5 Rustic Wall Paneling Ideas For Your Next DIY Project

July 6, 2023

With many types of wood paneling options available, choosing the best rustic wood wall paneling for your home design is easier than ever. Wood walls are a great home decor addition to any space and can really help to define a room, adding color, texture and giving the space personality. The use of real wood wall panels has come a long way in the last few decades. Gone are the days when rustic wood paneling felt like a rerun from the 1970s. Today, people want their spaces to be more natural and organic, while also being cleaner and feeling less cluttered. Farmhouse style elements are continuing to make an appearance in home design trends and help to bring the positive influences of nature to our interiors. 

Adding real wood materials that have a sense of warmth without being too woody is important. Top designers and architects are using solid wood in a wide variety of rustic interior design ideas from lodges to traditional homes, as well as in modern spaces both residential and commercial.

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From a simple accent wall to a fully clad rustic interior, there are numerous home decor ideas to use distressed wood on walls. Adding elements that flow together and complement each other throughout the space can help make it feel more coordinated and adds a natural look and feel to the interior design. And our expertly crafted wall panels make it easy to create a DIY rustic wall yourself! Discover some of our favorite rustic interior wall ideas for using rustic wall paneling in your next DIY project. 

1. Accent Wall

Accent wall in office featuring natural barn wood paneling.

A common rustic wall design idea is to install wood planks as a feature or accent wall. The real wood grain of a wooden accent wall brings texture, warmth and interest to a space. The rustic mixed hardwood paneling used to makeover the above wood accent wall blends well, and enhances its modern appearance with a natural wood feel. These can easily be added to a variety of rooms, whether it’s a shiplap wall in a home office or a barn wood wall in a living room. Wood wall panels are usually installed horizontally in current trends, but are installed vertically in older styles as well. Adding wood plank accent walls is also a great – and easy – decor choice for commercial spaces such as installing a rustic wall in a bar area. Feature walls can help elevate a space and can span either large or small spaces. Reclaimed wood walls add even more character with features like nail holes, color variations and weathered wood appearance. 

2. Wainscoting

Rocky Mountain Mosaic

One more classic way to utilize wood paneling is by creating wainscoting. This is accomplished by only covering the lower portion (usually around 3 to 4 feet) of the wall. Traditionally, this was accomplished with beadboard, but using rustic wood to create wainscoting adds a new twist and looks amazing. Wainscoting can be added to individual rooms (commonly in a kitchen or dining room) or be utilized for a whole home. There are a variety of wainscoting styles. Find one that fits your interior design to really add a unique style to the space. 

3. Backsplash

Liquor bottles on shelves behind a bar with a wood wall panel backsplash.

While wood wall panels aren’t commonly thought of for backsplashes, they bring a unique rustic or even modern look to a kitchen or bar area. A bar and grill can bring a rustic appeal into the bar area by adding reclaimed barn wood as a backsplash focal point. For a more modern and clean look, white oak can be used in a rustic farmhouse style kitchen. Wood panels make for a great DIY backsplash because it’s an incredibly workable material and an easy home improvement for homeowners to install themselves. 

4. Unexpected Angles

While it may seem straightforward, there are actually quite a few different ways rustic wood paneling can be installed. Depending on the desired look, the orientation of the planks can make a huge impact on the overall appearance of your rustic decor. Vertical wall planks have a more traditional look while paneling installed horizontally has a more modern appearance. Creating a unique layout for your wood decor can give your space a fresh, new take on the typical interior ceiling or wall design. Rustic wood can also look great when placed at an angle; most people use 45-degree angles. However, there is no right or wrong way to achieve a fresh and great design. 

5. Ceiling Panels

Light wood ceiling panels above a cash register area.

Wood planks aren’t just for walls! The trend of adding wood planks to ceilings has been gaining momentum in recent years. Ceiling paneling can be used to create a completely rustic look for your home, or can be added to small areas as an unexpected feature. Many wood wall panels also have a clean, modern look that bring warmth into a space in a clean way. Wood beams add another element to wooden ceilings to complete the rustic look. 

Next Steps for Adding Rustic Wall Panels to Your Space

Wooden walls and millwork elements are eye-catching, and with so many options available, it can be a little overwhelming to find just the right type of wood paneling for your design and project. From really rustic products to more clean and refined rustic woods, there is an abundance of looks that can be achieved. Today, designers and architects are mixing wood looks and the results are amazing. One of the best ways to narrow down all of the choices is to order samples of a few different products and compare and contrast the material with other colors and textures that will be in the space. 

For more inspiration and design ideas, view our project gallery or contact an expert at Elmwood Reclaimed Timber. We’re happy to help you find the right hickory flooring for your next design project!

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Ready to Discover More?

Your next project is just around the corner. Browse our product galleries for more inspiration.