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How to maintain decorative wall panels

  • Wall Décor
Jan 08, 2022
Decorative wood panels for the walls outside the home - Beautiful Homes

Extend the life of the gorgeous decorative wall panels in your home with the help of this maintenance guide

Decorative wood panels for walls were a popular option for wall décor for home interior designs in the previous centuries. This trend is on a rise again with a contemporary twist. With the option to overlay panels with wallpaper, fabric, veneer etc —you now have a slew of alternatives to choose from in regards to finish, color and pattern. Just think of all the possibilities for living room wall panel designs and other rooms!


Wall panels for the living room would greatly enhance the overall aesthetic. Since it is usually the first room anyone sees, you can hide imperfections like uneven walls, exposed cables, etc. with wall panels. Decorative wall panels for the bedroom will make for charming and artistic accents.


Wall Panelling Materials for Wall Décor in Home Interior

Natural wood is always a classic and chic choice for paneled walls. Gypsum boards, PVC, MDF and chipboards are some of the other popular options. Each of these substrate materials can be coated with wallpaper, veneer, fabric, paint, etc.


How to Clean and Maintain Decorative Wall Panels

Wall panels make for a maintenance friendly wall treatment option in home interior designs, especially with a variety of low-maintenance materials to choose from.

1. Wall Panel Maintenance Tip #1: Understand your Panels

As we have seen, many different materials can be used to install wall panelling in home interiors, such as wood, MDF, PVC panels, etc. The panels might be coated with paint, wall paper, laminate, fabric, etc. Each material and top coat would require different types of care and maintenance. Thus, the knowledge of panelling material is crucial.


2. Wall Panel Maintenance Tip #2: Dust the Panels Regularly

Like any other surfaces, panels too are bound to accumulate dust. Irrespective of the finish of the panels, regular dusting with a lint free cloth or a feather duster is a must. Periodically vacuuming it is also a good option.

Geometric 3D wall panel design for living room - Beautiful Homes

3. Wall Panel Maintenance Tip #3: Protect from Direct Sunlight

Direct sunlight can easily damage most coatings on paneling, including fabric, paint and paper. The best way to avoid sun damage to any wall panelling materials is to install paneling on a wall that isn’t exposed to direct sunlight from doors or windows. Of course, this might not be possible in every instance. In such cases, ensure that light inlets have covers like curtains and blinds to soften the effect of direct sunlight. 

Wood paneling for wall behind the TV in living room - Beautiful Homes

4. Wall Panel Maintenance Tip #4: Protect Against Moisture

Moisture can damage most panel substrate materials, especially classic wood ones. While top coats might help some, it is not a full proof solution. If the panelled walls remain wet or moist for too long, finishes like laminates and wallpaper have a tendency to separate from the panel substrate. Therefore, avoid installing panels in rooms and spaces with high humidity such as kitchen and bathroom. Make sure to clean and treat any stains and moisture patches immediately.

5. Wall Panel Maintenance Tip #5: Clean Up Stains ASAP

Stains and splatters ruin the top coat if not cleaned immediately. They introduce moisture to the wall panels and can thus damage the substrate too. To avoid any permanent stains and abrasion, make sure to clean up straightaway. Lightly dabbing the splatters with a soft cloth or sponge is the best way to clean up. This way you can contain the damage and also avoid any further scratches and streaks. Diluted soap water should get rid of most stains. Avoid using harsh detergents and solvents as they can cause discoloration. Always spot-test any cleaning product you plan to use. Preferably opt for ones recommended by the manufacturers.


Care and Maintenance Tips for Sealed Wood Paneling

Care routine for wood panelling for walls would depend on whether the wood panelling is sealed or not. If the panel is sealed with veneer or any other sealant, the maintenance tips listed above would work without a glitch.

Pro tip #1:

Add a small amount of vegetable oil to the soap solution to retain the polish and shine of the treated wood.

Pro tip #2:

Make sure to immediately dry the panels after cleaning to prevent warping and distortion of the panels or the sealant.


Pro tip #3:

Always be gentle. Scrubbing the panels can damage the panels.

Zig zag patterned wood paneling of the wall - Beautiful Homes

Care and Maintenance Tips for Unsealed Wood Paneling

Unsealed wood is susceptible to warping as it can easily absorb moisture, grease, etc. Here is how you should care for it:

  • Never use any water based cleaning solution to clean untreated wood panels.
  • Use wood oil to both clean and maintain the finish of your wood panels.
  • A mixture of vegetable oil and white vinegar in a 4:1 ratio should also work if you cannot find wood oils.
  • Always do a patch test of the wood oil or the solution before using them all over the panels. Let it sit for a few minutes to determine if it can possibly damage the wood panels.
  • Always spritz the solution on a clean cloth until damp and then rub it into the wood. Do it directly to the panels.
  • Make sure to rub the oil or the solution along the grain of the wood so that the panels can absorb it well.
  • Rub it along small sections, in uniform motion and from bottom to top for even application overall.
  • Let it sit for sometime and if the panels feel dry to touch, apply a second coat in the exact same manner.


Care and Maintenance Tips for Fabric Covered Paneling

Use the following tips to maintain and extend the life of upholstered or fabric covered panels.

Fabric wall paneling in the bedroom - Beautiful Homes
  • Fabric is known to accumulate dust, more so than any other coating material. It is crucial that the upholstered walls are vacuumed regularly. If you live in areas that are dusty, vacuuming once every 10 to 14 days might be needed.

  • Use the attachment that is fabric friendly while vacuuming. It is generally the brush attachment. Vacuum gently in a uniform motion, ideally from top to bottom.

  • To avoid any permanent staining or discoloration, take care of markings, splatters, etc. immediately.
  • Use a mild soap solution to clean up stains with a sponge or a soft cloth and blot the problem area.

  • Ensure that you dry the dampened patches immediately to avoid water marks. Use a clean dry cloth to pull out the moisture or use a hair dryer.

  • Always read the care manual accompanying the fabric wallpaper for maintenance requirements.


Care and Maintenance Tips for Painted Panels

Paint is the most accessible and economic option to coat your panels. It is also the easiest to clean and maintain. To ensure longevity, it is important that you take good care of your painted panels.

  • Mild soap solutions should work for most markings and stains on painted walls.
  • Use gentle material like a sponge to clean up. Apply some pressure when cleaning stubborn stains. This will allow the cleaning solution to penetrate deeper.
  • Using dedicated cleaning supplies is the best way to avoid any damage from harsh cleaners.
  • In case of abrasions, discoloration, etc., use any leftover paint from initial painting for touch ups. Ensure that the paint you buy is the exact color and finish.
  • To avoid obvious variation between the touch up and the surrounding area, feather out the patch while repainting.
  • Since there is already a layer of paint beneath, thinning the paint might help you match the tone better to the surrounding area.
  • Use the same tool as the original coat to paint while touching up. This way you can achieve the same texture as the surrounding area and reduce the chances of a variegated appearance.

Beautiful Homes has a wide range of products and services that can help you create or revamp beautiful walls with wall panels for bedroom or wall panels for living room or any other room of your choosing. Choose the perfect finish for decorative wood panels for walls from a variety of peel and stick wallpapers, single coat emulsions, spray paint and much more.


With our Interior Design Services, you can choose to opt for expert services to help you create the house of your dreams. You may choose to avail more specific services such as Quick Home Makeover, Safe Painting Services, Color Consultancy Services Online, Wood Solutions or Design Wall Makeover to install  gorgeous panelled wall décor in your home.

Living room with half wallpapered wall & half painted wall - Beautiful Homes

You can visit our website to check various options offered and projects executed by us so far. If you wish, you can book your 3D consultation call to understand the project’s process, design, and execution or walk into any of our stores across India. Our current décor stores are spread across Amritsar, Tumakuru, Raipur, Jaipur, New Delhi, Kochi, Karur, Coimbatore, Bengaluru and Nashik. In addition, we are in the process of opening up state-of-the-art stores across several cities.

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