How to bring panelling into your home

We take a look at the various ways of introducing panelling in the bedroom; from wooden headboards to timber feature walls

Wood panelling bedroom wall

You may have heard that the feature wall is dead in the design world, and we might agree when it comes to paint and wallpaper. There’s something a little flat and “weekend DIY project” about it in contemporary design, but the same standard doesn’t apply in the same way when it comes to using materials on the walls. In fact, we’re suckers for bringing less conventional materials onto walls to make a dramatic impact.

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When we’re talking about panelling, cast traditional Georgian or Victorian era wooden framing or butt and bead panelling aside, as these are great for adding depth and texture to a space which deserves such a treatment, but is far from unusual and are generally painted to hide their material finishes.

Elsewhere, materials such as wood and fabric make interesting choices for wall décor, bring far more depth to the aesthetic than a flatter finish could. Let’s look at a few examples of panelled walls in the bedroom, and why they’re so successful despite our turn away from designs with feature walls.

Bedside table working into wooden headboard feature wall
Bedroom from William Garvey

Behind a bed, panelling can act as a headboard, even when it spans the entire room. In my opinion, a bed should always have some sort of headboard, but with a traditionally framed bed, you bring in a lot of different elements that can’t be set against anything but a plain wall. A long expanse of material which incorporates a bed streamlines the look and can go even further to add in bedside tables from the same material.

Wooden panelling bedroom headboard
Bedroom from William Garvey

By choosing not to extend the panelling to the top of the wall in the bedroom, you can create an effect less of a wall treatment and more of a piece of oversized furniture. While this design is large and dominating, it still brings a minimalist quality to the room, as it doesn’t rely on vast amounts of further styling, allowing just the wood grain finish to bring character to the space.

Bedroom with timber headboard
Bedroom from William Garvey
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The question of what to put above the bed is one that continues to throw up problems. Usually, a bed is too low to not have anything above, but the right sized piece of art that suits the space can be problematic to find and can turn a sleek, minimalist look into something more cluttered. The texture and depth of material such as the timber batten wall, above, allows you to keep this negative space as a feature without the space feeling bare.