We are deciding to add wood panelling (wainscoting) in the hallway. But to keep things cheap and to save ripping all the skirting boards up we are going to create it by adding strips of MDF to the walls. The only thing is do I paint it with emulsion as there is going to be parts of the wall visible or should I use paint for wood?
you can get away with emulsion if you use a good quality water based wood primer - do 2 coats - don't skimp! then whatever emulsion you're using for the walls should be fine. they only difference is it will be a matt/chalky finish- most woodwork uses something glossier e.g. eggshell, satinwood, gloss. but this should be the same finish to the walls anyway so would look fine.
You don't need to add strips of mdf you can get moulded mdf panels from b and q which just glue on and look really good painted. We used eggshell for good coverage as I think emulsion may not do the job