Design from A to ZInteriors

Design from A to Z: P is for Paneling

by Garrett Fleming

Design from A to Z: P is for Paneling, Design*Sponge
The word “paneling” used to be synonymous with “outdated.” It conjured up images of dark-and-dreery basements or that neglected room in your home you haven’t quite gotten around to fixing up. Overall, it’s safe to say its reputation preceded it. Not anymore though! Nowadays, clever homeowners are taking back control of the design detail and giving it a modern update through paint, pattern and even texture.

Luckily for us, we’ve been able to stand witness to this design element’s resurrection through the ingenuity of those who have shared their homes with us. We’re so in awe of the work these guys and gals have done, in fact, today we’ve rounded up 10 great examples of the power of paneling for us all to ogle over. Some of these clever renters and owners even installed the wooden look themselves. Kudos, guys and girls! Scroll down to take a look at their handiwork, and enjoy! —Garrett

P.S. Check out the rest of our Design from A to Z series here.

Design from A to Z: P is for Paneling, Design*Sponge

While renovating a hotelier’s retreat, Courtney and her husband John uncovered this fantastic beadboard paneling. To give it an update, they painted it in Benjamin Moore’s “Tarrytown Green.” Forest green has to be one of the most-popular interior hues I have ever seen here on Design*Sponge.

Design from A to Z: P is for Paneling, Design*Sponge

My all-time favorite use of paneling is this herringbone pattern we gave you a peek of back in 2014. In my opinion, it’s the star of Lindsey Smith’s Baton Rouge home.

Design from A to Z: P is for Paneling, Design*Sponge

Annika’s apartment sits inside a defunct commercial bakery that was built a century ago meaning her paneling is likely 100 years old as well.

Design from A to Z: P is for Paneling, Design*Sponge

The way this wallpaper’s looping lines stand in contrast to the parallel layout of the paneling in this converted railway car in Kent are what make it so visually striking.

Design from A to Z: P is for Paneling, Design*Sponge

An alder wood wall and houndstooth headboard complement one another in this rustic renovation.

Design from A to Z: P is for Paneling, Design*Sponge

Jenna’s bedroom makeover was not only impactful but cost-conscious as well thanks to the affordability of paneling.

Design from A to Z: P is for Paneling, Design*Sponge

This wood-paneled wall is great for renters as it comes down in one piece leaving minimal marks. Check out the DIY here.

Design from A to Z: P is for Paneling, Design*Sponge

Beadboard has a reputation for being a more-traditional, less-trendy design technique. Bright-and-soft colors and textures like those in Sarah’s ranch house can do wonders for updating the style though.

Design from A to Z: P is for Paneling, Design*Sponge

Everyday, the children who get to hang out in this restaurant turned preschool are greeted by this beautiful entry. It’s clean look sets the tone for the day: bright and cheerful.

Design from A to Z: P is for Paneling, Design*Sponge

Paneling is a design staple, but when it’s given a twist — like the curving design here in Astrid’s a-frame cottage — the wooden go-to seems fresh and unique.

Suggested For You


  • Very nice modern examples of paneling. Only one looked like a throwback to the 70s, not that that’s a bad thing, but it’s not my favorite.

  • Thank you. Before starting out this morning, a few minutes of procrastinating surfing ideas for paneled walls, and your Design Sponge appeared “synchronistically”. Much appreciation for Your views and comments and suggestions for those of us who lag in the rethinking department. Having us revisiting our narratives about paneling, you are an interior design shrink we need so to be content with “what is”. Yes, you have freed me from starting out my gold plated day where I may have obsessed about not being able to “deal” with the paneling which lines the uninsulated AFrame where the three sons have advised me to give up hanging photos and art. I have been resenting and lamenting the damned paneling, which is impossible to hammer nails through; the composite “wood” repels the hammer as it hits the nail! Further, you set up enough information on your site that a sparkle idea chain formed, which helped me reframe my thinking about hanging pictures via wire, from the top of the panels which meet the slant of this AFrame. This is a project house in Larkspur, California, and I am the sole contractor and designer. The many decorator friends I have will be advised to search and sponge from your site! Merci, and mercy, you have sent a good message that helped me this morning and from distain. Now, to work. Good day!

Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.