19 Classic Living Room Panelling Ideas You’ll Love

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: Snug

Wall panelling remains one of the hottest interior trends for instantly adding character and depth to a plain wall, and these living room panelling ideas might just be the perfect persuasion you need for your next DIY project.

There are so many different ways to panel in a living room, suitable for traditional, modern and contemporary properties. Whilst some styles of panelling require a little bit more skill, panelling in the home is an easy and affordable way to elevate your walls.

So, get ready to add instant character and design flair to your living room, no matter the properties age with these 19 living room panelling ideas.

19 Living Room Panelling Ideas You’ll Love

1.Create Definition With A Shaker Style Panelled Feature Wall

Chunky shaker style panelling is hugely popular in country and modern rustic style interiors. It brings instant depth to a wall and is a great choice for bringing character to a new build property.

You only want to employ this style of panelling on one wall to serve as a feature wall as it will become oppressive and look out of place if it was featured on every wall.

Paint it in a defining colour such as charcoal grey to really ground a living room, and set the tone for a cosy and ambient space.

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: the_haddon_home

2. Add A Classic Touch With Wainscoting

If you have a period property or want to achieve a timeless look in your living room, traditional wainscoting is a popular style of panelling.

This style of panelling is typically present with square style panels below, with a break using a dado rail and more rectangular frames above.

It delivers an elevated, luxurious look and is by far one of the easiest styles of panelling to DIY yourself.

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: @xclusivehomes

3. 2/3 Chunky Style Panelling For An Elevated Look

Instead of traditional half wall panelling, fit your panelling 2/3 of the way up the wall, it will instantly draw your eye up, giving the illusion of a bigger living room.

Paint the upper part of the wall in a different colour to ignite visual interest in the room. This neutral colour scheme looks super cosy against the defining, grey sofa.

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: @rhihomedecor

4. Team Half Wall Panelling With A Dado Rail

Half wall panelling is one of the most popular forms of panelling in a home, it’s great for separating colour, or wallpaper and it delivers instant depth to otherwise plain painted walls.

If you do have a traditional property you may want to add the inclusion of a dado rail, usually around 30-60cm from the ceiling, it can help to draw the eye up, giving the illusion of a bigger space.

If you do have a small living room, choose to paint the dado rail and the space above it in the same colour to avoid a clash of colours, using the same colour creates a more flawless draw of the eye up to the ceiling.

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: @simplycornishcosy

5. Add Instant Character With Half Wall Panelling

Take your half wall panelling one step further by finishing the top off with a picture shelf. It gives the perfect opportunity to display frames and small decor accessories for extra visual appeal.

I adore the neutral colour scheme here, with grey to ground the room and a warm off-white above it to lighten the space, and draw the eye up.

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: @oursoutheastlondonhome

6. Tongue & Groove Feature Wall

Nothing delivers refined elegance like tongue and groove panelling, this is typically purchased in sheets of MDF so you can get them cut specifically to your measurements.

Whilst this living room doesn’t have a chimney breast wall, the tongue and groove panelling addition breaks up the monotony of the painted walls, whilst the verticality of it draws the eye up.

By adding a section behind a TV here, it helps to set a boundary in the space and define the area.

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: @lifebyjasminex

7. Elegant Sage Green Floor To Ceiling Tongue & Groove Panelling

Sage green continues to be an on-trend and much loved natural colour for a cosy, restorative living room. Floor to ceiling tongue and groove panelling will create a well polished interior.

The vertical nature of it will give the illusion of higher ceilings, and it provides a perfect backdrop for many interior schemes including traditional, modern rustic and even Scandinavian styles.

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: @my_best_laid_plans

8. Use Panelling As Frames In Your Living Room

Traditional wainscoting panelling lends itself to being used to frame wall art.

If you want to create a symmetrical feel, use the same sized and coloured frames within the panelling. It tends to lend itself to use in this way because of the symmetry that is achieved with the mouldings.

Contrast with a gorgeous colour such as a sage green against black frames, the black frames will bring much needed definition and modernity into the living room.

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: @new_build_forever_home

9. Add Wooden Pegs To Panelling For Added Visual Interest

I love the addition of pegs on this shaker style panelling as it adds a really charming addition to the panelling, a perfect place to hang decor accessories and small bits and pieces.

It’s super appealing with the contrasting cool grey on the upper half of the wall. This style is seen less often in a living room as opposed to a hallway, but the pegs add a nice addition and you can update what you hang from there seasonally.

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: @crack_the_shutters

10. Black Slat Style Panelling For A Touch of Modernity

Create a focal point in your living room by making a statement with a black slat style panelled feature wall.

This bold look is perfect for modern style interiors, just tie it into the room with other black accents such as interior hardware and decor accessories for a cohesive feel.

I love the sleek and elegant look of this panelling and it can be applied from floor to ceiling, or in a half panelled look. Finish off with a bright white shade above to draw the eye up as you enter the room.

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: @architect_v_engineer

11. Go To The Darker Side With A Deep Navy Blue

In a living room you really can choose to lean into those moodier hues for a more cocooning feel in your space.

Whether you choose traditional wainscoting panelling like this or a shaker style panelling, paint it in a deep navy blue for a stand out, bold welcome in your living room.

Pair with a white on your ceiling to balance with the darker hue, and to naturally draw your eye up to the ceiling.

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: @edwardianbythewoods

12. Zone With Slat Wood Panels

Adding wooden slats to your home is a modern approach to panelling, and it can look exceptional in any room setting.

You don’t need to use it across the entirety of a wall to get the benefit of this natural style of panelling.

Create a zoned area within your living room by placing some of the slat panels on a section of the wall, it works best when it is placed behind something to set a boundary within a space, such as with a console table or behind a TV stand unit.

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: @cb_loves_interiors_20

13. Separate Wallpaper & Paint With A Dado Rail

Adding wallpaper to the upper wall is one of my favourite half wall paneling ideas.

Whilst a traditional half wall panelling hasn’t been used here, you can create a similar feel with a dado rail to provide that perfect separation, it’s also even easier and more affordable to employ.

I love this look for creating a really cosy living room , it can bring a whimsical look, just ensure you use a similar tone in the wallpaper in the rest of the living room to create a cohesive space.

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: @sandbergwallpaper

14. Lean Into Baby Blue

Baby blue is a colour moving through the ranks, and we’re set to see it in interiors even more as we move into 2024.

You don’t need a coastal interior to enjoy this colours on your walls. It looks gorgeous with traditional wainscoting, don’t forget to add some well placed black accents into the room to pull the space together, and add a touch of modernity.

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: @overdale_house

15. Traditional, Cream Panelling For A Timeless Look

Warm, cosy neutrals have become the new grey in interiors over the last couple of years.

A warm off-white delivers warmth and cosiness, and is perfect for counteracting the coldness that is associated with North facing rooms.

Introduce other similar toned warm neutrals and earthy tones into the colour scheme to ignite visual interest throughout.

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: @home_on_cranberrymeadows

16. Pair Different Forms of Panelling For Visual Endearment

I am a huge fan of House Nine Designs projects and they have absolutely nailed the use of different forms of panelling in this clients living room.

Panelling CAN and should be mixed, it brings greater visual interest and avoids any monotony that can be felt with one style of panelling throughout.

Clever placement of tongue and groove panelling behind the TV unit frames and sets a boundary, whilst the same colour half wall panelling adds depth to the rest of the living room.

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: @houseninedesign

17. Blue Feature Wall

We’re seeing more of blue again in a living room, this time on a feature wall with shaker style panelling.

This chunkier style of panelling really is a favourite for placing behind a sofa, it will define the room and add visual interest against a contrasting colour on the other walls.

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: @homewiththewillos

18. Add Upper Wall Panelling To Draw The Eye Up

This is definitely a less conventional style of wall panelling in a living room, but you can listen to the rhythm of your own interior style when it comes to panelling, and you can try anything to suit your space.

Whilst wainscoting has been used here, it only starts after a dado rail, this type of upper wall panelling can help to draw the eye up, giving the illusion of higher ceilings in the living room.

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: @perrinhomely_

19. Natural Wood Slat Panelling

Wood slat paneling can be appreciated in boho, Scandic modern and minimalist home styles, it’s super versatile and provides a natural, beautiful aesthetic in a home.

You can buy half wall panels, plus, there’s no need to paint it or do any touch ups when in situ. Often placed behind a black backdrop like this it delivers an even more defining, and on-trend look.

Which of these living room panelling ideas is your favourite?

living room panelling ideas
Image credit: Snug

Before You Go…

Looking to add some panelling to your bathroom too? You might want to head over to this post next which is packed full of stunning, and different ways to panel a bathroom.

19 stunning bathroom panelling ideas for instant character

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Nicole Sage

Nicole Sage is the founder of Sleek-chic Interiors and is a highly experienced interiors writer and skilled home renovator who has a passion for all things design. She has been featured as an authority at Pinterest, Ideal Home, Daily Mail and in countless other interviews. For 8 years, Nicole has written, observed key interior trends, renovated and undertaken interior short courses at the renown KLC school where she has gained her grounding interior design principles. With a keen eye for detail and a love of creativity, she shares her expertise on the latest interior trends, practical DIY tutorials, and styling inspiration to help others transform their homes into stunning spaces. With a commitment to delivering informative and engaging content, Nicole inspires and empowers readers to explore their own unique sense of style and create beautiful, personalised interiors. Contact her at hello@sleek-chic.co.uk for interiors advice, colour questions and any commentary.

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