What is Wall Paneling? Things You Need to Know

Wall paneling is a wonderful way to give a stylish and textured look to any space while concealing wall imperfections. It comes in various patterns and materials to allow the use of desired materials to complement the current interior design style and texture of your room. You can easily install wall paneling on any wall surface, as the panels are available in pre-cut, ready-to-install, and pre-attachable configurations.

While many people understand the concept of wall paneling, there are plenty who do not know what it is or why someone should use it. In this article, we share with you every detail about wall panels, their pros and cons, materials used, cost, and more. You can choose the right paneling as per your budget and needs.

What is wall paneling?

Traditionally, wall paneling is used to offer insulation between the room and stone walls. Nowadays, interior wall paneling adds an aesthetic charm to a given room beyond its basic function. It also prevents wall damage, provides structural support, and conceals undesired electrical cables hanging on the walls.

Here are the two ways to install interior wall paneling:

  • By adding a metal grid frame on a wall and further skewing the panels on the grid.
  • By screwing wall panels on a wall. It is ideal for smooth, straight, and lightweight panels and wall surfaces.

Types of wall paneling

Here are different types of wall paneling before you consider including it in your home interior:


It refers to a joint type instead of a decorative wall cladding system. In this wall paneling, horizontal boards get rabbeted along the sides. It helps in interlocking for a tighter seal. Nowadays, it is very common to get them milled along with a nickel gap of around 1/8 inch on the top edge. It creates a shadow line to highlight the separate boards. Often DIYers install MDF or lauan strips on a wall with some space in between the strips. Hence, referred to as shiplap.


Traditionally, beadboard is stick-built with 2 1/2-inch-wide wooden strips with beaded edge, which is milled along the side. Meanwhile, it has a matching chamfered or rounded edge on its groove side for hiding its joint. They perfectly fit together to form a constant wall covering.

You can find wider planks nowadays with multiple beads and MDF or plywood sheets with beaded rows milled in. These are further replicated for even installation.


Board and batten are more like a series formed with vertical boards, which overlay the strips of batten or 1x material to cover the joints. When it works as a siding, the lumber often is rough-cut. Nowadays, plywood with 1x strips is installed every 8-10 inches to cover the joints. One major DIY shortcut here is to directly adhere battens to a wall. After that, unify the assembly using trim paint.

Drop Siding

It is a historical version of shiplap but it typically features a cove along the board’s top for encouraging water shedding. Since it is a flat-backed siding, it conveniently makes the transition to the interior, unlike some beveled versions, like clapboards. Furthermore, you can even get it in any desired custom detail of your choice, like adding a bead to its bottom.

Rustic Planking

The rustic planking varies from pallet wood to barn boards to common wood that appears old due to its finishing process. The planks are easy to nail up using little to no space from end to end. However, you need to pay attention to staggering its joints. The boards may not have milled their edges for concealing gaps and may require some space to extend. Even painting your wall in black before its installation can keep another color from peeking through.


With chamfered edges, the V-Groove boards are milled on either side. They form a V-shape where the shiplap or tongue-and-groove joints combine. In the colonial era, the V-groove planks were very common wall cladding of varying widths in every home. Usually, it was in a matte-paint finish. Just like its square-edged shiplap, these are valuable for their simplistic yet modern appeal. It is often available in MDF, wood, and synthetic materials for various uses.

Wall paneling materials

Here are different wall paneling materials that you need to know:

Faux stone

As the name suggests, they differ from natural stone panels and manufactured veneer stones. It generally consists of lightweight foam.

Faux brick

It consists of high-density plastic and is often available in ready-to-install panels, which interlock for creating a relatively seamless surface. These are often nailed or glued to the backing substrate. And, are one of the lowest priced options in this list.


It is a good alternative to mineral and stone wall paneling designs. Compared to other materials, PVC wall paneling is low maintenance and very durable.

FRP panels

FRP (Fiberglass reinforced panels) are flexible and thin flexible plastic panels. These are made using strong polyester resin that’s further reinforced using fiberglass. These are useful for ceilings and walls for installing directly over wood, drywall, concrete block, and other solid surfaces.

MDF (Medium-density fiberboard)

It is one of the very common materials used for wall paneling designs. It is relatively cost-effective if you are on a strict budget.


This type of wall paneling makes use of MDF (medium-density fiberboard). It is suitable for installation in almost every room within a house.


Plywood comes from thin plies or layers of wood veneer. These are further glued together in layers for having the wood grain rotated to 90 degrees to one another.


These wall panelings include one or more vinyl plastic layers with backing, like polyester-and-cotton blend woven fabric, paper, or non-woven fabric. These are suitable for both residential and commercial interior designs.


It is a chic material for paneling the walls. It’s considered a luxury option for opening up small spaces.


The wall panel construction is often sturdy and very easy to assemble at a place. These are very solid construction panels that are non-load bearing, lightweight, room-high partition panels with high compression strength.


These are basically the 3D wall panel stickers. These are self-adhesive for decorating interior spaces in different properties. These consist of polyethylene protective foams with various colored tile designs along with 3D surface finishing. The surface further cones with a glue or gum coating for convenient and firm sticking of the panels.


These are large hard plastic sheets that are easy to glue on a wall surface with heavy-duty adhesive. It makes them very customizable and also versatile options for walls and wall surrounds. These are easy to customize as well for mimicking the appearance of tiles.


It is ideal to create an industrial look with the metal-grid paneling design.


It consists of expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) for closed-cell insulation. It’s made by the expansion of polystyrene polymer. Since it is closed-cell foam insulation, it is non-porous which makes it hard for air and water vapors to pass through it.


These are vertical, three-dimensional channels that are ideal for aesthetic interplay between shadow and light. This way these become one of the most stylish detailing for decorative home interiors.

Cost of wall paneling

Generally, the cost of wall paneling is measured per square foot. The average price for installing wall panels is $24 per square foot. However, it may range from $7 to $40 per square foot depending on the material you buy, as well as the cost of the installation. It is best to consult a professional and experienced wall paneling contractor near you to know the best price suitable to your affordability. Furthermore, you can choose the right wall paneling material for your home depending on your budget and interior style preference.

Difference between wall paneling and wainscoting

Wall paneling

You may think of outdated plywood for wall paneling. But today, there are ample materials available for modern wall paneling design. Plus, the staying power of wall paneling is higher due to its durable and well-protected material. It gives the wall a great way to dramatically yet easily change the appearance of the entire room. In short, it’s used for decorative purposes in a room.


Traditionally, a wainscot refers to an installation that offers wall protection and insulation to the rooms. Nowadays, it’s referred to as the wall paneling system within the house. It is often constrained to the bottom section of the wall. It adds a style element to the interior while giving a timeless look and visual appeal to the interior.

Difference between the two

Overall, wainscoting is a decorative type of paneling. The wainscoting is often limited to three-quarters or the bottom half of a wall. It also includes certain molding on the top for differentiating it from a wall. On the other hand, wall paneling is to cover the entire wall and even the ceiling in a room.

Advantages of interior wall paneling

Easy to install

When looking at the wall paneling, one of the biggest things you must consider is the ease of installation. This can be one of the most important factors to consider when choosing your paneling. If you plan on doing your installation, you need to ensure that it is simple to do so that you won’t have much trouble and the job can be done quickly.

Get a wall paneling kit that comes with everything you need to finish the installation. You only need to follow the instructions and do your best not to make any mistakes along the way. If you do, you can call for professional help.

Attractive and visually versatile

One of the most significant advantages of wall paneling is its versatility in design styles and finishes. There are dozens of varieties available from many manufacturers, so you can easily find something that matches your taste and budget.

For example, if you like the look of wood paneling but don’t want the maintenance that comes with real wood siding, consider using faux wood veneer. This type of paneling is made from a thin layer of natural wood bonded onto a fiberboard backing material. It won’t rot or warp over time.

They’re easy to maintain

Wall panels are straightforward to clean. All it takes is a damp cloth or sponge to wipe them down. This makes them ideal for use in high-traffic areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms that get dirty quickly. In addition, if you have children or pets who like to make messes, wall panels are the perfect solution.

Wall paneling kits are designed to make the process easier. With a wall paneling kit, you won’t have to worry about leaving holes in the walls or putting nails into something you don’t want to. This way you can change the style anytime you want.

Disadvantages of wall paneling

They are expensive

The wall paneling system is costly. However, the timber of metal cladding is cheaper compared to concrete cladding. Therefore, keep it in mind when deciding to take up wall cladding. They would put a hole in your pocket but if you are ready to bear the cost, it would be worth the investment.

Time-consuming installation

It requires professional skills to install certain wall paneling materials. So, it is not easier for everyone. Moreover, it is a time-consuming procedure to install the wall paneling, which might be a deal-breaker for some people.

Repair is troublesome

The wall paneling needs low maintenance for sure. It needs minimal effort to sustain its look for a longer duration. But if it gets dented or broken, the repairing process is a troublesome task. Generally, metal panelings are more likely to get damaged than other types of paneling materials.

Also Read: Add Industrial Glam to Your Living Room with Exposed Brick Walls

Wall paneling ideas for inspiration

Wooden wall design

wooden wall panelling ideas
Image: The Wood Veneer Hub USA

Board-and-Batten wall paneling design

Board-and-Batten Wall Panelling Designs
Image: Angela Rose Home

Raised and recessed wall panels

raised wall panelling ideas
Image: Wainscot Solutions
Image: Wainscot Solutions
Image: Wainscot Solutions

Wainscoting with paneling design

Wainscoting With Panelling Design on the wall
Image: Doors Plus

Beadboard wall paneling designs

Image: Armstrong Ceilings

Shiplap & Tongue-and-Groove wall paneling designs

Shiplap + Tongue-and-Groove Wall Panelling Designs
Image: Coburn Design Build

Geometric trims

geometric wall panelling ideas
Image: Etsy/HowMuchWoodCo

Stone wall panels

Image: Norstone USA

Warm-toned bricks

Warm-Toned Bricks as panelling
Image: Hoboken Brownstone Renovation

Fabric wall panels

fabric wall panelling ideas
Image: Michael Abrams Interiors

Glass panels

 Michael Abrams Interiors
Image: Artlook Glass

Wall panels with metal grids

Wall Panels With Metal Grids
Image: Amazon

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