Classic or Craze: Wood Paneling

Is it a classic or is it a craze?

By Melissa Mauzy


Everyone surely remembers the terrible wood paneled walls of the '60s. Brown, brown and brown. Homeowners couldn’t wait to rip it down or paint over it. But gone are the days of dark, dreary wood. Today, homeowners are incorporating rustic, retro vibes into their modern spaces by reviving a trend that has been deemed outdated for several decades. So is it a classic or is it a craze? Here’s what local design professionals had to say.

“With the ongoing desire for more contemporary spaces, I believe the use of wood walls as accent walls will continue." Tom Manche, Tom Manche Interiors LLC.

“The paneling we use today has little resemblance to the paneling of the 1960s other than it still comes in 4’ by 8’ sheets. We use bead-board paneling as an accent for walls, backsplashes, kitchen islands, ceilings and back panels for bookcases and open cabinets. Bead-board paneling is definitely a classic as well as paneling in a natural state like unstained cedar. These sheets are smooth and refined unlike rough sawn cedar of latter days. Cedar paneling works beautifully between beams on a slanted ceiling. Turn the cedar paneling on its side and the grain runs horizontal for a great spa look in your master bath. Order a little extra and you can line your closet in cedar.” Jane Ganz, Directions In Design Inc. 

“Classic! Wood has always given dimension, richness, texture and depth to a room, whether it is used on a wall, floor or ceiling. There will always be new techniques that keep it fresh and stylish.” Pamela Calvert.

“Wood paneling in today's home is a craze, notwithstanding the recent popularity of shiplap in southern climates. In the late 18th century, wood paneling was popular to create a three-dimensional surface. Chair rails were used to protect walls from the backs of chairs rubbing against the plaster walls. In Victorian times, formal rooms called for  it in the  homes of the wealthy. But today we find rooms with paneling a nuisance.  It's not easy to paint, and if the surface is rough or uneven, it's very difficult to clean.” Joni Spear, Joni Spear Interior Design.

“Craze! This fad will be replaced with a new one so manufacturers can continue to sell new products.” Jeannie Brendel, Brendel Architects