Project Book

1) Browse
2) Customise products
3) Add to project book

Sign In

Bathroom Wall Panelling - How to Master this Enduring Trend

Once limited to the expansive walls of stately houses, wall panelling or wall cladding has been revived and reimagined as a simple yet effective way to add character and depth to any home.

Whether you opt for traditional Georgian style wainscoting or the more contemporary wood slat wall, the trend for wall panelling has elevated the outdated paint or paper feature wall to another level. But in a room that requires materials that are both practical and aesthetic, introducing wood or porous natural materials to your bathroom is not without its challenges. Read on to discover all you need to know about bathroom wood panelling, bathroom panelling ideas and how to recreate this elegant trend in your home.

Benefits of Bathroom Wood Panelling

The first question on your mind may well be whether to use bathroom cladding instead of tiles in your bathroom. Tiled bathroom walls may be waterproof and easy to clean, but in the same vein tiles can be cold in bathrooms lacking insulation, while tile grout can invite discoloration and mould over time. More than just a decorative feature, wood panelling can offer a number of surprising benefits as an alternative to tiles in your home, even when used in your bathroom.


Wood has excellent heat retaining properties, so it's fair to assume that adding wood paneling to cold bathroom walls will add much needed warmth and insulation. From this perspective and many others, wood is a more energy efficient option over tiles.

Sound Proofing

Wood bathroom panels offer improved acoustics and are great for terraced houses or when you simply want some peace and quiet in your bathroom.

Easy Installation

Bathroom wall cladding is in general easier and cheaper to install than tiles in your bathroom, equally they require fewer materials and less skilled labour.


Bathroom wood panels can not only be cleverly used to hide unsightly pipework and less-than-perfect surfaces, but they can also provide storage in the form of a half wall bathroom shelf or ledge- the perfect spot for bathroom essentials and even a print or two.


Design Question

Can wood panelling be used in a bathroom?

Contrary to popular opinion, wood can be used in bathroom spaces. Take some time to consider factors such as splash back and ventilation- wood panelling is best placed away from a shower enclosure and very wet areas. Always ensure you use wood that has been treated with a sealant or painted with a waterproof paint. Waterproof bathroom panels made from prepared MDF are also a great option.

Types of Wood Panelling

Surprisingly for some, bathroom panelling can offer much in the same range of choice as bathroom tiles, all the while making for a quicker and much more effective way to update a room.

Tongue and Groove Bathroom Panelling

Tongue and groove is not a type of panel design as such but rather a method of wood panel application. It refers to how each wood board fits into pre-cut grooves in the next panel. Also known as v-groove panelling, beadboard or ‘Butt and Bead’ tongue and groove applied bathroom panels create a beaded, Georgian effect between the slats that will add a touch of elegance to any bathroom.

2018 06 11 R2 Halcyon15258 R2 Halcyon soc med basket detail
Halcyon stone grey 500mm unit lifestyle

Shiplap Bathroom Panelling

Perhaps the simplest type of wood wall panelling, shiplap walls feature vertical or horizontal timber boards that fit neatly together via an overlapping joint in the wood. A key element in the shabby chic trend, shiplap panelling has undergone something of a revival thanks in part to it’s robust Instagram credentials. Moving away from nautical and pastel tones, shiplap has been reimagined for the modern bathroom in vertical orientation and Scandi Noir tones of black, dark navy and charcoal.

Board & Batten Bathroom Panelling

Typically associated with Jacobean or Edwardian architecture, board and batten panels serve to make a real statement in even the most modern of bathrooms. Board and batten wood panelling features square wall panels placed against bare surface or MDF sheets. Contemporary interpretations of this trend feature a series of panels, truncated by square or slim rectangular spaces that create an elegant pattern and a stunning bathroom backdrop or accent wall.

Victorian Bathroom Wall Panelling

Wainscoting Bathroom Panels

Perhaps the most ornate of bathroom panelling styles, wainscoting involves the use of moulding trim to create frames against the wall. This decorative style of bathroom panelling is typically seen as half wall panelling, and is perfect for bathrooms that lack ceiling height.

Wood Slat Bathroom Walls

Hand in hand with the trend for Scandi or even Japandi interiors, slat wall panels have seen something of a resurgence from their 70’s dark wood predecessor. Thanks in part to it’s simple installation, this minimalist wall trend has been seen in many an Instagram bathroom, to stunning effect. Slim cedar wall panels or oak wall panels, vertically aligned and sometimes stained are a popular and practical type of wood panelling for bathroom walls.

How to Style Wood Panelling in Your Bathroom

There’s no doubt that statement surfaces can have the negative effect of overwhelming a bathroom space. Bathroom panelling requires many of the other elements of your room to be subtle and minimal. So how do you style wood panelling in your bathroom, and what furniture and fittings are best suited to this of-the-moment trend?


The slim, uncomplicated style of the traditional bathroom washstand is the perfect foil for a statement panelled wall. Combining the warmth of wood with a chrome or brass structure brings contrast and character to a room. Our designer Zoe paired the Harrow washstand with a Edwardian rectangle board and batten wall for a look that is equal parts elegant and simple.

Explore Washstands

Floorstanding Vanity Units

While washstands are an ideal choice when installing a bathroom fitted against a panelled wall, opting for a complementary vanity unit on another plain wall mirrors the style throughout your bathroom. Why not choose a colour matched wood bathroom vanity unit and install opposite your panelled accent wall for a cohesive bathroom suite.

Explore floorstanding vanity units

Wall Mounted Vanity Units

Make the most of your statement wall with a wall hung vanity. Floating units are ideal for smaller bathrooms where surface and floor space is at a premium. Likewise, a minimalist wall hung unit such as our System vanity complements more pared back slat or cedar walls especially well.

Take a look at wall mounted vanity units

Fitted Bathroom Furniture

Playing it safe with bathroom panelling is all well and good, but why not throw caution to the wind and embrace this enduring style? Combining wood panelling with fitted bathroom furniture is a great way to make cold or lofty bathrooms cosier and more inviting, all the while maximising on bathroom storage

Explore Fitted Furniture

FAQ'S For Bathroom Wall Panels

The best bathroom wall panels are those that are waterproof, durable, and easy to maintain. They should provide a stylish alternative to traditional tiles while offering a perfect fit for your bathroom décor. Look for panels that come in a range of colours, textures, and styles to create your dream bathroom.

Bathroom wall panels are a great alternative to traditional tiles. They are completely waterproof, hard-wearing, and require minimal maintenance. With an extensive range of styles and colours, you can find the perfect wall panels to suit your bathroom's space and style. They offer a quick wipe clean, unlike tiles, and eliminate the need for grout, reducing the chances of mould forming.

Yes, bathroom wall panels are an excellent choice for bathrooms. They are completely waterproof, making them ideal for shower enclosures and wet walls. Wall panels are durable and require little maintenance, unlike traditional tiles that may require extensive cleaning. With their easy installation and stylish appearance, bathroom wall panels offer a cost-effective and long-lasting solution for your bathroom walls.

Bathroom wall panels are a cost-effective option for covering your bathroom walls. They are often cheaper than traditional tiles, considering both the materials and installation costs. Additionally, wall panels eliminate the need for grout, saving you money on grout materials and the labour required for grouting.

Yes, you can install bathroom wall panels over existing tiles. This saves time and effort as there's no need to remove the tiles or deal with extensive preparation. The panels can be easily attached to the existing tiled surface using suitable adhesive. However, it's important to ensure that the tiles are clean, dry, and in good condition for optimal adhesion.

Yes, bathroom wall panels are designed for easy installation. With the right tools and a basic level of DIY skills, you can easily fit the panels yourself. Most panels come with clear installation instructions, and some even offer video tutorials for guidance. If you prefer professional assistance, you can hire a tradesperson for the installation. Either way, bathroom wall panels provide a straightforward and hassle-free way to transform your bathroom.

Bathroom wall panels offer several advantages over traditional tiles. They are completely waterproof and provide a seamless surface, eliminating the need for grout. This reduces the chances of mould forming and makes cleaning easier with just a quick wipe. Bathroom panels are also durable, low maintenance, and come in a wide range of colours and textures to suit any style. Overall, they offer a stylish and practical alternative to tiles.

Yes, bathroom wall panels are often cheaper than traditional tiles. Not only are the panels themselves cost-effective, but their installation also requires less labour and materials compared to tiles. The low maintenance nature of wall panels saves you money in the long run by reducing the need for extensive cleaning and maintenance.