Go overboard with timber cladding for a fresh modern look..
Sure, we’ve been panelling our walls with wood for centuries, but there are plenty of interesting new takes on this traditional technique and the choice of styles and types of timber is wider than ever. Wooden panels can work in any room – and can transform the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, hallway, living and dining areas . And who said it’s just for walls (or floors), what about the ceiling too? Cladding the ‘fifth’ wall in timber will add another dimension to a new-build that lacks character.
Forget 70s sauna-style pine though, the latest looks include clever architectural effects and reinterpretations of ancient practices. Dark and dramatic period detailing and classic Cape Cod clapperboard planks, get a cool update too.
Today’s hippest designers are stepping up the style stakes by leaving the material exposed. This makes a feature out of its texture and colour – you can either work a sleek, Scandi look with pale boards, or go for texture to do the modern, rustic thing. Reclaimed timber is inexpensive and abundant, (not to mention eco-friendly), but if the real deal isn’t an option, investigate wood-effect wallpapers, such as scrapwood wallpaper by Piet Hein Eek.
Go for horizontal boards to make your room look wider, experiment with bleached, stained, waxed, oiled or distressed finishes that enhance the grain – or consider super-thin or extra-wide panels to shake things up and make a fabulous feature. Wood always adds warmth, so it works well with harder materials like concrete or porcelain tiles. But don’t be afraid to use it with other types of timber on the floor. Just choose complementary tones, different plank widths or paint one or the other to break it up.
Period property, urban apartment or rural retreat, peruse our pick of wonderful wood walls and find a style to suit your space.
Think of your ceilings as a fifth wall, or give it the same attention, that you'd give the floor. Enveloped in parquet flooring, this room has a warm cocooning effect, whilst still looking cool and modern.
Get the look: Jonathan Tuckey Architects created a panelled dining room using an exposed structure of douglas Fir. The project cost £160,000.
In a period property, with original architectural features, bright fabrics and furniture will pop against dark-wood panelling.
Get the look: Source a similar sofa from distinctive Chesterfields, £1,299.
Give wood panelling a vibrant spin with a geometric pattern. This one is created with narrow slats.
Get the look: Cowley Timber & Partners sells timber cladding for £55.25 per sq m. This is the Grandemare bed by Antonio Citterio for Flexform – prices start at £6,186.
Run panels horizontally to elongate a room. In this dining space, the panelling runs up the walls and on to the ceiling for a cabin-style feel.
Get the look: This is the Jayden table, approx £2,375, Flamant.
Wood panelling is given a modern twist with a bleached finish.
Get the look: The Safari chair, £675; and Safari stool, £324, are by Kaare Klint for Carl Hansen & Søn.
This hallway features a wall treatment designed by architect David Mikhail. The narrow timber panels are a warm foil against the cool concrete flooring.
Get the look: Wall cladding from Lawsons, from £150 per sq m. The Ercol Original Love seat costs £780.
Frank de Biasi Interiors designed this bathroom using reclaimed wood to add texture and warmth. It's raw aesthetic resembles the ancient Japanese technique of shou sugi ban, where charred timber is used to create a unique effect.
Get the look: These are Perzel wall lights, approx £590 each.
For a striking yet inexpensive way to add timber panelling to your walls, try scaffolding boards. If you can't find the right length for the height of your room, create a similar feature by adding a dado style rail and using shorter planks and offcuts to fill the wall.
Get the look: This wall is made of scaffolding boards from Hadley Reclaimed, £4.80 for a 5ft board.
Make your wood walls work. Instead of panelling, a bank of wardrobe doors made from reclaimed scaffold boards has a rugged appeal and gives the same impression.
Get the look: The overhead lamp is a vintage find. The mat is from Wayfair. The bedlinen is from Soak & Sleep.
Mix it up. This Edwardian terrace has been given a pared-back Cape Cod aesthetic with white painted timber panels.
Get the look: The table is from The Old Cinema. The vintage Ercol chairs were found at Drew Pritchard. This is Pooky’s Timothy pendant. The Hugo Guinness prints on the wall are from John Derian.