This Is How to Make Wood Panel Walls Look Modern |
This Is How to Make Wood Panel Walls Look Modern

This Is How to Make Wood Panel Walls Look Modern

No longer stuck in the 70s

Written by –
Jess Ng
on November 20th 2017
Born and raised in the UK, Jess is NONAGON’s resident historian turned marketer turned writer, drawn to Hong Kong by the lure of dim sum breakfasts and bustling city life. A foodie who loves to cook, food occupies 70% of her brain 90% of the time. When not eating, Jess can typically be found buried in a book or obsessing over making NONAGON’s Instagram #feedgoals.

Do wood panel walls give you flashbacks to the 70s, complete with weird brown carpet and tired brown furniture? Then you my be surprised to hear that wood clad walls are enjoying a renaissance. Yes you read that right, wood panels have suddenly gone from zero to retro-cool in the world of design, and I’m completely for it.


As with most trends, the cycle has swung back round to make wood panels the style du jour once more. This time however, the tacky high gloss horrors of the past have been traded in for sleek Scandinavian-inspired wood clad feature walls, and reclaimed timber fashioned into rustic perfection. Lets take a look at the modern way to do wood panel walls.

Ditch The Gloss

Part of the appeal of wood panel walls this time round lies in the natural rustic charm they can instantly bestow upon a space.

Rustic cottage bathroom with reclaimed timber wood panel walls |
image source

That means it’s time to ditch the gloss and faux wood veneers for something altogether more organic and unprocessed.

Color It In

On the other hand, opting for a painted wood clad wall in a decidedly non-natural color is another simple way to bring wood panels into the 21st century.

A modern bohemian living space with smoky blue wood panel walls |
image source

Most DIY hacks to upgrade wood paneled walls suggest a lick of white paint, but I love the idea of going brazenly bolder to really make a style statement. Just make sure to keep everything else in the space neutral so as not to overpower the senses.

Consider Texture

For a truly contemporary take on wood paneled walls, consider texture.

Contemporary living space with texture wood panel walls |
image source

Here, the intricate wood panels add an extra depth and dimension to the space, making it feel larger than it is. Even better, with walls that look this good, there’ll be no need for any wall art.

Make a Statement

If you’re still unsure about wood paneling, how about tentatively dipping your toe into the revived trend with a single statement wall.

Minimalist bedroom with statement wood panel wall |
image source

Wood paneling is great for warming up an otherwise stark space. Pair with minimalist white walls and a soft fluffy neutral toned carpet for a look that is thoroughly modern and chic.

Wide Open

To ensure a look that is as far removed from the 70s as possible, go wide.

Mid-century modern living room with super wide wood panel walls |
image source

In this contemporary living room, the super wide wood panels prevent this mid-century modern aesthetic (complete with a retro sputnik chandelier) from looking too dated.

Wall to Wall

Believe it or not, one way to bring wood panel walls bang up to date is simply to go all in with them.


Cabin-inspired living room with wood panel walls |
image source

I’m talking wall to wall, floor to floor wood panels to create a modern cabin effect. I like how the wood panels of both the wall and floor in this space run horizontally, drawing the eye and elongating the room. Break up the wood on wood look with an unexpected industrial concrete wall for a truly contemporary look.

What do you think of modern wood panel walls? Should they remain firmly in the past or have we managed to convince you otherwise? Let us know in the comments below!


For more articles like this make sure to ‘follow’ our Home & Design category. Remember to hit the ‘heart’ button if you’d like to see more articles like this!


No products in the bag.

Stay Updated
Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest home tours and giveaways.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest home tours and giveaways.