This Controversial Trend is Back, But Better Than Ever


In the ’60s and ’70s there was that awful faux-wood paneling all over living rooms. Then came shiplap, beloved of Chip and Joanna. And now we’re seeing the emergence of a different kind of wood paneling — less rustic, more elegant, and strangely perfect for a modern space.

In this Montreal home, Shou Sugi Ban (Japanese method of charring wood) paneling behind the bed adds a touch of modern warmth. I love how the texture of the wood shines through, drawing your eye from all corners of the room.

Black paneling makes a similarly dramatic statement in this bedroom from Studio McGee. For years the standard for dealing with that awful old ’70s paneling, if you couldn’t pull it out, was to paint it white — I love the idea of painting one wall black, as an accent.

The wood paneling in this entryway spotted on Stadshem, via Only Deco Love, is very similar to that in the Montreal home above, only this time the boards are arranged horizontally and not vertically. It also doesn’t cover the entire wall, and feels like a well-organized zone with hooks for storage.

The blonde coloring and light, subtle woodgrain makes this paneling spotted on House Beautiful perfect for a modern space. The seams on this bedroom wall are less visible than some of the other examples, which makes it appear particularly elegant and refined.

Sometimes the new wood paneling looks a lot like the old wood paneling: in fact, this house from My Scandinavian Home was built in 1955, so this paneling isn’t new at all. But what sets it apart from other old examples of wood paneling is the high quality of the wood, and the attention to detail: the subtle grooves between each piece accent the wood’s natural texture.

I love the paneling in this space from Guilherme Torres, which has a layer of thin wood strips that add texture and interest to the space.

Everything old is new again? This paneling from Desire to Inspire looks like something you might see in an old English manor house, but it’s equally lovely in a modern space. (I can also see this looking really nice in a dark grey or black.)

The beautiful grain and wide panels give this wood paneling from Casa Vogue a luxurious, modern look.

This beautiful home by Chamberlain Javens Architects, spotted on Yellowtrace, features wood paneling that feels at once old-fashioned and modern. It definitely recalls the ’70s (and the fact that it surrounds a conversation pit doesn’t hurt) but the beautiful woodgrain and subtle detailing make this an elegant addition to a modern space.

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