Colleague DIY – wood panelling

Since many of us have been spending more time at home we have been looking for ways to improve our homes with DIY projects.

This is exactly what Helen Chan, CRM Campaign Advisor at Co-op Insurance did.  During the latest lockdown she decided to take on a project to transform her bedroom with panelling which is a popular design decorative treatment of walls often seen on home Instagram accounts.

After months of scrolling through these accounts and admiring them, Helen decided to see how she could do this in her own house.

DIY Wood Panelling

Here’s how she achieved the look:


  • Measuring tape
  • MDF
  • Panel pins
  • Strong adhesive
  • Spirit level
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Caulk
  • Paint
  • Dust sheets/coverings


Decide on a look

Helen spent hours looking online at different styles including shaker style, Jacobean-style grid and fielded. She went for a simple shaker style often known as batten and board with six columns made from seven battens plus a batten for the top and bottom frame.



Once she had decided on a style she needed to find out how much wood she’d need.

Helen measured the width and height of the area she wanted to panel.  Her measurements were 305cm wide and 186cm high.


As she wanted six columns, she then needed to decide how wide the battens needed to be (this is the bit she found trickiest – she considered 8cm – 11cm wide battens) She went for 11cm wide battens and 38cm spaces between.


She also needed a batten for the top and the bottom 305cm batten 11cm wide.  The formula she used was:

Total width of all 7 battens – width of wall = remaining width


Remaining with ÷ 6 = Space between each batten

(7x11cm = 77cm) – 305cm = 228cm

228cm ÷ 6 = 38cm space between each batten


The length of these vertical battens was calculated by total width of top and bottom battens minus the height of the wall covered: 186cm – (2x11cm) = 164cm.


The thickness of the wood depended on whether the panelling was going above the skirting board and/or level with a door or window frame.  Helen went with 6mm and battens cut as follows:

2x 305cm x 11cm (top and bottom battens)

7 x 164cm x 11cm

She also asked for a couple battens cut 38cm wide to use as spacers


Fixing to the wall

Helen started by laying the first bottom batten horizontally above the skirting board, tacking it to the wall with panel pins, she didn’t knock it all the way through as she wanted to be able to remove it. Helen was also careful to avoid damaging the walls, or any electrics or water pipes that may be behind.

She continued adding battens vertically (checking they’re straight with a spirit level – Helen lives in an old house with uneven walls) and spacing them out evenly using the spacer.

Once she had all of her vertical battens on she now added her top batten. She then drew around each batten with a pencil so she had a guide of where to attach. She then removed the panel pins and fixed each batten to the wall with adhesive.

As Helen has uneven walls the battens didn’t fit flush, so once the glue had dried she filled in gaps with decorator’s caulk.



Now all of the battens were in place and she had filled in the gaps, and it was time to prime and paint. Helen made sure she protected her furnishings and avoided any unwanted spillages.



If, like Helen, you’ve been getting house proud during lockdown, don’t forget to cover your pride and joy with home insurance – like our Buildings and Contents Insurance.


Whilst our Insurance can help protect your home and its contents against loss or damage caused by fire, theft, storms and other events including certain kinds of accidental damage, we don’t provide cover for loss or damage caused by renovating, repairing or restoring your home.

This is intended for information purposes only. Making any changes to your home would be done at your own risk. Co-op Insurance does not guarantee the success of your home DIY panelling project or accept any liability for loss, damage, or injury caused as a result.