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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

  • Claire Douglas

Tongue and groove panelling for bathrooms: ideas

All the inspiration you need for using tongue and groove panelling in a bathroom.

Considering tongue and groove panelling for bathrooms? If you've visited the panelling section of my blog you'll know I'm a huge fan of using wall panelling to transform your home and have DIY tutorials as well as ideas and inspiration posts for various styles of wood panelling, mdf wall panels and stair panelling. This post is all about how to use tongue and groove as a decorative wall panel in a bathroom to elevate the interior design in an affordable and stylish way.  

As a keen (ok obsessed!) DIYer, T&G panelling is right up there on my list of the best ways to transform a bathroom. Installing tongue-and-groove wall panels is great option for a weekend DIY project as it doesn't require many tools or a lot of skill (it's a quick win and who doesn't appreciate one of them during an arduous home reno or budget room transformation?!).   

How to use tongue and groove panelling for bathrooms

The good news is that T&G wall panelling is not reserved for country homes, and even small spaces can benefit from its unique look. As we will see with the examples below, in this scenario, you can use the grooves to your advantage by making a room feel taller, wider or even more expensive.

Here are my top tips for successfully incorporating T&G panelling into a bathroom scheme regardless of your interior style. 

1. Half-wall tongue and groove panelling for a bathroom

modern bathroom with tongue and groove panelling
Image credit: @myconvertedcottage

Grooved wall panels offer a contemporary twist to your bathroom walls and installing them at half height is a great way to add depth to the space. With their clean lines and sleek design, they provide a modern aesthetic and work so well with sleek bathroom furniture. Helen aka @myconvertedcottage has nailed this look with her beautiful off-white panels and scroll-stopping bathroom; pop over to her insta for more magazine-worthy pics and inspiration. The freestanding bath and feature radiator are a treat for the eye and the pared back upper walls make the bathroom furniture and suite look all the more dramatic. This scheme proves that you don't need bags of colour to create a seriously successful scheme. 

2. Embrace tongue and groove panelling for a small bathroom

small bathroom with tongue and groove panelling
Image credit: @clareduffyxx

Incorporating tongue and groove panelling in a small bathroom is a brilliant idea way to add visual interest to the walls and a greater feeling of space. With panels typically measuring a few millimetres thick, they fit perfectly in tight spaces and your paint colour choices can ensure that they don't overwhelm the room. White tongue and groove panels reflect light and brighten up the area, giving the illusion of more space. The beautiful bathroom pictured belongs to the super stylish Clare Duffy; pop over to her Instagram @clareduffyxx to find lots of inspiring rooms.

Another idea is utilizing groove ceiling panels helps to extend the height of the room and entice your eye to look around all of the space (an interior design trick!).

3. Use tongue and groove panelling in a coastal bathroom

Using tongue and groove panelling in a coastal-themed bathroom is a fantastic idea for creating a serene and beach-inspired retreat. T&G panels provide a cohesive look to the walls, reminiscent of classic wooden beach huts. Opting for primed and painted wood panels (or moisture-resistant mdf) ensures durability and resistance to moisture, making them ideal for bathroom wall panels.

Instead of traditional bathroom tiles, wooden panels bring a natural element that complements the coastal theme. Wood wall panelling adds warmth and texture to your bathroom whilst also being an affordable way to achieve a high-end look and can be used in conjunction with patterned floor tiles for added style. 

4. Use tongue and groove panelling around a sink

tongue and groove bathroom panelling around a sink
Image credit: @designermumetc

Using tongue and groove panelling around a sink is a perfect, affordable, and stylish solution for bathrooms. These waterproof wall panels are easy to install, making them ideal for DIY projects in small spaces. They withstand humidity changes, making them suitable for indoor use, including wet rooms. With various styles available, from contemporary wood slats to traditional beaded looks, there's an option to suit any bathroom aesthetic.

Adding a tiled sink backsplash reduces the chances of water damaged and provides a stylish addition to the sink. I love how Belle, aka @designermumetc has used wood panelling and tiles around her bathroom sink (pictured) to create a stylish and luxe look that wouldn't look out of place in a swanky hotel. 

5. Pair tongue and groove with other styles of panelling for an updated look

bathroom image showing mixed wall panelling

I love the traditional beaded look of tongue and groove, but I have been experimenting in my own home by combining multiple styles of panelling and pairing it with traditional picture frame panelling for a twist. I only have non-bathroom images of this at the moment so I've mocked up the image here to give you an idea of how it can look in a bathroom. Don't be afraid to create a unique look in your bathroom by customising the wall panelling you install. 

6. Install full-height tongue and groove bathroom panelling

full height wall panelling in bathroom
Image credit: @designermumetc

Full-height tongue and groove wall panelling offer numerous benefits that enhance the look of a family bathroom. Whether you opt for reclaimed wood panels or choose moisture resistant beadboard panelling, you can create an eye-catching feature ready to style to your heart's content. Not only do tongue and groove wall panels provide a stylish aesthetic, but they also offer practicality, particularly in wet rooms and bathrooms, as once primed, painted and sealed, they should be watertight. Wood panelling adds warmth and character to the space as well as texture and depth. 

A superb example of full-height T&G wall panelling in a bathroom is that pictured by @designermumetc check Belle's Instagram out to see more examples of her gorgeous home.

7. Showcase tongue and groove panelling with a green palette

green tongue and groove wall panelling in bathroom
Image credit: @jillyshumblehome

There's no denying how popular green colour palettes are in the world of interiors. They've been around for a while, and they aren't going anywhere. I love decorating with green and have written about dark green living room ideas, green wall paint inspo and green tiles, but using green tongue and groove panelling is the perfect way to add some gorgeous colour to a bathroom wall.

A superb example of gorgeous green wall panelling is shown in the image from stylish Jill's lovely home. The freestanding bath adds a touch of luxury and the natural rustic wood styling adds texture. Follow Jill on Instagram (@jillyshumblehome) for more interior inspiration.

8. Use tongue and groove panels on a bath

Standard bath panels can be a bit underwhelming when it comes to the bathroom style stakes and can let a room down that's otherwise lovely. Adding tongue and groove bath panels is such a good way to create a bespoke and luxe look. Painted tongue and groove bath panels are perfect for adding colour and texture and can even turn a slightly naff bath into a beautiful focal point for the room.

Top tip: Be sure to use moisture-resistant MDF panels for bathrooms

When it comes to wet rooms or bathrooms with high humidity levels, moisture-resistant MDF panels are the ideal solution. They withstand moisture and humidity changes, ensuring long-lasting durability.

Inspired by tongue and groove panelling for bathrooms?

If these ideas have whet your appetite for tongue-and-groove panelling for bathrooms, then be sure to check out my DIY tutorial for installing tongue & groove wall panels. If you're looking for further inspiration, check out my post on half-wall panelling ideas.

Transform your bathroom into a focal point by using tongue and groove panelling to create accent walls. With a wide range of styles and colours available, you can customize the look to suit your taste and decor. With easy installation and affordability, it's the perfect way to enhance the look of your bathroom while staying within budget. In small bathrooms, wood wall cladding can make a big impact. Its vertical tongue and grooved edge create the illusion of height, making the space feel larger and more open. So, head to your local DIY store and pick up some tongue and groove panels today. 

Not sure what wood to use for tongue and groove panelling? Read my guide here.

Where next?

Here are some other panelling-related posts you might enjoy…


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