United Kingdom

Couple renovate Edwardian hallway panelling for £750

A couple has revealed how they created their own stylish hallway panelling without splurging on a professional carpenter.

Bryony Wilson, 29, and Tom Bown, 36, who moved into their semi-detached Edwardian home in Farnborough, Hampshire, in November 2019, had a long list of projects which needed to be completed to upgrade the property. 

They agreed one must-have improvement was adding wall panelling in the hallway - however, when a professional quoted them £17,995 for the work, the couple began considering how they could cut the cost by doing it themselves. 

Bryony, who is a PR & Social Manager, revealed how the pair turned to YouTube tutorials to help them carry out the upgrade, which was completed with MDF, and cost just £750.

Bryony Wilson, 29, and Tom Bown, 36, impressed members of money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk with their hallway panelling (pictured) 

Bryony and Tom (pictured) decided to overhaul the appearance of their hallway themselves, after being quoted £17,995 by a professional company 

Speaking to money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk, Bryony said it was a challenge finding anyone willing to do their desired panelling. 

She explained: 'We searched around, but struggled to find any companies offering hallway panelling services. 

'So when we did eventually find a company, they knew they could charge whatever they liked for it. We gave them our measurements and they quoted us almost £18k for the work, which we thought was exorbitant considering it's just MDF and labour costs. 

'We know that making home improvements can really help to add value to a property but, for us, it didn't feel practical to spend that amount of money on a decorative feature.'

Eventually, the couple decided to tackle the project themselves.  They ended up spending just £750 on the upgrade, saving thousands of pounds in the process. 

Bryony revealed they were inspired to recreate the decor featured in The Crown and Downton Abbey. Pictured: Tom working on the panelling

'We knew that we could do it for a more affordable price but it's staggering how much we've been able to save – I can't quite believe it,' Bryony said.

'We've all felt the pinch this year so we're over the moon that we've been able to save where we can,' said Bryony, who charts their home improvements and DIY projects on Instagram account @welford.house.

Their enthusiasm for renovating the property in keeping with its Edwardian era design influenced their approach.

Bryony said: 'We both really love period properties and the opulence that period features bring to homes. We are particularly inspired by the décor featured in The Crown and Downton Abbey, and wanted to recreate some of this in our own home.

'We kept seeing beautiful hallway panelling all over Instagram and Pinterest, and the style seems to be having a moment. We felt that panelling was the perfect way to bring a modern yet classic style to the hallway.'

Bryony said they used YouTube tutorials for a step-by-step guide on how to work with MDF and build wall panels

They created the panelling using a flat sheet MDF backboard, with strips of MDF layered on top to form raised squares. 

To complete the design, the couple added wooden beading to the inside edges of the MDF strips for a softer, more elegant look. They then turned to YouTube tutorials to help them carry out the upgrade.

'I'd seen a few handy YouTube tutorial videos, which gave step-by-step advice on how to work with MDF and build wall panels,' said Bryony. 

'The videos are easy to follow and I was confident that we could use them as a guide. We're also quite handy around the house and have done a few smaller DIY projects in the past, so we weren't afraid to get stuck in.

'A lot of DIY is guesswork, but the YouTube videos did really help. We've also spent more time in the house since lockdown due to less time commuting, so we knew we would have extra time in the evenings to work on the panelling.'  

Bryony said they began the project by measuring the entire hallway to find out how much MDF would be needed. Pictured: The couple's hallway before 

A bonus was that no specialist tools were needed, making the job feel less daunting. 

'After getting our heads around the basics, we bought a few sheets of MDF from B&Q so that we could have a practice run at cutting it,' Bryony said.

'Working with MDF is low risk with high reward. We knew we could keep chipping away until we achieved the perfect result because the worst that could happen is that we'd ruin a few sheets of MDF.'

Once they felt comfortable enough to push ahead, they started marking up the design.

Bryony said: 'Firstly, we measured the entire hallway by running a measuring table along the walls to ensure we knew how much MDF we would need to cover the length of the space. 

Bryony revealed they purchased beads online for an 'eye-catching' final result. Pictured: Bryony and Tom painting the panels 

'The height of the panels should be roughly a third of the wall height, so our panels needed to be 90cm tall.'

Measuring up proved to be slightly trickier on the stairs. She continued: 'We used a digital angle finder, which we bought from Amazon for £10, to find the correct angle of the stair incline that ensured the top of the panelling would meet the top of the ground floor panels at the correct point.

'Once we had sussed out the length and height of the MDF panels we needed, we bought the MDF online via a website called Cut My Plastic, which cuts the MDF to size for you. This meant we didn't need any expensive cutting tools.'

The panels were held in place with No More Nails adhesive and a nail gun, which the couple borrowed from a family friend. They added beading for a stylish touch.

'The extra detail is really eye-catching,' said Bryony.  'Plus, beading is relatively easy and cheap to get hold of. Both Wickes and B&Q do great ranges.  

Bryony advised anyone planning a similar project to start a Pinterest board to brainstorm styles they like. Pictured: The finished panels 

'We decided to buy ours online, however, because we needed a lot and we didn't know how much stock there was in-store due to the pandemic. After purchasing the beading, we used a mitre box, £5 from B&Q, to find the correct angle to hand saw it so the beading would slot into place.'

With the design now complete, all that was left to do was to prime and paint it. The couple used a white undercoat for wood topped off with a couple of coats of Dulux Quick Dry Eggshell.

'We can't believe the final result,' said Bryony.  'It looks better than we could have imagined, and it was so simple to do. I can't imagine a professional doing any better than we have, and we've done it for a fraction of the price.' 

The couple worked on the panelling on and off for around four weeks, which includes the time spent waiting for the MDF and beading to be delivered.

'If you're planning a similar project, I'd recommend starting a Pinterest board and searching the platform for hallway panelling styles you like, as there are a few variations,' said Bryony. 

'I'd also recommend using a spirit level when fitting the MDF because floors can often be quite uneven so you want to ensure all your boards are straight. DIY is all about trial and error, and giving it a go,' she said. 

'There are so many handy YouTube tutorials out there, which give you easy-to-follow advice. Don't be afraid to get it wrong. Our spare room was filled with wrong cuts of the beading. Lastly, we always follow the advice of Tom's dad: measure twice, cut once.' 

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