Wood paneling is not a new decorating concept–it has been around for decades. Easy to install and low cost, it grew in popularity and remained a top decorative choice from the 1950s through the 1970s. Chances are that at some point in time, you have stepped foot in a home that has wood paneling on its walls. Some people have wood paneling in every room, while others choose to tastefully or install . The options are endless.

While wood paneling might have lost its appeal over the years, like most trends, it is slowly cycling its way back into the scene. Some homeowners have chosen to bring life to their dated wood paneling by painting over it. Others, including developers and new home builders, have started to opt for for the added aesthetic value it brings to a home.

There are also homeowners and developers who do not want to modify the pre-existing wood paneling in their homes. Even though painting is a great way to add life to wood panels, the results are permanent. This presents a dilemma if they don’t want to make changes that can’t be updated in the future, so they think they have to stick with what’s already there.

This might be news to some, but there are indeed ways to decorate wood paneling without painting.

Choose Similar Colors

The color of wood paneling is not as limiting as some might think. Some people look at wood paneling and believe they are stuck in a dimly lit and eye-straining room—but it doesn’t have to be this way.

The key is to treat wood paneling like it is an added decorative item. It doesn’t have to be like using one color on a canvas; you have the ability to amplify the beauty of wood paneling by opting for similar colors for the rest of the room.

There is a sense of warmth that comes with a room consisting of similar colors. The consistency of picking furniture and decorative pieces in line with the wood paneling creates a space that feels inviting, open, and cohesive.

If you have wood paneling in a dining room, find a dining table or a rug in the same color palette to bring warmth to the overall room. If you are limited by budget and cannot replace the furniture in the room, find decorative pieces that complement the wood paneling. Warm-colored vases, plants, candle holders, placemats, and pillows are all possible solutions.

Lighting Is Your Friend

Lighting can make or break a room. Perhaps this is a slight exaggeration, but needless to say, the right lighting can make a space in a home all the better–this is why people choose certain shades of paint colors and why there are so many different types of light bulbs.

Given that the colors of wood paneling lean toward the cooler side, the key is to hone in on warm lighting. This will add a nice touch to the dark colors of a wood panel. The oranges and reds found in warm light bulbs will help create a warm atmosphere.

Picture a mountain cabin–most have wood paneling, and yet always look so comfortable, homey, and inviting. The trick to achieving this ambiance? Proper warm lighting.

Decorate Wood Paneling

If you cannot paint over wood paneling, decorate it. Use it as an opportunity to hang some of your favorite artwork or memories. The added bonus of finding the right color frames will complement the wood paneling wonderfully.

Paneling also presents you with the opportunity to choose paintings and pictures that consist of warm colors. Remember, the goal is to create an inviting space.

Focus on Another Object

Another effortless way to shift attention away from the wood paneling is to create something that draws attention. Think of placing an accent chair in the corner and building a bookshelf behind it; the key is highlighting a specific object in the room that instantly draws eyes away from the wood paneling.

Another example could be a window with interesting decorative treatments. The right draperies can create the same effect, as can the perfect coffee table centerpiece.