Panelling is a wall covering constructed from rigid or semi-rigid components. These are traditionally interlocking wood, but could be plastic or other materials.

Panelling was developed in antiquity to make rooms in stone buildings more comfortable. The panels served to insulate the room from the cold stone. In more modern buildings, such panelling is often installed for decorative purposes. Panelling, such as wainscoting and boiserie in particular, may be extremely ornate and is particularly associated with seventeenth and eighteenth century interior design, Victorian architecture in Britain, and its international contemporaries.


Wainscot or wainscoting (pronounced /ˈweɪnskɔtiŋ/ in American English, /ˈweɪnskɒtɪŋ/ in British English) is a panelling style applied to the lower 3' (900mm) to 5' (1500mm) of an interior wall, below the dado rail or chair rail and above the baseboard or skirting board. It is traditionally constructed from tongue-and-groove boards, though beadboard or decorative panels (such as a wooden door might have) are also common. Wainscoting may also refer to other materials used in a similar fashion.

Wainscoting was once used to cover the lower part of walls which, in houses constructed with poor or nonexistent damp-proof courses, are often affected by rising dampness; it now mainly serves a decorative purpose, however. Its most notable cultural appearance is perhaps as part of a sketch in episode 20 of the comedy program Monty Python's Flying Circus, in which a sheep with a gun is discovered in a home's wainscoting.


Boiserie (often used in the plural boiseries) is the term used to define ornate and intricately carved wood panelling. Early examples of boiseries were unpainted, but later the raised mouldings were often painted or gilded. Boiseries were popular in seventeenth and eighteenth century French interior design and the Palace of Versailles has many fine examples. The panels were not confined just to the walls of a room but were also used to decorate doors, frames, cupboards and shelves. Often pictures would be set into the boiseries, the carving framing the picture rather like a conventional frame.

ee also

* Ornament (architecture)
* Molding (decorative)
* Vacuum insulated panel
* Structural insulated panel

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • panelling — (US paneling) ► NOUN ▪ panels collectively, when used to decorate a wall …   English terms dictionary

  • panelling — n. wood panelling * * * [ pæn(ə)lɪŋ] wood panelling …   Combinatory dictionary

  • panelling — [[t]pæ̱nəlɪŋ[/t]] N UNCOUNT Panelling consists of boards or strips of wood covering a wall inside a building. It was a huge apartment with oak beams and rosewood panelling. (in AM, use paneling) …   English dictionary

  • panelling — paneling pan el*ing (p[a^]n [e^]l*[i^]ng), n. 1. The act or process of forming in panels or decorating with panels. [Written also {panelling}.] [1913 Webster] 2. The panels which decorate the walls of a room. [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Panelling — Panel Pan el, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Paneled}or {Panelled}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Paneling} or {Panelling}.] To form in or with panels; as, to panel a wainscot. [1913 Webster] {Paneled back} (Arch.), the paneled work covering the window back. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • panelling — noun Panelling/paneling is used after these nouns: ↑wood …   Collocations dictionary

  • panelling — BrE paneling AmE noun (U) wood, especially in long or square pieces, used to decorate walls etc: oak panelling …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • panelling — [1] A combination of separate sheet metal panels to form a complete assembly, e.g., the outer panels of the body or even the panels surrounding the engine [2] A plastic molding; e.g., interior trim of doors. See cladding underside panelling …   Dictionary of automotive terms

  • panelling — noun see paneling …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • panelling — noun /ˈpænəlɪŋ/ The panels wherewith a surface (especially an indoor wall) is covered, considered collectively …   Wiktionary

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