Interior Wood Paneling: 4 Tips to Add Life to a Room with Dark Paneling

Interior Wood Paneling: 4 Tips to Add Life to a Room with Dark Paneling

Wood paneling is a traditional way of creating a striking interior. It has the characteristic of delivering the aura of serenity and luxury to any space. However, when you are dealing with dark paneling, decorating can be somewhat challenging. The deep tones of the wood can make your space feel dull and boring. So, how do you overcome this?

When decorating with dark wood paneling, you need to find ways to blend it with lighter elements. This will give your interior a balanced look that still feels comfy and charming. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Let There Be Light

Cool mid century modern Australian lounge with outlook to terrace
Image Source: Jodie Johnson

Dark paneling on your walls can absorb all the natural light that gets into your room. You should replace heavy drapes on your windows with coverings that allow light to pass through easily.

Sheers also do a wonderful job when it comes to brightening a room with dark wood paneling. You should choose ivory or cream sheers to give your room a fresh, crisp feel. If you mind your privacy, consider pairing the sheers with blind or shades and only lower them when needed.

You can also use artificial light to balance the paneling’s dark look. Namely, use lamps that allow you to direct the lighting up toward the ceiling. This will create the illusion of height so your room doesn’t feel cramped.

Wooden bedroom interior modern design with TV on the wall
Image Source: darina1761

Use Light-colored Flooring

Using light-colored flooring is another great way to balance the dark wood paneling and create a salient contrast for your room. Carpeting can be a perfect option if you are looking to make your room feel comfier. Light neutral shade, such as taupe, beige, or tan can work well in this case.

If you already have dark wood flooring in your room, there’s no point of covering it with wall-to-wall carpeting to brighten the space. Instead, get a light-colored area rug that covers most of the floor area. This will counter the dark wood paneling on the walls and make your space look brighter.

Empty interior background, room with brown wood paneling wall and orange corner
Image Source: Vadim Andrushchenko

Incorporate Warm Colors

Dark paneling on the walls normally gives a room a small, charming look. You don’t need to counter it. Instead, work with the rich wood paneling to create a warm, welcoming space. Add plenty of warm colors to the design to enhance the welcoming effect.

Are there any walls with no wood paneling?

In that case, choose a light shade such as peach or gold to brighten the space. Consider choosing similar shades for your large furniture as well. Conversely, choose deeper warm tones such as eggplant or brick for your smaller accessories such as throw pillows.

Add Wall Decorations

Left bare, walls with dark wood paneling can make your room look dull and lifeless. So, you should add photos, artwork, or any other wall decorations. Go for wall decorations that add color and personality to the room. This will make your room brighter and more welcoming.


Modern living room interior with two yellow armchairs floor lamp and plant
Image Source: Vadim Andrushchenko

Worried about damaging the wood paneling by driving nails into it?

Then, consider using damage-free hooks. These hooks use adhesive to stick to the walls so you don’t end up with any holes. Afterward, hang your best family photos or colorful painting to break up the long expanses of dark paneling.

Final Thoughts

Wood paneling is an integral component of interior design, which when applied can easily transform and beautify the walls and floors of a room. However, in the case of dark paneling, a room can feel dull and overwhelming. Luckily, you can apply the above tips to counter the drab effect of dark paneling and create a cozy, more inviting feel.



Architectural Digest


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