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10 Examples of Unique Wall Covering Materials

Last modified: 2022-07-29 | Approximate reading time 6 mins

Walls are blank canvases just waiting to be explored. Adding personality and character to a room by way of our walls isn’t all that difficult. If you’re a homeowner looking to move beyond the obvious paint choices of gloss, semi-gloss or matte, then decorative wall panelling could be right up your alley.

Adding intricate detail and texture to the walls of your home is a fun weekend DIY project that the whole family can enjoy. A wall covering can be anything from an eye-catching feature in the living room, an accent wall or even a DIY extension of the headboard in the bedroom. If homeowners are ready to take on this project, but not too certain where to start, we’ve got some inspiration for you to consider!

Here are 10 ideas of unique wall coverings!

1) Trims

Mouldings on walls

Homeowners often experiment with trims on the walls of their homes, applying pieces in narrow strips to suggest panels. This style of treatment is known as picture framing and the size of frames will vary depending on the desired effect for the homeowner. Trims can also be used to emphasize features of the room, such as framing around a fireplace or entertainment system.

Furthermore, framing can stand on its own in an intricate design to emphasize the minimalism of a wall or room. The key to making this design eye-catching is ensuring that the trim is uniform and symmetrical, otherwise, homeowners could risk throwing the balance of a room completely off.

2) Wainscoting

source: Flickr, Bob Muckle

Wainscoting is a common wall covering that adds an impressive statement to any space. Traditional wainscoting consists of layered wood panels which generally extend up only half the wall, and is often finished with moulding. It is usually white and made of beadboard. However, wainscoting doesn’t have to remain a flat white, and can instead be painted to suit the tastes of the homeowner.

A bonus of wainscoting is that it is generally inexpensive while also being readily available. It generally comes in two main forms, and these are tongue and groove plywood and MDF panels, the latter of which are usually primed for painting. Wainscoting also comes in tile form, but this is generally reserved for bathrooms as it creates a water sealed seam. 

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3) Metal Tiles

Metal tiles

Metal tiles are an interesting industrial accent that can be used for an entire wall, or ceiling or to create a small focal point. Metal tiles are often found on backsplashes but can be decontextualized and used in other rooms to fit the needs of the homeowners. Many have discovered that these tiles make great wall coverings. Further, they easily adhere to the wall with a mastic backing adhesive, making them fairly simple to apply as even the most novice of homeowners. 

4) Wood Paneling

Wood panel wall

Photo: Within the grove

Wood panelling is an exceptionally versatile type of wall covering, as it can be used to cover a full wall or half of a wall as well as being painted, stained or left bare to suit the tastes of the homeowner. This choice might seem outdated, but there are many ways to modernize this look and give it a sophisticated update. Try using it placed horizontally in a dark colour rather than the traditional mid-range wood colouring. A darker colour or stain will work to add depth while breathing fresh life into a space. 

5) Mouldings


source: Flickr, UK Film Location

Mouldings can be used in exciting ways to create shapes or patterns on your walls, harking back to classic periods by adopting traditional shapes and styles that mimic specific eras. Raised panelling and dentil crown mouldings were popular details in the 18th century, so if you’re interested in classic home decor, this is an option to consider trying on the walls of your home. Mouldings can also be created into a series of square frames on the walls, in a similar fashion to trims. If everything is painted one colour, this look is kept uniform and modern. 

6) Exposed Brick

Brick wall

Exposed brick is a sought-after design statement, mimicking those expensive Brooklyn-style lofts. Some homeowners attempt to recreate this rustic look using wallpaper and faux materials, and this is an easy DIY project if you're interested in doing so. However, if you’ve got access to the real thing, be sure to preserve it, as exposed brick is a beautiful contrast to white walls or modern décor, and looks elegant in almost any room of the home. 

Be aware that you can also hang things on your brick wall. To find out how, read our article Exposed brick walls and how to hang things on them.

7) Stickers

Wall stickers

Stickers can be used to decorate a single accent wall, a non-committal way to express personal style without taking on a full-blown renovation project. Homeowners can adopt a timeless floral theme, a geometric pattern, or even blow up a family photo that can be adhered to the wall.

Recreate the skyline of your favourite city and stick it up above your living room couch. One of the best things about using stickers as a wall covering is that they can be combined with existing elements of your home to create a harmonious, but fun, decor.

8) Wood pallets

Wood pallets

Upcycling palettes can add rustic texture to an accent wall or be used as a free-standing focal point. Although this job will be a little bit tougher than simply sticking the panels to your existing wall, it’s not impossible! Palettes will have to adhere to plywood panels before and will then be ready to be screwed into the wall.

Stain or paint the palettes before you adhere them to the plywood, matching or contrasting the decor of your home. Since the palettes themselves are inexpensive, make sure to experiment with assorted colours and shades of paint. Or keep things rustic and simple sand-down palettes for a rustic vibe. 

9) Stone Cladding


source: Flickr, Earth Anatomy Australia

If you’re looking to bring the outdoors indoors, stone cladding is the answer. These textured or smooth stones can be real or simulated, adding visual interest and architectural design. Homeowners can also mimic the look of stone cladding using wallpaper if adopting the real thing seems like too much commitment. Stone cladding is beautiful as an accent wall in a bedroom or can even be used as an interesting material for a headboard. 

10) Wallpaper

Papier peint

Photo: Start at home decor

Since its options are endless, wallpaper is a timeless classic as a wall covering that works to add an instant boost of personal style to any room. Wallpaper can be used on one wall as an accent or can cover the entire room. If you select only one accent wall, try using a bold pattern that might be overwhelming if covering the walls of an entire room. If you're going to be covering all the walls of a space, make sure to pick something you won't soon be sick of, as wallpaper applications and removal are not the simplest of processes!

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