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Bathroom Wall Panelling Ideas

Wall panelling looks great in both modern and traditional bathrooms and can easily be created with a little bit of DIY! There are many different ways you can incorporate panelling into your bathroom decor, and this guide will go through the different types of panelling along with some modern design inspiration. 

Board & Batten Panels

This traditional type of panelling is often the most common form of panelling seen in bathrooms. It features horizontal and vertical battens joined together to make a hollow rectangle shape along the wall. The wood is usually painted the same colour as the wall behind it which provides a seamless effect.

This type of panelling uses half the height of the room, which actually deceives the eyes to make a small bathroom appear larger, separating different sections of space and giving more dimension and character. 

Tongue & Groove Panels

This type of design consists of a line of vertical boards joined together by another board at the top which can also make a small ledge, which is useful for small bathroom storage. The interlocking ridges of the wood creates a single flat surface, offering a streamlined and sleek finish as well as stability. This panelling is easy to install, as long as each batten is straight! 

Tongue & groove panels look the best in bathrooms as opposed to other areas of the house and can transform drab and dull rooms with their effortless style. Small and dark bathrooms will also benefit from this style, especially if the panels are painted white as this gives a touch of vibrancy and brightness.

Contrasting Textures

Many people choose to put wallpaper above their panels if they’d rather not wallpaper the whole wall. This means that you can still achieve the fun design without the paper taking over the room. It’s good practice to have wallpaper halfway up the wall as the lower down it goes, the more susceptible it is to water damage and wear & tear.

Wainscoting Panels

Another common form of panelling is wainscoting panels, which are made up of textured panels that form a hollow rectangle shape on the wall. This type is great for bathrooms that have a little more space to play with, and look wonderful painted all white. The hollows within the rectangles can be used to frame artwork or accessories or just simply left plain for a sleek finish.

Shaker Wall Panels

If you’re looking to do something a little different with your wall panelling, try going for shaker wall panels, which are long horizontal and vertical panels that can mimic a square shape on the wall. This design is great for small and compact spaces as it has a simple effect and doesn’t protrude too far from the wall.

Modern yet minimalist, these panels usually stretch out to the whole spance of the wall which adds more height adding more height, and can suit many areas of the home, not just bathrooms.

Fluted Panelling

If you’re looking for a design that’s a little more rustic, this could be the perfect option for you. Fluted panels offer a clean contemporary look to a wide range of interiors and are particularly popular in Scandinavian and industrial bathrooms. For a stripped-back aesthetic, avoid painting the panels and keep them as a natural wood finish to give warmth to the space.

Vanity units and ceilings can also often feature fluted panelling, with the intricate vertical panels giving a gorgeous textured and timeless look.

Shiplap Panelling

This next type of panelling is characterised by long planks, often painted in a neutral colour, mounted vertically or horizontally with a slight gap between them. This design offers a nautical vibe when painted white, which is a popular theme for many bathroom designs. These slats look great in modern bathrooms as a backdrop against dark woods and matt black tapware.

Abstract Panelling

If you’re looking to be a little more out there with your bathroom design, abstract panelling is a modern alternative to straight forward horizontal and vertical panels. Even though it initially looks a tad mismatched, abstract panelling actually needs to be designed perfectly, and each batten should be aligned with one another in an organised manner.

It’s recommended that you stick to one bathroom wall only with this kind of style, as too much abstract panelling may make your bathroom appear busy.

Bath Panels

A final way in which you can incorporate panels into your bathroom is with the bath. Traditionally, people would purchase a standard acrylic or wooden bath panel and attach it to the bath as per the manufacturer’s instructions, however many more people are choosing to make their own bath panels to suit the style and colour of their bathrooms. 

Bath panels can be created with any type of the panelling mentioned above, but typically look the most seamless as vertical or horizontal shiplap panels (without the gap in between of course).


So there you have it, our top bathroom wall panelling ideas. There are a multitude of ways you can go about adding panels into your bathroom and it’s pretty easy to set up yourself! Take a look at our blog on small bathroom tile ideas for more modern bathroom inspiration.

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