The tree of life: wood panels in the interior


  • Wood wall panels – what belongs to them?
  • Historical past
  • Wall decoration in modern interiors
  • Panel types
    • Boiserie and Weinscot
    • Wooden 3d panels for walls
    • Rack panels
    • MDF panels
  • Trends
  • Popular materials
  • Public VS living spaces
  • Panel Care

Decorating walls with wood panels is a decorating technique, the history of which goes back more than one century. Over time, it changed, updated and adjusted to new artistic trends, until, finally, it appeared before us in all the variety of options. Hodeys, together with expert Alexander Evdokimov, figured out what the beauty of wood panels is, and why they will be appropriate in almost any interior.

Wood wall panels – what belongs to them?

Luxurious products made of valuable wood can be attributed to wood panels, as well as more budget options – MDF panels, slatted panels. Imitations from polyurethane or plaster moldings stand apart. The most famous variant, “visiting card” are considered panels, which are called boiserie in French, and wainscot in English.

Historical past

Panels in living spaces were used even before our era – for example, in Ancient Egypt. However, they found wide application in France, Italy and England during the Renaissance (XIV-XVI centuries). In addition to decorative functions, the panels also had many utilitarian properties: they helped to keep warm, soundproofed the spaces of large halls of palaces, and sometimes hid secret staircases and secret rooms.

Historic interiors with wood paneling in France and Italy.  Sources:,

Wall decoration in modern interiors

The most important task of a modern designer is to create a project concept and follow the style close to the customer in it. This determines the choice of panels that must correspond to the historical style – baroque, rococo or those that replaced classicism, empire, art nouveau and art deco.

Handmade boiserie panels, Sofia Decor company

In styles such as eclecticism, minimalism, fusion, boho or Provence, wood panels (or their imitation) become the basic architectural element that ties the space together. Wooden decorative trim becomes the backdrop for furniture and accessories that fill the room. Built-in furniture, wardrobes and showcases, doors and door portals that “grow” out of panels or hide behind them, as well as ceiling decoration and cornices – all this also has a direct bearing on the design of the walls.

Wooden panels in a minimalistic interior.  Source:

Panel types

Boiserie and Weinscot

Boiserie decorative wood panels most likely appeared in France – at least, it was there that they were once given such an exquisite name. In the castles of the French nobility, luxurious wooden walls from floor to ceiling appeared in the 17th century. The English Vainscot is more laconic – usually these are oak panels without patterns and carvings, with which only the lower part of the walls was trimmed.

Boiserie from the assortment of the Sofia Decor company;  Weinscot panels in the interior.  Source:

Both methods of wall decoration are in demand today. Decorative panels are made to order according to old or new designs, and antique dealers offer wood trim pieces from old French houses.

Boiserie panels with a modern twist.  Sources:,

Wooden 3d panels for walls

Embossed (three-dimensional) wood panels are a finishing material that structurally resembles a mosaic. Each of its elements is part of a certain pattern, ornament or geometric pattern, and by adding them together, you can get interesting textures and optical illusions.

Complex geometric composition of 3d panels.  Source:

The whole room is rarely finished with such panels – usually we are talking about one accent wall or even part of the wall that plays the role of a panel or bed headboard.

Variety of 3d wooden panels.  Sources:,

Rack panels

Decorating a wall or part of a wall with slats is another actual way of decor in a modern interior: it is economical, effective and stylish. As in the case of 3d panels, the entire space is rarely trimmed with slats – as a rule, they are turned to when it is necessary to visually zone a room.

Surfaces finished with narrow slats look impressive and add relief to the space.  Source:

MDF panels

Perhaps the most budgetary and easy-to-install option is MDF panels. Small wood chips are thermally processed and pressed under high pressure, without adding toxic resins and glues, as in chipboard. This makes MDF sheets an environmentally friendly and inexpensive material.

Today, when “craft” eco-style with its characteristic shades of wood and corrugated board is at the peak of popularity, designers are increasingly turning to MDF panels, showing that stylish does not have to be expensive.

MDF panels are an easy and quick way to refresh your interior.  Source:


  • Today the direction of “new reading of the classics” is developing. For example, MDF panels are recreated with historic Baroque decor, after which each panel is painted in one, often quite unexpected color – for example, deep ultramarine, dusty pink, delicate mint or French gray.

Boiserie panels in a modern interior.  Source:

  • Another technique that allows you to create non-standard interiors at the junction of classic and modern is the combination of historical boiserie with ultra-modern pieces of furniture and abstract painting.

Eclectic home interior in Lithuania.  Source:

  • If the interior gravitates towards Art Deco, finishes will come to the rescue, as well as a combination with elements of brass, glass, leather and enamel.

Wood panels in Art Deco interiors.  Sources:,

  • The texture of natural wood is one of the main world trends in interior design. To emphasize the natural beauty of the veneer, you can treat it with oil impregnations: they will help to preserve the color of the wood or give it a shade of the desired warmth.

The wall at the head of the bed is increasingly trimmed with wood.

Popular materials

Historically, the most common type of wood for interior wall decoration is oak. American and European walnuts are also commonly used. For carved parts, softer rocks are chosen – for example, linden and ash.

In refined and luxurious styles (such as Art Deco or Classics), it is customary to use more valuable, rare, and sometimes exotic types of wood: bird’s eye maple, rosewood, macassar, sycamore, black sycamore, wenge.

If you add to this various types of wood veneer finishes (mat, gloss, tinting with tint varnish, staining, aging, painting or leaf), you get a huge number of types of wall panels that can satisfy absolutely any request.

Wood panels: natural wood texture + bright trendy color.  Source:

The service life of panels made of natural wood with proper care is very long, and the coating itself can serve for several generations, turning a house into a family nest. MDF panels under topcoat finishing varnishes will also last a long time: they will not be subject to changes in humidity and temperatures in the room.

Classic interior with wood paneling.  Source:

Public VS living spaces

It is believed that wood panels are used mainly in commercial premises – offices, studios, restaurants. However, Alexander Evdokimov assures: more than twenty years of experience of the Sofia Decor company testifies to the opposite. Panels, like built-in furniture, are very often used to decorate the space of home theaters, living rooms, bedrooms, dressing rooms, kitchens, corridors, halls and even bathrooms. Today, when art deco styles and new classics are at the peak of popularity, wood paneling for walls is especially in demand in residential interiors.

“As for the offices and meeting rooms in offices, this is also relevant,” notes Alexander. “Respectable businessmen and gentlemen have always preferred wood-paneled interiors that maintain an atmosphere of trust and cozy luxury.”

Living room with decor in the form of wooden panels with built-in lighting, the company

Panel Care

Caring for wood panels is no more difficult than caring for parquet. If the tree initially went through the technologically correct procedure for drying and storing, then the owners of premises with such a decor can only monitor the changes in humidity, and in winter, during the heating season, use air humidifiers.

Do not rub the panels with chemical polishes – it is enough to remove dust with a cloth rag using non-aggressive liquids.

Decorative slats give the space a special rhythm.  Sources:,