Paneling makes comeback, although its in moderation

Design trends come and go, but some have a funny way of resurfacing years after they first became popular.

Homeowners who may have been considering renovating their home to remove a design element they believe to be passé might want to see if that feature has experienced a resurgence in popularity. In fact, one of the more derided home decor trends of yesteryear has slowly crept back into style, albeit in moderation.

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Wood paneling is back and better than ever, advise many design professionals. It's the formerly ugly duckling that filled homes starting in the 1950s, creating drab dens and faux-wood family rooms.

Paneling had long been an element of choice because it is relatively easy to install and can camouflage problem walls in a home, like those covered in boisterous wallpaper prints.

Wood paneling reached the peak of its popularity in the 1970s, and since then homeowners have been tearing down these faux offenders for years or masking them in paint to brighten up spaces. However, the experts at Apartment Therapy report that wood paneling in shades of brown are making a comeback in cozy spots such as dens or studies.

The warm tones of wood paneling elicit a retro vibe. But unlike their fake predecessors, today's paneled walls are being outfitted in real wood, making them more eco-friendly and stylish than ever before.

Designers have flocked to reclaimed wood and veneer panelings to incorporate them into design elements.

Many people no longer use paneling to cover an entire space. Paneling is used sparingly as an accent wall or another feature for character. Wood walls can be stained in a rich mahogany to look upscale or be weathered and rustic.

Homeowners ready to re-embrace wood paneling can choose to enhance one wall in a room. Think about the space above a fireplace or a strip of wall behind a sitting chair and side table. Paneling also can serve as a headboard behind a bed in a master suite. Painted horizonally, paneling can add dimension and texture to walls, even in a bathroom.

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