A beautiful, decorative feature for the home, living room paneling ideas can work well in both traditional and contemporary interiors, adding long-lasting character and charm to your space.
Living room paneling can add depth and luxurious texture, and can be a practical addition to your walls for extra durability, insulation and protection. Wall paneling ideas are a perfect complement to living room decor as the space needs to reflect your personal style as well as be durable and timeless, with paneling effortlessly being able to offer it all.
From modern panel color ideas on panels of all shapes and sizes to traditional shaker panel designs, you can be both subtle and bold with your living room panel ideas.
Living room paneling ideas
A feature that was once associated with traditional properties is now much more than just an insulation method.
Living room panels are a popular decorating technique for wall decor ideas that can transform the look of a room. As there is a range of traditional and modern styles, there is an option for all styles of living.
Whether you’re giving your existing living room paneling a fresh coat of paint or building your own new paneling, we’ve put together a collection of inspirational tips and ideas to help you make the most of paneling in your living room.
1. Use square panels for a neat, geometric look
Square facings, also known as Jacobean style facings, create a uniform, symmetrical pattern through the elegant placement of squares.
The neat trellis effect provides a great platform for living room color ideas, creating an inviting, structured style that works well in both small and large spaces.
2. Frame your artwork
For ideas on how to display artwork, wall coverings in the living room provide the perfect platform to enhance your artwork.
Whether you’re creating bespoke paneling for select artworks or using the existing panel shapes in your interior space for enhanced gallery wall ideas, it can frame a painting or photograph beautifully, adding an additional element of depth and texture.
Framing your artwork in this way is also a great option for stair covering ideas, as stairs often provide the perfect platform for a gallery wall.
3. Keep it minimal
For a more contemporary look, choose an elegant and minimal living room paneling effect.
In this black and blue painted Living Room No. 95 by Farrow & Ball, the thin, horizontal wooden panel adds a subtle textural element.
Keeping it minimal with paneling is also a great way to subtly zone a living room area. Here the panel creates a subtle separation between the low seating area and the upper wall area with artwork and lighting.
4. Paint the living room paneling a neutral color
For a timeless and sophisticated look, painting your living room paneling a neutral hue will ensure the design stands the test of time.
In this bright living room, the walls and panels have been painted a soft cream hue, accentuating the paneled design compared to the bright white ceiling.
The overall effect provides a versatile backdrop that can grow with a living room for years, perfect for neutral living room ideas.
5. Create a monochromatic look
For an impactful look, incorporating living room paneling into an eye-catching, monochromatic design can be a great way to bring a contemporary twist to a traditional feature.
The blue color used in this living room creates a bold, modern design that celebrates color and texture. The paneling here stands out and blends into the monochromatic color scheme, with the dark blue hue creating a sophisticated and eye-catching vibe, ideal for blue living room ideas.
6. Use a unique panel
Traditional wood panels are known for adding texture and depth to a room, but if you want to take it a step further, why not create a unique panel design embellished with soft fabric?
Tactile and inviting, a fabric panel is great for decorative room ideas that add an enhanced element of texture and coziness to your living room. The use of fabric paneling also provides a great platform for mixing patterns and prints in interior design, creating a vibrant space full of color and character.
Whether you decide to dress up the entire living room area or create a striking functional cladding behind a seating area like in the Neptune living room above, fabric cladding can make a unique design statement in your home.
7. Coordinate with your wallpaper
Matching your living room covering to your wallpaper is a simple tip that is guaranteed to create a consistent, stylish overall look and enhance your wallpaper ideas.
Use the color wheel for inspiration to help you choose a complementary hue or accent color to pair with your chosen wallpaper design.
8. Use exposed wood paneling for a rustic effect
A popular home paneling style, especially for bathroom paneling ideas. Slats provide a clean and classic look and can be mounted both vertically and horizontally.
In this living room designed by KJM Interiors, the rustic wooden floorboards create a relaxed vibe and add natural texture and warmth to the neutral living room. Placing the paneling horizontally also increases the size of the room and makes the room appear visually wider – a handy decorating tip for ceiling paneling ideas as well.
9. Be bold with color
Using color ideas and painting paneling a bold hue is an easy way to add color and personality to your living room.
Helen Shaw, UK Director at Benjamin Moore, explains: “Choosing the right color for decorating cladding is crucial; If you prefer a subtle and elegant aesthetic, consider a tonal scheme by coordinating wall color with panel decor, or for a more impactful finish, choose a complementary or feature color to draw attention.
In this living room, the lime green paneling highlights the beautiful, patterned wallpaper and creates a dynamic contrast with the red striped carpet. When adding a modern twist to a traditional wood design, use paint for living room paneling ideas to create a unique, vibrant effect—a tip that also works well for modern hallway paneling ideas.
10. Choose large panels for dramatic effect
In this living room, the large gray painted panels complement the scale of the artwork and enhance the sense of space by adding an extra element of height and grandeur.
Choosing the right shape and size panels to match the proportions of your living room will help create a balanced scheme that makes the most of the space.
How do you panel a living room?
Many living rooms have traditional paneling that can easily be refreshed and painted to match your chosen scheme.
However, if you want to panel your living room, there are a few tips you should keep in mind beforehand.
Helen Shaw, UK Director at Benjamin Moore, explains: “Careful planning is essential so you can make sure the connections work and that you have practical considerations in mind e.g. B. how they work in relation to sockets, chimneys and doors.
“If you’re updating your space and want to add some paneling, be mindful of what type of color you’re using. Surfaces must be dust free and well prepared and primed to ensure the final finish will withstand the demands of the environment.’
Choose where you want your paneling and measure your living room best. You can then consider factors such as panel style, material, color choice, and colors to create the perfect panel design for your space.
Does wainscoting make a living room look smaller?
Using paneling in larger living rooms is a great way to make the space more inviting and cozy, but not all paneling styles make a room appear smaller.
Using tall, vertical panels can add the illusion of extra height to a room, while horizontal panels make a room appear wider.
There are many styles and shapes of paneling, with a range of choices to suit both large and small living rooms.