Wall Panels – Characteristic, Decorative and Practical

In its early days, wall panels were less of a decorative element for maximally individualized furnishings but primarily for practical use. Before modern insulation, wall panels made of wood were mainly attached because heating and keeping a room warm were easier than bare stone walls. In the 13th century, wooden boards were smooth, vertical wall panels that were artistically decorated with folds and curlicues or square and rectangular coffers only in the course of the following centuries and thus received their decorative character that is still valid today. The preferred material was originally oak, later also softwood. The type of connection has also changed. Initially, the walls were covered with wall panels from floor to ceiling and became lower and lower over time.

Wall Panels with Modern Paint

To make a decorative statement with wall panels, you don’t necessarily have to live in a Baroque or Art Nouveau apartment. Regardless of whether you live in an old building with a contemporary look and feel or want to add wall panels for an extraordinary touch in a modern apartment, the wood paneling makes it very easy to bring a breath of fresh air into the interior as you please. Depending on taste and trend, they can be changed with powerful colors or restrained nuances. Modern wall design, in particular, now relies heavily on intense colors. The only disadvantage here is those who have particularly lavishly decorated or even original panels on the wall. Because while the latter is better preserved, complicated decorations with bright colors don’t go very well. It is better to use neutral colors here.

Rustic Oak or Do You Prefer MDF?

Solid wood is, of course, the traditional material that classic wall panels are made of. But concrete wood panels are expensive; they do not fit into every environment due to their material. Wall panels made of oak, as in the past, should only be attached where there is the only real, authentic possibility of wall design, preferably in rooms with a corresponding height or if there are already existing, suitable elements in the facility. In that case, you should definitely work with a professional.

If you want a more modern style element in your home, MDF is the better choice. Most of the panels you get in stores are now made of MDF and designed to be painted individually. Here, however, you should make sure that in rooms with high humidity, such as the kitchen and especially the bathroom, appropriately pretreated MDF panels are used, which protect the material from the ingress of moisture. Professionally painted in eggshell white, such wall panels cope perfectly with individual drops. However, it would help if you never got completely wet.

A real wood look can also be imitated with wall panels made of fibreboard. Correctly and carefully applied and painted accordingly, it is difficult for the viewer to distinguish them from real wood panels. Provided that the walls are all flat and straight, MDF panels can also be attached very easily by yourself. Unevenness usually has to be leveled out in the slat construction. In that case, the wall panels then absolutely need a ledge as a finishing touch that conceals the substructure from above – at least if you don’t attach ceiling-high panels. This is not the ideal choice for every environment.


The Ideal Height of Modern Wall Panels

As a rough guide: There are four different heights at which wall panels can be attached. The ceiling-high, half-high, and wall panels take up a third or two-thirds of the floor’s wall height.

Wall panels that go to the middle visually divide the wall in half. This can make the ceilings look lower. Especially in low apartments, you should refrain from this and the ceiling-high type of design.

In fact, wall panels look best when they cover either a third or two-thirds of the bottom wall. In this way, they do not appear overly dominant but can still be attractive eye-catchers through appropriate colors or decor selection. When choosing the right height, you should always keep an eye on the windows and the sanitary installations in the bathroom.

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