Wood paneling is a wall treatment that serves as an alternative to painted drywall. Paneling has been around for centuries. Nonetheless, it really rose to fame in the 1950s through the 1970s for its low cost and fast installation. Today, many homeowners think of wood paneling as nothing more than an ugly reminder of the past.
However, wood paneling is now making a major comeback with a massive transformation. Wood paneling has changed dramatically since its heyday with a greater focus on weathering, texture, color, and horizontal installation. Here are some of the most interesting modern wood paneling ideas that really make a statement, arranged in rough order of price and complexity.
1. Paint Outdated Paneling White
If your home has outdated 1970s wood paneling, but you don’t want to pay the cost to tear it off and replace it, a coat of paint may be all you need. Painting paneling a crisp white quickly transforms it from old and ugly to bright and modern wood paneling. This is an easy way to achieve a cottage vibe or contemporary look in your home with no more than a gallon of paint.
2. Whitewashed Paneling
Dark wood paneling can make a living room feel outdated and small. Whitewashing is an easy procedure to keep the wood-grain texture on the walls without the deep color.
To whitewash older wood paneling, water down white paint and brush it on. The paint should be wiped off immediately. This process can be repeated until you get the right look.
3. Single-Wall Paneling
You don’t need to cover every wall to bring the warmth of wood paneling into a room. One of the latest trends in modern wood paneling is creating an accent wall. When you focus on just one wall, you can get creative without worrying about overwhelming the space. There are endless options depending on your budget.
If you want a statement wall without spending too much money, look for fiberboard panels. These can look fairly realistic. Another option is a veneer wood panel which has a thin layer of real wood adhered to the surface for the appearance of real wood boards on the wall.
For a luxurious and ultra-modern feel, consider a statement wall of shiplap or reclaimed barn wood. New solid hardwood is the most expensive option. Nonetheless, it offers the widest variety of options like red oak, maple, and walnut.
4. Run Paneling Horizontally
When paneling is run horizontally, not vertically, it creates a warm foundation in the room while distancing itself from its 70s cousin. Horizontal paneling can create an informal coastal or cottage atmosphere.
There are two types of horizontal panels: tongue and groove and shiplap. Shiplap is a popular option that gets its name because the panels overlap slightly and fit together with grooved boards. With tongue and groove paneling, the panels interlock for the same clean look. Shiplap is more affordable than tongue and groove wood paneling.
5. Change the Panel Width and Scale
Medium-sized vertical panels are reminiscent of 1970s wood paneling. However, just by switching up the width of the panels you can bring paneling into the 21st century.
An easy way to achieve a modern wood paneling look is with extra wide panels. These tweaks can make a living room appear larger and more refined. Very slim strips of wood, on the other hand, turn a wall into an accent. Very narrow panels can create the appearance of a slatted wall. However, it can be overwhelming if it’s used for all of the walls in the living room.
6. Wood Paneling on the Ceiling
There are many opportunities to get creative when paneling is installed on the walls. On the other hand, you can also make an interesting statement by placing modern wood paneling on the ceiling.
Raw wood can add a rustic feel to the room while weathered reclaimed barn wood creates a chic country cottage feel. Many homeowners choose to install wood paneling in the kitchen. This way, they add warmth and a natural element to an otherwise sterile space dominated by stainless steel appliances. A reclaimed barn wood ceiling can also be a comforting addition to a living room that adds refinement and visual interest.
7. Solid Hardwood Paneling
Retro wood paneling is not always made of solid wood. Back days, it was often made from plywood or composite materials. Today, modern wood paneling comes in a huge array of options. They complement any style and decor in your living room.
Composite and laminate materials are still popular for achieving the look of wood without the cost. Nonetheless, nothing compares to using real solid hardwood to emphasize your walls.
8. Raised Panels
Modern wood paneling doesn’t always involve planks of wood. A popular high-end type of paneling is the raised panel. Traditionally, these panels are comprised of solid lumber that are joined and shaped on the edges like an expensive cabinet door.
Raised painted panels can also be made from MDF for the same look at a lower cost. Raised panels can be used to frame your living room. They can cover anywhere from the lower quarter of the wall or up to two-thirds of the wall, depending on the look you want.
9. Geometric Patterns
Wood paneling that’s installed board by board can get expensive, especially if you move away from a basic vertical or horizontal installation. If you really want to make a statement, though, installing modern wood paneling in a geometric pattern definitely catches the eye.
For example, the paneling can be extended to the ceiling and installed in a diamond grid pattern. This makes the walls appear woven to bring warmth and texture to the room.
Wood paneling has come a long way in the last few decades. If you want to achieve a sophisticated look in your living room, modern wood paneling ideas can help you get there. Whether you want something simple to update existing paneling or you want to dramatically transform your space, this interior design option has your back.
Do you have wood paneling in your home? How do you feel about it? Leave a comment to share your thoughts on modern wood paneling and how it can best be used in a living room.