Tongue + Groovy

By Kate Riley June 11, 2013

I just couldn’t resist using the word “groovy”. #totaldork

So I’m getting ready to start on a new space and it’s great having a friend who enlists my help! This time it’s a dining room and here is my blank canvas.

dining room before


Okay it’s not exactly “blank” right now (quick iphone pic) it’s a catchall space, but wiggle your nose and make the furniture and chandelier disappear. Aha! See? Blank canvas!

The first step is going to be jazzing up the walls, and I decided on a classic tongue and groove or plank wall treatment. I’ve considered everything else, stencils, bold wallpaper, etc. but keeping coming back to a look that I know she’ll love for years to come. It’s the same friend who loves classic meets modern (remember this dresser?) and so that’s where we’re going with this. I’ll be installing it later this week – meanwhile here’s a peek at some of the looks I’m loving right now. 

Tall & White?  Ooh, gorgeousness – love how it makes a room feel taller ha! and adds fab texture to a plain wall. Very elegant and cottagey and my fave for this space right now.

tall tongue and groove

Lauren Leonard Interiors

 tall tongue and groove in hallway

Albertsson Hanson Architecture

 lauren leonard tongue and groove entry

Lauren Leonard Interiors

 vertical tongue and groove in entry

 Mackle Construction


Painted?  In muted or bold colors, love this variation from classic white. Tempted.

tongue and groove wall paneling

source unknown


tall painted tongue and groove beach studios

Beach Studios

blue tongue and groove paneling

source unknown


gray wall plank in bathroom

source unknown


Horizontal is all the rage, with plank walls appearing in so many modern spaces, but it’s another option, running the planks the other direction is cool. Maybe not for this dining room but I still love this look. 

horizontal plank tongue and groove wall

Hammersmith Atlanta

horizontal plank tongue and groove paneling

Y. McFadden Interiors

blue wall paneling linda mcdougald

 Linda McDougald Design

 plank walls bhg

Better Homes & Gardens


And just for kicks, let’s not forget the fifth wall, another way to change up the look of a plain ceiling (see also Layla & Kevin’s project).

ceiling tongue and groove

 Hammersmith Atlanta

 ceiling tongue and groove detailsadesign


painted tongue and groove ceiling

RLH Studio

  classic casual home plank ceiling

Classic Casual Home


Then I spied this and thought hey what a great way to use planks and molding to frame up a DIY headboard on the wall. #notetoself  

belle blanc tongue and groove headboard idea

Belle Blanc


For the dining room project, I’m headed to Lowe’s since they have a great lumber and trim selection, also some wide grooved panel boards that might just do the trick.





  1. Oooohhh…good luck with your project! I can’t wait to see how it all turns out. We must have the same taste; I love all of your inspiration photos.

  2. Love new projects from you. Can’t wait to see the whole process. Beautiful photos.

  3. Your friend is so lucky to have your help! I love the horizontal planks – they have a clean fresh look. Can’t wait to see how the room turns out.

  4. Tongue and groovy! I must be a total dork too because I find that adorable. :) How exciting to have a new project and gathering inspiration for it.

  5. ((gigl)) ima fellow dork myself…just ask my sisters! My SISTA from another mista! I did the tongue and groovy in my guest bath! And guess what I have in my dining room…? Yep, picture frame moulding! Hehe. Can’t wait to watch the progress…. Oh and of course I remember ‘the dresser’!! ;) Had to have me onea those!

  6. Thanks for the beautiful pic’s.
    Tongue & Groovy :) is my whole house. Almost every wall and ceiling is T&G. I love it painted and all of mine is stained. Everytime I see painted T&G I say, I’m going to paint! And haven’t as of yet.
    What beautiful pic’s to inspire me. Thanks again.

    Jake’s a Girl

  7. Like the T&G! Any ideas on how to easily (cheaply) turn the old paneling into T&G. So far have thought of just painting; sheet rock is out of the budget. Thanks!

  8. Kate, what are your thoughts on starting and stopping this treatment. For instance, using it just in a living room/dining room combo but not extending it into the adjacent foyer, family room, kitchen, etc – all on the main first floor.

  9. Nice! Love the change from everybody else doing horizontal, although I do like that look. However, my first thought with the horizontal is dust getting into every. one. of. those. crevices. Eek! Can’t wait to see what you do with her place. I vote for trim around the windows as well to dress them up, not that you asked…LOL

    • I agree Lisa, trimming up the windows would look fab!
      Cathy, you can always use a piece of corner trim or edging to stop it, but it does look more natural to have it end in a corner.
      Anyone else have this issue and a solution?

  10. I Love this treatment. One of my personal favorite GO-TO additions or details…

    It just says HOME in any room it goes into for me.

    My other favorite is using exterior clapboard for an interior room. Just shot a makeover where I used the original clapboard siding of the house in a new dining room space. A great mix of old and new for a family.

    All about those simple details! Thank for sharing Kate!

  11. I love the wood panelling. I think my favourite style is the three-quarters high with a splash of paint above it. But it also looks great covering the whole wall, very beachy, I could imagine a cosy nautical theme – not too overboard (haha sorry!) just a subtle hint of sea and sun.

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