Now that we’ve learned to tile a backsplash and paint cabinets, I’d like to share with you one more trick to help you customize your kitchen: paneling.

Mimicking the bead board and wainscoting of yesteryear, these modern MDF or fiberboard clones are perfect for adding detail in many areas of your home, from bathrooms to living rooms.

But, where I’m seeing it most these days is in the kitchen. It can be used as a backsplash, which is significantly cheaper and easier than tiling!

Or, wrap a boring island or counter with it for instant detail.

When I was thinking about my master plan (insert evil laugh) for the kitchen, I decided it definitely needed to include some beaded board in two areas: the counter and the exposed sides of the upper cabinets.

Adding beaded board paneling is super easy, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Jigsaw or table saw (or the old fashioned kind)
  • Beaded board panel (sold in several sizes, I chose the 4×8)
  • Construction adhesive (there is a kind specifically for paneling usually with the panels in the store)
  • Caulk gun, if you don’t already have one
  • Sandpaper (medium and fine grit)
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • Nail set (I’ll explain this in a bit)
  • Wood filler

Measure your area and cut your pieces out accordingly. Prep the surface of the wall or cabinet where you want to apply the paneling with a cleaning and light sand with a medium grit. Next, apply the construction adhesive to the back of the panel using “s” shapes.

The trick to good adhesion is aerating the glue. That means you’ll want to press the piece in place firmly, but then remove it and let the glue aerate for about 3 minutes. Reapply the panel, then put in a few finish nails to hold the panel in place while the glue dries completely. If you’re applying molding, put the nails in at the very top or bottom where they will be covered.

If the edges of the panel will be exposed, you’ll want to get a nail set. Hammer in the finish nail until it just touches the surface, then use the nail set between the hammer and your finish nail to push it below the surface. Come back with some wood filler, sand, paint, and watch those nails disappear!

Sorry for the blur, but you get the idea. I think you’ll really like the results. It’s a very inexpensive way to make a huge impact.

Eventually we’ll trim out the top and bottom of the upper cabinets for a more finished look, but for now I’m really pleased with the paint color and the texture the beaded board offers.

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