Dining room panelling ideas for the perfect hosts

Dreaming of a beautiful dining room with the perfect dining room panelling?

For many, the dining room is more than just a place for wowing guests or hosting Christmas dinners.

It’s also a place to work from home or for the kids to do their homework.

It’s where Zoom calls with distant family take place. And where you dump your bags after a family holiday.

So, it’s a room worth a bit of TLC, right?

Here, we’ll cover how to choose the right dining room panelling based on your lighting, furniture, colour theme and the panelling material that’s right for you.

Things to consider when choosing your desired panelling material

When coming up with dining room panelling ideas, as with bathroom panelling, getting the material right is crucial.

You’ll want the right material for your panelling that not only looks great but stays that way.

For busy families or ‘high-traffic’ dining rooms, a more durable and easy to maintain material is best. The same applies to busy hallways.

For smaller dining room settings with fewer guests, you might have more flexibility in this area.

Regardless, there’s a dining room panelling material that’s just right for your home.

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Wood panelling

Wood dining room panelling is incredibly versatile and available in a range of styles and finishes.

It can be both rustic and clean looking and is a classic ‘go-to’ for any panelling ideas.

It can be rich and dark like mahogany or walnut, or lighter like oak or pine.

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Following on from wood panelling, wainscoting could be the perfect style for your dining room.

Wainscoting dining room panelling helps split the lower and upper half of your dining room walls, perfect for protecting the lower half of your walls against chair scuffs, for example.

It can also help add a bit of something extra to your wall, allowing you to create a two-tone colour effect.

Credit: The English Panelling Company

MDF panelling

Medium-density fibreboard (MDF) is a great, cost-effective alternative for your dining room panelling.

It’s more readily available and as the cost of wood materials have increased since the pandemic, it’s become an ever more popular option.

Choose the right panelling style for your lighting

The right lighting can really set your dining room panelling off, helping accentuate the shapes and shadows your panelling creates.

The positioning and the type of lighting combined with the right panelling can create just the kind of atmosphere you’re hoping to create for your guests.

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Wall sconces

Wall sconces are becoming more and more popular.

This style of lighting adds subtle mid-level lighting to your dining room which pairs beautifully with the right panelling.

This helps create a soft and inviting ambience, creating the perfect relaxing mood for your guests to enjoy.

Match your panelling to your the style of your wall sconces and vice-versa.

Match traditional with traditional, modern with modern, bold with bold and so on.

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Pendant lights

Pendant lights are a classic for any dining room, sitting neatly above your dining table.

This style of lighting is often used in restaurants, creating the perfect lighting for sharing your culinary expertise and interior design style on Insta!

As for your panelling, pendant lighting is incredibly versatile and is guaranteed to show off not just your plate but your panelling too.

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Cove lighting

Cove lighting adds a touch of elegance and class to your dining room.

Again, this style of lighting is subtle, making it perfect for creating the right ambience in your dining room.

This style works well with modern dining room panelling, but really is versatile and can work with many different panelling styles.

Find the perfect panelling to match your furniture

Choosing the right theme is the perfect starting point when it comes to choosing dining room panelling.

Whether it’s classic, rustic, modern, whatever you go for, keep a consistent theme and you can’t go wrong.

Your dining room furniture might be your starting point for deciding on a theme.

Consider these ideas!

Credit: Arts and Crafts Homes

Classic elegance

For dining rooms with timeless, classic furniture with intricate details and rich wood tones, go for traditional wood panelling such as pine or mahogany.

Credit: Goneyea Homes

Contemporary chic

If your dining room features are more modern and minimalist, go for a clean-looking, simple yet modern MDF panelling.

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Rustic charm

For a charming, rustic dining room in an old cottage, for example, opt for a shiplap or beadboard panelling for a cosy and inviting atmosphere.

Choose the right panelling based on your colour theme

Now for your colour theme.

Here are a couple of ideas, but really the options for colours are endless!

Credit: Style Your Sanctuary

Timeless neutrals

Crisp whites, soft beiges and warm neutrals work really well with dining room panelling to create a nice, airy space.

This colour theme offers a great backdrop for your fixtures and accessories, which you can switch as you like to stay on trend and up to date.

Credit: These Three Rooms

Bright and bold

For a more dramatic look, don’t be afraid to go big and bold with your colour theme.

This could work well with more modern and contemporary panelling, particularly geometric which lends itself well to statement colours.

6 dining room panelling ideas to try for yourself

Now, let’s get into some ideas for your dining room panelling.

Consider how your colour theme, furniture and lighting could work with each of these ideas and decide the best one for you!

Credit: Stuart Interiors

Traditional wood panelling

Try this timeless and elegant panelling style in your dining room with rich tones and subtle details for a beautifully traditional and even formal look.

Rich tones like mahogany and walnut can create a darker more rustic feel, while lighter tones such as oak can create a light and airy atmosphere to really show off this panelling style.

This more traditional type of panelling is very versatile working well with many different styles and colours.

That said, it works particularly well with classic or even distressed furniture.

  • Timeless and classy, working will in various hues and tones
  • Pairs particularly well with traditional furniture

Credit: Houzz

Wainscoting panelling

Wainscoting is a particularly popular choice of wall panelling for a touch of sophistication and refinement.

This style features wooden panelling on the lower half of your walls and as mentioned could be perfect for protecting your dining room walls against chair scuffs.

One of the many reasons this style of panelling is so popular is due to its versatility.

Implement this style of panelling in the comfort of knowing it’ll work well however you decide to style your dining room now and in future.

  • Very popular dining room panelling choice for many reasons
  • Adds sophistication and refinement to your dining room
  • Versatile, working well with many different styles and colours
Credit: House and Home

Sleek MDF panelling

For clean and classy, try MDF panelling for a modern and contemporary feel in your dining room.

MDF is one of the most cost-effective ways to panel your dining room and is readily available and another popular choice.

Try shaker or beadboard designs for a beautiful contemporary look and feel.

This style of panelling works beautifully with modern and contemporary furniture and fixtures.

  • Cost-effective and readily available making it a popular panelling choice
  • Works perfectly with a modern and contemporary style

Credit: The Library Ladder Company

Shiplap or Beadboard panelling

Create a cosy and inviting atmosphere with a rustic and charming panelling style that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

This type of panelling embraces imperfection and works brilliantly in homes with history and heritage such as barn conversions or old cottages.

Try a textured beadboard or shiplap style, paired with distressed and mismatched furniture for a comforting and inviting feel to your dining room.

  • Rustic, cosy and inviting
  • Perfect for period properties and homes with heritage
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Panelled accent wall

If you want to draw the attention in the room to a particular area of your dining room try a panelled accent wall.

It might be a striking piece of furniture or you may just want to create a natural head to your dining room table, creating an accent wall with the right panelling could be the perfect choice.

Cover the whole wall or just part of it and experiment with different materials and colours to achieve the effect you’re looking for.

Match this with the style of furniture and fixtures and you’re sure to wow your guests!

  • Use this style to create the right flow in your dining room for you
  • Draw attention to your dining room’s best features
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Fabric upholstered panelling

Now for something a little different, why not try a touch of luxury with fabric upholstered panelling?

This unique panelling approach is a soft and elegant option that creates a calm and soothing ambience in your dining room.

This panelling style makes a real statement, so if you’re feeling bold and brave, go for fabric panelling.

  • Something a little different
  • Luxurious, creating a calm and soothing environment


So, consider all the things mentioned here including colour themes, furniture, lighting and of course your panelling style and you’ll be on to a winner with your dining space.

For a room with multiple uses, it’s worth that bit of extra TLC.

With these dining room panelling ideas, create a dining room you love!