With lockdown easing and most retail stores opening back up, I’ve taken the opportunity to finally take on a big project that I’d been meaning to do since the start of 2020. Since moving to Ebbsfleet Garden City, I’ve really enjoyed throwing myself into various interior DIY projects. I have absolutely zero training or experience, but my husband is pretty handy and will reluctantly help me implement my mad ideas if I ask really nicely! After the success of our geometric panelled wall in the playroom last year, I’ve been desperate to create a similar feature wall in our lounge. This is the one room in my house that I have always found difficult to visualise, design and purchase furniture for. It is a large, rectangle room, with a set of French doors, bay window, another large window, and awkwardly placed radiators. The room has a navy and grey colour scheme, with black accents and accessories.
A key feature of the lounge is the absence of a tv, as instead we have a short-throw LG projector. It gives a 90 inch image and the quality is great, however the downside has been that we’ve had to keep the wall blank and white which, when the projector wasn’t on, looked a bit odd and unfinished.
Before – blank projector wall
I originally was going to do traditional Georgian style panelling throughout the whole room and had even bought and painted Pine Glass Bead Moulding to frame the projector screen. However, I then had a brainwave that stemmed from a previous discarded idea for our Home Office. I had wanted to use unpainted natural pine strip wood to create a vertical wood slat feature wall underneath the wall cabinets and above the desk in our home office. What if I transferred this idea to create a similar effect as a surround for the projector screen?
Since the UK has been in lockdown, I know many people who have seen the extra time at home as a great opportunity to get those lingering odd jobs and interior decorating projects done. However, undertaking DIY projects during a pandemic has numerous challenges – the most frustrating for us was low supplies of materials that usually would be easy to get a hold of. This meant that, while we did measure everything beforehand, we ended up making 3-4 trips to B&Q to get the strip wood, as they often only had a few of the size we needed each time we went. I had originally wanted to get 10.5mm by 36mm, however there wasn’t any of this size available, which led me to opt for the Smooth Square edge Pine Stripwood (L)2.4m (W)25mm (T)10.5mm. In hindsight I am glad we went with the thinner panelling, as although we had to stick a lot more strips up, it’s given it a more luxe look.
Painting the strip wood
The time-consuming part of this project was the fact that I had to individually paint each piece of strip wood. Whereas for the last panelling project I spray-painted the whole wall once the bare strip wood was attached, for this I wanted the background to be the same grey as the rest of the room, with the black strips of wood mounted on top. I bought GoodHome Liberty Flat Matt Furniture Paint from B&Q, and while I purchased x2 0.5l tins, we only ended up needing one. This paint is not only the cheapest option, it went on really well, was non-drip and gave a really lovely matt finish. I simply painted it with a small tester brush, waiting for it to dry before doing a second coat. I didn’t bother to paint the back of the wood, as this would be glued flat to the wall. Once the wood was all painted, it was time to cut it down to size using our 1800w Table Saw from VonHaus. This was very straightforward as, unlike our geometric panelling previously, they were all straight cuts, no angles, and could easily be done with a hand saw or smaller power tool.
Sticking the strip wood to the wall
We used Unibond No Nails to stick the strip wood to the wall, one piece at a time. Firstly, we constructed the border for the projector screen from four pieces, then stuck all the upper pieces, then the sides, then the lower. We cut into the strip wood to make grooves where the plug socket and media plates were on the wall, to get a perfectly spaced fit. We used a spare cut-off to measure how far apart each strip should be, as the depth of the wood was 1cm, the exact size we wanted to space them out. Once they were all up, I went over everything with a damp cloth to clean the cutting dust off, and gave them all another lick of paint to cover up any scratches or chips. It took us a couple weeks to complete the project, due to having to work around the children’s need to watch Paw Patrol and the fact that we kept running out of strip wood. With all the right supplies and no distractions, this should only take two days, the first to paint and measure and the second to get it all lined up and stuck down.
There you go! A step-by-step guide to creating this a vertical panelled feature wall, perfect for framing a projector screen or tv unit. This would also look lovely with unpainted strip wood, for a more natural, Scandinavian-style finish and is a great way to bring some character and interest to plain new-build walls.
For more videos and ‘behind-the’scenes’ of this DIY panelling project, please follow me on @lydias_layton_life . I would LOVE to be tagged in any of your own panelling projects, if I’ve inspired you!