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Expert Advice: How to Use Wood Paneling to Add Loftiness to a Room

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Expert Advice: How to Use Wood Paneling to Add Loftiness to a Room

July 28, 2017

We have often touted the use of paneling to add texture and visual interest to a variety of rooms, both traditional and modern. (See Expert Advice: The Enduring Appeal of Shiplap and Remodeling 101: The Ultimate Wood Paneling Guide with Jersey Ice Cream Co.) Lately we’ve also noticed a preponderance of paneling or cladding employed to create a greater sense of height in a room. Here are some of our favorite applications of paneling used to make a ceiling look taller.

Vertical Paneling on the Walls

in this simple cottage bedroom, craftsman edward collinson employed tgv or v gr 9
Above: In this simple cottage bedroom, craftsman Edward Collinson employed TGV or V-groove cladding to emphasize the height of this cozy bedroom. Streamlined white furnishings further enhance the airy feel. See more at A Simple Bespoke Cabin in North Yorkshire, Father/Son Edition.

Shiplap or other vertical paneling is an easy way to emphasize the height of a room, while still keeping a space clean and uncluttered. If you don’t have the budget for all four walls, create an accent wall by paneling the facade with the greatest height.

Expert Advice How to Use Wood Paneling to Add Loftiness to a Room portrait 3_12
Above: Jersey Ice Cream Co. used a router to create custom, wide, beadboard planking to raise the roof of this farmhouse in Chatham, New York. (See Old Soul: A Revolution-Era Hudson Valley Home Gets an Update from Jersey Ice Cream Co.) Photograph by Beth Kirby.

Accent Wall with Horizontal Cladding

Expert Advice How to Use Wood Paneling to Add Loftiness to a Room portrait 3_16
Above: In this playfully dynamic Connecticut country house hall by designer Fawn Galli and architect Douglas Wright, horizontal shiplap, applied to the tallest wall, not only complements the length of the space, it also serves to emphasize the height, by drawing the eye toward the highest point. See more at Bold Color in a Connecticut Country House.

As seen in the example above, even horizontal paneling, when installed on the tallest wall, can serve to create a dynamic element which emphasizes the height of the space.

Paneled Ceiling

at the estate trentham interiors stylist lyn gardener of gardener & marks 12
Above: At The Estate Trentham interiors stylist Lyn Gardener of Gardener & Marks used a simple pendant and a paneled ceiling to help emphasize the height of this intimate dining room.

The dynamic texture of paneling need not be limited to the walls. Cladding on ceiling also draws the eye up and creates a sense of dynamism which enlivens a small, or low-ceilinged space.

lisa przystup added unpainted beadboard to the ceiling in her catskills farmhou 13
Above: Lisa Przystup added unpainted beadboard to the ceiling in her Catskills farmhouse dining room. (See The Catskills Farmhouse of Two Brooklyn Creatives, Weekend DIY Edition.) Photograph by April Valencia.
at greydon house on nantucket, paneling along the wall, as well as beadboard  14
Above: At Greydon House on Nantucket, paneling along the wall, as well as beadboard on the ceiling, create a greater sense of height in the Broad Suite. See Greydon House: A Seafarer’s Inn (with Maritime Finds) on Old Nantucket.
Expert Advice How to Use Wood Paneling to Add Loftiness to a Room portrait 3_18
Above: Why stop at one wall? Architect Kevin Greenberg created the ultimate loft kitchen with paneling on the walls and ceiling. (See Before and After: A Tuxedo Park Carriage House Gets an Update in Black and White.)

Creative Beadboard

at the anvil hotel designers from studio tack used two toned, beadboard wain 16
Above: At the Anvil Hotel designers from Studio Tack used two-toned, beadboard wainscoting to add texture and height to this low-ceilinged space. See Go West: A Mountain Lodge in Jackson, WY, by a Brooklyn Design Studio.

Typically more narrow than other kinds of paneling, versatile beadboard works in a multitude of spaces, from entire ceilings to small nooks. We especially enjoy beadboard when employed in unexpected ways to create height in cozy rooms.

Expert Advice How to Use Wood Paneling to Add Loftiness to a Room portrait 3_28
Above: In this historic Catskills house, Jersey Ice Cream Co. uses a combination of beadboard and Shaker peg rails to create a height-enhancing vertical element as well as an intriguing design element. (See A Country House Reinvented by Jersey Ice Cream Co.) Photograph by Beth Kirby of Local Milk.

Formal Wall Paneling

in this bedford, ny, home, a millwork wall, painted farrow & ball’s char 18
Above: In this Bedford, NY, home, a millwork wall, painted Farrow & Ball’s Charleston Gray, adds a bit of lofty elegance, without overwhelming the space. (See Architect Visit: A Renovated Farmhouse in Bedford with Scandinavian Influences.) Photography by Amanda Kirkpatrick, courtesy of Rafe Churchill; styling by Anna Molvik.
Again, with an emphasis on the vertical, even more formal paneling can add a sense of grandeur and height in a low-ceiling room, particularly when employed as an accent or to break up a wall. But be careful not to get too heavy handed with more ornate paneling, or it can have the opposite effect.

another example at the anvil hotel in wyoming, paneling applied two thirds the  19
Above: Another example at the Anvil Hotel in Wyoming, paneling applied two-thirds the way up the wall also creates a greater sense of height. (See Go West: A Mountain Lodge in Jackson, WY, by a Brooklyn Design Studio.)

Even more creative ways to use paneling:

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