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20 Rooms with Modern Wood Paneling

Wood paneling has come a long way! If you’re looking for a modern take on this stylish accent, today’s post is for you. From painted panels that create a clean-lined background to sleek walls of rectangular forms, this classic interior flourish has gotten a fresh update. The 20 rooms that follow are filled with modern wood paneling. After soaking up the design inspiration, you just might be motivated to add some paneling to your own abode…

A Modern Spin on Wood Paneling

What makes wood paneling modern? Sometimes it’s the shape of the panels. Sometimes it’s the finish. And other times, it’s how you design the rest of the room! For a new approach to wood paneling, you don’t need to completely redo your interior. In fact, even earthy planks that evoke a cabin feel can take on an updated look when the room is filled with modern furnishings. [photo from West Elm]

Earthy modern style from West Elm
Earthy modern style from West Elm

Speaking of cabin style, this living room has it in spades, thanks to unfinished wooden panels. Modern furnishings create a look that’s as on-trend as it is rustic. [from Lonny]

Wooden panels create a modern cabin feel
Wooden panels create a modern cabin feel

Another way to put a modern spin on wood paneling: horizontal planks! The Eagle Harbor Cabin in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula creates a contemporary feel with wooden panels segmented by vertical strips. [from FINNE Architects]

Modern cabin with wooden paneling
Modern cabin with wooden paneling

This beachy bedroom is contemporary and low-key. Wooden paneling creates a sleek touch, as well as an eye-catching contrast to the white walls. [from Lonny]

Wooden paneling in a modern beachy bedroom
Wooden paneling in a modern beachy bedroom

Speaking of contrast, wooden paneling doesn’t have to cover the entire wall. In fact, one might argue that it creates an even stronger statement when only taking up a portion of the space. The wall below was enhanced with wooden flooring! [from Jagoda Architecture]

Horizonal paneling pops against a white wall
Horizonal paneling pops against a white wall

Oak shiplap creates contemporary style in a kitchen featuring white walls and cabinetry. Backlighting on the backsplash beautifully illuminates the wooden panels. [from David Wilkes Builders]

Modern kitchen with wooden horizontal paneling
Modern kitchen with wooden horizontal paneling

Don’t hesitate to incorporate wooden paneling into a space that already features a wall material such as brick. Create a unified look by painting the entire room one color (such as white). Leave the paneling unpainted for a pop of earthy modern style. The redwood paneling below is stunning against the bright white of the walls. [from Studio Schicketanz]

Vertical wood paneling next to a white brick wall
Vertical wood paneling next to a white brick wall

Cedar paneling adds a warm touch to this contemporary bathroom by AT6 Architecture: Design Build:

Horizontal paneling in a wooden bathroom
Horizontal paneling in a wooden bathroom

Adding wood paneling to your home doesn’t have to be expensive! If you’re willing to put in the time, you can create a custom paneled look, DIY-style. Check out a handy tutorial for a stained wooden wall at A Beautiful Mess:

Stained wooden paneling from A Beautiful Mess
Stained wooden paneling from A Beautiful Mess

Painted Panels

Putting a fresh coat of paint on a wall of wooden paneling instantly creates a clean look that channels modern style. White is a great option for a crisp background. [photo from West Elm]

Refreshing white bedroom from West Elm
Refreshing white bedroom from West Elm

Neutral tones are a good fit for wooden panels, as shown in the cream-hued room below. Even outdated paneling (or faux wood paneling) can be given a modern look with a new coat of paint. [photo from West Elm]

Wooden paneling behind a comfy armchair
Wooden paneling behind a comfy armchair

For a bold contrast, opt for a coat of black paint on a paneled accent wall. When the rest of the room is white, the combination is a powerful one, especially if you paint the window trim black. [photo from CB2]

Black vertical wall paneling in a room designed by CB2
Black vertical wall paneling in a room designed by CB2

Wide planks painted in a dark tone also create a sense of modern style, especially when pops of white add bright accents to the room. [from Lonny]

Wide horizontal wooden paneling
Wide horizontal wooden paneling

In addition, you can use paneling to add depth and contrast. In the space below, vertical planks of wood in grey create a cool-toned accent that beautifully complements the bluish walls. [photo from West Elm]

Vertical wooden paneling in grey
Vertical wooden paneling in grey

Unique Paneling Ideas

Ready to explore wood paneling ideas that go against the grain?! For a dash of unexpected style, opt for horizontal wood paneling, and don’t be afraid to shake things up with thin panels rather than wide ones. These subtle variations are a fun take on traditional planks. [photo from West Elm]

Thin horizontal wooden paneling
Thin horizontal wooden paneling

The same goes for thin vertical wooden paneling. Bonus points if the paneling travels from the ceiling to the walls and down to the floor! [from Studio William Hefner]

Thin wooden paneling in a modern living room
Thin wooden paneling in a modern living room

Get creative with your paneling. Whether you divide the wall into sections of panels or create designs with planks of wood, the clean-lined possibilities are endless! [photo from Crate & Barrel]

Wood paneling behind a collection of lamps
Wood paneling behind a collection of lamps

Large rectangular panels add a sleek, modern touch to any room, as shown by the fireplace wall below. With fewer lines and segments, the grain of the wood really takes center stage. [from David Howell Design]

Fireplace wall with wooden panels
Fireplace wall with wooden panels

Next we see custom-made Sapele wood panels, horizontally oriented to create a modern look. [from Dick Clark & Associates]  

Sapele wood panels in a modern living area
Sapele wood panels in a modern living area

Don’t forget that you can stain your paneling a dark color for a dramatic effect! This technique is helpful in spaces that are in need of contrast. In the room below, the walls add depth and dimension with the help of a dark stain. [photo by Paul Finkel for CG&S Design-Build]

Large dark wooden panels contrast the warm tones of the floor
Large dark wooden panels contrast the warm tones of the floor

When it comes to wooden paneling, do you prefer an unfinished look, a warm glow, a dark stain, or painted planks? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below…

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