Your 2024 guide to wood panelling
Wood panelling is the interior design detail that’s here to stay. In fact, it’s a trend that’s never been out of fashion, with the Tudors, Elizabethans, Jacobeans and Victorians all putting their own spin on timber décor.
Today’s wood panelling styles are far simpler and less oppressive. Gone are the intricate carvings and dark, stained oak that conjure up images of stately homes. Today it’s all about light and sleek.
One of the most popular wood panelling options is Shaker style, which is sometimes referred to as ‘board and batten’. Square or rectangle panels are achieved by fixing plain wood battens to a wall, which are then painted.
A little more decorative and classically influenced is Wainscotting panelling. Square, rectangle or a mix of both panels are created in a similar way to Shaker but the battens are replaced by thin fluted mouldings. The look is often completed with a dado or picture rail.
Those looking for a New England, Swiss chalet or coastal aesthetic can opt for shiplap or tongue and groove wood panelling. The wide boards look great when affixed wall-to-wall and can be bought pre-treated or weathered for an instant design statement.
Right up to date is timber slat panelling, which sees thin timber battens applied at even intervals across a room, either horizontally or vertically. The battens can run full height, or only cover the bottom half of a wall.
Whichever wood panelling style you prefer, there are a number of ways to get the look or customise the finish. Here are some considerations:-
Paint your wood: if you buy untreated and unvarnished wood, the world is your oyster. Wood can be varnished for durability or painted in any colour. Use pastel duck egg blue and sage green shades for a New England feel, opt for a grey or white limewash if you want to recreate rustic coastal charm or be brave with onyx black for a sense of drama.
Buy large ready-made panels: if you’re hoping to cover a large expanse of wall with wood panelling, you might want to consider pre-made sheets, which are available as wide as 360cm. Simply cut to size and affix securely to the wall, with each panel designed to work seamlessly together.
Purchase a panelling kit: if the thought of gathering different materials and tools together feels overwhelming, never fear. Panelling kits are available, containing everything you need, from the battens, glue and sandpaper to the wood filler, tape and even a printed ‘how to’ guide.
Use MDF instead of solid wood: traditional wood panelling is crafted from solid wood, such as spruce or redwood, but this can work out expensive. An alternative is to use MDF, which is available in a variety of pre-cut widths, thicknesses and lengths. It’s also easy to cut to size at home.
Opt for ‘peel and stick’ planks: if you want to create the shiplap look without the effort, you can buy ‘peel and stick’ planks that stick straight to the wall, thanks to extra-strong, self-adhesive tape. Textured planks are available in a variety of colours, with an FSC® certified hardwood face and backing.
Fake it: if your woodwork skills are a little rusty, or you need a quick fix, there are a number of shortcuts to achieve the wood panelled look. You can buy wallpaper that has been printed with period-style, timber slat and shiplap wood panelling or for something without the pasting element, choose a self-adhesive wall mural printed with a wood panel design.
We’d be happy to show you a list of available properties where you can make your interior design mark. Also get in touch if you’re on the move and would like a free valuation.
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