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The Evolution of Interior Wall Paneling Design

From Victorian wainscoting to mid-century wood paneling to contemporary faux materials, the appearance and technology of wall panels has changed significantly. Read on to learn more about the evolution of wall paneling from simple to high-tech.

A Brief History of Wall Panels


Wall panels are a key feature of many classic interiors.

Basic wall panels have been a part of homes and public buildings since the time of classic Roman and Greek architecture, but it wasn’t until the Gothic period that they truly became commonplace for interior walls. Throughout English Tudor architecture, natural wood panels added interior warmth and intricate design to private homes, and during the Victorian era, simple yet elegant wainscoting took precedence.

Rise of Wooden Wall Panels

In the U.S., wood panels initially became popular during colonial times, as they offered simple design, insulation, and durability. Wood panels again rose to popularity in the mid-20th century, when solid wood, plywood, and even wood veneer panels became common elements of home décor.

Contemporary Wall Panels

Today’s wall panels have evolved significantly from the natural wood and intricately carved panels of the earlier years. Though wall panels are still a sign of good taste, they now reflect a more contemporary style, since there are so many design choices in play. Though they may reflect natural patterns and designs, many contemporary wall panels are made from composite or synthetic materials, including MDF, melamine, and polyurethane. You can even find wall panels printed with three-dimensional patterns or interesting textures, for a truly unique aesthetic.


Along with high-end wood looks, stylish panels mimicking stone are available. (Panasphere Aura Stone Decorative Panel – Loft)

While you can install panels on every wall of a room or even throughout your entire home, you can also do so selectively. Many of the most high-tech wall panels are designed to look great in small doses, like wood grain in an entrance area, exposed brick on an accent wall, or faux stone on a backsplash. You can even install some panels on the ceiling, for seriously innovative design.

Benefits of High-Tech Wall Panels

Contemporary wall panels come with a host of benefits for homeowners. Not only do they boast a full range of natural and cutting edge designs, they also help insulate your space. Since many provide soundproofing qualities, wall panels can create a welcome acoustic environment that’s perfect for home theaters and media rooms.

High-tech wall panels also tend to be easy to install, thanks to basic clip and rail or tongue and groove installation systems. This makes them ideal for handy homeowners or DIY enthusiasts. Once they’re up, wall panels are easy to maintain and require minimal upkeep. Because they’re made to withstand impact, they’re not easy to damage, and they show much less wear and tear than typical drywall.

Since wall panels are installed over existing walls, they also protect the walls of your home from age and wear, adding years to the life of your walls. With such straightforward wall panel installation, you might be tempted never to let your walls see the light of day again.

From ancient times to today, wall panels have been an important feature in homes. With plenty of new materials and designs to work with, you’ll have your pick from traditional schemes to innovative wall panel décor, all produced with cutting edge technology.

How do you add style to your walls?

Browse our selection of stylish Wall Panels here. Enhance the decorative appeal of your interiors.

One Comment

  1. It’s good to know that modern, high-tech wall panels are becoming easier to install. It’s important that the paneling you choose for your building has the right benefits you expect, such as heat and cold insulation. I think it helps to research what types of paneling are our there so you know what your best option would be for your building project.

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