make a fucking square/ rectangle. This is all I know.

As if this wasn't hard enough, the dado rail was a ball ache of its own accord. You need to cut each end at 45° angles so they meet up in the corners of the room, UNLESS one side ends up next to a door frame or window frame and it can be left at 90°. This time, and this is really important, so you don't mess up like I did... CUT THE DADO RAIL WITH THE FLAT PART AGAINST THE SIDE OF THE MITRE BOX.

These 45° bastards are meeting in a totally different way on the wall and cannot be cut in the same way as the panelling strips. This information was apparently 'obvious' to Joe, but made my brain sweat, wondering where I'd gone SO wrong. 


Step no 4 - Putting it all together

Finally the fun bit!! After each wood strip is cut, you'll need to give the sawed end a little sand down with some sand paper to make it smooth. Luckily this doesn't take long and makes ALL the difference. And now you're ready to get gluing!

wall panelling moulding glue gun caulk diy ilkley victorian house renovation

I used No More Nails. At £5 a tube it does exactly what it promises and actually works. Fit the tube into the gun thing, and squeeze out a zig zag line across the back of your dado rail strips. Then just pick it up and stick it to the wall where you've drawn your line. I lined up the top of the dado wood strip with the pencil line, as it's easier to see it that way, rather than try to align with a line at the bottom. Hold for 45 seconds or so and it should hold.

wall panelling bathroom victorian house renovation diy ilkley cast iron radiator

Now you can stick your panels on! Hooray! Start with the glue gun thing and do the top strip first. Align the longer, outside of the strip to the pencil line and not the shorter inside line. Trust me. Check the straightness with the spirit level, then do the sides and finally the bottom strip and voila, a panel!! Don't worry about small gaps at this stage, That's where the caulk comes in.

Be sure to work quickly as that glue is strong and will start to set fast. Always line up first, press the end parts of your moulding down firmly against the wall and then work your way carefully across from the outsides to the centre, being careful to keep it in position. 

NB no wall is exactly 100% perfectly straight. Even my newly plastered walls. So don’t panic if some of the wood strips don’t sit flush all the way along. As long as you’ve got a good attachment to the wall on the end bits and some of the middle, you’ll be fine. This wood is lightweight, the glue is freakishly strong and caulk will save your ass in any gap situation you come across. 

Then all you do is repeat with all your strips and measurements and three days later you'll be done, exhausted, sporting several blisters and be fucking proud of yourself.


Step no 5 - Caulk away

wall panelling caulk bathroom reno victorian house ilkley

This is pretty self explanatory. Caulk all the bits of wood where it meets the wall. Its boring as shit, but totally necessary for a smooth finish when you're painting. Its also a chance to fill in any holes and small gaps you have either where the wood hasn't attached flush to the wall or where the corners meet on your panelling. Wipe away excess caulk with your finger or a damp cloth if needed. Then jobs a good un. Wait 24 hrs to dry.


Step no 6 - Paint time baby

Crack open that pot and breathe in those paint fumes, its time to finish this labour of love with a lick of your fave colour. This can be done either with a brush, small roller or both. I opted for brush when going over the wood strips and in the 10cm gap spaces on the wall and then a roller for the big spaces in the middle of the panels.

I don't mind the little brush lines as it actually makes it look more realistic and like the whole thing is made of actual wood. After two coats, you are done bitches. Step back, admire your work and feel the burn in your shoulders. It's all been worth it right?

victorian wall panelling house renovation ilkley dulux  gold tap mirror

I think that's it folks and I really do hope that's helped anyone wanting to try it out for themselves.

Keep scrolling for the full list of all suppliers I used for everything bathroom related.

Any questions, just pop them below or send me a DM on my Instagram @daniandthetownhouse

ilkley house renovation wall panelling victorian

Be sure to head over to my Instagram and follow the reno journey too. I promise to keep you entertained. I cannot promise to reduce the swearing or honesty.

ilkley reno house renovation diy how to wall panelling bathroom update

Full Supplier List

Bathroom suite from Victorian Plumbing

Paint - Walls, brilliant white B&Q own brand 

Paint - Panelling, Dulux Egyptian Cotton

Print framed by The Art Works, Otley

Gold taps, toiler roll holder and towel hook from Amazon

Tiles from Topps Tiles

Panelling wood strips from Wickes

Caulk, No Nails Glue and Sealant Gun from B&Q

Bathroom accessories from Dunlem 

Whilst you're here...

Why not head over to my Deluxe Blooms SHOP and check out our latest faux florals. We are now back to work and open for business!

Happy New Year Folks, Dani x



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  • Bamehomesuk on

    Absolutely love the panelling

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