The 1970s scarred a lot of people. Wall panels were en vogue, earthen orange and brown were all the rage, and wood was the only décor that many hardware stores pushed. The result was a plethora of homes designed in faux wood panels and orange tile countertops. It was not a good style then, and it is not a good style now, but that does not speak for all paneling, nor does it speak for every faux wood design. Some people need to forgive the 70s and move on because bathroom wall paneling is coming back into style and there are hoards of beautiful designs that look natural and elegant.
This time around, designers have learned and panels are made with sheik appeal. There are faux stone panels, real plywood panels, faux terracotta panels and even attractive tile panels. Each design has its limitations and cost will be a factor in which products mimic the real applications most truly. Though using real tile is significantly more expensive than a panel, selecting the cheapest panel will result in a 70s flashback—it is not real and everyone knows it.
The best rule to work from is the price rule. When purchasing bathroom wall paneling, the shopper should keep in mind the cost of genuine materials. Using true limestone for a wall covering costs about four dollars a square foot. The panels than, should be about half that price. Similarly, if working with a hardwood, whatever price it would cost to cover a wall, an aesthetically appealing panel alternative should cost about half the price. The rule might not always equate, as in the case of terracotta, which may be slightly cheaper to apply than panels—but far less messy—however, whenever panels are less than half the price of a genuine wall covering, the buyer is sacrificing elegance for expense.
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