How MDF panelling can bring luxury and cost-effectiveness

How MDF panelling can bring luxury and cost-effectiveness

Simon Fleet, Group Commercial Director of W.Howard Group, explains how modern MDF wall panelling can bring traditional luxury to any new build property without breaking the bank.

Wall panelling was used centuries ago as a form of insulation, helping to keep buildings warm by adding an extra layer of timber to otherwise cold, stone walls. Plain, full height vertical designed panelling was originally seen in the UK as far back as the 1300s, proving that the UK has always loved the appearance of a panelled wall. By the Georgian and Victorian times it was a staple in many homes, and came in lots of different styles and moulding patterns.

Even today these types of period features are enduringly popular. Just take a quick look at Rightmove; properties with authentic period features sell for a premium, with people increasingly looking for character and charm, with a modern twist. Gone are the trends for plain walls and stark, angular lines – people now want comfortable luxury in their homes, and are looking to pair eco wood-burning stoves and roll-top baths with wood panelling and period-style profiles to bring back that sense of timeless, period chic back.

But period features traditionally come at a price, causing homeowners to turn to professional tradespeople for advice on how they can introduce these characterful features into their homes without breaking the bank. Well, there is a solution to bring period features back to a property – and it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Technological advances have allowed manufacturers to create wall-panelling systems that can be quickly and easily used to add period features to any part of their home.

Solid wood panelling is expensive, and often prohibitively so, but buying and fitting MDF panelling can be far more cost effective, while also being easier and faster for builders to fit, as many kits come pre-cut and ready to install.

The many benefits of MDF as a timber offer tradespeople even more in terms of efficiency and ease of use. Composite MDF wood is straight and dimensionally stable, with no knots, warps or defects that will need to be worked around during fitting.

And the use of wall panelling doesn’t have to be limited to the restoration of a period home – it’s increasingly being used in contemporary homes to act as a contrast and bring warmth and texture to almost any room in the home.

Add durability and colour

Tongue-and-groove panelling is most often found in modern baths and kitchens, bringing character as well as the kind of durability that’s needed in these high-traffic areas. It’s also easy to keep clean – something that’s very important in both rooms, especially if the home has infants or young children.

W.Howard’s new Wall Panelling Kit, for example, uses moisture-resistant MDF, which makes it perfect for use in bathrooms and kitchens where the air can often be quite humid after a hot shower or an evening’s cooking.

Unlike alternatives such as paint and wallpaper, wood panelling is hardwearing, can be painted or stained, and when paired with a dado rail provides a clean finish to bring that sense of luxury to any room.

When you think of wall panelling you might think of dark wood panels and old-fashioned wooden-walled libraries, but as well as being durable, modern MDF wood panelling can be painted almost any colour, meaning you can create a bespoke palette of period features and modern finishes to really experiment with colour and texture.

Using panels on the lower half of a wall and topping it with a dado rail can make a room feel bigger and more airy. Meanwhile, using darker colours on wood or MDF panelling can create a unique and dramatic effect, while using lighter colours creates a calm ambience that brings in a hint of the traditional, but merges well with modern styles.

W.Howard’s Wall Panelling Kit is supplied fully primed and ready to paint, minimising the amount of preparation work that needs to be done before the homeowner or tradesperson can paint it to match the décor in their home.

Modern wall panelling kits are particularly flexible – you can mix and match your period-style skirting with wall-panelling for a seamless look, or be bold with colours and match white walls with coloured skirting, or use different tones and patterns to really make a statement and highlight certain areas of a home. With W.Howard Group’s new MDF Wall Panelling Kits making it easier than ever to reinstate period features and create a comfortable, homely feel that works in any type of property.

For further information on the W. Howard product range visit

If you want to watch a video that demonstrates just how easy it is to install an MDF Wall Panelling Kit visit

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