Edges You Don't Have to HidePanel edges tend to get covered up because they attach edge-to-edge. Edges not covered by other panels can abut directly to another wall, the ceiling, or baseboard. But what if you want an exposed edge?
You can't do this with the cheap panels, because the edges are not finished. With designer wood paneling, though, it's possible to find edge-wrapped veneers.
Variable and Custom SizingThe 4"x8" sheets found at big-box home improvement stores can give a room that "paneled look"--and not in a good way. Big sheets can impose on a room. Typically, panel manufacturers have tried to mitigate this by creating vertical grooves, imitating the look of long individual boards.
To get away from this, do two things. First, simply choose wood panels of smaller sizes--2'x4', 3'x4', or 3'x6'. Secondly, position the panels on the horizontal. This gives your room a more spacious feeling.
Wood Paneling CostCost is where the real difference lies. With the traditional, Home Depot-style MDF wood paneling, you can pick up 32 sq. ft. sheets for as little as $10 and ranging up to as much as $40.
The higher-quality wood paneling is far more expensive. Horizontal-oriented ebony wood paneling is around $400 for the same size.