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wall panel composite shot

Like many things in life, a room is more than the sum of its parts. Yet, the building blocks of a room, the basics, tend to be the elements that help to set the scene. We’ve talked a lot about floors here on the BuildDirect blog, which are surely among the kind of basics I’m talking about. But, just as important are walls, and wall coverings.

Conformity or contrast

Like floors, a wall covering strategy really sets the scene in a room, providing an identity to it around which the rest of decor tends to follow. Even if you’re more into the idea of contrasting surfaces, colors, and patterning, your decor still must deal with wall coverings and their patterns, even if that means providing that contrast. So, they’re important, even if very often their contribution to the atmosphere of a room is pretty subtle.

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“White Barn Wood” wall paneling from BuildDirect

But, beyond the expected stone panel patterning, or wood paneling, what are some of the trends that help to create more specialized spaces?

Stone and wood wall panels: trendy and trend-proof

Before we get into the more left of center trends for wall paneling, let’s take a look at some of those expected stone and wood options I mentioned, and talk about which kinds of interior design effects they can help you to render. Stone and wood are go-to patterns and surfaces for a reason. They are tied to tradition, to history, to ideas of lasting charm and stability.

"Pasadena Sandstone" wall panels from BuildDirect

“Pasadena Sandstone” wall panels from BuildDirect

In some ways wood and stone pattern wall paneling are both trendy and trend-proof at the same time. For minimalist spaces, or for those spaces when a stately or scholarly atmosphere is required, the intricate or delicate patterns found in wood grain or stone surfaces acts like a backdrop to those other elements that will sit in the foreground of a space; furniture, art, reflective surfaces, doors, and windows.

More detail, more demand, more options

But if you are looking to create a striking contrast, or to establish a specific theme, the technology that goes into the production of 21st century wall panel products has raised the bar.  A big part of this has been the advances in digital imaging and a greater level of detail now available to create more realistic surfaces. Just like our expectations for special effects in movies have changed for the 21st century, so have our expectations for more realistic detail when it comes to wall panels!

Another big push is simple demand for a greater range of options to help designers, decorators, homeowners to express a greater range of themes to capture more personality in a space. Where the traditional, the stable, the timeless are valuable directions to go in, there is something to be said for the very specifically themed surface, the quirky, the playful.

Think about a theme!

For these kinds of spaces, a themed wall using wall panels can help to anchor the motif you’re looking to capture. For kids’s rooms, what about a wall of jellybeans?

Pastel Jellybeans wall panel from BuildDirect

Pastel Jellybeans wall panel from BuildDirect

For a mancave (or woman cave for that matter!) where video games are played, what about a wall of military ammo boxes?

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Military Ammunition Boxes wall panels at BuildDirect

Or, for wild west fans, or for steampunk style rooms:

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Western ammunition boxes wall panels at BuildDirect.

For the look of the far east for a yoga space, why not explore the possibilities of a giant bamboo forest accent wall?

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“Giant bamboo” wall paneling from BuildDirect

Some further options

For the automobile enthusiast, or for the look of an urban loft, what about a wall of license plates?

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Any coffee lovers out there? Well, what about a wall dedicated to your favorite bean?

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What about a French style or Victorian wall tile effect?

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Then, there is  charred wood …

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And reclaimed driftwood  to consider.

Residential-KeyWestDriftWood

Changing the tone, opening up the possibilities

One thing I haven’t mentioned here of course is how these kinds of products have evolved to make them easy for the DIYer to install them. The right look is one thing. But the fact that modern 21st century interior wall paneling is designed for easy installation certainly makes a renovation project much less daunting.

In some respects, installing modern wall paneling to create an accent wall, or to create a fun and playful room using all of the wall surfaces, is much like installing a laminate floor. The panels offer a tongue and groove design, can be installed over any stable substrate, and can be done quickly with minimal mess. You can either use construction adhesive onto dry wall or galvanized crown staples on to wall studs.  And these panels are lightweight, making them easy to physically manage. This is all built into that DIY-friendly design I mentioned earlier.

More of your personality in your home

It always comes down to this. Your decor should give something away about you and your household, in whatever degree you choose. And just like a choice in floors, your options for wall panels that are stylistically varied, prove to be an important anchor to a greater design context, and which are easy to install yourself may be the key to get you there.

So, what do you think? Which styles and patterns appeal to you most? Is it the timelessness of a wood or stone, or would you be willing to push the boat out a bit?

Let us know in the comments section of this post.

Cheers,

Rob.

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Rob Jones

Rob served as Editor-In-Chief of BuildDirect Blog: Life At Home from 2007-2016. He is a writer, Dad, content strategist, and music fan.