49 Exterior Wood Cladding Ideas for Commercial and Residential Structures



Wood cladding ideas

There’s nothing quite like the look and feel of real wood. When it comes to your home or building’s exterior, there’s also nothing as versatile or as likely to give you the look that you’re after as natural wood cladding. These 49 exterior wood cladding ideas will help inspire you to create the home or building of your dreams.

1. Contemporary Vertical Cladding

Richard Barnes Photography

Rustic modern exteriors are growing in popularity across the country. This blend of natural wood cladding, glass, and metal creates and appealing exterior façade. In this case, the architectural timber cladding is installed vertically, reminiscent of a board-and-batten installation, but with a sleeker profile.

2. Natural Wood Cladding

Photo by Greg Hadley Photography

For many years, the emphasis for a home’s exterior was what color to paint your siding. Trends are changing, however, leaning toward a more natural appearance for a home’s exterior. In this case, natural wood cladding with a dark, natural look gives this home gravity, depth, and interest that no paint can replicate.

3. Shiplap Installation

Photo by Rob Hansen

Thanks to certain programs on HGTV, everyone seems to be talking about shiplap wood cladding these days. But while most people are thinking of them solely for their interiors, it’s the exterior wood cladding in a shiplap installation that can get you the biggest impact for your home. With a smooth, contemporary feel, these boards help set this house apart.

4. Changing Angles

If you think that your exterior wood wall cladding can only go one way, think again. This building features the same natural wood cladding, but in two different installations. The result is an eye-pleasing dimension for the building that makes it seem as though it’s been built out of blocks – an ideal exterior for this building’s purpose.

5. Natural Wood Cladding Accents

Photo by Pasi Aalto

Clean lines and lots of glass seem to be the ideal exterior for a spa and hotel. This look can get cold looking quickly, however, without some pine wood cladding to warm it up. Used as accents here and there around the property, the warm tones of the wood bring a lot of dimension to the building.

6. Perfectly Weathered Wood

Trends of late have been moving away from polished, shiny, and new-appearing designs. Instead, weathered, natural, and lived in appearances are gaining traction everywhere. This includes on the exterior wood cladding of a home. This weathered wood building fits in perfectly with its natural surroundings.

7. Richness of Color

Photo by Nick Kane

When a paint color begins to fade, peel, weather, or age, the results are anything but pretty. But when wooden house cladding begins to weather and age, it takes on a rainbow of different hues, all of them filled with warmth and character. This home is streaked with rich tones such as gold and chocolate that give the exterior enormous appeal.

8. The Perfect Match

Homes and buildings need to match their surroundings to get the best look possible. That’s why beach houses look so good when left in a natural wood cladding state. The bare wood complements the sand and sky, making the homes look as though they’ve always belonged.

9. Rustic Appeal

Photo provided by Bliss Blakeney

When you envision a cabin in the woods, you’re likely picturing something with natural, rustic appeal. That’s what makes a home finished in timber cladding so appealing as well; it gives you that sense that you’re inside cabin in the woods, no matter where it happens to be located.

10. Mixed Materials

A home or building finished in just one material can appear flat, boring, or bland. But by mixing hardwood cladding with glass, concrete, and metal, you can get a building that has charm, depth, and dimension instead.

11. Pops of Color

Photo by Pasi Aalto

A fun color isn’t much to look at all by itself. But by pairing a fun color with natural wood cladding as a background, and that color is going to pop. These shelters are made even more fun with colored accents highlighted against the darker wood exterior.

12. Board-and-Batten Perfection

Photo by Pasi Aalto

For many people, horizontal lap siding is too conventional to make the statement they want for their homes. That’s why a different, yet still traditional, look like board-and-batten siding is so attractive. In this case, the natural wood cladding is installed with traditional battens to bring texture and visual height to the building.

13. Cottage-Style Ceilings


The exterior of your home or building isn’t the only place you can install architectural timber cladding. The underside of porches and overhangs is also ideal for this lightweight material, giving you the appearance of a cottage ceiling.

14. Cladding your Windows

Photo by Niels Nygaard

Windows are what make a home or a building come alive. So why not put a greater focus on yours by extending house cladding around them? While the rest of these townhouses are brick, the windows are clad in wood to give them greater emphasis and style.

15. Levels of Interest

When your home has multiple planes and levels, the last thing it needs is multiple colors and exterior styles as well. Plain wood cladding helps emphasize the clean lines of this home, while the same cladding acts as an accent in front to help let a little light through.

16. Let The Light in

Lightweight exterior cladding doesn’t have to be used all by itself to create a solid wall on your building. In this case, the cladding was spaced widely apart to create a frame over the frosted glass of this boathouse. The result lets the light in beautifully day or night.

17. Dimensional Cladding

Want something different than traditional lap siding or board and batten? Why not combine the two to create a unique look instead? This school is covered first in a shiplap installation, then with a thick batten applied vertically. The result is lots of interest, depth, and play of shadow over the exterior.

18. Geometric Lines

Photo by Bliss

When the shape of your house or building is long or unique, consider emphasizing this with your exterior cladding. The long, clean lines of the wood cladding draw the eye along the exterior of this home, following its unique shape.

19. Irregular Exterior

exterior wood cladding

Photo by Massivlust

Who says that wood cladding needs to be straight, clean, and tightly jointed to be effective? This bath house has an irregular edge to it by the boards finishing naturally at varying lengths. The effect is one of organic movement, rather than a solid building.

20. Accent on Style

exterior wood cladding

For commercial buildings, sometimes you need to warm up your exterior a little to keep it from getting too industrial. What better way to do this than with wood cladding? Used as an accent and installed in varying directions, the wood helps warm up the exterior design.

21. Smooth Shelter

exterior wood cladding

For some contemporary outbuildings, like this beach shelter, it can be hard to see where the interior stops and the exterior begins. Covering both with the same wood cladding gives the whole design a crisp, smooth look that invites you right inside.

22. An Invisible House

exterior wood cladding

Photo by Julian Winslow

When the outdoors is the most important part of your design, your home needs to fade naturally into the background. This modern glass home uses natural wood cladding as accents to help bridge the gap between the outdoors and the interior life within.

23. Rippling Roof

exterior wood cladding

Take your exterior wall cladding to new heights by using it on your roof instead. This restaurant makes great use of the natural wood planks to create a roof that appears to be bending and moving around the building, drawing you in.

24. Emphasizing Shapes

exterior wood cladding

Photo by Kontur, Lasse Haldrup Juul

This large, passive house has many planes and levels, all with a sleek, contemporary feel. By changing the direction of the cladding as it moves over the exterior, you can draw the eye to exactly where you want it to go.

25. Substantial Design

exterior wood cladding

Photo by LOGG Arkitekter

Contemporary homes that use a lot of glass and windows in their design tend to look fragile if paired with the wrong exterior material. This natural wood cladding brings the gravity and visual weight necessary to ground the house and make it look as substantial as its style.

26. Angled for Success

exterior wood cladding

Photo by Hundven Clement Photography

This old farmhouse was revitalized using natural wood cladding on its exterior. To give it a fresh new look, the front was left open to the outdoors, featuring large windows. The same wood cladding frames out the front, giving the whole thing a cohesive look.

27. Winter Warmth

exterior wood cladding

Photo by Alliance Arkitekter

Often encased in the winter snow, this mountain house needs a way to keep the cold away from its design. Natural wood cladding has a beautiful, warm appearance to it that is the perfect foil to these snowy surroundings. The effect is one of comfort and emerging warmth, rather than freezing cold.

28. Anything but Sterile

exterior wood cladding

Photo by Jørn Hinklev

Student housing sometimes tends to be sterile, plain, and serviceable. These student buildings finished in hardwood cladding have the opposite effect. They look warm, homey, and a place where people will naturally want to gather, while having the added benefit of fitting in perfectly with their slope-side location.

29. A Study in Contrasts

Photo by Svein Arne Brygfjeld

Tourist cabins need to draw the visitor in, making them feel cozy, warm, and right at home. This is especially true when the cabins are surrounded by harsh winter conditions. This natural wood cladding on this cabin helps to create the perfect contrast to the snowy surroundings.

30. Circular Style

Photo by Anders Bergön

Buildings constructed in the round may be rare, but they are never short on style. While some round buildings are constructed of stone or concrete, this home is done in vertical wood cladding. The result is organic, elegant, and filled with interest and style as the thin pieces of cladding move gently around the circle.

31. Organically Sculpted

Just when you think that wood cladding can only be used as an exterior covering, it’s time to think again. In this case, the same lightweight wood cladding used to cover homes and buildings has been used to create an architectural sculpture, drawing inspiration from three seeds.

32. Space for Style

Photo by Markus Photography

Many homes and buildings that use a hardwood cladding on the exterior tend to lap the boards, either in a Dutch lap or a shiplap to get a tight fit. This home, however, keeps space between the boards, which lets in light and shadow where they wouldn’t ordinarily be. This gives a lot of texture and dimension to the building overall.

33. Lights and Darks

Photo by Sindre Karlsen, Pir II

To emphasize the different areas and planes of this building, two different colors of hardwood cladding were used. The dark areas visually fade backward while the light areas move forward. The result is a building that vibrates visually, bringing additional depth to the design.

34. Bespoke Beauty

Photo by Blue Forest

Wood cladding isn’t just for houses; it’s for tree houses as well. There’s nothing quite as organic or natural as real wood, and when you’re constructing a tree house village, you want to capture that natural appearance as much as possible. That’s why natural wood cladding is the perfect complement to each one.

35. Monumental Curves

Photo by Blue Forest

It’s possible to use natural wood cladding not only to cover the structure of the building, but to construct a cage around it as well. This quiet treehouse gets set back from the real world just a little bit more by the gracious curves that hug it from all sides.

36. An Artistic Creation

Photo by Andrew Devine

Artists need somewhere to create that fits their sensibilities. This retreat does just that by using pieces of pine wood cladding cut into diamonds for an artistic display on this outbuilding. Using the same wood on the rest of the façade helps to give the whole scene a cohesive effect.

37. Sustainable School

Photo by Niels Nygaard

One of the best parts of using wood cladding is how many different choices you have for your material. Using sustainable wood from fast growing and easily harvested sources means that this school can be covered in a material as sustainable as the children’s futures.

38. Open to the Sea

The shape of this building makes it appear as though it’s opening itself up to the sea beyond. The use of the wood cladding helps anchor it to the dock visually, helping the planes open more visually to create the effect that’s being achieved here.

39. The Illusion of Height

Photo by Q-haus

Circular buildings don’t tend to be tall due, putting most of their emphasis on the shape of the building. The use of vertical wood cladding, however, helps draw the eye upward, giving this retirement home the look of height and majesty, even as it moves close to the ground.

40. Interest in the Angles

Photo by Bjørn Leirvik

While vertically installed wood cladding can help draw the eye upward, there are a lot of different effects that can be achieved by simply shifting it slightly. This power plant slants the boards by starting them at different heights, so while the lines continue to go up, they do so at an angle that speaks of the energy within.

41. Open and Closed Design

Photo by Julien Aksoy

The use of lights and darks, closed and open walls isn’t new, but the way that this beach club combines solid wood with open glass is. The mixture of organic, natural wood cladding with the sleek glass makes you feel as though you’ve never left the outdoors, even when you venture inside.

42. Sandwiched in Style

Photo by Brandtrain

This building uses three different layers of material to bring interest and visual appeal as you look up. Hidden on the middle layer is a rich wood cladding that contrasts the brick below and metal above to make an appealing filling for this architectural cake.

43. Diverse Dimension

exterior wood cladding

While most people are aware of the look of board-and-batten siding, for large buildings it can often get busy, detracting from its appeal. This chapel solves this issue by using a vertical wood cladding with a more substantial beam every few feet to mimic the look of a batten, but with a quieter and more extensive look.

44. Deceptively Natural Design

exterior wood cladding

Photo by MDH Arkitekter

Most people associate tall commercial buildings with concrete and architectural paneling that leaves them with an industrial feel. This student village breaks the mold by using natural wood cladding on the exterior. The lines of the wood emphasize its height, while at the same time giving it a homier appearance.

45. Changing Planes

exterior wood cladding

Photo by Henning Davidsen

It’s common on interiors to use the same material on the walls and ceilings when you want to draw the eye upward and keep the momentum of the design going. This artist’s home uses the same principles on the outside, with the same wood cladding moving across the roof to give it a cleaner appearance.

46. Breaking the Brick Mold

exterior wood cladding

Photo by Oliver Perrott

When rows of houses or buildings are joined together, they tend to fade together into obscurity. This block of houses in the center of this row of bricks breaks that mold by using a natural wood cladding that contrasts with the bricks, and gives the buildings a new life.

47. Panels of Color

exterior wood cladding

Photo by Jiri Havran

Natural wood cladding makes the perfect backdrop for any color or design. The natural wood blends perfectly with primary colors, as well as nature, so you can easily create a unique design that speaks to your needs, such as the window framing on this Waldorf School.

48. Summertime Style

exterior wood cladding

Photo by Ketil Ring

Weathered wood cladding is the image most people call to mind when they think of a cabin by the sea. The color and texture of driftwood, this summer cabin fits in perfectly with its ocean surroundings, right down to the same cladding covering the roof.

49. Shiplap Sensation

exterior wood cladding

Photo by Rob Hansen

True shiplap wood cladding has a romantic history that calls to mind craftsmanship and time honored traditions. Covering any building in a shiplap siding helps give it instant character, as well as a story waiting to be told.

Wood cladding can come in several shapes, sizes, and styles, as well as installations. Consider natural wood cladding for your building to discover the possibilities.

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