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Putting it to the Panel...

If 2021 was the year of anything, in interiors, it’s got to have been the twelve months of paneling - a global trend that doesn’t look likely to be going anywhere soon?

So why have we all gone paneling mad, and does it look like a trend due to die a death next to ‘grey everything’ and ‘crushed velvet’?

The thing is, paneling nods to a ‘classic’ trend - as opposed to ones we saw throughout the 60’s and 70’s and since which were a lot more faddy. Paneling adds a classic look of elegance. And it’s a versatile trend. From elegant hallways to half covered cloakrooms and stylish bedroom feature walls, it’s everywhere - adding texture, detail and personality to any space. Residents are looking for something that isn’t going to date as quickly, and paneling ticks this box, and is a look that works in most environments, doesn’t take an age to complete and can be removed, painted over or updated quickly too.

Majoritively in rented accommodation, expats are desperate to pop their own stamp on their homes. Inheriting mainly soulless ‘white boxes’, it’s natural to want to add some personality and cosy up our UAE abodes.

More time spent at home in the past 2 years has seen an explosion in renovations and DIY interior glow ups, and that’s where those wooden panels come in.

After an explosion of statement wallpaper installations, those more conservative, or who prefer a subtle look now have something to add a bit of texture and a focal point to those white walls. Panelling certainly makes a room look more finished and even luxurious, plus it's also a cost effective addition, and you can even do it yourself (unheard of in Dubai, we know).

Gabby Garvey, Dubai based interior designer and founder of is inundated with requests for paneling from her clients and says; “Paneling is an easy way to add an elegant design touch to any room, giving a 3 dimensional look and feel to otherwise flat, boring walls. Wainscotting moldings and paneling are super easy to apply to rental properties, especially when fibre moldings can cost as little as AED 7 per piece

Affordability is key to any rental transformation and whilst it’s easy to find a contractor to do it for you, Gabby continues “ With mouldings costing around AED 150 and Benjamin Moore paint at around AED 300 per gallon, you can have your own feature done easily for AED 700 inclusive. Engaging the professionals, you can expect to pay anything between AED 2500 to AED 4000 per room

Like most interior or fashion trends, everything comes back around. The versatility of panelling makes us think it’s here to stay this time, with its ability to make a small room appear wider and larger rooms cosier. Paneling added to doors or even wardrobes can add a touch of gravitas to a room however small and apartments, however ‘boxy’ or otherwise lacking in character.

If your walls are flat and angular, you have a huge advantage on the DIY front. Problems occur when you have to try and match it to existing features. Measuring and symmetry is of course, key here, but with new methods and the price of materials being so affordable, it really is possible to do it yourself.


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