21 Apr 2022

How to Paint Interior Panelling and Cladding


Wood panelling or cladding can quickly make a home feel warmer and more comfortable. Whether you are looking to elevate your space or upgrade a dated room, adding a touch of paint is a relatively easy way to freshen up a tired-looking decor without spending huge amounts. Here, Lick, the wall paint and interior design expert, explains how to breathe new life into panelled or clad areas of your home.


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Simply choosing the right colour or shade for your space can go a long way in updating your home’s interior appearance and atmosphere. From beating the winter blues to inspiring positivity and wellness, colour psychology plays an important role in our lives. With society needing healing in the post-pandemic world, this 2022, people will be gravitating towards natural and nurturing colour schemes.

Hugging pinks and warming terracotta reds, paired with grounding beiges and delicate neutral hues, will make a comeback for their calming and comforting qualities. These colours are easy on the eye, easy to use in any room and, most importantly, easy to pair with almost any decor. This palette will work wonders in anxiety-inducing spaces, such as your home office. Pink and terracotta’s earthy, grounding elements can help soothe stress and clear a busy mind.

Urban interior trends are leaning more on sustainable greens and earthy neutrals. By incorporating elements of biophilic design into our homes, we can bring the outdoors in. For those living in cities, especially, escaping to the great outdoors has been a little more complicated in the past two years, so embracing nature by incorporating green hues on your walls will feel almost like an act of rebellion. Green walls paired with indoor plants or natural materials and leaving the windows bare will allow maximum light and verdant views.

Professional paint application is just as important as the colour you choose, but this can easily be done with a little bit of patience and time. Whether you’re a DIY expert or a total newbie, here is a foolproof guide to a professional-looking paint job:

1. Choose the right tools

Using the right tools for your painting project will save you time and effort.

Here is what you absolutely need to get started:

•  Paintbrush and paint roller

•  Wood filler and 100- to 150-grit sanding paper

•  Painting tray

•  Painter’s masking tape for painting clean lines

•  Dust sheet to protect floor and furnishings

•  Paint primer and colour paint.

Before starting, check how much paint you need. Not all paints are the same, so double-check on the tin label. As a rule of thumb, a 2.5l water-based paint will paint up to 30m². Simply multiply the surface length by height in metres to get the square metres.

2. Prepare your panelling for painting

The key to a seamless finish lies in the prep. Clear away any furniture and other objects from the walls to give yourself ample painting space. The last thing we want is to get splatters or splodges of paint on your interiors; these cannot always be avoided after all.

Use a putty knife, filler and sealant to cover any cracks or knots in the wood if you are working with solid wood panels. Unless you want to completely cover the panelling, remember to account for the grooves in between panels when using filler.

After your filler has dried, sand down all surfaces with a 100- to 150-grit sandpaper. This step is crucial for a smooth texture and professional finish.

Regardless of what type of panelling you are dealing with, the next step is to clean your surface from dust and any other grime that might prevent the paint from adhering.

Lastly, use painter’s masking tape to cover any sockets, switches and skirting boards in the area. It is important to line up the edges of the tape with precision to avoid a lopsided paint job.

3. Prime the panelling

Using a roller, apply a smooth and even base layer of mist coat (70% water and 30% paint). You can skip the mist coat if the panelling or cladding has been painted before. Work into smaller crevices using the tip of your paintbrush. Leave to dry for a few hours before starting to paint. Don’t skip this step. A good primer coat removes the risk of cracking paint when drying and gives a vivid, consistent finish to your surface, especially if you’re painting over a darker colour.

Keep in mind that if using untreated wood panelling, it is strongly suggested to protect the wood with an appropriate primer. This is key to preventing it from becoming the home of little critters. Taking time to apply a suitable wood primer will also save you painting time as primed wood will absorb less paint.

4. Get painting

Start by stirring all your paint thoroughly for an even texture and pigmentation. Use a paintbrush to tackle the edges and corners. Load enough paint to cover the brush halfway up the bristles. Tap your brush on the side of the can and get rid of any excess paint before brushing on your panelling.

Don’t get tempted to do all the edges and grooves first, then let the paint dry before switching to painting with the roller. Doing so might make your grooves and edges more pigmented than the surfaces you painted with the roller.

Leave the first coat to dry for a couple of hours before applying another coat. Most panelling shouldn’t require more than two coats of paint.

5. Remove tape and protect sheets

Remove the tape from the wall whilst the second coat is still drying. Leave the wall to dry for at least 24 hours, then remove any dust sheets to reveal your brand-new wall feature. Once your paint is all dry, uncover your furniture and get decorating. That’s it: you have professionally-painted panelling and a new welcoming room.

Further information....

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