Wall paneling–a home decorating style that took control of everyone’s imagination in the 1970s. Who can forget it? Almost every home at the time had wood paneling in one way or another, whether it was living room wood paneling or used as a stylistic choice all around the house. If a house lacked wood paneling, homeowners searched for ways to incorporate it in other ways around their homes. It made sense at the time because it was considered aesthetically pleasing, polished, and chic.
Long gone are the days when wood paneling was a must-have in a home. While some new construction nowadays has started to incorporate wood paneling, it’s nowhere near as popular as it was decades ago. If you happen to see a new home that uses wood paneling, odds are it is being done in a modern way. There are now styles of wood paneling that are tasteful, stylish, and even elegant. It might be added to a wall to make a statement but then painted over in grays, blues, or other vibrant hues.
The question is what to do in homes that still have older wood paneling throughout the rooms–we’re talking about the outdated, dark kind of paneling that is desperately in need of a facelift and modernization.
The good news is that there are many tried-and-true methods that can help liven up any wood-paneled room; the bad news is you might need to roll up your sleeves to get the job done, but it is still a manageable do-it-yourself project.
Liven up the dated wood paneling in your home by throwing a fresh layer or two of paint on it. Just keep in mind that once wood panels are painted, the results are permanent. This means you can’t wake up one day and decide you want the walls to go back to the dark color it once was.
If you are aligned with painting, take the opportunity to think through the options before picking up a brush or roller. What kind of tone would you like in the room? Do you want it to be dark or bright? Do you want to play around with colors? What is the overall aesthetic of your furniture and decor? Is there a paint color that would help amplify this?
If you do decide to paint the paneling, be sure to do so correctly. This might entail reserving some time for the lengthier process of spackling, sanding, and priming before painting.
Wallpaper doesn’t have to only be used in kid rooms and college dorms. Nowadays, there are many exciting patterns and textures to choose from. Take the time to look through an array of wallpapers and consider applying one over the wood paneling.
However, keep in mind that this will entirely remove the look and feel of the paneling. Wallpaper’s purpose is to occlude whatever is under it, so you should only use it if you don’t want to see the wood paneling at all anymore.
Think of this as an easy fix–it doesn’t require a lot of labor and yields results rather quickly. Of course, it is important to have the proper measurements and it should be noted that the thicker the wallpaper, the better. Wood paneling is not always a perfect surface so if the wallpaper is thin, the faults might show right through and potentially indent or rip the wallpaper. This is an instance where quality does matter.
If the thought of painting over wood paneling is not music to your ears, consider removing it altogether. This might be a time-consuming process, but if you are committed to the idea, you will be left with a smooth wall to paint, wallpaper, or decorate however you see fit.
By removing the existing wood paneling, you can give your home a fresh look with a smooth-finished wall.
It’s All in the Furnishings
If the above options are not feasible, there is another remedy that we recommend–choosing the right furnishings and decor for the room with wood paneling.
Modern furniture that matches the color palette of your wood paneling is a great choice to consider, as is the incorporation of statement pieces. Adding a library, a leather couch, or vibrant plants are all options. The same goes for eclectic paintings and artwork–the key here is to shift the focus away from the wood paneling and bring in a livelier vibe.