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Wood Paneling Ideas

Wood paneling is a great way to add character and visual interest to a room. There are many different types of wood wall paneling options, each with its own unique look and feel. These wall treatments are achievable at different price points and customizations. In this article, we’ll discuss the various wood panel types, and ideas for paneling on walls, and take a look at some examples. By the end of this post, I’m sure you’ll have found a wood paneling option that you love and would like to try! Let’s dive in.

Wood Paneling Ideas

Shiplap Wood Paneling

Shiplap has taken the internet by storm with the explosion of modern farmhouse design and decor. It’s become a very popular choice as a decorative wood wall paneling, thanks to its rustic and vintage charm. Whether you choose to use real shiplap or choose to use synthetic shiplap, it’s a great way to add character to any room. Shiplap is a fairly easy and inexpensive way to add texture and visual interest to your walls. I love this shiplap accent wall above. The great thing about all of these paneling ideas are that you can do just one wall to create a focal wall in your home.

Shiplap wood panels can be used on fireplaces, kitchen islands, living rooms, kitchens,  accent walls, hallways, bedrooms, and even as an exterior wall wood paneling.

Typically, shiplap is mounted horizontally, though occasionally the boards are placed vertically creating a unique design of wood wall covering. Even more interesting you could try creating diamond patterns, chevrons, or squares with shiplap for added texture and additional visual interest in your space. One of my favorite ways to use shiplap is on the ceiling. Decorative wood panels can be installed on the ceiling to introduce an unusual design element to your living room or other space. It’s always a nice surprise to look up and see that the ceiling wasn’t forgotten!

Square Wall Paneling

Square wall paneling, also known as a grid style wall treatment, is a twist on traditional board and batten. A square panel wall adds an extra layer of design appeal to any space.

Like all wall treatments, square wall panels add texture and dimension to your space. I love the symmetry that square panel walls bring to a room. This type of wall treatment can be easily be installed as a DIY project making it all the more attractive. If you’re looking for a modern take on a more traditional wall paneling option, square wood wall panels are a great option.

Slat Wood Panels

Thin wood panels also known as slat wood wall paneling or fluted wood paneling is a modern type of decorative wood paneling that is currently on trend. This type of wood paneling is essential wood slats that are installed very close together to create dimension. You can use slat wood paneling to create very unique and interesting wall designs. You can really get creative with this style of wall paneling by adding things like paint to the wall or wood slats. You can also use wood stain to stain the wood a complementary color. In the example above, the wall was painted black and the thin wood wall panels were stained. The natural wood panels are installed on the black wall. This contrast makes the space really pop. It creates a sleek and modern design that looks great in living rooms and bedrooms as well as in smaller spaces like bathrooms and closets. This wall cladding idea would look especially great as an interior accent wall.

Where I think fluted wood paneling truly shines though, is as wood paneling for exterior walls. Homeowners and interior designers are using fluted wood panels to add curb appeal to homes by creating an exterior slat accent wall.

Chic French Wall Paneling

In my opinion, this style of wall paneling is the classiest and most traditional. It is also referred to by its formal name, Boiserie. Boiserie is wall paneling that originated in France during the 14th century and became a popular decorative element. Today, we know it as wall embellishments or moldings with simple but intricate and precise wood details. The vertical lines that are often incorporated into french wall paneling can help give the room the appearance of extra height. 

French wall panels are subtle yet dramatic at the same time. This is a perfect wood paneling idea if you looking to add a classic and luxurious feeling to your space. French wall paneling would look great as formal dining room paneling or formal living room paneling.

Board and Batten Wall

Board and batten panels are a type of wall paneling. It’s a very popular choice for country homes, coastal homes, farmhouses, and even some modern homes. 

I have a whole post on board and batten wall ideas if you want a deep dive into board and batten but the short version is:

Board and batten essentially is using wood or MDF panels to create smoothness along the wall, then add strips of wood or batten to hide the seams. Today, we use board and batten as a design element and rarely use the board pieces opting for adding just the wood or MDF strips over your drywall in a fun pattern or design! I love it because is a very inexpensive way to give a space character, add a focal point, and add charm to your space.

What’s great about board and batten is that it gives you the freedom to express your style and creativity. You can create a more traditional style of board and batten or do something like the example above and try a horizontal style board and batten. Board and batten can look great in any room such as bedrooms, hallways, dining rooms, family rooms, and even bathrooms. My absolute favorite thing about batten panel design is that they are only limited by your imagination!

I have done two board and batten projects in the last few years both turned out great. The first time I used board and batten was in my small guest bathroom. For this project, I opted for a vertical wood paneling board and batten. My second attempt at board and batten was in my children’s room and we created a board and batten accent wall. 

Tongue and groove (AKA 4 x 8 wood paneling)

Does this example look familiar? Tongue and groove wall paneling is very similar to shiplap in that it has a unique interlocking system which makes for a tight fit and seamless look. Though it may look like shiplap, tongue and groove wood paneling is different. It can be found pre-finished or unfinished and can be stained or painted in any color you desire.

Tongue and groove are often painted a bright or creamy white color to give your home that popular farmhouse design. Tongue and groove also work really well with other design styles such as coastal, transitional, and country.

For great white paint colors that will work for shiplap or tongue and groove check out these paint color review posts:
Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace
Behr Whisper White
Sherwin Williams Greek Villa

Beadboard Paneled Wall

Beadboard paneling is another popular style of wood paneling. It is similar to other wood panel types except for the very unique groove pattern that beadboard possesses, beadboard is typically installed vertically, producing a striped paneled look that everyone recognizes. Recently some DIY’ers and designers have begun placing it horizontally, creating a creative and unique look. Beadboard flat panels pair well with many different home decor styles including coastal and farmhouse.

Beadboard is a great DIY project. Beadboard typically comes in 4×8 sheets which cost around $20 a piece making beadboard an affordable yet durable home upgrade. If the price per square foot is a concern then you can’t go wrong with beadboard for your wall paneling design.

Type of Plank Wall

If rustic design is your cup of tea, then creating a plank wood wall is a great way to add a modern rustic character to a room. If you like the natural flaws and rough edges of wood this wood paneling might just be the perfect choice for you. Plank walls can be created using new wood or reclaimed wood and come in various widths and sizes so you are sure to find a combination you love. Plank walls look great indoors and outdoors and can be stained or painted in any color you choose adding to their versatility.

Is there a Difference? Wainscoting vs. Paneling

Paneling is frequently confused with wainscoting, but there is a bit of difference. While wainscoting typically goes only a third way up the wall, wall paneling typically fills up a larger portion of a wall or most commonly the entire wall. 

When it comes to wall decor ideas, wood paneling has made a resurgence in the last decade or so, but in different, more customized, forms such as shiplap, beadboard, french wall paneling, and slat wood panels. The old laminate paneling was good while it lasted but is now being replaced by modern wood paneling ideas that breathe new life into a room. If you like the concept of decorative wall panels, one of the wood panel types above is an excellent way to add a unique focal point and style to your home!

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