Each week, Mansion Global tackles a topic with an elite group of designers from around the world who work on luxury properties. This week, we look at creating chic wood paneling.
Maybe your idea of wood paneling is a fusty country retreat circa 1970, or your grandma’s living room walls. But today’s iterations are anything but dated. “Depending on the material and finish, wood paneling can add everything from warmth and texture to color and pattern to a space, said Elissa Morgante, co-founder and co-principal of Evanston, Illinois-basedMorgante Wilson Architects. “And it can be incorporated in nearly any design style, from traditional and elegant to modern and casual.”
To add wall-to-wall chicness, follow these ideas from the design pros.
Color Your Walls
“I am a huge fan of wood paneling. However, a little bit goes a long way. It adds depth and texture to a room setting, whether used on one accent wall, kitchen cabinets, or for an outdoor space-you can really get creative.
“Using bold colors really helps update the look, keeping it modern and fresh. Wood paneling really makes a home feel custom, well-designed and beautiful. It is something that will always be on-trend, so I encourage my clients to incorporate it throughout their home.
“I love it painted and usually use deep, rich colors like dark navy, black or forest green-or crisp white and even natural wood.
“When it comes to the layout/shape, I prefer clean, straight lines and use both horizontal and vertical slabs. Vertical lines seem to be more popular lately; they give the illusion of more height in the room. However, horizontal wood paneling is still on trend for a more farmhouse or shiplap style home.
Mix and Match
“For a fresh and eclectic take, add a vibrant patterned wallpaper within panel molding, creating a framed effect. It’s also interesting to highlight the texture of wood panels by mixing in metal, mirrored or painted pieces for a mosaic effect. We often choose an enamel to create a luxe finish that pairs nicely with the inherent richness of wood paneling.
“For many people, the idea of wood paneling calls to mind traditional, dark finishes, so using a lighter wood and finish color is a way to achieve a brighter, more modern look. Or, add drama with a deep, sophisticated hue, such as charcoal gray or navy-or emerald green if you are even more daring.”
“There are so many ways to get creative using different patterns or panel shapes. An updated, contemporary approach we love is a horizontal layout with a metal reveal.
“A powder room is the type of small ‘jewel box’ space where a special material like wood paneling can have a big impact.”
“Wood paneling can add character to a home by making it look older and more well thought out. For a recent project at a large vacation house in Utah, in order to counterbalance the large glass hallways, we are adding wood paneling in large tray patterns and painting it a dark gray/black. This bold wall lends a depth of character that plain drywall would not.
“In a Brentwood, Los Angeles, remodel of a Mid-Century Modern home, we are framing the door with paneling made of small, long slats, which also adds warmth to the room as well.”
“Paneling is a very simple and cost-effective way to add dimension and visual interest to a space. Particularly on sparse, larger walls, paneling can help a room feel more polished without the need for art or additional décor. There are many types of paneling, but I prefer to use chair rails with simple Shaker-style millwork or full wood paneling in more rustic spaces.
“If you’re working with original wood paneling, which is found in many homes from the 1960s and ’70s, contrasting it with very sharp, fresh furniture is important and will prevent the home from looking dated. Contrasting natural woods with materials like chrome, linen and glass keeps a space with original details feeling fresh.
“Since paneling is its own statement, I find that it’s best paired with soft neutral colors,
like eggshell for paneled walls. A touch of shine also helps accentuate the details, particularly on white walls.
“Full wood paneling is great in a more rustic space or in barns or A-frame structures. I use pine. Staining is very important-I always bring furniture fabric swatches in during this step to ensure that the wood isn’t too red and complements the décor.
“A narrow hallway is instantly made more charming with simple chair rails or Victorian paneling. I also love millwork in foyers with double-height ceilings. The paneling catches subtle shadows that help corridors or large walls feel more interesting.”
Think Beyond Vertical or Horizontal Panels
“For a recent project for Noe Valley Townhouse in San Francisco (in collaboration with Staprans Design), we integrated a new central staircase to connect all levels of the home, which was formerly a multi-unit building. We used contrasting wood paneling as a defining feature of the stairwell to distinguish it as a focal point and create continuity across all four levels.
“We also used a pattern of two-foot square panels. The larger scale created a bold, modern statement that envelops the central staircase … By day, natural light floods this area and accentuates the varied grain patterns in each panel. By night, the cascading hand-blown pendants by Metro Lighting create a warm and atmospheric look.
“The stained oak paneling had a natural look that complemented the bright and airy paint selections and tile used elsewhere in the home. To create even more visual richness in the stairwell and common areas on each floor, we mixed and adjusted the grain direction and tone of each panel.”
– Hans Baldauf, co-founding principal at BCV Architecture + Interiors, based in San Francisco and New York
Source: Mansion Global