Derived from “bois”, the french word for wood, Boiseries simply means wood processing. In Interior Design it refers to walls covering wooden panels. These can be functional or decorative, modern or traditional, minimal or decorated with carvings and engravings.

Simple moulded panelling on the walls of a staircase.

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History of the boiserie

This trend was born in French in the XVII sec., where it became very popular for interior decoration throughout the Baroque and late-Baroque periods. The first example of boiserie was inspired by typical themes of that period. The decoration is recalled from natural forms and floral shapes. The inlays and engravings were big and majestic almost overwhelming.

This decorative technique is based on wood processing and the aim is to create a sort of picture frames and reliefs, with different kinds of texture and ground which can be geometrical or not. These panels are repeated in the room, to decorate and customize the space starting from the walls themselves.

boiserie de la façade coté rue Loverdo

Image source: by Tonton Jaja

The panels were also on doors, wardrobes, furnishings, and separé, not only on walls. Frequently, the paintings were set in the boiseries which act as a frame of the paintings or the bas-relief.

#bibliotourisme #sarlat don de mr Emmanuel Lassere, en 1930, à la condition d'en faire une bibliotheque publique. Les aménagements (boiseries, rayonnages..) datent des années 30

Image source: by charlotte henard

This handcrafted decoration was very expansive and appreciated by the nobility and high French bourgeoisie. We can find numerous examples of this decoration in offices, consulting rooms, and houses belonging to the upper classes of Paris. This trend was exported throughout Europe. There are a lot of examples of this decoration inside the Palace of Versailles.


Image source: by zigazou76


Design from the old times…

Currently, many craft productions have resumed the use of wood paneling. In Italy, the production is concentrated in the northeast (Veneto). Some of these labs are specialized in this type of boiserie which requires specific skills and experiences.

File:Bresles (60), église Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais, boiseries de l'abside 1.JPG

Image source: by Pierre Poschadel

What was once a special decoration very used in stately apartments and palaces, today we rediscover it as a decorative technique and not only as carved wood panels. With the term “boiserie” we identify different systems to enhance the space, with different characteristics for different houses even the most modern ones.

File:Villemolin, détail des boiseries de la cheminée de la salle à manger Sud.jpg

Image source: by Villesolin


 …Until today

Design and fashion got used to seeing this kind of transformation and reinterpretation in a modern way, starting from a typical old decoration which was considered heavy and sickly to a new trend in terms of interior design.

Thanks to the use of sundry materials, not only wood, and the infinite possibility of shapes, colors, and textures, now this technique became incredibly versatile and adaptive to any kind of space and style.

outdoor rooms with mobile panels
outdoor rooms with mobile panels

Image source: by Jeremy Levine Design

Now it’s possible to use the traditional boiserie and give to space the old fashion of an ancient palace, or make it more modern with simple texture and metal frames, or give it a vintage touch by inserting pastel colors and fabric parts or even exaggerate with incredible complex textures engraved on wood or plaster.

Modern house of contemporary design, glass and wood, Washington Park neighborhood, Seattle, Washington, USA
Modern house of contemporary design, glass and wood, Washington Park neighborhood, Seattle, Washington, USA

Image source: by Wonderlane

3D wall panel Cullinans is a modern and trendy design for everyone that likes a bit of vividness!
3D wall panel Cullinans

Image source: by MyWallArt – 3d Wallpanel

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