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Wood Panelling Design Ideas

Ideas for using timber panelling in your interior design

Design advice for how to use wall claddings to your best advantage. Whether you decide to go classic or contemporary with your wall panelling ideas , or make use of patterns, shapes, or painted timber in your wood paneling application, adding a wood panel feature wall is one of the most striking ways to set the tone of your interior style.


  • Types of Wall Panelling
  • Common questions about wood panelling
  • Wood paneling ideas for different rooms

Types of Wall Panelling

Choosing the right wall panel style for your room can be quite difficult, especially when you’re presented with so many options.

Below we’ve covered the basics of the many different styles to make it less overwhelming, we’ve included the panel styles which are currently on trend and growing more popular everyday. We’ve listed both traditional panelling designs and some contemporary panel styles, we’ve added a little something for everyone.

Wood Veneer Panelling

A veneer panel consists of thin wood slices which are typically under 1 mm in thickness, bonded to an MDF panel. It is a cheaper, faster and more sustainable alternative to using solid wood.

For modern styling, choose a striking wood veneer panel in a light, Scandi-inspired shade, or rich and dark hue for a dramatic dance with tactility. It works well in all types of properties, especially new builds as it really helps to add character and interest. Veneer panels are commonly found in residential homes because of their warm, natural appearance.

At VidaSpace, we have different colours and finishes that are available for our veneer panels, including black, brown, and grey, or brushed, sawn or smooth textures.

View Timber Veneer Wall Panelling

Slat Wall Panels

Slim slatted wall panels instantly conjure up a minimalist, luxe look. They are ideal for internal use in both commercial and residential settings and are easy to install, saving time and money and allowing you to quickly transform any space.

View Timber Slats

Half Wall Panelling

While full wall panelling ideas have been popular for a few years, more and more homeowners are opting for wood paneling on the lower portions of a wall to create shelving, conceal insulation or services, or replace skirting boards.

The practice of panelling the lower half of a wall dates back centuries. Originally, the practise was implemented to prevent denting and damage to walls in hallways and other high-traffic areas.

This style has risen in popularity in recent years, alongside other modern interior design trends which include a focus on timber and texture. Plus, alternative wall covering ideas to plaster, such as wainscoting can add warmth and instant character to new rooms in renovated or self build properties.

View Timber Wall Panelling

Wainscoting Wall Panels

Wainscoting is a centuries-old marriage of form and style. Dating to the 1300s, the Dutch used it to shield the bottom half of plaster walls from such hazards as jostled chairs and spurs on riding boots.

Available in a variety of patterns and panel options to suit almost any decor, it’s often used to stylishly safeguard walls that tend to take a beating, such as those in kitchens, foyers, and baths.

Creating a timeless look is easy with wainscoting. Moulded wainscoting paneling adds depth to a space. With a darker theme, the contrast of the dark walls with white furnishings can add a modern finish to the space.

Wainscoting is a valuable investment from a design standpoint as it can add value and warmth to your space. That said, the cost of this wall treatment can vary greatly depending on the material it’s made from, the type and size of panel used, the height (whether to chair-rail level or higher), room size, as well as local market supply-chain availability.

Vertical Wall Panelling

As a general rule, running planks vertically adds height visually, while horizontal boards can make small rooms look more expansive. But it also depends on how you enter the room and what is in your line of sight. That means a typical hallway can look extra-long when lined with horizontal planking.

Whether you are looking to cover an entire wall or simply a feature section, vertical wood panelling will give your room a sleek, on-trend look right out of the pages of your favourite magazines.

View Timber Wall Panelling

Horizontal Wall Panelling

Not a fan of the vertical look? Many designers love to use horizontal panelling for a more classic feature wall. The horizontal look can also add the impression of length and space to a room.

Horizontal wood panels help to bridge the interior-exterior divide, bringing warm, natural tones into an otherwise stark, monotone environment.

View Timber Wall Panelling

Wide Plank Wood Panelling

Go wide when using shiplap and V-groove, it is suggested to stick with 260mm wide planks so they look more like paneling and less like siding, which is typically narrower. Similarly, with beadboard, some people prefer 70 to 100mm between beads for a more modern look.

View Wide Plank Panelling

Batten Wall Panelling

Battens are big right now, in both interior and exterior design. With the right application, installing some batten panelling on your walls can infuse your room with an incredible sense of style. Try pairing a batten feature wall with sultry dark interior paints and Scandi or Industrial design elements.

Patterned wall panelling

Patterned wood wall panelling is a stunning trend straight from the pages of European design magazines. Patterning and clever design repetitions are reminiscent of traditional French parquet, which has resurfaced as a global wall panelling trend.

A European style of wood paneling has the potential to take your home design from zero to chic in an instant with clever design and application, as well as the right panelling product.

View Patterned Timber Wall Panelling

Painted Timber panelling

When it comes to timber products, many of us can be purists, preferring a natural wood grain aesthetic. If you already have a lot of wood in your home already and still want to add some depth and texture to the design, consider the painted wood wall panelling trend.

Painted panels are a fantastic way to play with colour without resorting to a plain matte colour wall.

Geometric Timber Panelling

If you are looking for the wood panel ‘wow factor’, an accent wall made up of recurring or random shapes may be just what you are looking for. Think squares, circles, cubes and triangles – whatever timber-based art takes your fancy can be yours with the clever application of wood paneling.

Reclaimed wood panelling

Reclaimed timber is a wonderful interior trend – whether you intend to use it for walls, or even as a ceiling feature. The more sustainable option for your build or renovation, reclaimed timber panelling also brings the colours and history of its past life to your home.

View Reclaimed Timber Wall Panelling

Extend your wall panelling along the ceiling

Want a statement look in your bedroom ? Consider using rustic planks of wood attached to the wall behind the bed, then continue the planks onto and along the ceiling too, for a cosy, canopy style feature.

This technique would work well in a room lacking any architectural features, or for a bed without a headboard.

View Reclaimed Timber Wall & Ceiling Panelling

Ceiling Panelling

Don’t neglect your ceiling. A wood paneled ceiling is a great way to give your living space a rustic feel and a lot of charm. The panels plus warm wood beams give this space a modern farmhouse feel.

Timber floors are a popular interior wood feature, but can get easily marked and damaged, requiring regular re-surfacing.

By using natural timber panels as a ceiling feature you essentially flip your design, using the richness of wood, without the foot traffic you would typically get with a wood floor.

Ceilings are also exposed to less ultra violet rays (UV) and weather than typical timber surfaces. This means they rarely need re-coating or re-surfacing so will last a lifetime.

View Timber Ceiling Panelling

Common questions about wood paneling

Does wall panelling make a room look smaller?

It’s not a hard and fast rule no, but this will depend on a few factors

  1. The level of natural daylight
  2. The height of wall panelling
  3. The natural wood tone or colour palette if wall panelling is painted to finish
  4. The tone of accompanying plain walls, ceiling and flooring.

If you’re worried about a small space feeling smaller, opt to use a lighter tone of wood wall panelling, such as ash or oak or if you are painting the wood paneling a light colour such as grey or white to help reflect the light and avoid making a room feel smaller.

If you don’t want the white clean look mid-tone half wall panelling combined with a lighter tone flooring and ceiling will help ensure that wall panelling works in a small room.

If you’re adding vertical planks of wood to a wall, it could help the space seem larger as they’ll draw your eye upwards towards the ceiling.

Darker floor to ceiling height wall panelling would be best applied in larger rooms and to create just one accent wall.

What are the benefits of wood paneling?

  • Besides looking fabulous, panelling is a quick-fix solution for older walls in less-than-perfect condition. As long as the plaster isn’t too damaged, and you’ve dealt with any damp areas, panelling can be popped right over existing walls for an instant neat finish.
  • Half-wall wood panelling can also protect walls from chairs being scraped against them.
  • A home redesign can also tend to be tedious and time-consuming, or – if you’re hiring a professional to do it – expensive. Fortunately, wall paneling doesn’t fit in this category. Tongue-and-groove designs and clipping systems make installation easier than assembling some children’s toys. All you need are the right dimensions and a little free time to install the panels to your walls.
  • Another major reason why a large number of people choose wood wall paneling is due to this incredible benefit. Wood is a natural insulator that is quite good at preventing heat from leaking out and cold from entering. It can play a huge role in keeping your property colder during the summer and warmer during the winter. As a result, you will save energy.
  • Wood panels offer enhanced acoustics as they’re good at insulating sound. This makes timber wall cladding a great option for people looking for some privacy and peace.
  • Wood paneling is quite durable and can last for a good amount of time based on the material, craftsmanship, and care provided to the panels. Lasting up to 30+ years.
  • Wood paneling is environmentally friendly, especially when compared to other options. It uses a biodegradable and renewable resource and does not pollute the environment.

What height should wall panelling be?

Many people opt for dado height, Dado height is usually one metre from the floor, especially in hallways and next to staircases.

This is also a good height for bathrooms, as it should clear fixtures and fittings, such as the basin or toilet cistern.

Another option is to go from floor to ceiling for a dramatic look. Alternatively, you could take it up high but not all the way. Consider other elements in the room, such as architectural features, fitted joinery furniture or windows and doors.

As a general rule, thirds are more aesthetically pleasing to the eye, so if you’re looking for an even ratio, try dividing the wall into a third or two thirds, rather than half a wall which can make the ceilings fell lower.

Can I paint the existing wall panelling in my home?

If your house is full of wood paneling that is dated, damaged, or made of an inferior veneer, it’s worth considering upgrading it by painting.

However, there are times when the warmth and richness of quality, distinctive wood paneling is entirely appropriate and exquisitely beautiful. That is unless you’re just tired of it. And, in that case paint away. Just remember there’s no going back, as it’s pretty much impossible to completely redo the process if you ever change your mind.

If you decide to paint over the wood paneling in your home, follow the proper steps to ensure it’s done correctly. It may seem like cleaning, sanding, and priming are unnecessary, but paneling requires extra attention if you want the wall to look its best.

What colours can I use for wall panelling?

You can use any colour you want. It’s entirely up to your creativity and personal preferences. It depends on the look you want to achieve with the wall panelling. If you want something light and airy, a neutral or muted colour is the way to go.

Bold and intense colours are the way to go if you’re going for a more daring look. If you want to combine the two styles in your wall panelling, meet in the middle and pair bright and brilliant tones with softer shades for a stylish contrast.

The combination of wall panelling and wallpaper is also a stylish way to make a bold statement if you want to change up your aesthetic.

Can I Panel Any Room In My House?

Yes! You aren’t limited to specific rooms, if you have panelling ideas for every room – we say go for it. Wall panelling is such a versatile trend it can align with any aesthetic and as such can be used in any room you wish.

Wood paneling ideas for different rooms

We’ve compiled a list of the rooms in your home that can benefit from panelling, as well as the best styles to use:


If there’s one thing we adore, it’s bedroom wall panelling. If you’re having trouble coming up with wall panelling ideas for your bedroom, you’re in luck. Once again, it comes down to personal preference and the aesthetic you’re aiming for.

We recommend geometric or board & batten panelling for contemporary designs. If you prefer a more traditional look, the Tongue & Groove strip panels or wainscotting are good options. The accompanying paint and furnishings will see your your bedroom transformed into a truly unique space.


Tongue and Groove panels are the most common style of bathroom wall panelling; it can be fixed to the lower portion of the wall and finished with a dado rail for a traditional look, or it can cover the entire wall for a more modern look.

Use light shades to open up the space; however, if dark and deep colours are more your style, this can look equally as striking. If you’re worried about making your bathroom appear smaller, contrast dark panelling with a neutral tone.

It’s important to consider how much natural light your bathroom gets; if it’s less than average, you might want to avoid a dark colour scheme.

Dining Rooms

Dining room wall panelling was once a traditional staple in country homes, but it’s now being reimagined with contemporary styles. Paneling in your dining room is the perfect way to transform your home, whether you live in a bustling townhouse or a charming cottage.

It’s easy to see why board & batten and slat style wall panels are becoming increasingly popular in dining rooms. They add an elegant flourish to a room that, despite being the beating heart of any home, is frequently overlooked. These panels can be used with any decor, whether it’s fun and quirky or understated and simple, depending on the look you’re going for.

Living Room

Geometric panelling is one of the best ways to add some oomph to your living space. You can make it bold yet minimalistic or busy and flamboyant. You can limit it to a one wall design or install the geometric patterns across the entirety of the walls. Eccentric shades or muted tones, both will work in this room.


Wooden Panelling is a popular feature in hallways, as this is the area of the house that receives the most traffic and, as a result, is subjected to the most wear and tear. You can protect the walls in the hallway from scuffs and knocks by installing wall panels.

Tongue and Groove style strip wall panels are the most popular hallway design. Because of how easy it is to clean and the uniform pattern, it’s a popular choice for hallway panelling. Scuffs and knocks are less noticeable.


Do you like the idea of using wood wall panelling in your interior design but are hesitant to use it in your main living areas? Timber panelling in entry halls and mudrooms is a big style trend that will last through 2022 and leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits your home.

Your entrance hall is a safe space to experiment with something a little different, from natural wood tones to painted timber panels.

Stairs & Landing

We often overlook these areas, but they can easily be improved with wall panels. Both the stairwell and the landing are primarily panelled in two styles. Tongue and Groove and Wainscotting. Neither one is better than the other; they both have their own merits and are beautiful additions to any home. They transform drab and uninspiring walls into sophisticated environments.

Kitchens & Laundries

Veneer Panels are a great way to add warmth & character to a modern kitchen. Shinnoki prefinished veneer panels can give a room a polished contemporary look.

Full wall panelling is great if you are looking to cover up uneven walls. It also works a treat in disguising a pantry door.

If you’d rather not have Laundry cupboard doors but you still need the storage, panelling will echo the traditional detailing of cabinet doors but without closing up the space with a cupboard. Painting the wall and shelving in the same colour as the bottom cabinets will create a seamless finish, also allowing the shelves and peg rails to almost disappear.

A pop of wood paneling on a kitchen island creates a lot of texture and can help the countertop pop against the cabinets.

It’s important to keep in mind that you will need a specific type of panelling for your kitchen and laundry. We highly recommend only using MR MDF wood wall panels. MR is short for moisture resistant – this doesn’t mean waterproof but it does have a higher tolerance for moisture over standard MDF – which you do not want to get wet at any point.

It’s really important to use MR MDF in rooms such as bathrooms, kitchens & laundry as there’s always a chance that it could get splashed with water, and if you use MR MDF your panelling won’t be destroyed.

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Mix and match with caution

With so many styles of cladding to choose from, it’s easy to go overboard. Keep it simple and don’t mix more than two in one room, and more than three in one house, it’s critical to use them thoughtfully and proportionately in the space.

Let them work hard

If you use wall cladding in just one space, a mudroom or laundry is a great place to put it. Mudrooms take a lot of wear and tear, Kids kick off their shoes and backpacks, and wood walls hold up a lot better than drywall.  Plus, you can install hooks anywhere that’s convenient, rather than planning around the wall studs.

Make a stunning first impression with a well-placed panelled accent wall or beautiful timber cabinetry.

Big or small, a well-placed panelled feature can be the difference between a bland, boring room and one that wows for many years to come.

VidaSpace’s Veneer panels are manufactured using timber milled from Europe’s most reputable timber mills and are an incredibly versatile material that can be used as wall cladding, bespoke cabinetry, or detailed and creative joinery.

The majority of our engineered timber flooring products may also be used on walls, ceilings, table-tops, cabinetry and joinery.

Our showrooms in Auckland and Wellington are filled with samples of our wall panelling products, so you can see and feel the difference in real life.

Can’t make it in? No problem! Requesting free samples from our range is quick and easy.

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