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Give Your Bedroom a Personality Boost With Wall Cladding

Easy to DIY-fit, a doddle to customise and budget-friendly, cladding will turn a plain bedroom into a sensational space

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Bedrooms often lack the space for you to indulge in furniture and accessories that give them bags of character, so why not use the walls to set the tone? Cladding and panelling is the first stop. Here’s how to make it work.

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Take it to the max
Loft rooms – or those with sloping ceilings – are the perfect setting for all-over panelling. Suddenly, all the room’s awkward angles look country cottage cute, while the parallel lines of the panelling actually help to straighten them out a little – visually, that is.

Stick to a light paint colour to keep the space feeling airy and bright, and add extra detail – and storage – with a charming peg rail.

Get more ideas for using peg rail storage around your house

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Be bold with colour
Looking to create a bedroom that’s picture perfect cottage with a modern twist? Include all the usual elements – panelling with a shelf on top to display pretty accessories; floral bed linen; whitewashed furniture – but up the ante with zingy shades and some brilliant contrast. Here, royal blue and acid yellow quickly take the room from sweet to sassy.

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Exaggerate ceiling height
Want your bedroom to feel bigger? Panelling can achieve this with two easy tricks: first, fit vertical panels to draw the eye upwards; next, stop the panelling about two thirds of the way up the wall.

Painting the walls and panels in one colour will look smart and streamlined, but to further stretch the space, paint the wall above the panelling in a lighter shade.

Browse more wall panelling ideas in the Houzz photo stream

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Upcycle for rustic looks
A contemporary bedroom that’s lacking in a certain something can be given a quick, easy and affordable style boost with cheap pine floorboards. Simply fix them to battens on the wall and roughly stain them to look as if they’re fresh out of a cabin in the woods.

Position the boards horizontally to exaggerate the room’s width, or vertically to make the ceiling seem higher than it is.

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Say bonjour to French country style
If you’d like a boudoir rather than a bedroom, panelling with plenty of detailing is a must-have. You can do this by customising plain panelling with mouldings (check out specialist suppliers), which are simply glued to the wall then painted.

Here, a paint colour a couple of tones darker than the base shade has been dry-brushed (where barely any paint is used) over the mouldings to highlight them for dramatic effect.

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Wallpaper your panels
Does your room totally lack architectural details? No character at all? Then why not fit panelling and wallpaper the gaps? This trick works best if the panels are either above or below dado height only, and if they’re decently wide – although the smaller the room and the more traditional the look you’re going for, the narrower the wallpapered gaps can be.

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Make your own classic square panelling
How to create cladding like this? It’s pretty simple, actually. Fit a deep, level skirting board, then measure up for long and short lengths of MDF, which your DIY store might just cut to size for you. Simply pin and glue them to the wall (assuming it’s in good condition).

Top with a dado rail, then, once the glue has dried, fill any gaps and apply a coat of primer followed by a couple of coats of your chosen paint colour. Sorted.

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Veer towards veneer
Love the idea of the warmth and texture of richly grained wood cladding on your walls? Then choose a sleek, flush-fitted, wood veneer.

Pick a deep-coloured stain and high polish it like this one for a bedroom that oozes midcentury modern charm, or find a light, matt-finish birch wood for a Scandi-style space. Very dark or ebonised woods are perfect for contemporary rooms.

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Fit contemporary cladding
Panelling does tend to create a vintage feel, so if you want a more modern look, it’s all about getting the scale right. Here, large panels made with simple, square-edged beading have created a streamlined style that’s super-easy to replicate. Match it with a muted, matt paint shade that reflects lots of light to enhance the space further.

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Cheat the look
If serious DIY is way too much trouble, you can take an easier approach by using a lookalike wallpaper. For best effect, find one with a 3D design and, to save money (because they’re not cheap), put it on one feature wall rather than all four; use a matching paint colour for the other three walls for an all-round effect. Which colourway to choose? Go for a muted, period tone.

Which kind of panelling would you pick for your home and why? Share your opinions in the Comments section.
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