Playing with Plywood: Incorporating Wood Panels into Your Space

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Image: Mai Linh for Architectural Digest

Due to its status as a basic construction material—one that is usually covered over in one way or another—it seems to me that the warmth and visual appeal of using plywood as a design element is often overlooked. These creative uses of plywood should help put an end to that; to start, observe how the simple elegance is used to create an artistic effect in the above neutral space. It is absolutely beautiful.


Image: Masano Nishikawa for Remodelista

The easiest way to incorporate any design element into your existing décor is through furnishings, accessories, and art; plywood is exceptionally well suited for the task. It’s a material that can be used for everything from tabletops (shown here) to decoupage—the options are almost literally endless. Some of my favorite plywood furnishings are the desks, tables, and settees designed by Donald Judd.

Functional Spaces

Images: (Left), Petra Bindel; (Right), Residence

Plywood tends to show up in mostly functional spaces like mudrooms, laundry rooms, bathrooms, and these kitchens. It’s easy to see why—along with its rugged utility there’s plenty to please the eye. And it’s very versatile in how you can choose to finish it (or not) to match your personal style.

Feature Wall

Image: The Bunkie Co.

If you’re in the mood to make a statement without breaking the bank, creating a feature wall out of high-grade plywood might be just the ticket. It’s full of character and appeal without being overpowering.

All Over

Image: Simon Devitt for Dwell

Now here’s a real commitment to using plywood throughout a home—and doesn’t it look terrific? It fits right in with the other industrial materials used here, steel and concrete, and once again provides the much needed high-touch factor. This is an element that is definitely not to be covered up.

Do you include plywood as a design element in your home?

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Dave Hime, founder/curator of, has been an interior design addict for as long as he can remember. In 2005, he bought a house-in-progress and missed several opportunities to have an influence on his own home decor–leaving him wanting more. With design heroes such as Blake Dollahite ( and Robert & Cortney Novogratz (, Dave began seeking out online resources that would exemplify the interior design practices he's most drawn to: using color, texture and simple materials well. Bringing all of this together, along with his specific focus on providing interior design inspiration from a man's point of view, is Dave's mission: masculine design.