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Wall Paneling Boards, Planks & Panels, Do it Best 2023

Wall Paneling

Wall Paneling Boards, Planks & Panels, Do it Best 2023

In all my years of working as an interior decorator, I have never come across a subject that is so misunderstood as Wood Grain Wall Paneling. I’m here to set the record straight on this type of wall paneling. I will do my best to describe what is available in wood grain wall paneling.

So join me as I walk you through what is being offered in wood grain wall paneling. You will find out that you have a good variety of styles. After giving it some time and thought, I have put together some short definitions of the different types of wood grain wall paneling available today. It isn’t your grandfather’s wall paneling.
Okay, so let’s take a look at wood grain wall paneling.

It is the type of paneling most people think of when the subject of wall paneling comes up. Woodgrain paneling comes in a variety of colors and planking widths. Your wood grain choices are Beaded Birch, Frosted Maple, Beaded White, Honey Birch, Lite Birch, Westminster White, Provincial Pine, Paintable Deep Beaded, Oakdale, Fireside Cherry, Plain White Perforated Utility Panel, and Oakdale Perforated Utility Panel.

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Wall Paneling Boards, Planks & Panels, Do it Best 2021

I will try to describe these wood grain wall panels to the best of my ability. The Beaded Birch has a medium brown stain with double-cut grooves cut down the length of the board approximately 2 inches apart. The Frosted Maple is a grayish off-white stain. 

This panel also has double-cut grooves cut down the size of the discussion about 2 inches apart.

The Beaded White is a white stain with double-cut grooves cut down the length of the panel approximately 2 inches apart. The Honey Birch is a medium-dark brown stain with single tracks running down the size of the board alternating between 4 and 6 inches apart.

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The Lite Birch is a light brown stain with single grooves running down the length of the panel alternating between 4 and 6 inches apart. The Westminster White is, of course, a white stain. Westminster White panel is a smooth panel and has no grooves.


According to Teer, a few key factors will influence whether your panels make your space feel more open or more closed. “This will depend on 1) the level of daylight, 2) the height of the wall panels, 3) the natural wood tone or color palette if the wall panels are painted to finish, and 4) the tone of smooth walls, ceiling, and floor, “he says. 

“Simply put, a lighter shade of wood wall paneling, such as ash or oak (or a light color palette if painted), will help keep a room from feeling smaller.”

Lemos adds, “As a general rule of thumb, do not exceed 1/3 as a panel-to-wall ratio. In other words, panels should generally stop at 1/3 of the floor or less than 1/3 of the ceiling. If you reach 50: 50, more minor will make the room feel “.

How to Identify the Different Varieties of Wood Grain Wall Paneling 2023

Next, we have Provincial Pine. Provincial Pine is a light brown stain with double-cut grooves cut down the length of the panel approximately 4 inches apart. Paintable Deep Beaded comes in white color. It has the look of a typical beadboard. This panel has double-cut grooves cut down the length of the board approximately 2 inches apart.

Next, we have Oakdale. Oakdale is a medium-dark brown stain panel with double-cut grooves cut down the length of the board approximately 4 inches apart. So now we are at Fireside Cherry. Fireside Cherry is a deep dark brown stain. This panel has a single black groove going down the length of the board, alternating between 4 and 6 inches apart.

The following two wood grain wall panels are perforated. These panels are called Utility Wall Panels. The holes on these panels serve a purpose. You install these panels in your workshop or garage over the open studs of the wall, so there is an open space behind the perforated panel.

You can buy all types of hooks and holders at your local hardware store that slide into these perforations. After you apply the themes that you choose, you will be able to hang your tools, brooms, winter shovels, gardening tools, and anything within a reasonable size and weight. There are many shelves and small storage units that are made to hang on perforated utility panels.

How to Identify the Different Varieties of Wood Grain Wall Paneling 

The first of these two perforated panels is the Plain White Perforated Utility Panel. That pretty much says it all. It is a white stained 4′ x 8′ perforated wall panel. The second perforated utility panel is called the Oakdale Perforated wall panel. This 4′ x 8′ perforated utility wall panel is finished in a medium-dark oak finish. If you are looking for a beautiful wood-finished utility panel to organize your tools and supplies, this panel is for you.

So now you know what is available to you regarding wood grain wall paneling. Woodgrain wall paneling is only a tiny part of what is available in wall paneling in general. I will follow up shortly with more information on other types of wall paneling. I hope this has helped you understand what is available to you when it comes to wall paneling of the wood grain type.

Author Bio: After growing up as the apprentice of his father, who was a master of all trades, Joe Tobiasz, Owner] explored the idea of a career in interior decorating and design over 25 years ago. Since then, he has never looked back. 

He has volunteered and consulted for many friends and associates over the years, offering his natural talent for decorating and remodeling in interior and exterior applications. When it come to his website, his unusual way of presenting information in the form of short stories has him the talk of both webmasters and the online community.


With all the wall panels out there, which one should you choose for your home? It all comes down to the architecture of your space.

“Choosing wall panels depends on what you like, but there are a few things to consider,” says Jo Lemos, DIY blogger and member of Real Homes’ panel of real experts. “Will it fit in with the other features of the property?

Avant-garde Parisian-style panels are better suited to a stately building than a new build, and likewise, a modern meeting may not work well in an old country house. Install the panels yourself. Research panel designs for the age of your property to get an idea of ​​what is best suited. “

For example, Lemos installed simple board and slat panels in a newly built townhouse, painted dark green for a bold statement. However, when he and his partner moved into a 1930s home, they changed their paneling approach to something more appropriate for the era.

“For our 1930s living room, I wanted to be a bit more formal, so I used a decorative picture frame molding. I didn’t wish the paneling to be too ornamental, as houses from this period were moving away from panels and leaned more towards more widely available wallpaper, “explains Lemos.

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How to Identify the Different Varieties of Wood Grain Wall Paneling 

All About Interior Wood Paneling

From shiplap to salvaged barn board wood, simple interior wall cladding is making a comeback in home decor, giving rooms a style and texture boost, plus a dose of rugged charm. Here’s how to choose and use them. By Katelin Hill

Wood walls have a long history. In early colonial times, boards and shingles that skinned over a house’s skeleton often formed the interior surfaces. Planks made up the partition walls. Later, vertical boards were nailed to studs, often with a decorative bead or chamfered V along their edges.

Walls that were not plastered were often paneled. While the wealthy had fancy woodwork, most homes featured flat-backed claddings similar to those used on the exterior—usually boards with interlocking “lapped” or tongue-and-groove joints to keep water and cold winds. When factory millwork became available in the Victorian era, decorative beaded boards routinely covered walls in utility areas such as kitchens and baths.

Simple, practical, and attractive, such wall claddings are again in demand. Lumberyards and home centers offer products that ease installation, and designers specify them everywhere, from formal manses to industrial spaces to simple cottage interiors. Here and on the following pages, TOH helps sort through the options.

Shiplap History

“Shiplap House,” so named for this 1815 shed addition to an early-18th-century house in Annapolis, Maryland, showcases a well-preserved historical example of the flush, flat-backed siding. At the time, clapboards were the norm, their beveled profile designed to shed water. Shiplap boards had interlocking lapped joints along their edges to seal out the weather.

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The Cost?

Individual boards can cost under $1 per linear foot for unfinished pine and up to $20 per linear foot for the reclaimed stuff. A standard 4-by-8-foot MDF beadboard panel runs about $30, while individual beaded pine boards are unfinished for about $2 per linear foot.

DIY or Hire a Pro?

A good project for experienced DIYers. The biggest challenges are starting perfectly level (or plumb), working around obstacles such as windows and doors, and doing a ceiling? You may want to go pro.

Where to Buy It?

Home centers sell various manufactured wood and MDF products, sometimes as kits. You’ll find higher-quality wood cladding at lumberyards, though it may be a particular order.


As long as wood cladding has been properly installed with sufficient room for expansion, it should last the life of the house. MDF may be more susceptible to dings and moisture damage.

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Types of Interior Wood Paneling


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Here’s a look at some of the most popular types of cladding—how simple or detailed the profile is and what kind of finish you choose all influence the overall effect.

SHIPLAP refers to a joint rather than a decorative cladding treatment. Horizontally laid boards are rabbeted along their sides to interlock for a tight seal.

Today it is common to have them milled with a “nickel gap” of about 1⁄8 inch along the top edge to create a shadow line that highlights the individual boards. DIYers often install lauan or MDF strips on the wall with space in between to suggest shiplap.


Wall Paneling Boards, Planks & Panels, Do it Best 2022

BEADBOARD is traditionally “stick-built,” using two ½-inch-wide strips of wood with a beaded edge milled along the tongue side and a matching rounded (or a chamfered) border on the groove side to hide the joint. These fit together to form one continuous wall covering.

Today wider planks with multiple beads and plywood or MDF sheets with rows of beads milled in replicate the look while saving installation time.

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V-Groove – Wall Paneling

V-GROOVE boards are milled with chamfered edges on both sides, forming a V shape when the tongue-and-groove (or shiplap) joints come together. Best V-groove planks in varying widths were a standard wall cladding in colonial-era homes, often given a matte-paint finish. Like square-edged shiplap, they are prized today for their modern simplicity. Available in wood, MDF, and synthetic materials for various applications.


BOARD-AND-BATTEN is traditionally built as a series of vertical boards overlaid with strips of 1x material, or battens, covering the joints. When it serves as siding, the lumber is often rough-cut. Today plywood may be used indoors, with 1x strips installed every 8 to 10 inches, covering joints as they occur. A popular DIY shortcut is to adhere battens directly to the wall, then unify the assembly with trim paint.

Drop Siding – Wall Paneling

DROP SIDING is a historical type of shiplap, typically featuring a cove along the top of the board to encourage water shedding. (Square off that curve, and you have channel siding.) Because it is a flat-backed siding, it quickly makes the transition to interior use, unlike beveled styles, such as clapboards. Millwork shops can add a bead along the bottom or any other custom detail that you like.

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Rustic Planking

RUSTIC PLANKING can be anything from barn boards to pallet wood to standard lumber made to look old through a finishing process. Planks can be nailed up with little to no space end to end, but pay attention to staggering the joints. Boards may not have milled edges to conceal gaps and will need space for expansion. Painting the wall black before installation will keep another color from showing through.

Types of Wood Paneling Material


Most cladding is made from one of these; here’s what to consider with each option.

You can find solid-wood tongue-and-groove or shiplap boards in various species, from budget-friendly pine and poplar to pricier woods like redwood, cedar, and cypress. Since wood expands and contracts over time, it must be given room to move during installation. It may be heavier than manufactured products, so it needs proper fastening and another pair of hands to install. Thin plywood sheets milled with bead or V details and lap joints at the ends are more stable, less pricey, and go up fast.


Ask for a stain-grade clear wood that’s smooth and free of knots for the optimal paint job–and for staining, of course. Otherwise, knots must be filled, sanded, and primed before painting. You can leave the wood bare, but it will be susceptible to dirt and stains. A water-based polyurethane or wax coat will protect it while highlighting the natural color.

Salvaged Wood

Reclaimed wood boards can be found in various species and dimensions, whether rescued from old barns or factory floors. The unmatched wood saves trees from being cut down, but it won’t always be in ready-to-use condition. Salvaged boards should be cleaned planed, so they lie flat on the wall and ideally kiln-dried by a dealer; otherwise, they may warp. Kiln-drying also eliminates any insects hiding inside. Maybe prefinished and milled into any style of wall cladding you want.


Reclaimed wood is a good candidate for a distressed or weathered paint finish or a stain that doesn’t completely hide the wood grain. Often, reclaimed wood is left as-is, but old paint could be lead-based, so seal it with a water-based polyurethane or shellac before working.

Fiberboard – Wall Paneling

Milled sheets of MDF are a popular choice among DIYers since they are budget-friendly, and manufacturers can achieve a convincing bead or groove. 

MDF is also more stable overall than wood during swings in temperature, but it can soak up moisture like a sponge, swell, and crumble if it gets wet. Some companies offer moisture-resistant MDF for wet-area installations. Standard MDF also off-gasses formaldehyde when new. For wall cladding, MDF is most commonly used as battens or sheets.


Smooth MDF takes paint beautifully, and since it cannot be stained, it typically comes pre-primed. If you’re priming it yourself, use a shellac primer on all six sides, paying particular attention to any cut edges; avoid water-based primers, which can cause cut edges to swell.

Installation Advice

Before you begin, whether you DIY or hire a pro.

  • Wood needs room to move > Always leave at least a 3⁄8-inch gap for expansion along all four edges of a wood-clad wall: Above the baseboard, where it meets the ceiling, and at both corners where the adjacent walls begin.
  • Construction adhesive is your friend > It can provide up to 30 percent of the bond, so you need fewer nails. With lightweight material, it may be all you need.
  • Start with a flat surface > On uneven plaster or masonry walls, begin by hanging a grid of strapping, shimming as needed to make a completely flat surface—vertical nail boards to horizontal furring strips or plywood.
  • The first board must be level or plumb > Don’t rush installing that first board; if it isn’t level (or plumb), you run the risk of every piece after it being crooked. If walls aren’t plumb or floors level, you may need to scribe the board to fit.

Shown: TOH general contractor Tom Silva puts up beadboard using high-tack panel adhesive.

Design Ideas

Pro design advice for how to use wall claddings to your best advantage.

  • GO WIDE When using shiplap and V-groove, Georgia-based designer Katie DeRario suggests sticking with 10-inch-wide planks. Hence, they look more like paneling and less like siding, typically narrower. Similarly, she prefers 3 to 4 inches between beads with beadboard for a more modern look.
  • EXPLOIT OPTICAL ILLUSIONS Generally, running planks vertically adds height visually, while horizontal boards can make small rooms look more expansive. “But it also depends on how you enter the room and what is in your line of sight,” says Massachusetts-based designer Jonathan Raith. A typical hallway can look extra-long when lined in horizontal planking.
  • MIX AND MATCH WITH CAUTION With so many styles of cladding to choose from, and it’s easy to go overboard. Raith suggests keeping it simple. “I wouldn’t mix more than two in one room, and I wouldn’t do more than three in one house,” he says. “And it’s critical to use them thoughtfully and proportionately in the space.”
  • LET THEM WORK HARD If you use wall cladding in just one space, a mudroom or laundry is a great place to put it. “Mudrooms take a lot of wear and tear,” says Diario. “Kids kick off their shoes and backpacks, and wood walls hold up a lot better than drywall.” Plus, you can install hooks anywhere convenient, rather than planning around the wall studs.

Wet-Area Options – Wall Paneling

What to use when moisture is an issue.

On bathroom and even kitchen-sink walls, wood planks and plywood sheets stand up to moisture better than standard MDF, which can swell with water. Vinyl beadboard made for wet areas isn’t convincing, though painting it can help. Solid-surface versions of bath and shower enclosures are too costly to cover entire walls.

While there is water-resistant MDF, TOH senior technical editor Mark Powers prefers to stick with wood where walls could get wet. “Any wood cladding will fare fine with a coat of paint or water-based polyurethane,” he says.

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DIY Made Easier – Wall Paneling

  1. Prefinished Pine Board

Off-the-shelf products save time, money, and installation headaches. Here are a few to consider.

These shiplap boards have a distressed red finish reminiscent of old barn wood. Six 8-foot-long pine planks come in each pack, so all that’s left to do is trim them as needed and glue and tack them up.

UFP Edge 1”x 6”x 8′ Barn Wood Red Shiplap Pine Board, $72 per pack; The Home Depot

Prefab Panels

These interlocking reclaimed wood panels are meant to cut install time by 90 percent. The maker claims a typical 8-by-10-foot accent wall can go up in about an hour.

Prefab Wood Wall Panels in All Natural Pallet Wood, $12 per square foot; Sustainable Lumber Co.

Plank Kit – Wall Paneling

The kiln-dried boards in this kit come in random shades and lengths up to 2 feet. Each pine plank comes with its unique markings without the hassle of prepping salvaged wood.

Nuvelle Deco Planks in Picket Fence Sun Baked, $100 for a 10-square-foot case; The Home Depot

Pre-primed Shiplap

If you plan to paint your cladding in place, primed boards get you there a bit faster. And these pine planks have a nickel gap already milled into the joint, so you don’t have to fuss with spacers.

1″x 6″ Shiplap Paneling Nickel Gap, $1.89 per linear foot; Stonewood Products

Interior Wall Paneling Design Ideas

  1. Cottage Appeal

White battens pop against sunny-yellow walls, adding texture and dimension and accentuating high ceilings. Running a couple of horizontal bands saves them from looking like stripes.

Similar to shown: 1”x 4”x 10′ poplar batten, $9.29; Lowe’s

Bold Accent – Wall Paneling

This feature wall of custom-milled nickel-gap shiplap packs a lot of design punch. Though shiplap is often considered rustic, bright-blue paint and sleek furnishings make it feel modern.

Similar to shown: Poplar Ship Lap 5⁄8”x 4 15⁄16″ (1⁄8″ gap), $2.42 per linear foot; Cortland Hardwood

Is wall paneling expensive? Wood Paneling Cost

With the traditional, Home Depot-style MDF wood paneling, you can pick up 32-square-foot sheets for as little as $11 and range to as much as $40. Higher-quality wood paneling is far more expensive. Horizontal-oriented ebony wood paneling is around $400 for a sheet of the same size.

Is paneling cheaper than drywall?

Because of the greater attention needed for cutting and trimming wood, paneling may take more time and cost more than installing drywall.

What is wall paneling called?

Wainscoting vs. Wainscoting is a broader term referring to decorative paneling used for centuries as a) a wall accent; b) insulation, and; c) to prevent (and cover-up) damage to walls. It typically is made of wood and covers the lower three or four feet of an interior wall.

Wall Paneling

Is wall paneling outdated?

Today, while many homeowners have phased out the dark and dreary feature in favor of neutral or brightly painted drywall, paneling remains in plenty of homes that haven’t been remodeled in decades. If, however, the walls are covered by sheets of wood-look panels, pull them off now!

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