wall panel ideas from the experts

Affordable, versatile and eye-catching, wall panels are a smart way to instantly transform your home, whether it’s adding character to a new building or enhancing that sense of old-world grandeur in an old property.

It’s no wonder that wall panels are one of the hottest decor trends for 2022, and they sure are to stay. We asked six interior designers and professionals to reveal their latest styles and top tips for adding panels to your home…

Make the most of your space

says Jenna Choate, co-founder of inner foxInterior design studio. “When working in a small space, headboards are a great technique for making walls appear taller because they draw the eye up. Another option is to go in half height for a less controlled look, such as behind a desk or bed to create a headboard. In one project, we created a small workstation simply by By covering a small section of a bedroom wall with a shelf that doubles as a dressing table. In larger spaces, full-height panels prevent the room from looking cluttered and one-dimensional and can help define an open-plan space with multifunctional uses.”

Interior designer Jenna Choates uses half-wall panels behind the bed.
Veronica Rodriguez

Use wall panels for functionality

It’s not just about making a space prettier – wall panels have practical uses too. Carolyn Millens, Head of Interior Design, Zulu fish, Interior design consultancy, Architectural practice. “The panels provide protection for crowded areas of the home, such as the hallway and stairs, as a clean wipe-paint ensures that it is easy to maintain. It can also repair walls that are less than perfect, giving straight lines and clever framing—especially useful in bathrooms and kitchens when looking to hide work pipes.”

wall panels ideas

Zulufish wall panels design.

Get your directions

“There is a growing trend for contemporary molded patterns that are going beyond what is possible with MDF,” says interior designer and blogger, Luke Arthur Wells. “Brands like Orak Decoration It features 3D polymer panels that come in modern shapes, including fluted, ribbed, and Art Deco-inspired designs for a tactile finish. Grooved and ribbed panels are especially hot this year; I actually made chunky fluted wall panels using plastic gutters from a DIY store, framed and then painted – it’s amazing what you can achieve when you apply the base materials creatively. If you’re looking to go a step further on the curve, I think we’ll also start seeing a pattern of shaker boards made with thinner, more spaced slats to give a modern twist to this classic look.”

wall panels ideas

Interior designer Luke Arthur Wells made his wall panels using plastic gutters from a DIY store.
Luke Arthur Wells

Think outside the box

However, it’s not just about following trends, as Jordan Russell of Design Consulting advises, 2 LG Studio. “Instead of focusing only on common styles, start with the period of your possession and think about what it might have been used originally. If you lived in a Victorian or Georgian home, what profile for molding or wood paneling would have been used? Likewise, if you lived in In a 1930s home, what would there be – perhaps a simpler Shaker style? You could always do a more modern look at the original look, but basing your decision based on the age of your property gives you a starting point. When we stripped down the sitting room in our Victorian home, it was The original plaster had all the markings on where the panels were originally located, so we reinstalled them. They work perfectly as framing for artwork, wall lights, and mirrors.”

wall panels ideas

2LG Studios wall panels design.
2 LG

Add color to effect

Paula Taylor, lead stylist and fashion specialist at Graham and Brown. “If wallpaper seems too much, layering earthy colors is a fashionable way to add a sense of dimension. For an attractive modern look, muted shades of praline will reflect the light in the bedroom or living space while adding warmth for the winter months.” Athena Bluff, CEO of the interior design service, Topology Interiors, agrees. “A mix of whites and nude is a popular choice now; creating a feature wall paneled in a darker contrasting color is a nice touch, or even color the entire room in the same shade.”

wall panels ideas

Graham & Brown design incorporating wallpaper and wall panels.
Graham and Brown

“For us, color is always an opportunity to play around in our home; we painted our walls and panels the same color, but used a matte emulsion for the walls and eggshell with a slight sheen to the panels, which creates a beautiful texture and changes throughout the day with the light in the room,” adds Jordan. “It’s quite old but you can also choose moldings in a contrasting shade. There was a phase in the ’90s where the shingles, picture rails, sills, baseboards and dado bars were painted a contrasting color. I feel this might be due to a comeback.”

wall panels ideas

Colorful wall panels design from Orac Decor.
Orak Decoration

Know what to do and what not to do

Interior Designer Melanie Lisack She offers her top tips for a professional result:

  • “Try polymer molds over MDF because they’re lightweight, easier to cut and apply, plus they’re often pre-made and ready to paint—great for DIY beginners and a cleaner finish.”
  • “Don’t assume that the walls, floors, and ceilings are perfectly straight – odds are they won’t. When it comes to repairing your chosen baseboards, be sure to use a masonry spirit level, or even a better laser level, and make sure you leave enough room at the top and bottom for irregularities in wall height.”
  • “Plan your design on all the walls before you start—my motto is measure twice, cut once. If you are covering a small area, a hand miter box and hand saw is OK. However, a built-in electric saw will make the job much easier.”
  • “Don’t forget to use a quick-grab adhesive to help ensure the panels adhere to the walls quickly and prevent them from sliding out of place.”
  • “Always apply caulk to hide any joints and gaps to get a smooth finish and use a special primer like Zinser Ben before drawing.

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