Wood Paneling: The 60s Favorite Is Back

published Mar 21, 2012
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I’m not the first to observe that style is cyclical. Something that was once popular will, if given enough time, almost always circle back into favor again. The house that I grew up in, circa 1985, had a living room covered in (we thought) really terrible wood paneling. When my family moved when I was 10, I was sad to leave the house, but not sad to leave behind that wood paneling. The whole room was just so…brown. But lately I’ve been noticing a certain trend in the design blogs I read. The wood paneling? It’s back.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

I think this is part of a larger trend in the design world, where everything 60s and 70s, once reviled as gross and dated, has suddenly become retro-cool. Is it because today’s tastemakers are longing for the simpler, woodier days of their youth? Or is it because today’s tastemakers (like me) are too young to really remember the horrors of wood paneling and high-waisted pants?

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I’ll be the first to admit to mixed feelings about the wood paneling. On the one hand, it adds a lovely bit of warmth and depth…on the other hand, it’s hard for me to shake the memories of brown carpet, brown sofa, brown walls. What do you think? Are you drawn to the wood paneling…or do some styles deserve to stay in the past?

1. My parents’ furniture wasn’t nearly this cool…but this wall looks awfully familiar. From Design*Sponge.
2 & 3. Wood paneling goes beachy at the Chandelier Surf Shack.
4. Trina Turk’s home (featured in Matchbook Mag) makes wood paneling look hip, maybe even a little exotic.
5. This is the real thing — a wood paneled kitchen from 1960, via Plan59.

6. Horizontal wood paneling in a loft from Design*Sponge.
7. Wood panels look modern in an appealingly minimal interior from Apartment Therapy.
8. I could definitely go for these lighter wood panels, seen in an interior from House to Home.
9. A beautiful, bright kitchen from Design*Sponge.
10. So 70s…and yet so very right now? Via Desire to Inspire.

• Rustic Modern Inspiration: Wood Paneling
• Colorful Painted Wood Paneling

(Images: as credited above)