Colors that go with wood paneling: ideas + photos
hackrea / January 14, 2022
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Wood paneling came into trend in the middle of the last century and was consigned to oblivion (perhaps undeservedly) several decades later. Over the previous 3-5 years, the wooden panels returned into trends due to the increased popularity of eco-trends and the demand for natural textures! Of course, time dictates its own rules, and modern wood finishes are significantly different from what was popular more than half a century ago.

Narrow wood strips, wide planks, geometric patterns, wall-to-ceiling elements, rough, farmhouse texture – all add significant visual interest to your living room or bedroom interior. Having decided on such a finish, you will undoubtedly make the right choice and bring a kind of zest to the design.

At the same time, one cannot fail to note a fundamental fact: wood paneling cannot work independently and require careful selection of the environment and decoration – especially the walls. Since wooden elements do not cover the walls (unless they are boiserie panels, but they are worthy of a separate article), then the color with which they are adjacent is extremely important for them. In this tandem, the shade of the wall performs several essential functions at once – it emphasizes the tone and texture of the wood, actively participates in creating the internal rhythm, and sets the mood you want. That is why it is worth figuring out what color to paint a wall trimmed with wood panels.


When we think about the color of the walls for a successful combination with wood paneling, white suggests itself as if by itself. Indeed, in this context, it is truly versatile: with dark wood, it creates a fresh and expressive, but at the same time pleasant contrast, with light wood – a modern and cozy union, and with honey-colored panels – something extraordinarily stylish and at the same time visually warm.

The only thing designers warn against in this case is using a pure and straightforward color, even with gray wood. This natural texture is tricky on its own, so match it with equally ambiguous whites. Many decorators admit they have a special love for Behr’s Snow Fall and Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace. The first is as neutral as possible and perfectly combines with dark wood in brown tones, and the second is calm and cool, successfully neutralizing the excess orange tones of some wood species.


If white seems a bit harsh to you, you might want to consider beige as a safe bet. Depending on the subtone, they can complement panels made of any wood species – and, first of all, this concerns the current beige palette.

So, for panels in bleached and grayish wood, you can choose equally pleasantly cool shades of beige – including shades of Natural Linen and Accessible Beige from Sherwin-Williams. But for warm brown tones and cherry wood, the neighborhood with a wall painted in cream and yellowish beige variations is more suitable – for example, the same Butter from WGSN & Coloro.


The rich palette of gray shades also demonstrates its friendliness towards natural wood finishes. At the same time, do not think that they can only be used in combination with panels in the same colors: the possibilities of gray are much broader than one might imagine.

So, for example, warm gray shades perfectly set off the richness of texture and color depth of brown panels. In addition, this is the only possible combination in which dark gray variations are appropriate: in all other cases, designers recommend avoiding dark, heavy, and lead tones, which narrow the space and cause ambiguous emotions.

As for cool grays, they can be safely called a universal solution that can advantageously complement panels made of any wood species. This season, Sherwin-Williams’ Ice Cube shade is of particular interest to designers – airy, light, slightly vintage, and capable of softening the severity of dark wood. Another favorite is Benjamin Moore’s Vapor Trails shade, whose soft greenish undertones accentuate the eco-friendly design.


Blue paint for walls adjacent to wood trim is truly a million-dollar solution. If you want a genuinely noble and visually expensive interior, then blue-tinted panels from natural material will be the fastest way to achieve what you want.

Moreover, we cannot even unambiguously advise you on any specific shades because almost the entire palette of blue is combined with wood – this is azure, and turquoise, and classic blue, and our favorite sea blue. Speaking of the sea, if you want to add a nice variety to your coastal interior, try light wood paneling for walls painted in blue tones. You can find many interesting color variations, including the trendy dusty blue, but Benjamin Moore’s Iceberg is of particular interest, which is very fresh, light, and visually expansive.


Shades of yellow are a great way to bring out the beauty and warmth of wood panels – both dark and light. At the same time, designers recommend using more complex and calm yellows, including relevant palettes for this year. Mustard remains the undisputed favorite, but you can also try Behr’s Corn Stalk, Dulux’s Peace Yellow, or Ice Lemon from the same brand.

However, if you have long dreamed of resurrecting the retro charm in your bedroom, feel free to choose rich and bright colors to combine with wood paneling. Daylily or Illuminating by Pantone can be a good solution.


The green color of the paint in combination with natural wood panels will create a fantastic symbiosis of modernity and environmental friendliness. Of course, you shouldn’t use too bright colors, but you will appreciate the beauty of combinations with dark, light, pastel, and complex tones – from mint and sage to emerald and green quartz from Pantone. At the same time, decorators advise trying combinations of specific woods and shades of wood with tones of green paint in samples or 3D renderings to find the perfect solution that fully reveals the texture and color depth of the panels.

Wooden panels are back in trend – however, they require new shades and solutions. Take your time and do not act spontaneously: by successfully choosing the color of the paint, you can easily create a harmonious and balanced space in which you will be very comfortable.

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