Designers warn against bringing this interiors trend into your living room

This focal point knows how to start a conversation – but it may be for all the wrong reasons

Beige painted living room with paneling around the room, spacious seating area with cream sofa and two armchairs in boucle fabric, black rectangular coffee table and grey footstool, white metallic floor lamp, window with shutter, lights wood sideboard with white table lamp and accessories
(Image credit: Davide Lovatti)

When it comes to making a statement in your living room, wooden accent walls may seem like a safe choice. With its soothing bold aesthetic and three-dimensional qualities, you would be forgiven for believing that this feature can do no wrong. However, interior designers argue otherwise. 

If you’re considering new accent wall ideas, you may want to avoid dark wood, as this darker hue comes with a host of problems. But is there ever a way to make other wooden accent walls work in your scheme? And how can you differentiative between the wood? This is what you need to know about the controversial interior design trend

Dark wooden accent walls – the trend to avoid in your living room?

Dark wood paneling in a living room

(Image credit: Future)

Grand Rapids-based interior designer Deidre Remtema suggests that the living room is the one space where wood ‘does not make sense.’

‘This trend has been overdone, and we need to incorporate fresh ideas instead of hashing old ones,’ Deidre says. If you are looking for ways to incorporate this material into your living room ideas, you should only use it as part of a ‘larger design plan,’ meaning the rest of your interiors and exteriors also pay homage to the trend – for a more cohesive look. 

This designer is not exclusive in warning against this feature. Sanel Konyar, the founder of Interior Kollection, confesses that wooden accent walls are ‘very on-trend at the moment,’ but the success of this feature depends entirely on the tone of wood you use. 

Dark wood paneling in a living room

(Image credit: Future)

‘Bold and dark colors will tend to date more quickly and limit your future interior design choices,’ she says. If you already have a dark wood accent wall, Sanel suggests that you should opt for neutral furnishings and accessories to add some color and texture to your scheme.

Will dark accent walls make your space smaller? 

Dark wood paneling in a living room

(Image credit: Future)

Alongside their aging aesthetic, Lucy Ackroyd, the Head of Design at Christy, argues that dark decor and large furniture can ‘make the room feel smaller than it is’ – and consequently make the space feel ‘quite oppressive.’ 

Therefore, if you choose a lighter shade (for example, swap dark oak for lighter beech wood), you can instantly lift the space and create a more ‘welcoming ambiance.’ 

Will you rethink your paneling ideas for walls? When it comes to the living room, it’s always better to go neutral in wood choices.  

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.