A beautiful, decorative feature for the home, living room panel ideas can work well in both traditional and contemporary interiors, adding lasting character and charm to your space.
Living room panels can add depth and luxurious texture, but are also a practical addition to your walls for extra durability, insulation and protection. Panel ideas for walls are a perfect addition to living room decor, as the room should reflect your personal style as well as be durable and timeless, with panels able to offer everything effortlessly.
From modern panel-on-panel painting ideas of all shapes and sizes, to traditional Shaker panels, you can be both subtle and bold with your living room cladding ideas.
Living Room Panel Ideas
A feature once associated with traditional properties has since become much more than just a method of insulation.
Living room panels are a popular decorative technique for wall decor ideas that can change the look of a room. With a range of traditional and modern styles available, there is an option for all house styles.
Whether you’re refreshing your existing living room paneling with a fresh coat of paint, or building your own new panels, we’ve rounded up a collection of inspiring tips and ideas to help you get the most out of your living room paneling.
1. Use square panels for a neat, geometric look
Square paneling, also known as Jacobean style paneling, creates a uniform, symmetrical pattern through the elegant placement of squares.
The neat, grid effect provides a great platform for living room paint ideas and creates an inviting, textured style that works well in both small and large spaces.
2. Frame your artwork
For ideas on how to display artwork, living room wallcovering provides the perfect platform to enhance your artwork.
Whether you’re creating custom paneling for chosen artwork, or using the existing panel shapes in your interior space for enhanced gallery wall ideas, it can beautifully frame a painting or photograph, creating an additional element of depth and texture.
Framing your artwork in this way is also a great option for stair covering ideas, as stairs often provide the perfect platform for a gallery wall.
3. Keep it minimal
For a more contemporary look, choose a sleek and minimal effect from the paneling in the living room.
In this living room, Black Blue No.95 painted by Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab)the thin, horizontal wood panel adds an understated element of texture.
Keeping it minimal with paneling is also a great way to subtly organize a living room. Here, the panel creates a delicate separation between the low seating area and the upper wall space with artwork and lighting.
4. Paint the living room paneling in a neutral color
For a timeless and sophisticated look, painting your living room upholstery in a neutral shade ensures that the design stands the test of time and is a surefire way to beautify your living room.
In this bright living room, the walls and panels are painted in a soft, off-white shade, which emphasizes the panel design in comparison to the bright white ceiling.
The overall effect makes for a versatile backdrop that can grow with a living room for years to come, perfect for neutral living room ideas.
5. Create a monochromatic look
For an eye-catching look, incorporating living room panels into a striking monochromatic design can be a great way to put a contemporary spin on traditional living room ideas.
The blue paint used in this living room creates a bold, modern design that celebrates color and texture. The panels stand out here and fit into the monochromatic color scheme, with the dark blue shade creating a sophisticated and eye-catching atmosphere, ideal for blue living room ideas.
6. Use a unique fabric panel
Traditional wood panels are known to add texture and depth to a room, but if you want to take it one step further, why not create a unique panel design decorated with soft fabric?
Tactile and inviting, a fabric panel is great for decorative room ideas and will add an enhanced element of texture and coziness to your living room. The use of fabric panels also provides a great platform for mixing patterns and prints in interior design, creating a vibrant space rich in color and character.
Whether you decide to panel the entire living room, or create a striking feature panel behind a seating area like in the living room above from Neptune (opens in new tab)a fabric panel can create a unique design statement in your home.
7. Coordinate with your background
Coordinating the paneling of your living space with your wallpaper is a simple tip that is guaranteed to create a cohesive, stylish scheme, but is also a great way to enhance your wallpaper ideas.
For inspiration, use the color wheel to pick a complementary shade or accent color to match your chosen wallpaper design.
8. Use exposed wood panels for a rustic effect
A popular style of wall paneling for the home, especially for bathroom panel ideas, louvers provide a clean and classic look and can be mounted either vertically or horizontally.
In this living room, designed by KJM Interiors (opens in new tab)The rustic wooden planks create a relaxed atmosphere and add natural texture and warmth to the neutral living room. The horizontal placement of the panels also increases the size of the room, creating the illusion that the space is wider – a handy decorating tip for ceiling panel ideas too.
9. Be bold with color
Using paint ideas and painting a bold hue is an easy way to add color and personality to your living room.
Helen Shaw, UK Director at Benjamin Moore (opens in new tab), states that ‘choosing the right color for decorating paneling is key; if you prefer a subtle and elegant aesthetic, consider a tonal scheme by matching the wall color to the panel’s decor, or for a more impactful finish, choose a complementary or signature color to draw attention’.
In this living room, the bright green paneling accentuates the beautiful patterned wallpaper and creates a dynamic contrast to the red striped rug. By adding a modern twist to a traditional wood design, going bold with paint for living room paneling ideas can create a unique, vibrant effect—a tip that also works well for modern hallway paneling ideas.
10. Choose large panels for a dramatic effect
In this living room, the large, gray painted panels complement the scale of the artwork and enhance the sense of space, creating an additional element of height and grandeur.
By choosing the appropriately shaped and sized panels to match the proportions of your living room, you can create a balanced scheme that makes the most of the space.
How do you panel a living room?
Many living rooms have traditional paneling that can be easily refreshed and painted to coordinate with your chosen scheme.
However, if you want to add paneling to your living room, there are a few tips to remember beforehand.
Helen Shaw, UK Director at Benjamin Moore, states: ‘Careful planning is essential so you can ensure that the connections work and that you have thought through practical considerations such as how it will work in relation to sockets, fireplaces and doors .
“If you are going to redecorate your space and add paneling, think carefully about the type of paint you use. Surfaces must be dust free and properly prepared and primed to ensure the final finish can withstand the demands of the environment.’
Selecting where you want your panels to be and measuring your living room is the best place to start. You can then move on to considering factors such as panel style, material, paint choice and colors to create the perfect panel design for your space.
Does paneling make a living room look smaller?
Using paneling in larger living rooms is a great way to make the space more inviting and cosy, but not all paneling styles make a room look smaller.
Using large, vertical panels can give the illusion of extra height to a room, while horizontal panels make a room appear wider.
Many styles and shapes of paneling are available, with a range of choices suitable for both large and small living rooms.