Indoor OSB panels: From simple material to design feature
From the outer skin to the supporting structure, a building consists of many layers. Just as with a human body, many of these layers – which are usually the most important functional components – remain invisible to the public and covered with aesthetic features. Beneath all the hidden elements, all buildings contain sheaths, the outer shell that construction crews place to serve several important purposes: to protect the floor, walls, roof, and ceilings, to strengthen the structure against internal and external forces, and the overall scaffolding to cover and give the building a solid shape.
Wood is the most common material used for sheathing, with OSB (Oriented Strand Board) usually being the first choice. Why? Manufactured by compressing and gluing cross-oriented strands of wood with thermosetting adhesives, OSB panels are lightweight, flexible, strong, versatile and fully recyclable. They also excel in resisting deflection, twisting and deformation, apart from offering some thermal and acoustic insulation. However, apart from their good performance and mechanical properties, OSB panels are best known for being cheaper than other alternatives, which saves both cost and time. In fact, this structural board can be $3 to $5 less expensive than plywood, which explains why it’s often viewed as an inexpensive substitute.
OSB has built a solid reputation as an affordable yet reliable product that remains hidden, at least in its widespread use in buildings. As such, it is not generally associated with any decorative aesthetic value that deserves to be seen. Recent projects have found beauty in their simplicity, incorporating OSB boards as visible design features into modern living spaces, giving the widely used engineered wood board a new meaning. This serves both functional and decorative motives and has transformed the humble material into a stylish element, capable of adding warmth and a unique character to spaces.
Lacquered or untreated – and with colors ranging from straw yellow to a matte brown – OSB offers endless design possibilities to be explored at different scales: from cladding entire walls and ceilings to a simple touch through cladding small areas and Furniture. It can also be combined with other woods and neutral colors for a comfortable Nordic style, or with steel and concrete for a sleek industrial look. Ultimately, it’s a simple material that can make a significant difference – while adding rigidity and strength to interior spaces.
To delve further into this rising trend, below we present creative and inspiring ways to use OSB as a beautiful design feature in homes.
Cadam: apartment renovation for a musician / DTR_studio arquitectos
For this renovation project, the new finishes were chosen in accordance with the materials already in place; including recycled OSB panels that complement the modern industrial aesthetic.
House in Sintra / SER-ra
Previously an open space, the kitchen and sanitary facilities are hidden behind an OSB wall, which acts both as a partition and as a decorative element in an otherwise all-white room.
House Unimog / Fabian Evers Architecture, Wezel Architecture
On the second floor, the ceiling and walls are covered with OSB panels, which contrast with the black floor with light and warm tones.
Hostel CONII / Estudio ODS
While not a house, this hotel serves as inspiration for living spaces, creatively using industrial wood panels in the kitchen and bedrooms in the form of floors, walls, and furniture.
Three Gable Roof House / Arrokabe Arquitectos
Using resources common to traditional buildings, the project features an OSB clad ceiling that complements views of the nearby forest and adds orange and yellow tones to the neutral interiors.
Xadrez Apartment / UMA Collective
This renovation concept aimed to create a contemporary look using raw materials and incorporating OSB panels into walls and ceilings.
Upcycle House / Lendager Architects
Aiming to function like a modern house from simple, conventional materials, the interior is clad with OSB panels in combination with white walls.
Alpes São Chico Residential Complex / Porto Quadrado
The prefabricated house is clad with the prefab panels, which, in addition to covering the insulation layers, provide a modern industrial look.
The POP-UP House / TallerDE2 Arquitectos
To use a single economical and versatile material, the infrastructure is built with OSB panels, resulting in a unique aesthetic and texture.
MMR / ARCHI7
The choice of materials was made taking into account longevity, quality and economy. The inner walls are clad with the building boards (which also serve as a cross brace).
Triangular house / JVA
Inspired by the beauty of the surrounding nature, the exterior of this home is clad in wood panels, while most of the interior walls and ceilings are clad in OSB panels.
Mac House / La Erreria
With a desire to avoid excess and opulence, the architects focused on showing simple materials in their natural state, including the engineered wood panels that cover the walls, floors and ceilings.
All I Own House / PKMN architectures
Experimenting with flexibility and multiple configurations, this home features bespoke OSB wood units that function as suspended, mobile and transformable containers.
Individual hangar / GENS
With a limited budget, this house had to be built from inexpensive materials, which is why OSB panels were used as a cheap and stylish design element in the hallway and bedrooms.
House Husarö / Tham & Videgård Arkitekter
All constructions and finishes are made of wood, imitating the surrounding forest. On the upper floor, this is achieved by cladding the walls and ceiling of the building panels.
Urban Cabin / Company Francesca Perani
The interior design is composed of two monochromatic areas in open contrast: while marble gress is used in the kitchen area, warm OSB defines the living room as a unique textured surface.
Rollehaus / Moon Hon
In this home, one of the multipurpose rooms is clad in untreated OSB panels, which have a repetitive and porous texture.
Petit Bayle / Blending Architecture
Inside, the walls and ceilings of the upper level are clad in OSB panels, which have been painted in the bedrooms to emphasize the more private areas, but left raw on the rest of the walls, giving the interior a comfortable and soft look.