How do I Choose the Best Bathroom Wall Panels?

Sheri Cyprus

Choosing bathroom wall panels can be easier if you first narrow your choices to those within your budget that are waterproof, simple to clean and easy to install. Of course, before choosing the panels, you should plan the wall design of your bathroom. You'll have to decide on full bathroom wall panels or on a wainscoting technique by using them only on the bottom and adding paint or wallpaper to the top section.

Wainscot paneling is paneling installed on part of interior walls, usually beneath a chair rail.
Wainscot paneling is paneling installed on part of interior walls, usually beneath a chair rail.

Bringing the exact measurements for the wall panels you'll need to the home improvement store is necessary to get the right fit. You may not be able to return any extra bathroom wall panels, so buying extra isn't usually a good idea. Not buying enough panels should also be avoided, especially if there could be a delay in getting more of exactly the same design. A few extra panels to store in a basement or other out of the way place may be beneficial for the future in case a panel or two becomes damaged and needs to be replaced.

Upper walls may be painted to give them a new look.
Upper walls may be painted to give them a new look.

Choosing a good quality bathroom panel design can mean long-lasting use. Remember to read the label before purchasing bathroom wall panels, as some types tend to fade or discolor when certain cleaning products are used on them. Maintenance is a key consideration when choosing appropriate panels for a bathroom. Wood panels can give bathrooms a spa like appeal, but they may require oiling or other regular maintenance. PVC, or vinyl, versions are typically low maintenance and available in many different colors and textures.

Weighing the advantages and disadvantages of different panel materials such as vinyl and wood ends up being mainly about personal preference. For example, people who prefer natural wood over synthetics such as vinyl may be willing to invest a little more time maintaining it. Some homeowners don't like wood tones on walls and would rather have an easy maintenance vinyl panel design in a faux stone look that is lighter in color or cooler in appearance than wood.

Snap-together tongue and groove panel systems are often the easiest to use. For the least effort required, you may want to look for bathroom wall panels than can be placed over existing wall coverings. If the walls are ceramic tile or other bulkier surfaces, may have to remove the old material first. If you want a wainscoting effect of a painted or wallpapered top section with panels on the bottom, you may want to leave your upper walls as they are or refresh them with new paint or wallpaper.

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Discussion Comments


I would go for the lowest maintenance possible when it comes to choosing any kind of wall paneling. I know I always think that I will make time if I need to when I'm looking at something that appeals a lot but needs more maintenance (like wooden wall panels for example) but I only have one life to live and I don't want to spend it working on the bathroom.

Modern technology has made it so that you've got infinite options when it comes to this kind of thing. I'd rather take my time at the start and get something that's not going to cause any problems later.


@Ana1234 - I'm not sure I would want that kind of thing in my bathroom anyway. It does sound cool, but you might get tired of it after a while. And I really don't like the idea of having black tiles, because it's more difficult to see if they need cleaning.

You really want to know that your bathroom is as clean as possible, and the best way to do that is to have white or light blue bathroom wall paneling.


There are some really cool options for bathroom tiles. My favorite, and the kind that I would get if I could afford them, are tiles that change color depending on how hot they are. So, they are usually black, but if they feel the heat (like, if you stand on them, or if hot water splashes on them) they will change colors the same way that a mood ring will, in a kind of rainbow.

Very expensive though, so most people couldn't afford them, even just in a small area. I'm hoping they will eventually come down in price though.

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