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20 Best Drywall Alternatives (Bring Life To Your Room)

Drywall is a common material used to create walls, but many people are starting to prefer other material types, due to drywall’s many problems.

If you want to give your walls a different look than what you could achieve with smooth drywall, there are other materials you can use. We’ve collected the 20 best drywall alternatives to brighten your environment. You’re sure to find an idea that matches your style goals.

In this article, we’re going to look at the 20 best drywall alternatives that will help bring life to your room. Each of these substitutes can help you create an inviting, attractive appearance without all the troubles that come with drywall.

The 20 Best Drywall Alternatives For Your Room

Trying to hang drywall can be a frustrating and time-consuming process. Even after you’ve got it cut, hung, taped, mudded, and sanded, there’s still the cleanup. I’ve spent days and sometimes weeks removing all the loose dust that lingers after a simple DIY re-walling.

Instead of dealing with all the mess and high blood pressure caused by drywall, consider these 20 best drywall alternatives for your room. These ideas are sure to give your room personality and style.

You can use these drywall alternatives for your entire room or just one wall to create an accent piece, or you can show your true creative side and combine multiple options.

#1. Wood Planks

Nothing adds character or warms up a room with a touch of rustic like using wood planks. Personally, I think any room looks better with a single accent wall made of reclaimed wood.

You can choose from different types of wood so you can create a unique showpiece. Some people choose to stain their wood or sand the planks down to their natural color. I’m partial to aged, colored wood from old buildings formed into a decorative wall.

Wood planks can be an easy to install alternative to drywall. You can use tongue and groove wood that locks together or other securing methods such as nails or glue. And wood planks can go on top of wood or metal, so it’s very versatile.

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Image credit to Houzz.

#2. Plastic Panels

Plastic panels make it easy to create a wall with funky textures, colors, or designs while being easy to clean and stain-resistant.

These panels contain fiberglass, making them durable to damage and resistant to water, so you don’t have to worry about mold.

Many people use plastic panels in high-moisture, humid rooms like the bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. You can install these panels directly over the top of the studs.

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#3. Plywood

Plywood is a useful interior or exterior alternative to sheetrock. Plywood can be made of different wood types, pressed together into layers, and glued into a rigid sheet.

The most common type of plywood is OSB, which is oriented strand board. Particleboard is another type of plywood.

These materials often cost less than sheetrock, and they can be clear-coated, painted, or left in its original state. Plywood doesn’t have a smooth finish, so it does cause a rustic, textured look.

An insider tip from someone who’s used plywood for walls, bored children, or aggressive dogs can cause the plywood to peel and splinter. You should apply a water-protectant for exterior use. Otherwise, the wood will rot and mold.

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Image credit to Houzz.

#4. Sheet Wood

Sheet wood is an inexpensive building material that you can use as a drywall alternative. You could use multiple types of sheet wood, including plywood, MDF (medium-density fibreboard), and veneered MDF.

Hanging MDF on your walls is a great way to save money while getting an interesting look. Once hung, MDF can be painted in any color.

Medium-density fibreboard is durable and less likely to chip. But it does absorb a lot of moisture, so you wouldn’t want to use it in humid rooms like the bathroom or laundry room.

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Image credit to Houzz.

#5. Veneer Plaster

If you already have sheetrock walls, you can give them more durability by applying a veneer plaster coat over the top. This plaster hardens into a protective coating for your walls.

The plaster dries fast after application and looks great when painted. Your walls can withstand dings and hits better than sheetrock, but it’s still prone to damage.

You can repair damaged areas by patching new plaster over the areas. Patching sheetrock is a much more complicated process.

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Image credit to Houzz.

#6. Pegboard

Pegboard gives your walls a unique look that’s sure to get the conversation started. This material used to be found in garages and sheds. But now, it’s being used as a cheaper option than sheetrock.

Pegboard got its name due to the many tiny holes pressed into the wood. These holes make it easy to organize your rooms with hooks or hang decorative pieces.

It’s unlikely that you’d want to use pegboard material for your entire room, but it makes a great accent wall. It would also make an excellent option for a wall in craft rooms or organize your mud or laundry room.

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Image credit to Houzz.

#7. Corkboard

Corkboard is another drywall alternative that can give your walls a unique, textured look. This material is often used in schools, churches, or offices where you want to pin items up.

You can get cork board panels to construct a wall in different thicknesses, hues, and styles for a personalized look to meet your style choices.

If you want to make it easier to organize your room or hang decorations, consider a cork board accent wall. It can give your room a new personality.

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Image credit to Houzz.

#8. Lath and Plaster

Another alternative to drywall that can bring life to your room is a process called lath and plaster. This style is not ideal for DIY. It’s a time-consuming process that often takes multiple applications to get the final look.

To do a lath and plaster wall, you run wood slats horizontally along your studs to create the lath, forming your structure. Then you apply gypsum plaster to the wood slats, filling in all empty gaps of the crevices.

The plaster acts as a bonding agent, referred to as a key. Another layer of plaster is coated over the whole surface of the wall. You often have to apply more plaster into various areas to get the final look you want.

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#9. Wahoo Walls

If you’re remodeling a basement, you will need to find a drywall alternative. Basements are prone to moisture, mold, and mildew, which can damage drywall.

A great product to use for basement walls is premade panels by Wahoo Walls. These boards are resistant to mildew and mold, making them ideal for damp underground areas that are hard to ventilate and keep dry.

You can install Wahoo Walls yourself in a simple DIY process. These panels are easy to cut and paint. You hand them using L-shaped steel brackets that already have grooves made for wiring and cables.  

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#10. Textured Wall Panels

If you want to give your walls a 3D textured look, you can substitute drywall for textured wall panels. Many people use textured pieces for backsplashes in the kitchen and bathrooms or to surface fireplaces.

Textured walls can also create a unique accent wall to transform your room’s appearance. Textures are more expensive than drywall. Many of these panels can be applied directly over top of existing wall surfaces.

Textured panels are usually easy to install by DIY methods and in a short process. You can get these textured walls in varying thicknesses from ¾” to 1.5.”

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Image credit to Houzz.

#11. Basement Wall Finishing Systems

When you’re completing a basement, you need to use the appropriate materials to protect your area from moisture and water.

Materials such as MDF moldings, wood, and drywall do not stand up well against water. You can end up with mold, mildew, and rot.

It’s best to use a basement wall finishing system consisting of all the pieces you need to finish your basement. Multiple companies offer these kits.

These kits contain multiple pieces, including moisture-proof ceiling panels, waterproof walls, water-resistant underflooring, and mold-proof PVC moldings.

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#12. Exposed Brick and Masonry

Many people love the old-timey feel of exposed brick. Some older homes have a brick structure that has been covered up with plaster or sheetrock. But you can also install new brick to get the antique, rustic look.

Bricks are traditionally thought of in kitchens and around fireplaces. But they also make great accent walls to tie your room’s design together.

You can get bricks in various shapes, colors, and sizes. And you can use multiple masonry techniques to create a unique look.

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Image credit to Houzz.

#13. Cement Board

Suppose you want a drywall alternative that offers more strength, durability, and resistance to moisture and mold. In that case, you may want to consider the aesthetic appeal of cement boards.

This option is pricier than drywall, but they will outlast other materials and get less damage. You can get cement board panels in various sizes, designs, and colors.

You can use cement boards as a single-piece design feature, an accent wall, or to cover all the walls in a room. It’s an excellent choice for rooms with high moisture, such as kitchens, bathrooms, basements, or laundry rooms.

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#14. Lath with Woodchip-Clay

Another way to create a lath wall is by bonding it with woodchip-clay. Woodchip-clay is when wood chips are coated with clay and packed into the lath wood crevices to form a permanent seal.

Woodchip-clay can provide insulation and helps regulate the room’s temperature, saving you money in heating and cooling. You add the clay into the wall behind the lath and then add a layer over the top of the lath to fill in all the cracks and create a solid wall.

Assembling a lath wall with woodchip-clay is a tedious process that requires an expert if you want it done correctly. Attempting to DIY a woodchip-clay and lath wall may not produce the desired results.

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#15. Fiberglass Reinforced Panels

Fiberglass reinforced panels (FRP) are virtually indestructible wall panels made of polyester resins strengthened with fiberglass. These panels can be used for walls or ceilings.

You can hang these thin, strong panels over the top of most solid services, including concrete, wood, and drywall.

The benefits of FPR are that these panels are inexpensive, easy to install and clean, and they’re resistant to scratching, water, mold, impact, shattering, and chemicals.

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#16. Fiberglass Mat Gypsum Panels

Fiberglass mat gypsum panels are panels made of a gypsum interior protected by fiberglass mats. These panels are ideal for high humidity rooms, as it’s mold resistant.

You can install fiberglass mat gypsum panels in bathrooms, basements, and kitchens as walls, floors, or ceiling coverings. Installation is a simple process of mounting to your surfaces using nails or screws. And it can attach to wood or metal framing as well as other surfaces.

Painting these panels can be tricky, as the surface of the fiberglass isn’t smooth. You may need four coats or more to get a slick surface. You shouldn’t use gloss finishes or dark colors.

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#17. Exposed Concrete Block

If you like a modern industrial look, you could choose to use exposed concrete blocks as your wall instead of covering the blocks with drywall or other materials.

Concrete is a strong, durable material resistant to water, mold, damage, and deterioration. This material lasts a long time and is almost indestructible.

You can even paint concrete blocks for a more pleasing aesthetic to match your interior design. But you will have a textured surface.

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#18. Corrugated Metal

An interior design trend that has come to light in the last few years uses corrugated metal panels to bring life to your room.

Creating an accent wall or replacing all of your drywall with corrugated tin sheets will give your room a rustic or antique appearance.

For a great statement piece, without becoming tacky, use tin panels to cover your ceiling and put shiplap on your walls. Or you could layer tin panels around your kitchen island or create a feature wall. You can choose a shiny new tin or aged rusted tin.

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#19. Vinyl Siding

Vinyl comes in various styles that can make an appealing choice for interior walls. We’ve often used wood siding to spruce up the kid’s playhouses, game rooms, and bars for an easy rustic feel.

Look for vinyl siding that’s tongue and groove, which is usually cedar or pine. Tongue and groove siding is easy to install over your walls and simply snaps together.

You can purchase wood siding that’s already colored. Or you can stain or paint your wood siding to make it fit your interior color palette. I love the look of white wood siding in the dining room or kitchen to get a farmhouse look.

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#20. Everlast Wall Panels

Everlast wall panels are an easy solution for finishing your basement. These panels consist of 2 ½” of high-density Silver-Glo foam insulation, covered by a ½” cement board, and topped with an exterior vinyl panel. There’s often a decorative design to provide a better aesthetic.

These walls can support up to 300 pounds, providing exceptional support without damage. And you don’t need to secure these panels to metal or wood framework or to studs. It’s an excellent option for basements you haven’t framed up but want to finish.

Another great thing about Everlast panels is they are thickly insulated for warmth and help block sound from escaping your basement. Plus, it’s Class 1 Fire Rated.

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Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed our collection of the 20 best drywall alternatives to help bring life to your room. Drywall can be a pain to install, and it leaves behind a mess that can take days to completely clean. Plus, drywall doesn’t hold up well to rambunctious children, impacts, pets, or water. The 20 drywall alternatives we’ve provided will help you create a unique, personalized style.