Wooden wall panelling is an excellent way to add personality to a room and it does not have to cost the earth. It can be used to add Georgian-style grandeur to a room, or lend a feeling of cosy cabin chic. Elizabeth Metcalfe considers the options – from tongue-and-groove and period styles to modern interpretations.

If you're looking for panelling for your own house, we recommend the following stockists.

  • The English Panelling Company offers British-made panelling in traditional styles.
  • Howdens is a good source of smart MDF panelling.
  • Plaank specialises in reclaimed and weathered wooden boards.
  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    Rather than using parquet for the floor, designer Maria Speake of Retrouvius decided to clad a sliding door with it in this Barbican flat. It gives the door an almost sculptural quality and the polished wooden blocks each refract the light slightly differently. retrouvius.com

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    A section of painted tongue-and-groove panelling adds colour to this entrance hall by architect Lucy Marston. Little Greene’s ‘Olive Colour’, £65 for 2.5 litres flat oil eggshell, is similar to this olive-green shade, which Lucy also used for the door frame and staircase partition. lucymarston.com

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    On the edge of a Gloucestershire meadow sits a tiny barn filled with varied treasures collected by the antique dealer and designer Christopher Howe, providing its owners with an idyllic country bolt-hole.

    The interior is a mishmash of furniture from across the centuries, timber-clad walls, oak floors and hefty stone slabs in the kitchen. In the kitchen, antique church pews mark out the tiny dining area, while Plain English cabinets contribute to the distinctly cottagey feel and an eighteenth-century Norwegian dresser fits so perfectly it might have been made for the space.

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    Architect Jonathan Tuckey found this timber panelled chalet in the Swiss Alps on a family ski holiday in 2008. At the same time, Jonathan was able to super-insulate the house from within and add a wood-burning stove for warmth from Austroflamm and as a focal point for the sitting room. 'Everything within the chalet is new and then we designed other things to complement the spirit of the original house.'

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    ‘I wanted to differentiate between panelling on the ceiling and the walls, so we used reclaimed random-width boards on the walls,’ explains architect Gil Schafer, who masterminded this sitting area with designer Rita Konig. For the ceiling, he opted for uniform, thin boards that are less distracting. gpschafer.com

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    In this bedroom, designer Ben Pentreath has clad the walls, ceiling and window casement with painted tongue-and-groove panelling. It is a fairly traditional way to use panelling, especially in an attic bedroom, but the different angles give it an almost modern and geometric quality. benpentreath.com

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    The architect Graham Bizley and his interior-designer wife Emily clad their bedroom walls with 1.2-metre-wide plywood sheets. ‘Timber panelling needs to be treated for fire protection with
    a special sealant or paint before applying the top coats of paint,’ says Graham. prewettbizley.com | emilybizley.co.uk

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    This pretty trompe l’œil panelling, adorning the walls of a bedroom in a London flat by Charlotte Crosland, is by artist Rosie Mennem. For more traditional trompe l’œil panelling, Henry Van Der Vijver creates a convincing range of panelling with paint. charlottecrosland.com

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    ‘I was inspired by panelling that I had seen on my travels to historic houses in England and France,’ says Steven Gambrel of the design that he created for this American hallway. The pale painted central border ties in well with the flooring. The slightly weathered finish was achieved by lightly sanding layers of paint to create subtle colour variations. The surface was then waxed to seal and protect the paint.

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    Consider the age of your building if you are creating panelling from scratch. For this Victorian house, Max Rollitt added Jacobean-style panelling, a design that experienced a revival in the nineteenth century. It is painted in a soft grey, which was mixed to achieve a chalky finish that resembles early lead paint. maxrollitt.com

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    Designer Adam Bray applied a blue-green gloss paint to the panelling in the narrow dressing room of this London flat. ‘I love gloss walls – they bounce the light round the room,’ says Adam. ‘It is really important that you get the proportions right with panelling. I looked at Edwardian references.’ adambray.info

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    The oak panelling in this snug designed by Rabih Hage creates a cosseting feeling. ‘The unstained panelling is original to this Queen Anne house and has darkened over the years,’ says Rabih. The cream-painted shutters prevent the wood from overwhelming the space. rabih-hage.com

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    The clean-lined panelling in this study by Hugh Henry gives the otherwise traditional room a modern feel, and the grey shade stops the dark-brown pieces of antique furniture feeling too grand. It is a good way of concealing built-in storage, and here it has been combined with low-level drawers. mhzlondon.com

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    For a contemporary and affordable take on panelling, consider birch plywood. It has been used here to line the walls of this house, which belongs to Adam Sykes, the owner of fabric house Claremont. ‘We used cheap builder’s ply, oiled it and finished it properly,’ says Adam. claremontfurnishing.com

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    Designer Vanessa Macdonald lined the walls of this sitting room at her country house with painted boards. ‘The space lacked charm and had no original features,’ says Vanessa. ‘I’d seen vertical panelling in country houses.’ This horizontal arrangement tricks the eye into thinking the room is wider than it is. melissawyndham.com

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    Mixed-width, vertically staggered elm boards line the walls in this relaxed sitting room in Robyn Muir's house, designed by Caroline Holdaway. Each board was coloured with ochre and umber stains to achieve an overall even colour and then the boards were waxed to give them a lustre. carolineholdaway.com

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    The cabins at Soho Farmhouse are built using reclaimed board cladding and feature indoor relaxing spaces such as this sitting area with a log burner. A variety of textures make the room feel even cosier, and the reclaimed wooden door is appealingly rustic.

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    The neat attic bedroom of designer Hugh Leslie's Chelsea studio is partially clad in horizontal tongue-and-groove boarding. This is a good trick to visually widen a small room. Try the Georgian range from The English Panelling Company, which would create a similar effect.

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    Brushed pine (laid horizontally as is traditional, but 'brushed' for a textural, more modern look) and slate set the tone in the bathroom of interior designer Tino Zervudachi's Gstaad chalet that's designed for deep comfort and relaxed partying. The bathroom can be accessed from the hall through a neatly designed cloakroom, as well as from the bedroom, and is the essence of chic - the beautiful curve of the wood-clad, free-standing bath set off by the straight lines of the room and the black slate floor and surfaces. 'I wanted to be able to lie in my bath and look out at the landscape,' Tino says. The first time he had a bath here, he spotted a deer running across the mountainside.

  • Wall panelling and cladding ideas

    In the wood-panelled back porch of this Virginia home, antique wooden and upholstered white furniture shines out against against the dark wooden floors. Framed artworks are hung in grids, mirroring the pattern of the windowframes.