Wall paneling made of Real American Hardwood® is making a stylish comeback in today’s homes. During the 1960s and 1970s, wood-paneled walls were all the rage. Homeowners loved them for their affordability, ease of installation, and compatibility with the autumn tones popular in that era. For the next few years, however, residential design trended toward clean, cool looks that often-favored smooth plaster or plain paint over richer, more textured wall finishes. But recent trends have shifted back to more eclectic, funky, and vintage-inspired decorative scenarios where the unique shades, textures, and personality of wood paneling help create rooms of real warmth and character. Here are three great examples.
The original floor-to-ceiling white-oak wall paneling and carved oak door in the dining room of an almost century-old Los Angeles house could have created a somber, gentlemen’s club atmosphere. But in renovating the property, designer Cliff Fong of Matt Blacke Inc. emphasized the wood’s natural honey tone, giving the space a bright and breezy vibe that’s further enhanced with an equally upbeat selection of modern furniture, including a petrified-wood table by Rick Owens surrounded by the great Danish designer Arne Jacobsen’s impish Lily chairs from the late 1960s.
Rich American walnut rules the roost in the bedroom of a Philadelphia bachelor’s condo renovated by Verner Architects, giving the space just the right touch of masculine style. The flooring—5-inch-wide tongue-and-groove walnut planks with a clear, low-VOC finish—is matched by custom millwork, including the bed and nightstands, in the same characterful wood. Completing the look is an expansive walnut-paneled partition that not only adds to the room’s aesthetic impact but also acts as a magnificent headboard while concealing wardrobe storage on the other side.
It’s hard to imagine a more quietly glamorous backdrop—at once crisp and warm, tailored and touchable—than this wall of cerused-oak paneling in the living room of an East Hampton, New York house by Kligerman Architecture & Design and D’Apostrophe Design. Cerusing, which is also known as liming, is a finishing technique that lightens the original color of the wood while emphasizing its natural grain and texture. The golden-hued grid and minimalist white limestone fireplace set off a collection of curvaceous sofas and tables to perfection, juxtaposing precisely etched lines against sensuously biomorphic forms.