Paneling Paneling Paneling
Julie Dail
January 24, 2014 in Design Dilemma
We just bought a family owned home on Lake Norman... We got a great deal, but it was still more than what we would normally do. The property is beautiful so it will all be worth it in the end.

The living room is filled with solid wood paneling. What can I do to lighten things up and give it a more contemporary feel?
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MarleneM
Since you have the blue already, I would whitewash the panelling to give a beachy look.
January 24, 2014 at 11:20am     
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The Frugal Parisian
I agree with Marlene. You could also dilute some off white paint with water and brush it on the brick just to soften things.
January 24, 2014 at 11:25am     
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Evansa Designs, LLC
I would paint it a golden tan color that would look nice next to the rust colored brick and brighten it up for little money. If you try to take it down, there could be costly wall repair and texture. Good Luck!
January 24, 2014 at 11:28am     
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Julie Dail
Marlene- I really like the photos you included. Is this a project that I could tackle myself? Or should I hire a professional painter? And as you can see, new lighting will be needed too!
January 24, 2014 at 11:48am     
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decoenthusiaste
Painting paneling is dependent on proper preparation. You need to clean it with TSP (tri-sodium phosphate,) rinse, let dry, lightly sand, tack off sanding dust, prime with 2 coats KILZ or other, paint 2 coats of paint. Usually you'll have to do all but the last two steps yourself as most painters, just paint and don't do the prep work.
January 24, 2014 at 11:59am     
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chrisinky
I'm not sure you can white wash that kind of paneling since its not the "real" wood kind. It definitely will need a primer first. I lived in a house with painted paneling a few years ago, but I wasn't the first one to paint it. It looked much better than it would have not painted. Painting it will definitely lighten up the room & make the brick look great. I would use a soft white or white with a twinge of gray, but not actually full gray.

I love the balcony, stairs, shelving area. Keep adding the blue accents. Your space has great potential!
January 24, 2014 at 12:21pm     
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Duxborough Designs
Cover the paneling with textured wall paper like grass cloth. Heavy wallpaper like that will go right over the grooves although you may want to spackle them anyway with joint compound. Paint or replace the railings.
January 24, 2014 at 1:58pm     
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MarleneM
Julie, I believe you could do it yourself. Clean , sand as mentioned above from deco. Prime with a good primer. Then I would paint walls a light grey. When dry wash over walls in some thinned out white paint. (Thinned with water or glaze) use a brush for the last step. You don't want to completely cover the grey. If you get too much paint in one area. Have a dry brush handy to wipe some off. If you have any pieces of wood around, experiment on some to get the feel. Anyway, It's not supposed to be a perfect finish.
There may be other ways to achieve this look, maybe someone else has better ideas...
Good luck!
January 24, 2014 at 3:52pm     
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karelina
I have paneling, too, and intend to paint eventually. Behr has a "faux" quick start guide to textured paint and Martha Stewart Living has a brochure I picked up at Home Depot which gives several methods for creating textured walls of various kinds. I haven't tried it yet, but I went to a how to class and the instructor thought the textured painted walls would minimize the vertical lines in the wood. If you try it, please let us know how it goes.
January 24, 2014 at 11:19pm     
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Julie Dail
Duxborough, this is a very interesting idea. Do you have any photos of a project that has been done like this? Sound intimidating to me.
January 25, 2014 at 9:10am     
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edithsmom
Julie, as someone who installed panelling in a room in the 70's, and painted it in the 80's and 90's, I suggest you paint the panelling. I never sanded after washing down with TSP, and the paint adhered well after two Zinsser coats. If you can't afford to hire someone to paint it all, maybe you could do the prep work and hire someone to paint the downstairs. You can paint the upstairs rooms as you have time.
January 25, 2014 at 11:52am     
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Julie Dail
I love the photo posted above but I also love this look minus the animal heads. :) I love his whole "lake house" project! Do you think I could get this type of look with what I have to work with?
January 25, 2014 at 1:12pm     
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PRO
Design Details
I think chrisinky is right. If that were solid wood paneling it wouldn't have a break at the 8 ft. mark. If it's just 1/4" paneling try pulling it off.
January 25, 2014 at 1:36pm   
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Cynthia Farnsworth
Hey, all that paneling is there, why knock it? Yes, it is cheap, but use it to keep the room warm.

Think how clever you could be:

Consider:
Leave the paneling (way too much work to start removing),
Paint wash the brick (much easier),
slipcover the dark couch into light, or through kantha cloth
and continue with your big blocks of white,
like your curtains and table.
Add a white hide rug
and get some really large white frames for the wall, or blue.

Consider:
Painting that angled ceiling wall (rust or taupe)
and that will help the paneling blend
And paint brick same color
Ya know how much people like orange hues with blue

Search houzz for paneled rooms and you may feel inspired to live with it for a while before you rip it out when you do a renovation.

Consider:
Shelves that go all the way across the room, then lean large frames (cool gallery style)
January 25, 2014 at 1:41pm        Thanked by Julie Dail
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Cynthia Farnsworth
January 25, 2014 at 1:44pm      Thanked by Julie Dail
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Julie Dail
Yes, it is 1/4 inch paneling. It was installed when the house was built in the late 70's… have no idea what the condition of the walls are underneath. My husband would LOVE to rip it all off but we have too many priorities on our budget right now- like an addition (garage and upper room), and updating the kitchen and bathrooms.

Polkadotcity- I love how positive you are! You offered up some great ideas.
January 25, 2014 at 1:57pm   
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Julie Dail
Polka- I like this image. Maybe if I painted SOME of the walls I could leave some of the natural look once I add some lighter accents.
January 25, 2014 at 1:59pm   
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Cynthia Farnsworth
Painted brick is still kind of seventies looking. And you will still want to upgrade it.

If you add stone over that brick, and end up with a fire place of your dreams, then you can build the room around that.
January 25, 2014 at 2:10pm     
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Julie Dail
The fireplace actually needs some major work. There is a crack down the center and apparently it never pulled well. So we will be doing some extensive work on it at some point.
January 25, 2014 at 2:15pm   
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Hyde Evans Design
If you are willing to do a lot of work, strip, beach and stain the paneling driftwood grey. Or, and this would be much easier, paint it white.
January 26, 2014 at 9:04pm      Thanked by Julie Dail
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Julie Dail
Hyde Evans- I love your idea, however, I have three young children so I would be worried about all the chemicals. And yes, finding time to do it. I think I am going to paint. Now I just need to find the right color. I love the Beach pictures above with the blue accents but I am going for a "Lake House" look. The starch white is a little overwhelming to me… I need something calming and warm but also sharp.
January 27, 2014 at 7:30am   
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soberg
You can use paint/stain treatments to achieve a weathered driftwood look without stripping. Any decent house painter should know how. Weathering or painting it will look fabulous. I'd leave the FP alone until you can fix it, and then reface it with limestone, river rock, slate, or something other than brick.
January 27, 2014 at 7:39am   
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Kathleen Jamison
Way to much work. Try some easy steps first. White wash the brick fireplace . Paint the stair railings black like the picture you liked. Brighten up under the stairs. Give the furniture more punch of strong color, graphics. Then if you can't live with it gets some help. Cuz this is a lot of paneling.
January 27, 2014 at 7:42am   
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Kathleen Jamison
White washing the fireplace only takes a day. You can rebuild and or add stone, when budget allows. From the pictures this is the fake wood paneling and not the real wood that can be stripped.
January 27, 2014 at 7:45am   
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chrisinky
More ideas. If you need to optimize sleeping space, there's a couple of ideas for bunk beds too.

If you don't want white, but you do want light, go for a pale gray, blue, taupe or green. There's so many colors you can use in a pale shade that would lighten your space up. Go pick up some color cards from a paint store & try to envision what they would look like. While you are thinking about color, you could go ahead and prime the walls. Warning-you will probably think the primer looks awful as you are putting it on. It looks much better after another coat of primer or paint!

House on Lake Wequaquet
Idea Cottage in the Hamptons
Tiny House 1
Tiny House 2
Informal Dining
Lake Houses
Seda Deck
Lake House
January 27, 2014 at 8:22am     
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chrisinky
Also, paint your trim white as you go. It will really make whatever color you choose pop.
January 27, 2014 at 8:24am     
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MarleneM
Julie, I would go with the lake house look you like by painting the panelling tan/beige colour and railing black. If this is just a temp facelift for the room while you are working on other areas of home I would leave FP as is. Painting panelling can have its own challenges too, like getting the paint in the grooves. And if it is a temp facelift, I would consider the TSP wash, and then using a paint/primer in one paint for the panelling, but using the separate primer/paint for the railing.
January 27, 2014 at 9:22am     
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JudyG Designs
I would rip it off. It is not authentic, probably from the 60’s/70’s. The wall are probably fine underneath.
January 27, 2014 at 9:24am     
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Kathleen Jamison
JudyJ , the paneling does look 60s 70s but typically there is no wall behind just study's. Sheetrock etc would be expensive for home owner who said budget tight. But ideally you are right to tear out panelling.
January 27, 2014 at 9:29am     
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soberg
Far better to paint the plywood paneling than to tear it out. Although it is not precious or special, painting is a quick and easy job, whereas patching whatever you may have after ripping off the paneling as a bigger, messier job.
January 27, 2014 at 5:07pm     
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JudyG Designs
This is not tongue and groove paneling which looks great when painted. I still suggest you pry off a panel and see what is under it. Many of us covered up perfectly good walls because that paneling was “the look”. It is worth the peek.
January 28, 2014 at 4:56pm     
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Julie Dail
So very excited! Look what we found under our paneling!
May 16, 2014 at 8:10am     
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Julie Dail
Now I'm in search of a great color scheme!
May 16, 2014 at 8:11am   
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chrisinky
That's awesome! Congrats on the real walls. You now have a blank palette. Create or go to an idea book you've already created on here & see what speaks to you. Search for lake house pictures. Please keep us updated on your decisions.
May 16, 2014 at 1:00pm     
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karelina
Sounds exciting! What did you find? A door? An intact wall?
May 16, 2014 at 3:20pm   
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MarleneM
Great find Julie. I bet you are sure glad you didn't just paint over the panelling! Before recommending or deciding on paint colours, remove all paneling and prime. Then take some more pictures, including any furniture you are keeping in the room. This would give everybody a better sense of the light coming into the space. The lake house inspiration pic you previously showed has a lot of windows and also skylights, so might not look the same.
May 16, 2014 at 6:05pm     
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Julie Dail
Marlene... You are amazing! I will keep posting pictures. Getting windows installed this week to bring in more light! I am so crazy excited.
May 17, 2014 at 10:50am   
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Julie Dail
Karelina, I found perfect walls... And there wasn't even any glue on the paneling. Tapped and mudded and ready to go! We are on a tight budget and trying to do a lot of the work.
May 17, 2014 at 10:54am   
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MarleneM
Julie, thanks for your comment. New windows and removing paneling will make such a difference. I'm happy for you!
May 17, 2014 at 11:34am   
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Julie Dail
New windows!
May 17, 2014 at 2:48pm     
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MarleneM
Julie, Wow, what a difference already! And it looks like you have a wonderful view!
May 18, 2014 at 10:31pm     
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Cynthia Farnsworth
Great job. The windows are brilliant.
May 19, 2014 at 7:59am     
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