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Wall paneling ideas from the experts

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Affordable, versatile and eye-catching, wall panels are a smart way to instantly transform your home, whether it’s adding character to a new build or enhancing that old-world sense of grandeur in a period property.

It’s no wonder wall panels have become one of the top home decor trends of 2022, and it’s definitely here to stay. We asked six interior designers and specialists to reveal the latest styles and their best tips for adding paneling to your home…

Make the most of your space

“Panelling is an easy way to add texture, depth and interest to walls and is great for all types of properties, especially where architectural features are minimal,” says Jenna Choate, co-founder of Inner fox, an interior design studio. “When working with a small space, vertical paneling is a great technique for making walls appear taller while drawing the eye upward. Another option is to go mid-height for a less dominant look, like behind a desk or bed to create a headboard. In one project, we created a mini workstation by simply lining a small section of the bedroom wall with a shelf that doubles as a dressing table. In large spaces, full-height paneling keeps the room from feeling sparse and one-dimensional and can help demarcate an open-plan space that has multifunctional uses.

Interior designer Jenna Choates uses half-wall panels behind a bed.

Veronica Rodriguez

Use wall panels for functionality

It’s not just about making a space prettier — wall panels have their practical uses, too. “It’s a great way to create hidden storage, hiding TVs, cables, toys and games – all the things you wish weren’t visible,” adds Caroline Milns, Head of Interior Design at ZuluFish, interior design studio, architecture studio. “The panels provide protection for busy areas of the home, such as the hallway and stairways, where an easy-to-clean painted finish ensures easy maintenance. It can also repair imperfect walls, creating straight lines and a clever structure, particularly useful in bathrooms and kitchens when trying to hide pipes.”

Wall covering ideas

A wall panel design by Zulufish.

Zulu fish

Know your tendencies

“There is a growing trend for molded contemporary styles that go beyond what is possible with MDF,” says Interior Stylist and Blogger, Luke Arthur Wells. “Brands like Oraco decoration they have sheets of 3D polymer panels that come in modern shapes, including fluted, ribbed, and Art Deco-inspired designs for a tactile finish. Fluted and slatted panels are particularly hot this year; I’ve actually created large fluted wall panels using plastic gutters from a home improvement store, clamped to a frame, and then painted – it’s amazing what you can achieve when the base materials are applied creatively. If you’re looking to get ahead of the curve, I think we’ll also start to see a style of Shaker paneling done with thinner, more widely spaced slats for a modern twist on this classic look.

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Wall covering ideas

Interior stylist Luke Arthur Wells created his wall panels using plastic gutters from a home improvement store.

Luke Arthur Wells

Think outside the box

However, it’s not just about following trends, advises Jordan Russell of the design consultancy, Studio 2LG. “Rather than focusing solely on popular styles, start with the period of your property and consider what it may have originally been used for. If you live in a Victorian or Georgian home, what profile is the molding or wood trim that would have been used? Likewise, if you live in a 1930s house, what could have been, perhaps a simpler Shaker style? You can always give the original look a more contemporary look, but basing your decision on the age of your property gives you a starting point. When we stripped the drawing room in our Victorian home, the original plaster had all the marks of where the paneling originally existed, so we restored it. They work great as a framing device for artwork, sconces and mirrors.

Wall covering ideas

A wall panel design by 2LG Studios.

2LG

Add color for effect

“There has been a resurgence in incorporating striking wallpaper designs in or behind wall panels, such as bold botanical prints paired with color-matched moldings,” says Paula Taylor, Head Stylist and Trend Specialist at Graham & Brown. “If wallpaper seems like too much, layering an earth tone palette is an on-trend way to add a sense of dimension. For an inviting, contemporary look, light praline shades will reflect light in a bedroom or living room, yet add warmth for the winter months.” Athina Bluff, CEO of interior design service, Topology Interiors, agrees. “A mix of off-white and nude is a popular choice right now; creating a paneled feature wall that’s painted in a contrasting darker color is a nice touch, or even the color drenches the whole room in the same hue.

Wall covering ideas

A Graham & Brown design incorporating wallpaper and wall panelling.

Graham & Brown

“For us, color is always an opportunity to let loose at home; we painted our walls and paneling the same color but used a matte emulsion for the walls and eggshell with a slight sheen for the paneling, which creates a nice texture and changes throughout the day with the light in the room adds Jordan. mixed.I feel this could be due to a comeback.

Wall covering ideas

A colorful wall panel design by Orac Decor.

Oraco decoration

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Know the do’s and don’ts

Interior decorator Melanie Lisack provides his top tips for an expert finish:

  • “TRY Polymer Moldings on MDF as they are lightweight and easier to cut and apply, plus they often come pre-primed and ready to paint – great for DIY beginners and a cleaner finish.”
  • “DO NOT assume that walls, floors and ceilings are perfectly straight, chances are they are not. When it comes to repairing your chosen panels, be sure to use a mason’s spirit level, or better yet a laser level, and be sure to leave enough space at the top and bottom for irregularities in the wall’s height.
  • “Plan your design all over the walls before you start – my mantra is measure twice, cut once. If you’re paneling a small space, a hand miter box and hand saw are fine. However, a compact electric miter saw will make the job much easier.”
  • “DO NOT forget to use an instant-set adhesive to ensure the panels adhere to the walls quickly and to prevent them from slipping out of place.”
  • “Always APPLY mastic to hide any seams and gaps for a seamless finish and use a special primer like Zinsser BIN before painting”.