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Kitchen Progress: It’s Panel Time! (Installing Modern Paneling)

On instagram you might have caught a peek of us installing the paneling.  Installation was pretty easy.  The trickiest part was maneuvering the 8 foot tall pieces (I have some ceiling spots that now require a little paint touch up).  First we did some job reflection and measured the space to determined how many sheets we’d need (6).  Once they were in our hot little hands, we did some more reflection and confirmed where we wanted the paneling to begin and end, where seams would fall, and where to cut holes for outlets, etc.  Hubby found a neat, but ancient, online tool which helps figure out how to cut a sheet of anything (like plywood or paneling) for a project.  We haven’t bought a table saw yet (we really need one), so Hubs used a circular saw and a straight edge,on our old kitchen counter propped up on saw horses in the garage, to cut the pieces and then used a jigsaw to cut out holes for outlets and vents.  We wrestled the sheets indoors and applied PL Premium construction adhesive to the back, careful not to apply it too close to the edges that it squished out, but enough that the edges were glued firmly into place.

We fit them into place and then, holding them so they didn’t sag or droop down, used an air nailer to secure the edges.  Using the air nailer was my favorite part – holding them in place was not.

We applied pressure all over the sheets to help to distribute the adhesive evenly.  Once all of the sheets were installed, we went around with a nail set and hammer to counter sink all of the nail holes so none of the nails were poking out.

Once it was installed, I wiped off the many smudges and grime with a magic eraser, followed by a damp rag.  Then I went over every hole with sandpaper to smooth it (some edges were rough) and smooshed in some wood filler.  For shallow holes I just wiped off the excess with a damp rag right away, but for deeper holes I filled them and then applied a second coat and sanded the excess once dry.

The paneling came primed, but it wasn’t perfect so I logged some hours with a paint brush this week.  I think that I’m done painting (the third coat was applied late last night, so I should hope), so later today I’ll remove the tape and drop cloths and work on trimming it out – especially in the corners.  The paint for the paneled walls was provided by CIL.  The colour is White on White (in eggshell for the walls).  Meanwhile, Hubby is building an open pantry for beside the fridge and then I’m sanding, priming and painting it and our shelves!!  The kitchen process bodes well for the scary pile of unpacked boxes, because much of it (too much of it) is kitchen-bound.

Because I removed all of the upper cabinets, I wanted the paneling to extend from counter to ceiling over the remaining cabinetry, and then floor to ceiling behind and beside the fridge.  I didn’t want to visually chop up the space I painstakingly opened up with the deconstructing my Dad and I did.  I’ve been thinking, though, that it would have been easier not to install it on the wall beside the fridge because it’s really difficult to trim nicely.  But it’s glued on now!  Here are some more photos of the paneling, pre-paint:

UPDATE: One little thing we had to think about with paneling was to purchase box extenders because our outlets because really sunk in from the extra thickness:

We installed the paneling vertically, even though horizontally has a more modern look, because the fireplace at the opposite end of the open living area has vertically installed pine planks, so this way the two spaces – although they contrast with light and dark paint finishes – have a design detail in common and relate to one another.  This is also why I picked very simple paneling, as opposed to something like beadboard.  No one but you and I need to know that the sauna wood looked totally weird, and that I picked paneling because it was a cheap and easy fix after we trashed the walls.

UPDATE: Now that the kitchen is finished, I’m adding some info and pictures concerning how we finished off the paneling.  Between the sheets, the seams needed nothing more than paint to disguise them because they were so close together and the only thing that made them stand out were the unfinished edges.  In total, I brushed on three coats of an eggshell latex paint.

Our counters were installed to have a gap at the back to allow for the expansion of wood so to hide that we simple nailed in lengths of 3 x 1 (Aspen) which were sanded smooth and then primed and painted the same colour as the paneling, but using a semi-gloss finish.  Any other kind of trim could work here and if the counter butts up right to the walls, and the paneling is installed with a neat edge over it, I’ve seen kitchens were no trim has been added.  There is also the option of a small quarter round, or decorative trim. 

In the picture above you can see we used narrow cove trim to hide the corner seam which was too large to be covered by paint or caulk.  It was painted to match the paneling.

The top of the paneling really didn’t need any trim, although something like crown molding would add a nice touch.  Because our house is far from square, there were a few tiny gaps along the ceiling which we hid behind very thin strips of maple, also painted and primed to match, and installed with an air nailer.

At the edge of the paneling, where the kitchen opens into the dining room, we simply caulked the edge for a cleaner look.  In the doorway, white plastic trim (the kind used in wallpaper applications) was applied with construction adhesive.

Around the window, a small piece of trim was added to build up the area where there wasn’t paneling to prevent the window casing from tipping.  This was nailed in place and the casing was installed as usual and everything was primed and painted the same colour as the paneling.  Easy!

Truthfully, finding a nice way to finish off the paneling was difficult because the space is open concept.  In a more closed off room – with four proper walls – this would be much, much easier.  In the end, though, it looks okay and was a very thrifty option for covering the walls, which were in rough shape.



  1. Emily @ Go Haus Go
    May 9, 2014 / 1:35 pm

    Looks great! You're making such good progress!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 9, 2014 / 3:49 pm

      Thanks Emily! You're really tearing along, too. Can't wait to see the uppers cabinets painted white to match the lowers. Isn't it fun when the kitchen isn't totally usable because you're working on it?

  2. Jazmyn Strydom
    May 9, 2014 / 3:40 pm

    LOVE the panelling! Looks fantastic and really goes with the feeling of the lake 🙂 So adorable!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 9, 2014 / 3:52 pm

      Thanks!! I'm hoping in the end it will have a modern cottage-y vibe and maybe the paneling won't look like I added some faux sheets, but that it's real wood under the paint that's been there for awhile. It already looks so much better painted, and once we trim it out and put up shelves I think it will look great. I wish there was a fast-forward button on this process, though . . .

  3. Meg Hannah
    May 9, 2014 / 4:45 pm

    Looking SO good! It's going to be a huge improvement and also a great example of how you're always thinking of a cohesive style. Just curious as to how you'll handle the seams (caulk? drywall compound?) and the raw edge of the paneling at the doorway into the hall and at the transition to the dining room.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 9, 2014 / 5:28 pm

      Thanks Meg! Hopefully I'll have a full post with pictures early next week, but so far this is the plan: I thought the seams between sheets would need caulk, but after 3 coats of paint I can't even see them. As the paint dries fully, we'll see. If they are still visible, the plan is to use paint-able caulk, very sparingly, and paint over it. For the corners, we bought some pretty cove pieces (it looked better than 1/4 round). For the top we bought these thin little pieces of maple I'll paint to match, just to hide the seams and some wonkiness due to the house not being square. We're using painted 1 by 4 pieces of wood between the counter and paneling. It will look sort of "framed" if that makes sense. For the door way, we bought some white trim designed for corners – it's kind of L-shaped. I regret paneling there because it won't look totally tidy. For the edge into the dining room, it's a factory finished edge (not cut) so painted it already looks pretty clean. I'm hoping some caulk will finish that but if it doesn't look good I found some itty bitty (doll sized, really) 1/4 round that might work. We're going to do that part last. I'm trying not to use a million kinds of trim, so I've picked things with a simple profile to keep it modern and cohesive. There is some trial and error because paneling is not normally my thing. Hopefully I can report back next week and tell you everything worked out and it looks finished and awesome. Hopefully 🙂

  4. Caroline Nolazco
    May 11, 2014 / 2:19 am

    Oh I cant wait to see this kitchen… I adore the fact that you painted the cabinets such a fun color! So bold and fun

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 12, 2014 / 5:29 am

      Thanks! I knew we would be painting the cabinets because neither of use liked the oak and they weren't in the best shape, and I knew right away what colour I wanted. I'm so excited to pull my turquoise accessories out of storage . . .

  5. Michelle
    May 12, 2014 / 3:00 am

    Its look really good huge improvement already!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 12, 2014 / 5:30 am

      The paneling did make a huge difference in finishing off the space after I did a number on the walls removing cabinets and tile. Painted and with trim installed, it looks so good – we're close to completing the walls and I'll share photos as soon as I can.

    • Michelle
      May 13, 2014 / 4:29 am

      Yay I love some juice after photos!!

  6. Ashley@AttemptsAtDomestication
    May 15, 2014 / 6:42 pm

    Looks great! What an awesome difference!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 16, 2014 / 1:27 am


  7. rwiddi75
    July 26, 2017 / 5:00 pm

    What kind of paneling did you use? Where did you buy it and for how much&?

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      July 28, 2017 / 2:41 pm

      It's from Windsor Plywood and I don't remember the cost but it's so long ago now I doubt it's the same price any more. I'd recommend hitting up your local lumber yards – not Home Depot, etc – to see the local selection. Any places where there sell nicer specialty woods.

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