The Magic of Paint – For Wood Paneling

June 30, 2011

After: Light and AiryCoastal Living

Are you still stuck in this man’s world?


Do you still have walls or ceilings in your home with wood paneling?


Before: Outdated Living Room

Are you still afraid to paint over?


After: Polished and Modern

Today it is actually very easy to paint over the wood.

Before: Distracting Elements

A fresh coat of white paint ( and a downsized fireplace):

After: Simplistic View

Pretty amazing what paint can do.

Space-saving Kitchen: Before

Space-saving Kitchen: AfterCoastal Living

So, you decided you like the clean, white surrounding instead of the dreary, dark wood background.  Look how easy the steps are today:

1)  Clean. You MUST clean the paneling well first.  It is not a waste of time, you never know what is layered on that old wood!  TSP is a good product I use that cleans surfaces in preparation for painting.  It removes grease, oil, sooty dirt and prepares painted surfaces for repainting.

Homeowner’s used to want to fill in the cracks of paneling with compound and then sand it down to get that smooth finished wall.  It is a very time consuming job plus it runs the risk of cracking in the future.  My advice is to leave the cracks and wood defects alone!  I would simply paint the paneling for a look of added depth and texture.

2)  Prime.  Another step you can not skip. (that’s right, I know who you are).  The primer is important because it helps to cover the wall’s imperfections, provides a better surface for the paint to stick to and keeps fresh paint from soaking into patched areas.  My top choice for primer is ‘Stix’.


“STIX Bonding Primer A waterborne urethane acrylic bonding primer that strongly bonds to hard, glossy paints and other challenging substrates such as PVC, vinyl, fiberglass, glazed block, tile, pre-coated siding, and galvanized metals. It levels to a smooth film to dramatically improve the topcoat appearance. May be topcoated with latex, alkyd, epoxy, urethane, or lacquer coatings. May be used in interior or exterior applications.” (company ad)

3) Paint.  Which color looks best?  My favorite painted paneling I have seen in homes and decor magazines are white or cream. To help you narrow down your choices be sure to look at the undertones of your flooring.

apartment therapy



Look how beautiful this entry is:

Now do you think it’s time?


It makes the room look so much brighter, cleaner, and full of life.  Don’t you agree?  Comments?

If you would like to see more photos of painted paneling, visit my Pinterest board here.

If you need help updating your home, contact me today!


  1. amazing the change wood paneling paint made….do you sugest any color?or just go white?recently moved to a house from the 60s wood paneling everywhere…it looks to dark for me…

  2. What a difference the paint makes!!! I’m a little bit confused though… You said filling in the gaps and sanding isn’t necessary these days, but in a lot of the pictures you posted I don’t see the lines anymore in the after picture. Is there some other way to get that smooth look?

  3. Would those same products apply to my kitchen cabinets where the door has that piece in the middle that looks like paneling? I think it’s just particle board.

  4. I have rough, dark paneling all in basement of an old home we bought. I’ll try the STIX and to paint it. Also, there is a wall of wallpaper too that I’d like to just paint over. Do you recommend the STIX over the wallpaper too before painting it?

  5. How do you remove paint from knotty pine? I love knotty pine but keep seeing it painted in flipped houses I’m looking to buy.

Leave a Comment

Keep the conversation going! Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.