In addition to the profile of the wall panelling itself, the height of the wall panels also has a huge impact on the overall visual effect. Whether you panel a section of the wall or go up to the ceiling, around the room or just one wall, keeping this feature in proportion to the rest of the room is key.
Though there are no strict design rules for wall panelling, most people prefer to stick to the ‘rule of thirds’ – which simply means capping the panel one third of the way up the wall, and leaving the upper two thirds unpanelled. For example, a three-metre wall would require one-metre panelling.
Of course, the most suitable height depends on the particular room you’re panelling and its specific features. Things like windows, fixed cabinets, and plumbing can affect the symmetry if the heights aren’t compatible. Floor-to-ceiling wall panelling only tends to look good in larger rooms with more light, or on one ‘accent wall’ only, while eye-level wall panels are a safe fallback for most rooms.
Another safe option is ‘dado rail’ height, which is usually around one metre tall (regardless of the ceiling height). The original purpose of dado rails was to protect the walls of dining rooms and sitting rooms when people pushed back their chairs to stand up, so you can also achieve this effect by pushing your own chairs against the wall (gently!) and measuring a few inches above their backs.
If you’re looking for something different, panelling two-thirds of the way up the wall can give the room a stately appearance. Alternatively, you could ‘extend’ the skirting board by installing low-height wall panels as a baseboard for enhanced kick protection, and match them to door frames.