Whether you’re starting a new bathroom project from scratch, redesigning an existing space, or making smaller changes for an updated look, wall panels are a modern alternative to tiles that more and more homeowners are considering. But why the fuss? They’re cost-effective and easy to install and maintain, for starters. And while the market used to be more limited, today you have an ever-increasing range of styles and sizes to choose from to create your dream bathroom finish. Read our guide to bathroom wall panels below to learn more about their uses, cost, installation and more.

What are bathroom wall panels?

Sometimes referred to as shower or wet wall panels, bathroom wall panels are thin slabs of waterproof wall covering. They’re similar to tiles but larger, and actually offer greater water resistance as they aren’t installed with grout.
As with wall panelling in other areas of the home, bathroom wall panelling has many uses beyond creating an aesthetic style. It can conceal unattractive or uneven surfaces, box in plumbing and electrics, and support fittings such as shelves or towel rails.
Bathroom wall panels are ideal for splash zones such as your shower or sink but are suitable for use elsewhere too. They come with lots more great benefits which we’ll cover in the following sections.

How much does wall panelling cost?

Bathroom wall panels can be a cost-effective solution whether you have a tight budget to stick to or not. Most wall panels cost less per square metre than tiles and are quicker and easier to install too. If you do hire a professional for the installation, your labour costs are likely to be relatively low.
Your material cost will depend on your chosen product and the area you plan to cover. Budget, mid-range and premium ranges are available. With regards to how much wall panelling you install, it’s common to cover roughly one metre up from the floor to clear fixtures and fittings while maintaining visual balance. Floor-to-ceiling wall panels are more popular in shower spaces − but ultimately, it’s up to you!
As with tiling, you can work out how much panelling you need by calculating the dimensions of the area you want to cover and adding on 10% to accommodate for wastage.

How to choose bathroom wall panels

Wall panels were historically limited to uninspiring large white sheets − but no more. Today there are a multitude of colours, sizes and styles to choose from. Whether you want to create a statement finish or a subtle minimalist look, you can.
The right wall panel style for you will depend on the area you’re covering and the overall look you’re going for. Bold colours and patterns can become overwhelming if used everywhere, for example – but are ideal for creating a single feature wall or area.
Alternatively, combine neutral or pastel shades for a more relaxed feel. With marble, stone, and wood-effect finishes available too, you’ve got plenty of creative options.

How to fit bathroom wall panels

As touched on above, bathroom wall panels are relatively quick and simple to install without needing grout or specialist tiling expertise. They can be fitted to the same surfaces other wall cladding materials can and are often more forgiving with uneven surfaces.
Installation instructions vary slightly depending on the design and manufacturer, so it’s best to follow the advice specific to your product.
You can also fit plumbing systems and light bathroom accessories to bathroom wall panels, providing you take extra care with sealing at the fixing points. Hiring a professional will help guarantee the best result, especially if you lack DIY experience or the right tools.

Can you put bathroom wall panels over tiles?

Yes! Another benefit of bathroom wall panelling is that it can be fitted over existing tiles or wall coverings. This saves you the time and effort of removing old tiles first.

How to clean bathroom wall panels

If you’re tired of grubby walls or tiles, you’ll want to keep your bathroom wall panels looking their best. Thankfully that’s easy to do as they don’t discolour over time and there’s no awkward grouting to battle with. All you’ll need is a cloth, a standard household cleaner and a few minutes of your time once a week or so.
Rinsing and drying your panels regularly will help remove the dirt and grime that naturally builds up over time. Adequate ventilation is also important. Overall however, they’re a hygienic, hassle-free option.

Where to buy wall panelling near me

This guide aims to answer some of the common questions around bathroom wall panels and offer inspiration for your next project. If you think wall panels could be right for you, you can browse our extensive range online right away.
Alternatively, you can view your options up close in one of our 250 showrooms nationwide, request a brochure or book an appointment with The Bathroom Showroom.
Whatever your preference, you’re bound to find the perfect option for your bathroom project.