Need ideas to update/modernize my cedar walls
msdunco
February 1, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We have cedar walls in our living room. I HATE them. They are outdated, dark, make the room feel closed in even with windows on every wall. I can't stand walking into the room seeing the dark wood - and this happens to be the room we are in about 90% of the time. Problem: My husband "likes" these walls - i have no idea why. I'm assuming he feels its a cabinish feel. The picture below is a wall that was taken out during a previous remodel project but it is the same wood. So I am looking for a compromise or a way to update the walls without taking them out.
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Darzy
White wash all the walls, then leave the ceiling. That's a nice compromise.
February 1, 2013 at 8:09PM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Darzy
Show your husband this picture of white washed walls. It looks very pretty. :)

February 1, 2013 at 8:12PM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
msdunco
Darzy - love that photo. The fireplace is even very similar to ours, and the floor color.
February 1, 2013 at 8:15PM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Elise Shearer
Plus it is very durable with children.
August 30, 2013 at 3:22PM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Cathy McComb
Put up lots of pictures that are mostly white and mirrors. Also add window if you can. I lived twenty four years in a cedar house painting them only makes things worse. If you really need them gone tell your husband they are HIGHLY flammable.
August 30, 2013 at 7:16PM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
midrashist
or see if hubby would sand them, and stain with a whitish stain or even a bleach that still let grain show thru a softer peachier color instead of that yellowy red look.. (I'm not really serious about suggesting so much work, but i hate totally painting over wood, unless sometimes if it's pine or oak.) a very matt or satin finish would look much better. Making a knee wall wouldn't work would it? that way you'd have some of both. I know it wouldn't be very traditional, but....
August 30, 2013 at 7:24PM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
lucindalane
Perhaps your husband would agree to sheetrock over one wall as an accent wall to try and brighten things up. I don't know what your furnishing are, of course, in terms of color, etc., but hopefully you could find some lighter shade that would coordinate with the other things in the room-if they are things you already have.
August 30, 2013 at 7:39PM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Sustainable Dwellings
Does he wear a long beard and play on Duck Dynasty? You can milk wash those walls or sheetrock.
August 30, 2013 at 8:30PM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
lefty47
HI -- This is so typical of the husband liking the paneling . You have to check all the old electrical so get rid of all that old fire hazard wood and start fresh with some new drywall walls . He will like the new walls and forget all about that crapy old ugly wood. Don't even bother wasting paint on it -- it's not worth it !
August 30, 2013 at 8:44PM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
libradesigneye
If you use a pale tan or dark white / ecru paint, and cut it by 1/2 water then the grain will read through. The cedar will gather some beautiful gray areas and some pale cream light. It will still satisfy him because it will still look like wood grain and it will satisfy you because it will lighten the entire room up about 3 x! Don't go to drywall - cedar is amazing and it is a terrific compromise.
August 30, 2013 at 9:20PM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
motownmom
What is it with men and not wanting to paint wood or paneling? I had the same issue with my ex (not the reason he is an ex though, LOL). We had very dark lower wood paneling/wainscoting. I couldn't paint until he left, and now it looks richer and more cottagey, a look I love.

The room will feel dark and dreary and you will hate it as long as you have it as it is. I just did a search on Houzz for "white washed wood" and all these pictures came up:
http://www.houzz.com/white-washed-wood

Page through them all and find the ones that look the most like your cottage, in addition to the one provided by Darzy above.

Good luck.
August 31, 2013 at 5:34AM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Dennis Hartford
Another possible opt ion is to use the cedar as a wainscotting, drywall on top separated by a nice chair rail. BTW...I hope you are not going to sit there and let these people make fun of your husband!
August 31, 2013 at 5:52AM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
lefty47
HI -- Another option for the wood that will keep the husband happy and you too. Remove all the cedar then check the electric etc. then drywall .... then re - use the cedar boards - applied on the lineal as a feature wall . This is an updated look and a better use of materials - the cedar could be prepped to be slightly white washed if you wish . Do you think this will work for both of you ? Sorry Dennis - but I hate wainscoting -- it's old fashioned and cuts the room in half and it's done to much in basements .
August 31, 2013 at 8:08AM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
apple_pie_order
Do you have somewhere that you could move the cedar boards to? His office, for example, or a spare bedroom? Sometimes people can be persuaded to get rid of "valuable things" if they are going to be recycled, such as at a Habitat for Humanity store.
August 31, 2013 at 8:23AM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
BLDG Workshop
I would also suggest a whitewash. We did a project with Sarah Richardson (Sarah's Cottage on HGTV) a few years back and she whitewashed everything. Not only did it give the cottage a bright, cheery and airy feeling, but it still allows the woodgrain to be alive as part of the overall design scheme.
August 31, 2013 at 10:39AM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
klsbernard
If you just paint the ceiling or like the others said white wash the ceiling it might brighten the room, also try bringing in lots of types of lighting. Your furniture choices could also be a contrast to the heavy feeling the walls. Cedar walls are beautiful, I can see why he loves them.
August 31, 2013 at 7:50PM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Lynne Mysliwiec
They're not making fun of him, Dennis, we decorator chicks are just commenting (with affection) on the fact that the rustic cabin look tends to be hooked deeply into some male DNA. My dad (an architect) is an exception, but there are PLENTY of guys out there who pine for knotty pine.

When both spouses love the rustic cabin look, it's a match made in heaven. Ditto if one spouse cares about the decor and the other is neutral or just thrilled to watch their spouse happily decorate (note that the decorator could be male or female, or the couple, for that matter). It is when the two spouses both have opinions that the negotiations begin. I don't think that anyone is making fun of her husband -- instead, I see a lot of ideas that are attempting a compromise to make both people happy.

I have a bunch of espresso-stained knotty pine wide plank boards in my garage right now. They completely lined the ceiling and a couple of the walls of my den. I couldn't bear to throw it away, but I needed my den not to be a dark cave. I was the only one making the decisions, but I didn't want to paint it, and I couldn't throw it away. Hmmmm...I have a closet framed in the basement that has no walls yet...maybe THAT should form the walls. :-)
September 1, 2013 at 5:59AM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
libradesigneye
You have reclaimed wood and you don't know it - wash it with brown-gray paint watered back. sw dovetail, bm racoon hollow, use it on a focal wall lightened up instead of in a closet / unless the recess becomes a desk /office /highlight.
September 1, 2013 at 2:55PM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Lisa Nelson
My husband wants to keep the knotty pine on the ceilings of our attic room.
It looks like a pirate ship!
I say paint it. If he really pines for it (pun intended) then he will have to strip it back.
Most likely he will sulk for a bit and then reluctantly agree you made the right choice. (Not to your face, but in his heart)
Jump ship! I will if you will.
September 1, 2013 at 3:34PM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
kgbcolor
Nice Compromise from a professional.
Scrape a wire brush on the walls to open up the grain (not too much pressure) in direction of wood grain. Vacuum off all dust.
Brush on a glaze in vertical direction onto several boards at a time. Lightly rub off with a clean, damp painter's rag to increase the visual texture of the glaze. Glaze will settle into pores & seams of wood.
(Glaze: choose any subtle color that's just lighter than the wood tone. Perhaps choose a color that is found in the adjacent rooms. Mix 2/5 latex paint, 2/5 Golden Acrylic Glazing Liquid and 1/5 Golden Acrylic Varnish & add Golden Fluid Extender (to keep glazing medium from drying too quickly). Use Satin glazing medium & varnish if you want a bit of sheen, or flat if you want less sheen. Walls will dry in a few hours.
Steel brushing and varnish will make walls more washable & durable.

Glazing medium: http://www.utrechtart.com/Golden-Acrylic-Glazing-Liquid--Satin--Pint-MP-00628-047-i1003726.utrecht?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cse&utm_term=68746&gclid=CPDMzrijr7kCFc4-MgodxygAXw
September 3, 2013 at 5:56AM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
annjennifer
Dennis - most husbands don't like change! (At all) Sometimes it's hard...really hard and someone is always compromising. (The wife!). Some husbands are great and go with the flow. (Happiness!) I agree with Darzy. That picture is fabulous. The room looks so beautiful! The difference between having a dark dingy oppressive outdated space - to having fresh, bright VERY uplifting space. Beautiful. Maybe your husband could have it in his office/den. If I had to live in a dark space I would wilt!
September 4, 2013 at 1:30AM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
vtaloni
We have a small lake cottage in NH that has knotty pine paneling in the living room. It was soooo dark and I needed an inexpensive way of changing it. As many have suggested here, I white-washed it (several years ago) and still love the look. In fact, I like it so much that when we added on a 3-season porch, we used a wainscoating paneling on the walls and the cathedral ceiling...and I whitewashed it.
September 4, 2013 at 3:24AM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Rigaud crea
proces name : cérusé
September 4, 2013 at 3:42AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
iluvdiy
In our bedroom for an accent wall behind the bed, I used cedar (just like what we built a deck from) which was first stained a real dark espresso color, then dry-brushed with some taupe flat wall paint that the rest of the bedroom was done in. It mimics weathered barn wood (what wood-loving husband wouldn't love that!?! - mine does!!!). We installed it over 1/4" plywood that was painted black, leaving a slight space between the horizontally-installed boards so it creates a shadow line. I love the suggestion of removing the wood and reinstalling it horizontally to get a fresher look - very "Crate and Barrel retail store". Lastly, find a way to negotiate on this issue so you can get something you want in exchange for something he wants if you just can't compromise (maybe the idea of putting it all in a "man cave" so he can enjoy it all to himself is a good one!) The wall was created to deal with a bedroom with an awkwardly placed window - no one wall suitable for the head of the bed. We merely framed over the window with 2x4's, attached the 1/4" plywood, then the cedar boards. This also permitted running new wiring for wall sconces and dimmer switches right where we wanted them on either side of the bed, plus new outlets. The original window is still there in case we or the next homeowner wants to have it again, and it didn't destroy the symmetry from the exterior (this was a side wall, not directly facing the street). We painted a piece of foam insulation gray and placed it behind the blinds in that window before covering it up. You really can't tell that there is a complete wall blocking the window on the inside. Of course, this provides extra security in the bedroom as well, for any would-be burglars, LOL!
September 4, 2013 at 10:02AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
iluvdiy
One more idea for you - if the cedar must stay, how about covering a lot of the wall areas with very large pieces of art or a collection of smaller pictures/art, or even fabric stretched over frames to lighten up the feeling of the room?
September 4, 2013 at 10:17AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Reclaimed Lumber Products
We are in the "reclaimed" wood biz. So you can imagine, my darling hubby has never met an old board he did not love. It is sacrilegious to consider "painting" natural wood in his mind.

However, we had rough sawn cedar in our downstairs that I just hated. After after 3 years of him fighting me over it I painted it. LOVE IT! no regrets! It was pretty easy to paint too--the whole room is so much lighter. This is not the best pic--but all I could find on the quick--GO for it!
September 4, 2013 at 10:51AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Dawn Taillon
The first picture looks like it was acid washed. I don't know what that entails but I love the look, probably for a professional. I get that desire to change the walls.
September 4, 2013 at 7:43PM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
kimmasterbath
I had cedar walls that were slightly whitewashed. these fade a lot in the sun so I don't recommend it. I live in the mountains so it was a difficult decision...but took down the cedar, sanded off the whitewash and used the wood to make a bar. Great use for the wood! By the way, if you do get rid of it..old, tight grain cedar is expensive...sell it on-line.
September 4, 2013 at 10:07PM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Sustainable Dwellings
I'm not making fun. I've got one of my own.. cowboy crossed with outback man. I think her house should be her domain. Let the men have their caves. You can upgrade the rustic appearance with some compromise. Most of the ideas posted here are a little out of style range for that space.
September 5, 2013 at 2:26AM     
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
ilangelo
Rip off the cedar panels, sand them down and use them to line closets. They're great moth-proofing and smell nice, too. Plaster board over what is left in the living room and paint it the color of your choice.
September 5, 2013 at 4:11AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
suedee
Please take a look at this renovation.
http://photos.al.com/4461/gallery/rooms_with_a_view/index.html#/10

I saw the room before it was renovated and immediately thought of it when reading your question: The wood was, like yours', dark and heavy.Perhaps you could reinstall the wood on the horizontal with a treatment similar to this room--mixing in drywall to break up the visual weight.
September 5, 2013 at 7:09PM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
Dawn Taillon
This is the name of the acid wash. Oxalic Acid. It is a wood bleach.
September 5, 2013 at 11:04PM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
MS Colours Inc
Paint it a neutral color and then do a vertical glaze will be the quickest way to fix your problem. Some of these other solutions are wonderful ideas but extremely costly or time consuming because of the amount of stripping and sanding required before you start to finish the wood.
September 6, 2013 at 4:57AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
PRO
Degnan Design Builders, Inc
Lots of good ideas presented above. I agree with many of them. Here's my 2c of options for you:
1-Paint or whitewash the cedar. Keeps the warm texture, brightens the room, brings more colors. Probably least expensive.
2-Remove it from one or more walls and install drywall. More costly
3-Remove it from all walls and leave ceiling only.
As to the suggestion of making the cedar into a wainscot, check out to see if you already have drywall behind the cedar. Occasionally there is. Good luck there!
abe www.degnandesignbuilders.com
September 6, 2013 at 7:35AM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
jbdivinedesign
We just bought a house on a lake in FL and we loved the look when we came to see the house, the lights were all on! And everyone who has been here for family get togethers (a lot of people LOL) LOVED it but of course ALL the lights are on when we entertain!! HOWEVER living in the cave everyday is horrible!! I NEED LIGHT, CRAVE LIGHT, moved BACK to FL from VT for the SUNLIGHT. We have decided to leave the trim around the perimeter of the dinning & living room walls removing only the battens inside the perimeter and installing drywall over the cedar.The kitchen has cedar wainscot that has already been painted and it is beautiful!! We have decided to paint the den walls as the ceiling in that room is tongue and grove wood sanded smooth with beams and the wood walls actually deter from the beauty of the gorgeous ceiling! We feel by dry walling over the cedar leaves it for a later change back for the next owner 50 years from now and doesn't damage it. The drywall screws will be placed where the battens are removed and the battens will be numbered and stored packed tightly between 1 x 12 boards so they do not twist, cup or warp. We will also leave a description and diagram for the next owner inside a zip-lock bag stapled to the boards for future reference to re-install the battens INCLUDING words of warning about the lack of light and life just in case they wish to go back to the cedar in all it's dark glory!. (OK so that is my training as a Custom Decorator coming out, but it is what I would want someone to do for me!) This also leaves the trim around the walls intact as we are leaving the cedar in the foyer intact due to east facing large windows as well as minimal time spent there!! We have cathedral ceilings and the house at one time had huge french doors onto a large patio but when the sun-room and den were added the house became dark, dark, dark. Beware of falling for a lot of wood when at other homes, ask yourself are all the lights on??? The french doors gave me a false sense of openness that once the lights are off turns to dark and dreary even on the brightest sunny day!! Ask yourself what would this house feel like if it were a normal day at home! This seems to us to be a great compromise and since we are leaving the cedar beneath the drywall we can get away with 1/4 drywall skins which are cheaper,lighter and easier to install. This method will require very very precise edge cuts as no caulk or mud will be used at the edges. I HATE installing drywall but I can not stand the lack of light much more so!! We will do this ourselves BUT we have mad skills. It would be cost effective to have it done just for your sanity's sake!! Life is meant to be lived and all in all it is your home so go for it what ever you decide to do do it and love every minute of it when your done!! As a Custom Decorator for many many years this has been one of the most difficult decisions and to add into the mix we bought the home from friends who live right next door who love the wood but it is now ours and they have encouraged us to make it OUR home, which as a Decorator is the very advise I have given so freely for 20 years! Now I am taking that advise to heart and I hope you will to!!
March 14, 2014 at 9:21PM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
jbdivinedesign
Just a foot note, We are so glad we bought his house!! NO NO NO regrets, God brought us to our perfect last and final home and He knew if there wasn't a least a few projects for us we would have been miserable!! LOL
March 14, 2014 at 9:33PM   
Thank you for reporting this. Undo
jbdivinedesign
Notice the difference between the dining room and kitchen!! Also these picture were taken with a flash in the middle of the day. The view of the foyer is the picture with the white corner cabinet, look at the difference between the wood corner cabinet in the dining room! Paint can make wood stand out and be more beautiful when it contrasts with the natural wood!
March 14, 2014 at 9:38PM   
Sign Up to comment
Related Discussions
Update/Modernize home exterior
Bought a new house about six months ago and after millions...
Need some ideas for art on the walls in my updated bedroom!
In my bedroom, I ripped up the carpet and replaced...
Modern Fireplace Needs Updating / Decorating Ideas
We would like to update our fireplace to flow with...
Need flooring ideas for lake cabin with cedar walls and ceiling
Any ideas as to what type of flooring we should install...
More Discussions
Have I made a huge mistake? Husband comes home in two days!
We just had our bedroom painted (see photographs -...
Before and After.....renovated the exterior of my home, thought I'd sh
Thanks for your input, hopefully I've done it right...too...
Mid Century Ranch - Need exterior color ideas
Looking for exterior color ideas. I am leaning towards...
Zespoke furniture and a soundbar
Hi all. I'm really tempted to buy a Zespoke tv stand....
© 2014 Houzz Inc.
Houzz® The new way to design your home™