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Is wood panelling acceptable to use in a bathroom?
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Is wood panelling acceptable to use in a bathroom?

Posted by Rebecca Doody in Room planning | 1 year ago 5 min read

Looking to enhance your bathroom with some chic wood panelling? Our experts share their advice...


So you’re looking to furnish or remodel your bathroom walls and came across the idea of installing wood panels? When compared with stone, ceramic and porcelain, wood panels are less commonly seen in bathrooms at home. 

That doesn’t mean that wood panels are any less inferior than others. With careful design and planning considerations, wood panels can complement your bathroom well. Let us now take a look at bathroom wall panelling ideas and how you can install wood panels in your bathroom. 

The Bath Co. Camberley satin grey wooden bath panel pack

Can I use wood panelling in bathrooms?

The simple and straightforward answer is “yes”, and using wooden wall panels in bathrooms is perfectly fine. Certain conditions are more favourable for wood panelling and prevent them from degrading and rotting. This is because wood is good at absorbing water.

Any moisture left in the air from the shower enclosure or other water fixtures will be absorbed by the wood panels and over time, mould and mildew will grow within it. That doesn’t mean that wood panels should be avoided. You just have to ensure that the conditions of your bathroom are optimal, more of which, we'll get on to in a bit. 

However, refrain from installing wood wall panelling in the shower as direct contact with water will lead to rotting.

Why you should opt for wood panelling

Despite having the risk of rotting (which can be prevented), wooden wall coverings offer other benefits that might make you hop over to this side of the fence.

Orchard Lea marble straight bath front panel

It is pleasing on the eye

A natural wood tone can make one feel calm and at ease as it reminds one of being in nature. It also helps to give your toilet a modern bathroom vibe. There are various shades of colour and designs to choose from so you can get creative with this. Laying the wooden panels horizontally across a wall can make your bath feel bigger and more spacious. It can also act as a feature wall to make your bathroom more pleasing on the eye!

If you are looking for something different for your bathroom panelling, you can opt for coloured panels that come in pastel hues which are very subtle and charming in their ways.

It is versatile

Depending on the type of vibe you're going for, the wooden panels' different tones can fit a more masculine or feminine theme. 

You can also easily complement wood panels on an accent wall with other types of material such as glass, tiles or porcelain. As long as you put in a bit of those creative juices of yours, the possibilities are endless.

Tips and tricks to installing wood panels in your bathroom

If you’re intrigued and wish to include wood panels, be it horizontal or vertical panels, in your bathroom design, then do watch out for the following tips to create the optimal environment.

Display in appropriate places

Wood panels are incredibly stylish but shouldn’t be carelessly installed in every corner and inch of the bathroom. 

The main area you should avoid is anywhere that can potentially put the wooden panels in direct contact. Some of these places include the walls within a shower, the sink countertop, as well as the walls near your tub. 

For the reason explained previously, wood panels are prone to absorb moisture so they will be absorbing an excessive amount if they were to be placed in those areas. You’ll find the wooden panels grow mould and begin to rot in no time at all.

The Bath Co. Chartham traditional double ended slipper bath 1675 x 865

Minimise humidity

  Humidity contributes to the amount of moisture left in the air so it’s important to keep it as low as possible to prevent your wooden panels from degrading so quickly.

A bathroom with high humidity can be identified through moist spots on floors or ceilings and condensation of water droplets on windows. Humid bathrooms also produce an unpleasant smell.

To measure the humidity level in your bathroom, you can consider installing a hygrometer for accurate readings. The healthy and safe level should be around 30% to 50%.

Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to minimise humidity in your bathroom. If possible, install and open your windows for better air ventilation. If not, install an extractor fan which has the same effect as opening the windows. You can also purchase a dehumidifier which helps to get rid of the moisture in the air.

Additionally, reducing the temperature of the water used to shower and the duration of it can significantly help to lower humidity as well since less steam will be produced. 

Lastly, place your damp towels outside the bathroom as the moisture from the towels will evaporate and increase the humidity of the bathroom.

Apply a layer of sealant

Sealants are a type of waterproof oil that provides an extra protective layer for the wood panels. This step is crucial if you want to enhance protection for the panels in your bathroom. Do make sure to open all the windows and doors to allow for better airflow. If not, place a fan in your bathroom to achieve that effect. 

There are various types of sealants. Danish oils are mixed with a thinner which makes the process of applying quicker and easier. Blending linseed oil and tung oil works just as well. This mixture will provide timber wood panels with depth and colour.

Synthetic sealants that are made with urethane are probably the most durable. They last longer and provide greater protection for your wood panels. 

Regardless of the type of sealant you use, remember to reapply them once in a while to prevent the effect from wearing off.

Wood stains

Similar to sealants, wood stains are applied to the surface of the wood panels for extra protection. One key difference between wood stains and sealants is that wood stains offer water-based products.

As compared to oils, applying water-based products to the wood panels can make them resistant to mould and mildew. They contain significantly fewer chemicals which won’t pollute the air as much and are also easier to clean and maintain afterwards.


Wooden panels give your bathroom a touch of sophistication that brings your decor private space closer to the beauty of nature. As long as you follow the above-mentioned tips to protect them from moisture, wood panels are a great choice.

Shop shower wall panels

At Victoria Plum, you’ll discover a huge selection of beautiful shower wall panels at competitive prices, from established brands such as Orchard Bathrooms, Kinewall, Multipanel and Mermaid. Simply click on the image below to begin shopping.

Shop shower wall panels

Author, Rebecca Doody

Posted by Rebecca Doody in Room planning | 1 year ago

Originally from Somerset, Rebecca is our resident copywriter who takes care of all things product related. Rebecca loves the modern interior style with both neutral and bold influences to create a statement look.

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