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Reclaimed Wood Wall Design Ideas.

A newly renovated kitchen with reclaimed wood flooring, which is the best wood floor for a kitchen.

The durability, toughness, and strength of high-quality reclaimed wood make it a smart and practical choice for a wall covering. Its natural warm and timeless character makes it a beautiful material to surround yourself with. Here are some reclaimed wood wall ideas to get you started.

Smart Ways to Use Reclaimed Wood on Your Walls

For our ancestors, wood was an indispensable building material. Strong, flexible, and endlessly adaptable, it was the ideal material with which to line the interior of their homes to provide added comfort and natural insulation from the elements.

These days, we’re not as dependent on wood as a building material as we once were, but we still love to have its unique warmth and beauty close at hand. If you’re looking for a way to bring the timeless quality of wood into your living spaces, read on.

We’ll consider natural wood’s long history as a functional and decorative wall covering and look at why high-quality reclaimed wood is a great choice for continuing this tradition with innovative wall displays of your own.

Wood Paneling Techniques

Traditional wood paneling techniques were developed wherever wood was used to line the interior of buildings to help improve insulation and provide an appealing surface. While originally dependent on the type of woods that were locally available, more modern styles were developed with the arrival of industrial-scale forestry practices and machine milling.

Board and Batten

Where only narrower boards were available, these were often installed in a style now often known as board or batten. Usually used with vertical boards running from floor to ceiling, the style included narrower strips to cover the seams between the main boards to improve insulation and add visual appeal.

Shiplap Walls

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Named to recall the watertight sides of a wooden boat, shiplap walls are made up of parallel boards with tongue and groove edges that achieve a smooth, almost seamless effect. Most often done with boards running horizontally, handcrafted shiplap paneling in fine timber is the hallmark of a master artisan.

Beadboard Paneling

Beadboard is a term for wood paneling made up of parallel identically edged boards that provide a decorative effect with grooved seams. All the boards used need to be identically milled to achieve this look, which means it is a relatively modern technique.

Framed Panels

Where larger wood panels were available, these were framed up against the wall using narrower lumber in a grid of identical rectangles. In the finest homes, these panels originally showcased elegant split and matched heartwood patterns, but the availability of cheaper softwoods and pine veneers has made this technique more common.

Chevron or Herringbone Walls

Chevron and herringbone paneling uses boards or wooden strips laid out in parallel or interweaving diagonal shapes. Mainly used as an accent in other fine work by skilled craftsmen, the wider availability of uniformly milled lumber has seen this technique being used more in flooring and in decorative wall displays.

Wood Slats

Wood slat walls are made up of thin precision-milled strips. Installed vertically, horizontally, or both, this design trend creates a modern, sleek, and stylish look.

Vertical Strips

With deep roots in the mid-century modernist tradition, this technique of lining up thinly-spaced strips of narrow wood was perhaps overused in the 1970s but is regaining popularity now. While elegant and versatile when professionally carried out, it can be hard to keep in good shape over time.

3D Wood Designs

Wall displays made up of superimposed wood pieces can make for interesting and appealing accents in a room but need to balance originality with restraint. They also tend to attract dust over time and can be hard to clean.

Reclaimed Wood Wall Ideas With Modern Applications

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While many of these paneling effects can now be achieved using popular mass-produced prefabricated wood fiber products, using high-quality wood is instantly recognizable and has a long-lasting appeal that will endure fleeting trends.

If you are serious about investing in a wood wall design that will stand the test of time, then you should also consider using genuine reclaimed wood from a reputable supplier. As experts on historical hardwoods, E.T. Moore recovers these irreplaceable woods from the beams, joists, and floorboards found in early industrial-era mills, warehouses, and factories.

Once part of the original old-growth hardwood forests that covered the eastern seaboard, these woods provide a living link to America’s industrial past. Here are some “mix and match” ideas to help you include this long tradition of fine woodworking in your everyday surroundings.

Full Walls

We don’t often panel entire rooms anymore, but in many spaces, a full paneled wall can add warmth to a sterile space without being overwhelming. Choose an understated wood texture and a smooth shiplap design for enduring appeal.


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Wainscotting brings a timeless classic feel into your home and can make dining rooms, hallways, and entryways feel more welcoming. Wainscotting is usually a traditional frame or board and batten design that extends up the wall to waist or shoulder height, with a painted section above.


If you are concerned about overwhelming a space with too much wood or you need to differentiate areas in an open-plan or multi-use area, a wood-lined alcove could be the answer. Set off a breakfast nook or a couch with warm, welcoming wood tones that highlight your stainless steel appliances or stone countertops.

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Add warmth and focus to your den or renovated basement with a beautifully appointed fireplace. Here’s the place to let loose on vibrant yet understated herringbone, chevron, or modernist wooden slat designs.

High-Traffic Areas

The secret of high-quality reclaimed hardwoods is that, while they cost a little more up front, they’ll outlast most modern materials and look better doing it. That makes them perfect for high-traffic areas like entryways, mud rooms, or around stairways. Reclaimed wood will shrug off everyday fingermarks, spills, and bumps—after all, it’s already seen worse!

Things to Bear in Mind

Quality materials speak for themselves. Choosing high-quality reclaimed wood for your project makes good designs great—and great designs timeless. How you choose to use wood on your walls is of course up to you, but here are some things to consider as you plan your project.

Room Size

If you are going to panel an entire room, make it a small study or media room. Choose lighter wood with quieter grain patterns and use an understated shiplap or classic wood design. For larger spaces, use wood as an accent or focal point. Differentiate one wall or set off harder stone or steel accents with the warmth and humanity of wood.


As important as the room size is the amount and kind of light a room receives. Dark wood will absorb light, potentially turning real elegance to a gloomier hue, while lighter wood will reflect it, potentially making what should be a welcoming place seem sterile.

Color Schem

The type of wood and finish you choose for your wall can affect the color scheme of your room. If you want a warm, cozy feel, a stained wood wall in a rich, dark color may be perfect. If you want a more modern, minimalist look, a light-colored wood slat wall may be a better choice. Talk to your wood supplier about the best combination of wood color, grain, and stain.


Quality reclaimed wood is naturally hard-wearing. That said, it’s worth bearing in mind how your space will be used when planning your wall design. Seamless shiplap or beadboard designs are great for stairwells or play areas, but stylish slat designs or frame designs might show wear and tear sooner.

Enduring Styles

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A well-chosen wood provides a great pallet for whatever style you prefer, but to keep your overall design looking current for longer, it might help to base your ideas on one of a few established interior design themes. It will also make it easier to find matching accessories.

Traditional Rustic

Make the most of your natural wood with plain or lightly stained surfaces with plenty of weathering, nail stains, or other distresses. Inconsistencies in milling and woodworking are more accepted. Wrought iron hardware and accessories match well and can be utilitarian or more decorative.

Modern Minimalist

Drawing directly on the iconic modernist designs of the last century, this look favors clean lines and a minimalist aesthetic. Woods are in natural or mid-toned hues with a smooth, polished finish. Accessories are usually simple and understated.

Farmhouse Style

This classic American style has a cozy and charming feel, with wood in paired tones and plenty of molding or trim. The hardware is often decorative, with black or bronze finishes.

Industrial Chic

Think midtown loft or rust belt renaissance. This style features raw materials such as heavily distressed reclaimed wood and chunky accessories for a more industrial and edgy look. Woods are generally darker or heavily stained and accessories are in dark metals.

Why Reclaimed Wood?

When it comes to creating a winning wood wall design, you have plenty of options. It’s easy to create a fashionable look with off-the-shelf products. What’s more, cheap designs using widely available softwoods like pallet wood have become very trendy recently. Unfortunately, these designs tend to date quickly and inexpensive materials like pallet wood are difficult to maintain.

For enduring style and durability, there is no substitute for high-quality natural woods. When you select a genuine reclaimed American hardwood for your project, you are choosing a wood with a proven pedigree for toughness, resilience, and beauty that only gets better with age.

E.T. Moore is one of the largest reclaimed wood manufacturers on the East Coast. We specialize in rare turn-of-the-century reclaimed heart pine lumber and other high-quality antique hardwood products.

All of our reclaimed woods are expertly graded, milled to the highest standard, and stored indoors at our five-acre facility in Richmond, Virginia to ensure the best materials for your project.

Continue the legacy and extend the life of these classic American hardwoods by making them part of your own story. Contact us today or click below to learn more about our unmatched range of unique reclaimed wood products perfect for your project.

Reclaimed Lumber

Author Taylor Moore III
Date March 31, 2023