We don't have to tell you trends come and go, then come back again. After all, macramé wall hangings, wicker furniture, and velvet haven't looked so good since the '70s. But others, like wood paneling, are a bit more difficult to navigate. Believe us, there's a fine line separating your beautiful living room from the dingy den and shabby basement installations from the past.
Don't fret. These days wood paneling can be reinvented into something modern and not the least bit dowdy. Since the days of shag carpet and avocado appliances, the home décor staple has a whole new look. What used to look tacky and stagnant, now adds character to any space, from rustic to contemporary. Scroll through for the inspiration and tips you need to execute wood paneling the right way.
Update The Retro Look
We're big fans of the retro look, but this usually entails vintage-inspired elements, rather than actual wall coverings from 30 years ago. This room works because it incorporates an updated version of wood paneling (thin slats in a light shade), paired with 70's inspired décor.
Mix Wood Profiles
You probably already know how trendy mixed metals are, but as it turns out, you can do the same with wood. This space does an impeccable job at mixing the profiles of different lumbers. The lower half of this dining room boasts blonde tones of birch plywood, while the top half highlights warm tones in the wood slats. The two come together to make this space unique and beautiful.
Try A Modern Approach
The walls in this bathroom are dressed in a faux-wood tile that create a stunning optical illusion. The same could be done with real pieces of wood, but this approach is much cheaper, easier to install, and so much quicker. It's important to always consider alternatives when sourcing materials for your wood-paneled wall.
Try Horizontal Shiplap
Shiplap is usually installed vertically, giving you clean lines that run up and down a wall. However, designing a space with horizontally installed shiplap visually stretches the room from left to right giving the illusion that it's longer. It's a simple swap but it makes a major difference.
Create A Screen
If there's one thing we want you to learn with wood paneling it's that you can get creative with it. This wood paneled wall is designed to work as a screen. It creates a division in the space, but doesn't completely act as a wall. Separation between the wood panels creates a beautiful illusion that allows light and energy to flow through freely.
Try Wallpaper As An Alternative
If you long for a wood paneled wall but you currently reside in a rental, flex your interior design skills with a woodgrain wallpaper. The result is just as beautiful, but it's easily removed, much more affordable, easier to install, and gives you the illusion of textured walls. It's a win-win.
Install Your Shiplap Diagonally
You've seen vertical and horizontal installations before but you'll want to keep this new diagonal take on hand for renovation inspiration. Paired with horizontal-running wood on the ceiling and perpendicular beams painted black, this living-room-dining-room hybrid is a formula for design success.
Try A Rustic Finish
Most wood paneling is clean and flawless. However, sourcing distressed wood for an accent wall will make all the difference in your final design. Aged wood brings so much character and charm to a modern space, you'll be transported to another place and timezone every time you get home.
Take It To New Heights
We love the wood paneling on the walls in this space, but the wood paneling on the ceiling takes the cool factor of this living room up a notch.
If you think of taking this look for a spin, keep the walls clean and pair your ceiling with flooring in a similar color. Do this, and your wood-paneled ceilings will take center stage every time.