How To Build Upholstered Wall Panels

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Estimated Time: 
1-2 days (2 if you paint your walls first)
Go Posh with Plush Panels

Our Jane-in-training, Jennifer, was at a loss with what to do with her guest room, though she did have a vision. She wanted the room to look like a luxury hotel, a place where her guests could come and feel pampered.

We wanted to give Jennifer something truly unique and fun. After all, the room had so much potential, so we thought it needed more than just a coat of paint. Our answer? Upholstered wall panels!

You may be thinking, "Upholstered wall panels? What?"

Trust us—these easy-to-make-and-mount-yourself accoutrements are a fantastic way to add a touch of elegance, not to mention interest, to any room.

We started with a dark coat of metallic-tinted paint to draw the eye to the panels, which were to be covered in a flowered pattern of yellow chenille.

Jen loved the look they added to her guest room and you can do this too! So are you ready to learn how to add a little luxury to a room in your home? Here we go!

Project Steps

Step 1

If you are going to paint, be sure to properly mask any trim or light switches first. Then prepare your walls. Start by fixing any dents or holes with spackle, and scraping away any excess. After it's dry, sand the area smooth and wipe it down with a clean damp cloth.

Step 2

Use a coat of primer to guarantee a good adhesion. Once dry, apply at least two coats of paint (you might have to do more if you're using a dark color) letting each coat dry in between. We used a pewter color with a little bit of a sheen and applied it with fluffy paint roller to add texture. This made the walls appear more dramatic.

Step 3

Give the paint a day to dry before mounting your upholstered panels. You can, however, move on to assembling them.

Step 4

Putting together the panels is pretty easy; it's kind of like wrapping a present! First, lay the fabric on a flat surface, with the face of the fabric (the part that will face the room) on the floor and the underside facing you. On top of it lay the foam batting and then the foam. Place the wood in the middle of your fabric bed so that the fabric and batting folds around all corners and edges.

Step 5

uws5Working from the middle of the board outward, pull the fabric taut and begin to secure the fabric to the board with a staple gun. A helper is great here,have one person pull and one person staple.

  Step 6

uws6Getting a nice, clean corner is very important! Practice folding the fabric over the corner of the board a couple of times, checking your work before committing to a staple. "Hospital Corners" if you know how to do them, are a good idea here.


Step 7

uws7Using a utility knife or scissors, trim away excess batting from your new panel. You can also trim away the fabric, but we prefer to keep at least a little on there in case the fabric starts to fray.


Step 8

uws8Using a drill, attach the mounting brackets to your panel from the underside. Make sure the screws aren't long enough to pierce through the fabric in front.


Step 9

uws9Mount the panels on the wall, taking careful measurements beforehand. If you are drilling only into drywall and not the stud, use wall anchors to support the weight of the panel. Before you make those screws flush, ensure the panel is level and otherwise exactly where you want it.


Step 10

Once the panel is mounted you can start to take measurements for the trim. Because you want the corners to meet perfectly, it's best to deal with the trim once the panel is already mounted.

Step 11

We used a compound miter saw to cut our trim to size, but you can also use a handsaw.

Step 12

uws11Install the trim around the paneling, securing it into place with a nail gun. If you are using a nail gun, the machine should countersink the nail head for you, so that you can't see it on the surface. If you don't have a nail gun, you can use a nail set to countersink the nails. Touch up any nail holes with wood putty.

Jane Tip: If your corners of your frame aren't perfect, it's okay. There may be tiny gaps that you want concealed. Fill them with paintable white wood putty. If you went with unfinished trim and then painted it your color of choice, you can touch up the putty spots with your paint.

Step 13

Once all the panels are assembled, mounted and finished with trim, call it a day!

These panels helped give Jen's guest room that boutique hotel feel and helped to soften the look overall.

The best part about these panels is that with all the fabric out there, you literally have thousands of options. Match them up with you bedspread or drapes, or do what we did and make the plush panels contrast with a dramatic paint color. Either way, we think your guests will be pretty impressed with the swanky accommodations you've provided!

Next: putting it all together with a wall of mirrors

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