Before and after: This DIY living room panelling is sophisticated and stylish

It's the perfect weekend project!

DO NOT REUSE: Before and after of living room panelling
(Image credit: @lily_atno3)

If you have a modern or new build house, adding character to your home can be tricky. Wall panelling (opens in new tab) is one of the most creative ways to do this – and as one DIY-savvy couple has shown, it's also super easy to do on your own.

Lily and Raj Begum of @lily_atno3 (opens in new tab) transformed their living room with little more than some strips of MDF, a glue gun and a lick of paint – and the result is a panel-effect wall that's taken the space to a whole new level of sophistication.

  • See also: DIY wall panels (opens in new tab) – an easy step-by-step you could do this weekend

The before

DO NOT REUSE: Before and after of living room panelling

(Image credit: @lily_atno3)

'The room before the renovation was wallpapered and very plain,' Lily tells Real Homes. 'We stripped the wallpaper and painted the walls, first in Farrow and Ball's Ammonite and then Sulking Room Pink. We also replaced a 1970s fireplace with a more traditional one.  

'After repainting the room two different colours, I still felt there was something missing. Then I had a lightbulb moment and realised that a feature wall would really complement the room. I didn’t want to do wallpaper or a block colour and thought paneling would be an excellent way to give the space character.'

The process

DO NOT REUSE: Before and after of living room panelling

(Image credit: @lily_atno3)

Lily and Raj considered the design of the panelling and settled on a chevron pattern. 'We thought it would be a great contemporary play on traditional box panelling,' Lily says. 

The couple set to work, utilising Raj's DIY skills to do the whole thing themselves. 'First, we worked out how many columns we could have on the wall and then measured the length of a diagonal piece and the angle they would be put against the vertical columns,' Lily explains. 'Using a mitre saw, we cut the MDF strips to the right length. We also used a laser spirit level, which ensured the diagonal strips positioned in a chevron formation was level across the top row, repeating this process row by row, starting from the top to bottom.'

To stick the wood panels on the wall, Lily used a glue gun with a grab adhesive. 'There were small gaps between the wall and the wood piece in some areas, which we filled with caulk and wood filler,' she adds. Finally, the couple sanded everything down and painted the wall in Farrow & Ball's De Nimes (opens in new tab).

The after

DO NOT REUSE: Before and after of living room panelling

(Image credit: @lily_atno3)

Lily and Raj are thrilled with the finished look. 'It's amazing how paneling can make a plain room into one with personality,' says Lily. 'It draws the eyes to the wall, enhances the fireplace and really gives the room warmth. It's one of the best way to revamp a room.'

Lily shared the finished look on her Instagram, where her followers can also see the results of her other DIY makeovers – including transforming an Ikea Pax wardrobe (opens in new tab), also with MDF. Go check her out!

Ellen Finch
Deputy editor

Joining as features editor in 2017, Ellen now looks after the day-to-day running of Real Homes magazine as deputy editor. She also commissions and writes many of the real case studies you'll see on the site, and loves speaking to people about their homes and get the details on the hacks they've tried and loved. She's currently gearing up to buy a home of her own in 2023 – hopefully with a garden to plant veg and wildflowers – and has a special interest in sustainable living, clever book storage, and cats.