11 modern wall panelling ideas to inspire you

Written by

09 March 2023


6 min read

When it comes to decorating your home with style, you sometimes have to get creative and think outside the square. Wall panelling presents a great way to do exactly that with so much potential to showcase something unique while staying in tune with your overall design. There are many modern wall panelling ideas that you can take inspiration from to add a bit of flair and personality to your interior spaces.

Wall panelling exists in many different incarnations with variations in styles, materials, textures, colours, finishes and more. On top of this, they can also be installed and used in different ways, opening up the possibilities even further. You’ll find wall panelling ideas for the dining room, home office, bedroom and just about any other space in the house.

Narrow pieces of wedge-shaped stone are mesh-backed in an offset wave pattern for a great aesthetic with Rustic Cladding.

1. The warmth of wood panelling for a farmhouse vibe

If you love the look of the modern farmhouse, the warmth of wood panelling can further enhance that vibe.

This panelling can be cut and made into large panels from different styles of wood as well as different colours to match. Consistency with the type of wood used throughout the rest of the house is a great way to maintain cohesion with your overall theme.

The Harken VidaGroove Timber Wall and Ceiling Panelling is a great addition to any interior space.

2. White wainscoting in the bathroom

Wainscoting is a type of panelling that is typically connected to the baseboards and shoot upwards usually to about counter height. They are both protective and decorative and work great in many rooms, especially task-oriented spaces like the kitchen and bathroom.

White wainscoting in the bathroom, for example, gives a sleek, ultra-modern look that can subtly enhance the ambience of the space. It’s not a bit of decorating that will draw attention to itself but it will bring more depth to the room while bringing its practical benefits too.

White wainscoting supported by superb furnishings gives a clean and polished look as seen in this Mt Eden villa renovation.

3. Fabric panelling for a true home theatre

If you’re lucky enough to have a home theatre and you are trying to figure out how to decorate it, fabric panelling is an excellent choice to consider. Not only will it make the room feel like a real theatre but it is also sound-absorbant to keep the surround sound in the room rather than echoing throughout the house. They add character to a space in a cinematic way and are a must for movie buffs everywhere.

4. Go horizontal with decorative panels

If you want to make your space look bigger, using horizontal decorative wall panelling can help you achieve that effect. Wooden beams are a natural choice but you can also consider wooden shiplap to create a unique reclaimed wood look on your living room or bedroom wall.

You can do this going floor to ceiling or just take it halfway up to contrast with a complementary colour or wall covering.

Horizontal wood panelling installed by experienced professionals adds a pleasing design element when done well.

5. Classy half-wall wood panelling

Speaking of taking it halfway up, half-wall wood panelling is a great way to also add a bit of class to your dining room, living room or even your home office.

This is because these rooms typically have wooden features like tables, chairs and desks that can complement this look while creating a visual partition to play off.

This type of wall panelling also adds a subtle spark of texture. The aforementioned opportunity to contrast this against a dash of paint also presents some exciting opportunities.

6. Coordinate with your cabinets

If you are looking to modernise the style of your kitchen, matching your wall panelling to the cabinets is a great idea. This takes your efforts to coordinate your interior design to the next level, creating a natural feeling of continuity in the space.

The cabinet panelling and wall panelling will still retain some of their own unique dynamics compared to one another, acting as a nice balance of cohesion and design.

The Natural Allegro Brushed Querkus Unfinished Veneer helps create a clean, minimalist look, hiding appliances from view.

7. Express yourself with colour

Wall panelling doesn't have to just be white or wood. You can use wall panelling to make a space pop with colour in a way that it otherwise wouldn't.

Many modern designers will use colour and wall panelling in this way to create a feature wall on one side of the room. This gives the space a focal point and a sense of direction which can bring nice energy and boost your own design credentials.

8. Use full-panelled walls to disguise a door

In a living room or a dining room, you can do a lot with full-panelled walls. Not only are they there to add dimension and texture to the room, but they can also be used with fun and playful interior design techniques.

One of these techniques is using full-panelled walls to disguise a door. This means that both the door and the walls have the same panelling, so when the door is closed, it looks like the wall itself.

This creates a unique style and a great talking point for you and your guests.

9. Accent a fireplace with stone wall panelling

When you think of wall panelling, you may often think of wood as the main material, however, there are many other options to consider. Stone wall panelling is one such example which goes hand-in-hand as an accent wall to a fireplace in a living room.

Not only will this bring a strong natural element to the room, but it will also act as an impressive centrepiece that will make you feel like you’re in a luxurious winter resort.

Related article: The pros and cons of stone cladding

This Lake Wakatipu residence features a beautiful stone wall fireplace. | Photography: Simon Devitt

10. Barn wood wall panelling for a rustic look

If you love the rustic vibe, nothing achieves that better than barn wood wall panelling. This is great for living rooms, hangout spaces like a man cave or she-shed, or anywhere else that has a darker tone to the room. It will keep things calm, relaxed and quiet so you can enjoy your space in peace.

Related article: 10 beautiful barn houses in New Zealand

Wood wall panelling gives a natural rustic charm that few other materials can match.

11. 3D wall panelling for depth and dimension

For something completely different and ultra-modern, 3D wall panelling is a sophisticated option that will create immediate dimension and depth in your living space. Regularly found in commercial contexts in corporate lobbies and even high-end restaurants, 3D wall panels can also bring strong designer qualities to the home for those looking to express themselves in a bold way.

Some fantastic modern wall panelling ideas to consider

As these wall panelling ideas demonstrate, there are some outstanding options to consider for just about any room in the home. Whether it's a use of colour, style, material or texture you can enhance a space while giving your walls an extra layer of protection. It will give your home a unique point of difference adding value in numerous ways turning the ordinary into the extraordinary with natural ease.