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7 makeover ideas for your home’s wood paneling

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
American classics in Kiev from Yury Zimenko Design Studio by Design Studio Yuriy Zimenko Classic
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Proper wood paneling can add some super style to a space, but it can also conjure up horrific images of 70s-style décor. Of course ripping out those wood surfaces, especially if they stretch from floor to ceiling, is not impossible, but it does tend to leave a gap in your renovation budget. 

Thankfully, there are various ‘quick-fix’ ways to make the most of your home’s wood-paneled surfaces that don’t require you to rush out and get special tools such as screwdrivers or building materials. And here are 7 of them…

1. Paint them in bright white

Old Montauk Highway House Modern Bedroom by SA-DA Architecture Modern
SA-DA Architecture

Old Montauk Highway House

SA-DA Architecture

A fresh splash of paint really does go a long way, even if you decide on giving your wood paneling a bright new look. Start by applying a good primer to cover all that panel and wood grain, then follow this with a few coats of a vivid white paint. The result can be a much brighter and inviting room with a hint of rustic, cottage-like style. 

2. Whitewash them

Open Plan Kitchen with Sliding Doors in Mid-Way Position Modern Dining Room by Lilian H. Weinreich Architects Modern
Lilian H. Weinreich Architects

Open Plan Kitchen with Sliding Doors in Mid-Way Position

Lilian H. Weinreich Architects

In love with that whitewashed look of your wooden flooring? Wish you could repeat that same look on your walls without losing that wood grain texture you’re so fond of? Water down your paint, then brush on the wood. Immediately wipe, then repeat the process until you get that grain and color just right to complement your existing furnishings and décor. 

3. Transform them into regular walls

American classics in Kiev from Yury Zimenko Design Studio by Design Studio Yuriy Zimenko Classic Wood Wood effect
Design Studio Yuriy Zimenko

American classics in Kiev from Yury Zimenko Design Studio

Design Studio Yuriy Zimenko

A little bit of drywall (easily obtainable from your favorite home-improvement store) can be used to fill in those distinctive cracks and lines of your wood paneling. Follow this up with some sanding, priming, and painting (whatever color you deem most appropriate). 

4. Alter that paneled look

Bedroom Modern Bedroom by malvigajjar Modern Wood Wood effect

Either by painting stripes on them or changing the size / direction / volume of those wooden slats to produce something more unique (like this fabulous headboard). Sometimes it just takes a slight change to alter an entire room. So, if you’ve been looking at those wood grooves the wrong way all these years, maybe see what you can accomplish by painting stripes or lines in the panels, changing the direction of the paneling, or letting it mimic pine, oak, or other popular types of wall paneling. 

5. Hide it under art or architectural features

A lovely Intuo glass kitchen Modern Kitchen by Intuo Modern

A lovely Intuo glass kitchen


Want to instead draw attention away from your wood paneling without altering its look too much? Then add to it! A gallery wall with framed pieces, an oversized mirror, or eye-catching cabinetry can all easily add style and functionality to that particular room without highlighting those paneled surfaces. 

6. Hang some shelves or curtains

Taking its cue from number 5, additional shelving and curtains work on the idea that something constructed in front of your panel wall will help draw the attention away from it. Your best options? Built-in bookshelves or striking window treatment (in eye-catching colors with loud patterns), of course! 

7. Repaint in the same color

Why experiment with other loud (or subtler) colors when you can just reapply the exact same hue for a touch up? Find the color chip closest to your wood paneling and give those surfaces a new coat. We guarantee it’ll make a difference to the entire room and make those panels look more like designer wood panels than anything else!

Next up: 7 design pointers to decorate your dining room

Which of these ideas will you be trying out on your home’s wood paneling?
Modern Houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

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