The secret to an affordable room makeover in a weekend

Insider’s tips to add character and transform a room.
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Decorative wall panels come in all shapes and sizes and are a quick and easy way to add character to your interiors.

Vertical joinery panelling, referred to in the building trade as VJ board, is a fast and cost-efficient way to add character to your home without breaking the bank.

If it’s the Hamptons style you’re after, one of the keys to achieving this decorating style in your home is to bring in textures of timber and the classic architecture of a luxury beach house. VJ panelled walls are also evocative of coastal style – whether a seaside cottage or a traditional Queenslander.

The secret to an affordable room makeover in a weekend | Home Beautiful Magazine Australia
(Credit: John Downs)

This is exactly the kind of satisfying job you can tackle yourself in a couple of days and a secret weapon in the arsenal of a home renovator. You may want to add character to rooms in a new build, cover a damaged wall or create a showstopping feature wall in your living room.

VJ board creates the look of a period timber home with tongue-and-groove panelling and is readily available from your builder,  hardware stores or direct from companies like VJ Plus and Easycraft. It’s simple to install and can transform the entire look of a room in a weekend.

coastal style bedroom with VJ wall panelling
This renovated worker’s cottage is blessed with original wall panelling in almost every room. (Credit: Mindi Cooke)

After measuring twice to ensure a perfect fit, installation is straightforward with adhesive and a nail gun (and don’t be surprised to find your walls may not be exactly square!) Most suppliers offer the panels pre-primed for painting to save preparation time – once installed, all they need is a quick sand before painting with your choice of colour.

white cottage renovation diing room with VJ panelling
You can’t beat original VJ panelled walls as seen in this renovated beach cottage, but you can re-create the look. (Credit: Photographer: Brigid Arnott / Stylist: Lisa Hilton)

Decide whether you want to cover the entire wall from floor to ceiling, or run a dado, or chair rail around the room and clad below that. A dado height will usually take your VJ board to around 900mm from the floor and creates a lovely detail in a room – bedroom, bathroom, any and every room in the house.

The secret to an affordable room makeover in a weekend | Home Beautiful Magazine Australia
VJ panelling brings texture and character to a space – whether a heritage home or a new build. (Credit: John Downs)

An affordable bathroom makeover may be as simple as lining the walls with VJ board, replacing your vanity and tapware and giving the whole room a fresh lick of paint.

Get creative and use this versatile finish to line the inside of bookshelves, the outside of kitchen islands, an entire a hallway or a bathroom wall. It’s rather addictive!

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