How to Update Wood Paneling Without a Hassle

Wood paneling can look dated or even cheap, but with these DIY tips, you can make it look great.

By Jeremy Meisenbacher

 

Many homeowners are faced with a potentially daunting question when considering home improvements: How to update wood paneling?

 

One of the obvious answers is to replace the paneling with drywall and start fresh with an entirely new wall, but this process can be expensive and intrusive to your home. In this article, we’ll examine some aesthetic fixes for wood paneling makeovers. These home improvement tips can help you with wood paneling updates without breaking the bank or requiring a professional.

 

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1. Use Primer for Optimal Results

One of the most popular interior design methods for wood paneling makeovers is to simply paint over the wall. Within this decision there are some different choices that can have markedly different outcomes. These home improvement tips can help get you on the right track. 

 

First off, if you’re going to paint over the paneling, you must prime it first. Many home improvement stores will offer a plain primer that you can apply directly to the paneling. Lighter-colored wood will only require one coat, but darker colors may require multiple coats of primer.

 

It’s is important to prime the walls. If you don’t, the finishing color you’ve chosen may end up looking completely different than how you thought it would.

 

Primer will also help the paint completely cover the wood and properly adhere to the surface. The color of paint you choose to apply over the primer is entirely up to you. But understand that if your wood paneling is a light color and the paint you choose is dark, or vice versa, the atmosphere of the room can be dramatically altered. 

 

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2. Mind the Gaps

Another option is to fill in the gaps between the paneling with caulk or spackling paste. This may be a bit more challenging than simply painting over the wood, but it’s still firmly within the bounds of a DIY wood paneling makeover.

 

Most home owners that have wood paneling understand that between the panels there are shallow line gaps that span the height of the wall. Using a caulking gun or a spackling tool, it’s possible to fill in these gaps before you prime the walls. You must then let the material dry. It will then be necessary to do some light sanding to smooth the surface before applying primer. This can help hide the fact that the wall was ever wood paneling in the first place.  

 

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Photo by shutterstock

 

3. Affect an Accent

There are other interior design ideas to update wood paneling that don’t require the work that painting the wall entails. Homeowners can simply add art or curtain accents to the space. 

 

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You can also place a large shelf against a wall and decorate around it. With a little creativity, and an afternoon at your local flea market, you can change the atmosphere of the room and hide large sections of the wood.

 

A few nails and screws can go a long way, but be careful when puncturing wood paneling. Always make sure to secure hanging items to a support beam. This is another way to put a completely personal touch on your home.

 

One more consideration is to add a texture to the wall. Wood paneling is smooth, but painted walls can have textures added to them. Adding texture can be a simple procedure, but proper research beforehand is essential.

 

Wood paneling can look dated or even cheap, but with these wood paneling ideas, you can easily perform a DIY upgrade on your wood paneling.

 

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