If your mind immediately goes to dated ’70s basements when you hear wood paneling, don't worry. Variations in finish, width, and installation result in personalities we love for today.

By Jennifer Blaise Kramer and Hannah Bruneman
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
DAVID TSAY PHOTOGRAPHY © 2015 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED NO REPRODUCTION WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT

Skip the pressure of picking the perfect paint color, and go au natural with your walls instead. Today's wood paneling takes a contemporary twist on its midcentury past, and its versatility makes it adaptable to most styles. Get a Nordic ski-lodge look with floor-to-ceiling white pine boards, or create a rustic farmhouse accent wall with faux reclaimed planks. With so many sizes, colors, and textures, the possibilities are endless. Plus, options for peel-and-stick wood planks, nail-it-up boards, and even wallpaper wood paneling make paneling more accessible than ever. Hello, weekend project!

How to Find the Perfect Plank Shade

Light and Airy

Pine boards, like the ones in this cozy living room, give a space a modern Scandi vibe. The pale, almost raw color is light enough that the boards can be used on walls and your ceiling without looking too heavy. To keep the effect light, the designers of this space, Platt Dana Architects, suggest paneling vaulted ceilings, not flat ones. Sleek black accents ground the look.

Timberwall specializes in wood wall planks, and all of their products are peel-and-stick, which makes installation a breeze. This type of wood plank can easily be laid out in different patterns, such as herringbone, diagonal, or basketweave. Timberwall has an entire Nordic collection; to get a look like the room above, we recommend the Nordic Early Frost plank.

Buy It: Peel-and-Stick Nordic in Early Frost, $70 per 10.8 sq. ft.

Most people know Wayfair for its furniture and decor, but they also have an impressive collection of wall paneling. We found this gorgeous light-wood wall paneling from Timeline Wood on Wayfair for only $7 per square foot. The planks are skinnier than most designs, giving it a more modern look. Timeline Wood's real wood panels are installed using small nails.

Buy It: Nail-It-Up Skinnies 5-1/2-inch in Natural Blonde by Timeline Wood, $7 per sq. ft.

Deep and Rustic

There are many ways to decorate with wood walls. Dark, distressed paneling, for example, gives an instant sense of age. The key to avoiding creating a cave is variation. In this room, Laura Parker of Del Mar Restoration mixed salvaged Douglas fir boards of different tones and patinas. Rust-red painted window frames complement the wood, and their smoother texture creates a subtly modern contrast.

Inhabit makes all kinds of wall coverings, but wood planks are one of their specialties. Their planks come in many different colors, and each collection contains various hues for a reclaimed look. The wide panels come with adhesive on the back for super quick installation. For a rustic design, we recommend Inhabit's scrap wood collection, which includes a few of the darker planks the company offers.

Buy It: Peel-and-Stick Scrap Wood Look, $8 per sq. ft.

Artis Wall focuses on wood walls that are easy to remove. Their reclaimed wood planks are installed to the wall with adhesive tape that is applied every 10 inches. Artis Wall planks are unique because once they are removed from the wall, they can be reused again in a new space—all you need is more tape, which is also sold separately by the company.

Buy It: Removable Premium Brown 5-inch, $19 per sq. ft.

Warm and Sleek

Caramel brown paneling with a little bit of sheen nods to midcentury-modern style, but keep the surrounding floor, ceiling, and walls light and bright for a look that's unmistakably modern and luminous. Today’s market offers narrower planks that feel nothing like their ancestors. Interested? An accent wall is a great place to start.

Once again, Timberwall is a great resource to buy easy-to-install wall planks. Adhesive strips on the back make it simple as long as you keep a level on hand to keep everything aligned. The Nordic Cool Breeze plank comes in a warm amber color that's perfect for a cozy cabin feel.

Buy It: Peel-and-Stick Nordic in Cool Breeze, $70 for 10.8 sq. ft.

The products from WallPlanks.com are environmentally friendly and all sourced from forests in the United States. The company prioritizes safe practices and are active in reforestation programs. To install their wood planks, peel off a sticker on the back, revealing the adhesive side of the plank. Press it against the wall, and you're done! The boards even work on not-so-flat walls.

Buy It: Peel-and-Stick Natural Walnut, $203 for 20.3 sq. ft.

Wallpaper Wood Planks

If you want the atmosphere paneling gives but nailing or sticking up boards isn’t in your budget, consider wallpaper. Choices mimic almost every color and style of paneling. Plus it hangs with half the fuss. Select the perfect wallpaper for your home project and you'll be surprised by how much you love the results.

Wood plank wallpaper looks very convincing, but there is one key characteristic in wood that wallpaper can't recreate—texture. Brewster Home Fashions avoids that problem with raised ink printing. This technique gives the wallpaper little grooves mimicking real wood grain.

Buy It: Salvaged Wood Neutral Plank Wallpaper, $180 per double roll (covers 56 sq. ft.)

DecoratorsBest.com sells wallpaper and other decor products from a wide variety of vendors. We particularly like this wood plank wallpaper from York. The color is warm and rich, and the print is passable as real wood.

Buy It: Wide Wooden Planks NT5882 by York Wallcoverings, $63 per double roll (covers 56 sq. ft.)

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Comments (1)

karenj3330
January 30, 2019
Del Mar Restoration.......WOW, love this room of reclaimed wood