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Using Decorative Wall Paneling in Your Home

Updated on February 4, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Decorative wall paneling or wallboard is an easy to install wall covering that comes in a variety of styles. It is a quick, inexpensive and easy way to update any room

What Is Decorative Wall Paneling

Decorative wall paneling can be labeled with any one of several different names. You may find it in your local home improvement store as:

  • Decorative wall covering
  • Wall board
  • Wall paneling

This is nothing like the dark, cheap looking paneling of the mid 1900s. Today's decorative wall coverings come in many styles, textures and colors and are easier to install than ever before. You can totally change the look of your room in a weekend or less.

Since the product is designed for Do It yourself construction you will save money as well.

used under license
used under license | Source

Varieties of Wall Board and Ideas for Using Them

Any room in your home can benefit from wall board when you are ready to redecorate.

  • Beadboard in the kitchen
  • Chalkboard panels in a child's playroom
  • Dry erase wall board in the home office
  • Faux leather, burlap, bamboo or other decorative finishes in a den or gameroom
  • Peg board in the craft room
  • Tile wall board in the bathroom
  • Wainscot in the hallway
  • Wallpaper board in a livingroom

Decorative wall paneling can mimic almost any surface with the added benefits of ease of installation and a relatively inexpensive price tag.

But Is Wall Board Eco-Friendly?

Some companies have risen to the challenge of an increasingly polluted Earth and created decorative wall panels that are environmentally friendly. The panels are made of cutting edge, high performance materials that do not release volatile organic compounds (also known as VOCs) into the air in your home. This means your family is not breathing chemical laden air, especially important in homes where people have asthma, allergies and other breathing difficulties.

Using these materials in the construction of a home can contribute to LEEDS (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) points. These points add up to give your home a LEEDS rating by the government and this in turn can save you money with tax breaks and insurance costs.

The salesperson at the home improvement store should be able to answer any questions you have about this – if not call the manufacturer. They will generally be glad to help in any way possible.

How to Install Decorative Wall Covering

These wall boards are designed to be easy to install. You will need a few basic tools and skills but most people should be able to do this project themselves. Be sure to read the specific manufacturer's instructions carefully before using.

Condition the Panels

Two days before you begin your project you will need to condition the panels by placing them in the room where they will be installed. Leave them there, flat on the floor, with wood spacers in between each sheet. This is very important to the success of your project!


When you install wall board over an existing wall there is no preparation needed.

Check with your building inspector to see if you need a permit or if there are any specific codes you need to know about. Once you are clear with the city you just need to find and mark the studs carefully.

Measure Carefully

Always leave 1/4 inch space on the top and bottom of the wall board to allow for expansion and contraction. Mark the panels carefully, paying close attention to where the light switches and electrical outlets go.

Cut the large panels to size with a circular saw and then use a rotary saw to cut out the spaces for light switches and outlets.


Use 1/16 inch gap between the panels. The wall board will expand and contract – butting them up against each other can cause buckling and cracking.

Attach to Wall

Hold the panels up to the wall to make sure they fit. Add adhesive or nail into place.

Add Value to Your Home

Decorative wall board is a quick way to add value to your home, cover up cosmetically damaged walls and even soundproof a room. Spend some time looking at many different styles and pick one that fits your décor.


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    • HomeDIY profile image

      HomeDIY 6 years ago

      I don't know much about wall paneling so this was an interesting article to read. Thanks for the article post.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Interesting hub and they look really great.

    • Donna Sundblad profile image

      Donna Sundblad 6 years ago from Georgia

      Add a panel of white board in the kitchen for a great way to keep track of family activities, messages and things that need to get done, too.

    • rwelton profile image

      rwelton 6 years ago from Sacramento CA

      Acquiring a rental property this week...thanks for the inspiration.


    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      As someone who enjoys home improvement projects, I enjoyed this one. I've done some panelling, and it was quite a job. When you have time take a look at my Hub about moving and restoring my old house. I did all the interior restoration myself, and proud of it.

    • LindaSmith1 profile image

      LindaSmith1 6 years ago from USA

      My dad just did that to the bottom half of wall in my kitchen so that it looks like wood. I can't wait to see what he has done with all of the remodeling that has been done. Too far to travel to see it, until I actually move up there.

      I just did some articles on tiles. Tiles that look like bricks, etc and for the walls is really nice. That might be a future remodeling job after I am moved.