Choosing the Right Decorative Wall Panels by Style & Type

Boxed paneling effect wall panel

Decorative wall panels are available in all kinds of textures, styles and finishes.

Choosing Decorative Wall Panels

Decorative panels have come a long way thanks to technology and innovative methods used to create wall treatments for any budget. You can purchase low to moderately priced panels to very high-end designer wood panels to enhance your home. Another added feature of using wall panels is various composites that make the panels light-weight and easier to handle than panels in the past.

Wood Panels

You may be surprised to discover all of the choices available to you when you start your remodeling or new home project. You'll be able to select from various styles such as a grooved and raised panels, multiple finishes, patterned panels, and creative textures.

You may wish to go with a real wood panel or decide on a veneer. Both choices will give you an excellent look since most are available in color, stains, sizes, widths, and wood species.

Other Panels Choices

  • Engineered Wood: man-made composite of wood products
  • Fiberboard: wallboard composite of wood chips and shavings bonded with resin
  • Hardboard: made of plaster or wood pulp
  • Hardwoods: cherry, mahogany, maple, and oak
  • Laminates: thin sheets of bonded plastics or woods
  • Plank Wood: strips of solid wood joined by grooves or glue
  • Plywood: laminate of thin layers of wood
  • Tile Board: simulated tile or real tiles laminated to board
  • Veneers: real or simulated wood-grains

Add a Touch of Nostalgia

You can find solid wood wainscoting and paneled libraries in historical homes. There's no reason you can't replicate the look without spending a fortune. You can purchase either solid wood wall panels or veneers to recreate that old world look in your home. Go for a stained wood finish for a boxed paneling look in your study or use a decorative, painted wainscoting underneath the chair rail in your dining room.The right wall paneling can transform your room and give you years of enjoyment.

Where to Install Wall Panels

You can install wall panels on any wall. You can place solid wood panels in place of drywall and create a truly custom look. Most wood panels can be painted or stained, but you'll want to check with the manufacturer's recommendations.

Wall Panel Styles

If you decide to go with raised wall panels for wainscoting then you may want to select a special look.

  • Beadboard
  • Boxed Panels
  • Stylized Grooves
  • Decorative Raised Designs

Installing Wall Panels: Selecting Rooms

Before you select your wall panels, you'll want to first decide which rooms to panel.

Some popular room choices for wainscoting:

  • Bathrooms
  • Children's Bedrooms
  • Dining Rooms
  • Family Rooms
  • Foyers
  • Hallways
  • Kitchens
  • Laundry Rooms
  • Pantries
  • Media Rooms
  • Playrooms

Advantages of Using Wall Panels

There are, as you can see, many uses for wall panels. You may decide on this kind of wall treatment as a cost-effective repair to a wall. You can use a wall panel as an accent wall in a room.


  • Add architectural detail
  • Increase insulation
  • Longer life cycle than drywall
  • Reinforces wall
  • Transforms room

Tiled Wall Panels

One of the best uses of wall panels is to decorate your bathroom with a tile appearance without the expense of real tile. In addition, you can use tiled wall panels in your kitchen, pantry or laundry room.

Kitchens, Pantries, Laundry Rooms

This kind of decorative panel can be used below a chair rail as wainscoting, full wall, or as a counter backsplash in your kitchen. Many of these panels are made from authentic tiles or simulated tiles.

Bathroom Applications

One of the most popular uses for tiled wall panels is for bathroom walls, especially the tub and shower surround. Tile panels are one of the best ways to update a bathroom for a crisp modern look.

These panels are typically glued over your existing wall to transform it into the appearance of expensive tilework. A wonderful feature of modern wall panel is the material's resistance to mildew and mold.

Shopping for Wall Panels

The best place to start is at your local building supplier or home decorator shop where you can see actual samples of the decorative panels.

Making Your Choice

You have much to consider when selecting your decorative wall panels for your home.

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Choosing the Right Decorative Wall Panels by Style & Type