From Boring to Bold: 10 Stylish Alternatives to Painted Drywall

When it comes to wall coverings, painted drywall is typically the first thought. It’s cheap and accessible, but it’s not very durable in high traffic or high moisture environments. 

It’s also boring. Yeah, we said it.

Break out of the monotony of painted drywall and opt for something a little more interesting! Here are 10 painted drywall alternatives that we love!

1. Wood Planks

As-Is Wood Wall Planks shown here in White-Ish.

When you think of wood panelling you may think of the cheeto-coloured panels from the ‘70s, but there are so many options now that you can use wood planks to create just about any design style.

Reclaimed barnwood creates a rustic feel, real wood wall planks create a warm yet modern space, and shiplap gives coastal vibes. You could even go the plywood route for a Scandinavian feel. 

If you’re working in a high-moisture environment, faux wood panels provide a more durable option. 

Bonus: wood panelling is typically quite easy to cut and install, either with glue or nails. 

2. Corrugated Metal

Image from Lacquered Life

Corrugated metal might seem like an unconventional wall material, but it’s surprisingly versatile. You can get corrugated metal sheets in a variety of styles, colors, and finishes to match multiple design styles. 

It can be a little tough to cut without the right tools, but otherwise it’s fairly easy to install with screws into the studs. We typically suggest keeping corrugated metal to a smaller feature wall because it can become a bit TOO industrial feeling in large quantities. 

3. Faux Stone 

While you typically see faux stone veneer on building exteriors, interior stone walls create an elegant look that’s much more durable–and much more interesting–than drywall. 

We particularly love Quality Stone faux stone walls in game rooms, basements, stairways, and kitchens thanks to their durability and water resistance. 

4. Acoustic Panels

Image from Archi Products

Acoustic panels are built with the intention of absorbing sound, but there are many stylish options that also work to create unique feature walls. Acoustic panels can also be used in combination with other wall finishes, like concrete or wood, to create a truly unique space!

They’re often made from felt or foam so they aren't a great option for high-humidity areas, but they work well in entertainment rooms, play spaces, and offices where you want to keep the noise from travelling to other areas. 

5. Real Brick Veneer

Real Thin Brick Veneer shown here in Rushmore. 

If you're fortunate enough to live somewhere where genuine exposed brick is an option, then we’re all for letting that natural beauty shine through. 

But if not, thin brick veneer will create a nearly identical look without the reinforcements required of a full brick wall, and it can often be installed without the need for a professional bricklayer.

Our real brick veneer comes in nearly 30 colors, so you’ve got options! 

6. Faux Brick Panels

Faux Modern Brick Panels shown here in Simply White.

For a more affordable alternative to real brick veneer, faux brick panels are just the ticket. They’ll be even quicker and easier to install than real brick veneer because they are lightweight, don’t require mortar and typically come in larger sheets.

They can be nailed or glued to most surfaces & are incredibly easy to cut with a regular saw. And did we mention that they look just like real brick?

Shop our faux brick panels here.

7. Cork

Image from Hotel Designs

Cork is a fun option for a feature wall in an office or kids’ room, and it has the added bonus of being eco-friendly, though it’s not quite as durable as some of the other options on our list. 

Cork comes in various styles, textures, and sizes so you can let your creativity run wild. Hang and rehang artwork, photos, decor, and more, or leave it as-is to enjoy its natural aesthetic. 

8. Peg board

Image from Place of my Taste 

Similar to cork, peg boards allow you the freedom to change up your space whenever you wish, but it offers greater strength and durability than cork. Peg boards are usually made of plywood so they’re easy to paint or stain, and you can hang art, tools, and even shelving on it to make it your own. 

Keep in mind that peg boards do not offer the same fire resistance as other wall coverings, so always check building codes before installation. 

9. Exposed Concrete 

Faux CinderBlock panels shown here in Modern Industrial Grey. 

The raw look of exposed concrete is absolutely essential in modern industrial design. Even if you don’t have concrete walls to leave unfinished, getting the look is fairly easy with real or faux concrete panelling. 

Real concrete panels are naturally fireproof and waterproof, so they’re one of the most durable types of panels out there. 

If you’re looking for something a little more lightweight, faux concrete panels are your next best bet, offering great durability and the look and texture of concrete without the weight.  It’ll also be a breeze to install with nails or glue!

We offer real and faux concrete panels in smooth slabs, cinder blocks, as well as board-formed panels, so you can create a look that suits your design tastes. 

Shop our real concrete panels here, and faux concrete panels here

10. Lath and Plaster

Lath and plaster isn't for the faint of heart, but if you’re particularly handy and are looking for a fun project, this is a great option for adding texture to a wall. 

Lath and plaster is a centuries-old wall finishing technique that uses plaster over horizontal wood or metal slats. You can customize the finish and it works extremely well on curved walls where drywall would typically be difficult to install. 


We hope this gave you a few great ideas for your next wall project! Be sure to tag us in your projects over on Instagram

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