What are the Different Types of Wall Panels?

Sherry Holetzky

Wall panels serve many functions, from providing descriptions of exhibits in museums and galleries to hiding away electronics such as stereo speakers. As a decor element, they are an excellent way to break up wall space. This can be achieved by paneling the upper or lower half of the wall, installing wainscoting, creating a faux finish, or one of several other methods.

Wainscoting adds visual appeal to a wall.
Wainscoting adds visual appeal to a wall.

In the business setting, there are portable or temporary wall panels that can be used to divide a space into cubicles. Modular panels may be constructed of wood or metal and are often covered with textured materials, fabrics, paneling or wallpaper to make them more aesthetically pleasing. There are also acoustical and sound absorbing versions that are perfect for the studio.

A white wall panel.
A white wall panel.

In the home, wall panels are usually used for visual appeal. If a homeowner prefers something less extensive than paneling or wainscoting, faux finishes or even faux panels may work well. A faux finish can be used to create the look of wood, stone or fabric panels. Alternatively, trim can be added to a wall to create the look of inlaid panels. Creating a line of faux panels and painting the molding to match the wall color creates an architectural element that looks as if it has always been there.

In a finished basement, wall panels are usually used for visual appeal.
In a finished basement, wall panels are usually used for visual appeal.

Other types of temporary wall panels are employed in the home. Many homeowners do not want or cannot afford modular panels, but they may use fabric panels to quickly and inexpensively give a basement, attic or garage a finished look. These are made from heavy fabric such as canvas, and can be easily hung in a matter of hours to cover unfinished ceilings and walls, giving any space a clean, refined look.

Wainscot paneling is paneling installed on part of interior walls, usually beneath a chair rail.
Wainscot paneling is paneling installed on part of interior walls, usually beneath a chair rail.

There are other types of wall panels that help lessen the time and cost of construction. Contractors can order framed out wall panels for nearly any project. Proper measurements, layout and special requirements such as frames for windows are necessary to produce these panels. They arrive on the job site ready to go up, accompanied by details as to the placement of each one.

Wood paneling may match other parts of a room, such as stairs or flooring.
Wood paneling may match other parts of a room, such as stairs or flooring.

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Discussion Comments


where do I find PU faux panels? I would like to see what they look like.


Do you any information about the StyroMesh Wall Panels?


PU faux panels are very good choice. They are light, elegant, and easier to install.


I liked the article.


I know, many people look for stone panels also called faux stone panels. After a while I searched for antico stone panels and got lots of results.


I've been looking into using faux stone panels ever since a neighbor used them on their home. They seem to be very happy with the panels they ordered since they look great and were much cheaper to install than stone veneer.


i am working in an old home that has a pressed fiber board, or something similar to particle board lined in the structure for external sheeting. some people have referred to this material as buffalo board -- are you familiar with this term, and do you know if it may contain asbestos?


I have a huge problem in my bathroom. No matter what I do (we have torn out the walls and put up new, painted with mold resistant paint, put in an industrial strength fan) with my molding bathroom walls. Is there a paneling that will not mold that I can put in my bathroom?


Can anyone tell me anything about old bathroom wall board that looks marbleized? It is green, gold and white and yellowed horribly. I can't get it clean and wonder if there is anything I can do short of replacing it. Is there any way to paint over it?


We just installed a great product called Art Diffusion from Interlam. The owners are extremely happy with that product and the staff was very helpful.


can you paint over fabric panels?


There is also a fiberglass, resin and real stone powder panel available for interior/exterior use, very lightweight and easy to fit.


Another type of wall panel is FRP or fiber reinforced plastic (or fiberglass reinforced plastic); they are often used in restaurants and commercial bathrooms but can also be used in residences. They are very durable and easy to clean. The large panels are usually just glued to the wall.

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