Everything You Need to Know About Empress Wood Walling

What is Empress Walling? As always, it all starts at the tree. The Empress Tree is a fantastic species that is sought after for its adaptability and sustainability. 

It is also a very versatile source of lumber due to its lightweight nature, great looks, and eco-friendliness. It’s often used as veneer, plywood, to build boxes, furniture, and even for electric guitar bodies, clogs, and carvings. It works well with normal finishing materials, including several stains and a wide variety of glues. 

The Empress tree, also known as Paulownia, Kiri, or princess tree, is one of the fastest-growing trees out there and can even be harvested multiple times if properly taken care of. This makes the Empress Tree one of the few sustainable, renewable sources of timber. 

It’s native to Eastern Asia. It is even considered a sacred tree in Japan, long revered for its fast growth and quality wood. The wood itself is known for decent weathering characteristics, like low shrinkage rates, high rot resistance, and decay resistance. 

Now, let’s get to what you really want to know… How great does it actually look? Empress wood is amazing at taking colors, and we have a variety to show you!

Are There Different Kinds of Empress Walling?

  • The Kodiak Empress Walling is characterized by its rich, golden color with a few darker planks sprinkled in that really makes the whole stand out even brighter. Enjoy this in any room that needs an injection of life and brightness.
  • The Glacier Bay Empress Walling is a beautiful, light white-wash walling option that pairs perfectly well with whatever your room is trying to do. It is the ideal backdrop for paintings, pictures, or anything else that you wish to display. 
    Pro Tip: Combine it in a room with dark floors and see how great they’ll make each other look.
  • Our Portage Empress Walling is at home in a den, man cave, or home office. Set it up and watch it add its rustic appeal to an otherwise lacking room. Bonus points if you have overstuffed leather chairs, packed bookcases, and a mini-bar complete with a variety of bourbons.
  • This Yukon Empress Walling is as awe-inspiring as its namesake would have you believe. A rich, dark stain that is both classy and timeless. Capture the elegant side of your living room or bedroom. It’s not to be underestimated.
  • We saved the best for last. The Bering Empress Walling is the workhorse of the series. Perfect for any room and goes with absolutely anything. This is the go-to if you’re not sure which to put up, but know that your room needs a change. You will not be disappointed.

There you have it! The five new Empress walls that we have to offer. This truly is an impressive species of wood, and its lightweight durability combined with its amazing price makes it one of the best values you’ll find.

Why Choose Empress Wood Walling?

Wood walling can make quite an impact on a room. No longer designated as a past trend from the 1970s, these wall coverings are classic, especially when made from Empress wood. A light-colored and strong wood, Empress wood has quickly become a very modern option when it comes to wooden walling—in fact, it’s the most popular plantation tree in Asia and Australia. 

Want to learn more about Empress wood? Read on as we go into depth and describe everything that you need to know.

The Origins of Empress Wood

Also known as Paulownia wood or royal Paulownia, empress wood comes from the Paulownia tomentosa tree. Native to China, wood from the tree was used to make jewelry boxes and other things for royalty, which is where it received the name “empress wood.”

In modern times, wood from the empress tree is used throughout Asia to make wooden instruments and other small items. It’s also made into paper, as the trunks and branches of the tree can be sliced thin without sacrificing integrity. Over in the United States, the wood is used for building purposes, like wallboards, due to its toughness.

In Japan, it’s called Kiri, but the Paulownia name comes from Queen Anna Pavlovna of Russia. 

Tyloses are common in its growth process, and you should easily be able to see growth rings with a porous look. It’s ring-porous as well and features large pores. These trees are prone to high silica content, so you’ll have to be careful with your cutting tools, and it can have a strong blunting effect. 

The “Aluminum” of Wood

Aluminum is a strong, sturdy metal that’s also very malleable. Empress wood is also incredibly durable, which is why it’s sometimes called the aluminum of wood. It’s also very lightweight, making it easier to move around and handle, and the workability of this wood is highly praised. It’s about one-half the weight of pine and one-third the weight of oak, and yet it is still quite durable. 

It’s also very strong, with one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios of any wood. This is something that you want when you’re looking for wooden wallboards.

Another thing that aluminum and empress wood have in common is the color. Aluminum is naturally silver, a light color. Empress wood in its original state is pale and blond, also light in color. This goes for both the heartwood, which may have a purplish hue, and the pale white sapwood. 

An Environmentally Friendly Option

On top of being strong and lightweight, empress wood is environmentally friendly. Although in some countries, the Paulownia tree is considered an invasive, nuisance species, others purposely grow entire plantations full of the trees so that they can be harvested for their wood. 

Why is it considered to be environmentally friendly? For one thing, the trees grow very quickly, making them easy to replace and keep the growth cycle in place, cleaning the air by taking in carbon dioxide. 

In general, the tree reaches ten feet tall during its first year and can reach maturity at 60 feet in as little as ten years, with a fairly thick diameter. That’s much faster than other forms of timber. It also usually has few to no side branches or deformities, making it good for lumber. 

Plus, it’s good for the soil, as it doesn’t use up a lot of nutrients, therefore not leaving the earth barren like other crops. You can keep replanting Paulownia in the same spot after harvesting the older ones without much difficulty. In addition, the wood’s light weight means that it uses less fuel to transport from one part of the world to another.

What Does Empress Wood Look Like?

Naturally light in color, empress wood can best be described as a pale blond shade of wood. It features a straight grain with an uneven texture, unlike other types of wood that have whorled or circular patterns mixed in. There aren’t a lot of knots either. 

While some would say that it doesn’t have the character of other woods, empress wood is prized for this simplicity as it gives it a look that’s easy to coordinate with other wood grains. It’s sometimes compared with swamp ash and alder. 

Choosing Empress Wood Paneling

Empress wood is a lightweight, long-lasting, environmentally friendly wallboard option. Whether you want to add a texture to the walls of your home, love rustic or traditional design, or simply prefer the look of wood walls over drywall, empress paneling is a great option! 

This pale brown wood can lighten up the walls of your home and turn it into a space worth showing off to your neighbors. Empress wood is definitely an eye-catching option to consider when looking into wood wall panels to make your house a home!


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