Wood Paneling: Great Design Trends For Walls and Ceilings in 2023

October 3, 2022

Wood paneling has officially made a comeback! When creating accent walls with durable, high-quality wall coverings, many people choose to use wall paneling in their homes, business or office space. Wall paneling creates elegant, rich warm additions to any space and can be used for a range of design ideas. Whether you choose a wood filled with character or something with a more consistent finish, wood panels can really enhance your interior design.

Rustic Barn Paneling

Like many wood materials, wall paneling comes in many styles and with many options. Sustainable wood wall paneling is one option that can offer many benefits to project designers looking for the perfect wall accent. Another option is reclaimed wood wall paneling. The reclaimed lumber industry has been a natural fit for wood panel trends and lends itself well to being installed in commercial and residential wall and ceiling applications. 

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The beautiful thing about wall and ceiling paneling is its broad design use and its ability to function in almost any design style. Clean modern wood panels have a place in interior designs, as do heavy rustic planks with saw marks and nail holes. Wood planks can even be installed as bead board or wainscoting in a dining room, which only covers a portion of the wall and sometimes features a chair rail as well. Whether you’re covering a full wall or only adding a decorative portion, wall panels have a variety of edge options that make them easy for homeowners to install, such as shiplap and tongue and groove. 

Barn Ceiling Paneling

All wood wall paneling differs from other available options in several ways. Its beauty and consistency are what sets it apart and make it the right choice for a variety of installations.

Sustainable Wood Wall Paneling

Regardless of the type of wood paneling you choose, wood has a lot of options and benefits. When discussing sustainable wood, the label is simply to differentiate it from other types of wood being used in wall paneling, that include antique and reclaimed wood. Sustainably cut wood is real wood that has been recently harvested and has not had a previous use or life prior to being milled for wall paneling.

Benefits of Sustainable Wood

Sustainably cut wood tends to have more consistency in color and texture. While reclaimed or mixed woods may have wood taken from several species or several areas and contain more variations in tone, color and grain pattern. The color, grain pattern and sizing of the wood boards are then controlled during the milling process.

Work Space Design Style

You may also find more control in the sizing of the wood boards, which can make for a more consistent placement and easier diy installation. When you prepare for the installation, your planning is less difficult.

We tend to see sustainably harvested freshly milled woods being used on walls in a more modern design. These woods tend to be sanded smooth and have a soft natural finish applied that is low sheen helps create a warm natural setting. 

Reclaimed Wood Paneling

Reclaimed wood paneling also has many benefits, but differs from sustainably cut wood wall panels in several ways. Rather than being made of freshly harvested wood, the real wood used such as reclaimed oak paneling is likely more than 100 years old, having already been used in other applications such as old barns and other structures.

Natural Barn Paneling

Benefits of Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood often shows more marks and signs from its previous life. This may be a rich patina, saw marks and nail holes. These marks are not always present, but the wood typically has more variation in terms of tone, color and grain.

Wood that has been reclaimed is always cleaned and freshly milled for its new use, but different wood species or different sources of wood can be mixed together in one panel. This lends richness and depth to the paneling, as well as a lot more interest. When saw marks and other characteristics are present, these panels grant their history to the room. A wall panel made of old wood paneling becomes a focal point and a conversation piece, rather than just a simple backdrop.

Rustic Wood Restaurant Wall

Like sustainably cut paneling, you can find reclaimed wood paneling in a wide selection of colors and quite a few popular wood species. And just like sustainably cut wood, the wall paneling is made to last forever. Since the solid wood has already been in use for decades, it still has many years of natural beauty. Choosing this wood is also environmentally friendly since new trees are not harvested, you are contributing to the global green movement.

Our rustic and reclaimed woods are so versatile and find themselves in modern industrial office spaces to a rural mountain cabin and everything in between. The reclaimed wood product can be installed with or without a finish, but a finish will tend to help maintain the look and beauty of the wood while also providing a nice soft glow to the real wood.

Types of Wall Paneling Wood Species

One of the benefits of choosing wood wall panels is the ability to select the species of wood and to know its characteristics ahead of time. Sustainable wood and reclaimed wood planks are available in various species, with sources that can allow you to feel confident in your choice. Each wood has its own grain pattern, personality and color tones that can let you find the right one for your wall treatment.

White Oak Wood Wall

American Ash

American Ash is a wood that is commonly mistaken for oak. It varies tremendously from sapwood to heartwood, with the sapwood containing creamy white and light, grey-brown tones and the heartwood has a deeper, richer brown color. Ash is a classic looking wood that works well in formal and traditional settings that don’t necessarily need a dark background.

Reclaimed Accent Wall office

American Hickory

American Hickory is one of the strongest domestic hardwoods available. It can be very coarse-grained and wildly varied in color and grain. The grain may be straight or dramatic and wavy, and its colors can range from creamy white to deep brown even in one plank. This is one hardwood that will create a dramatic statement in any setting.

Office Reclaimed Wood Wall

American Walnut

American Walnut is another species that has a lot of popularity and instant recognizability for its color and durability. Walnut wood panels have a deep, rich color with the heartwood tending nearly toward purple and the sapwood slightly lighter in tone and color. It has a lot of variation in grain and is one of the most sought woods for cabinets and wall paneling.

Barn Wood

Reclaimed barn wood planks make a great impression in a restaurant as just a small feature wall or as a floor to ceiling entrance. The possibilities are endless and the looks and textures are as well. Grey barn wood wall paneling has gained popularity in recent years and adds a rustic appeal to interior walls. 

For a wall panel that has maximum character and appeal, consider milled barn wood. Milled barn wood is taken from old barns, then milled to give them new life and a new finish. Barnwood has many tones and shades from the weathering in its lifetime, which is part of what gives it such enormous appeal.

Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir is another well-known wood that can give you a very traditional and rustic or rustic-modern look. It has a pronounced grain and a rich pink/gold color, along with visible sap marks and knot holes. More consistent than regular pine, Douglas Fir will give you character that you can count on.

Heart Pine

Heart Pine has one of the most classic and traditional appearances of any wood. Pine ranges from soft to hard in strength, which means that the boards can develop a lot of character over time, with saw marks, sap and knots showing easily. This makes rustic heart pine wood paneling ideal for creating a rustic style in any home.

It’s not hard to see why creative design is drawn to these beautiful applications of reclaimed wood covered walls. The woods have a way of bringing a calm and relaxed vibe to the room or space that they are installed in. This is important when thinking about how we interact with design and how it makes us feel. 

White Oak

White Oak is one of the most traditional and versatile woods out there. It has a natural, blue/grey finish color with a creamy white background. White oak paneling can be brushed or polished, formal or rustic in appearance. It works well in nearly any home, depending on the color of the finish.

With its strong grain and variation from light to dark, this is a wall panel made to stand out from the crowd. You can also mix a lot of different accent colors into the room, simply pulling from the different shades within the wood, and all of them will be sure to match the style. This type of multi-colored wall paneling design is ideal for informal rooms, where you want a slightly more exotic and different impact from the decor.

Stains and Styles of Wood Finishes

Beyond matching or complimenting any other wood finishes, there are a few more considerations to make when choosing your wall paneling. This includes the amount of light in the space, where the wall will be placed and how much focus it gets in the room. Choosing the right stain and style for your wood paneling can complete the look of your interior space. 

White Wash Wall Paneling

This lighter finish will maximize the light existing in the room, but still has all the warmth and beauty of wood showing through the light finish. This is also an ideal color for small rooms because the cool undertones can help make a small space appear larger. Our oak wood species has a variety of lighter, white wash wood paneling options to choose from that can help lighten up your space. 

Dark Wood Wall Paneling

More contemporary settings that need a statement piece should consider opting for a very dark wood finish that won’t compete with other colors and statements already in the room. For example, using American Black Walnut for a wall panel would make a dramatic backdrop to other colors and accents in the space.

Choosing Your Wall Paneling

Wall paneling gives you more options, personalization and color customization than any other form of wall cladding. You can choose from not only different species of wood, but also different color finishes and textures, which can let you compliment a wider range of styles and designs.

Because you have these options, it’s possible to make more out of your interior design by selecting your wood to match existing wood and finishes already in play. For example, if you want to include an accent wall in your living room, which is open to a kitchen where you have oak cabinets, you can select oak paneling in a finish and color that will complement your kitchen. This can give you a more cohesive design and appearance.

Reclaimed wood also lets you make more of your design, but by setting the tone and style for the space. Using milled barn wood, for example, will let you bring a rustic-modern vibe to your home.

Grey Barn Wood Paneling

You can order free wood paneling samples and also receive a free catalog for more details about Elmwood’s collection of high quality wood paneling products.

Please feel free to contact the experts at Elmwood to find some wood paneling the fits with the interior design of your home or business today!