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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Paneled walls ...paint or not?

katiehinkelJanuary 4, 2013
About to Reno this room. The walls are real wood paneled and the floors are white tile. The ceilings are 8ft. Should I paint the walls white? I should add there are only 2 small windows in this very large room. Thanks!
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I have paneled walls just like yours, mine are painted white (Dover White, Sherwin Williams in a satin) and I absolutely love them. Fresh and clean makes the room feel larger.
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 5:45PM
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Paula Bannerman Designs
Definitely lighten the walls. It will instantly update the look. The fireplace will then become the focal point and the room will become much brighter. Good luck!
    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 5:47PM
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Thanks for the picture! You reaffirmed what I already knew. Did you paint the walls yourself or have a professional do them? Im guessing you would have to sand them down first like a piece of furniture???
    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 5:49PM
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If it is good wood, I would not paint it.

I would put color on the ceiling. Even though this is knotty pine, I think the tone is similiar. Notice the light green on the ceiling:
3940 Wentwood · More Info

There are a few really attractive and inviting rooms on Houzz with wood paneling like yours:
Mountain Cabin · More Info
Debra Campbell Design · More Info
, and
warmington north · More Info

Can we see more shots of the room?
1 Like    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 5:53PM
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You would need to sand, I'm sure the paneling has a sealer on it. Sand it down to take the shine off then seal with an oil based primer like Kilz. You can then paint with a latex paint on top of that. I used an airless sprayer but you could brush or roll it. Be sure and use a roller for a flat surface. Also you might check in to using an additive that reduces the look of brush strokes like Floetrol.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 6:09PM
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Find a painter who knows how to spay them. You will much happier with the finished product. Be sure to see a previous job that he has done.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 6:12PM
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I always hate when I go into an old home and the trim/brick has been painted over. I would rather take down the nice aged stained trim and replace with something else. That said, it also depends on the condition of the wood. The pictures above have tall ceilings which is why they look good. I would start with the changing flooring (squares and panel squares are too busy) and add can lights or wall sconces to the room to brighten it up to start. Then if it is still dark, try a just a white crown molding. Last resort, paint the wood.
    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 6:20PM
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I would paint the panelling as I love white painted panelling. I like original woodwork too but believe unless the room is extremely bright unpainted wood just makes the room too dark and sombre.
    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 6:26PM
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I have an old English pine library that looks amazing , but all the elements in the room have to work. If you can add cans in your room, get rid of that fan w light attachment, make the FP light by paint or replacing with limestone ( as I have) then a light/med tone floor. (I have a wool carpet w pattern) . Glaze the wood, wax . If you can't do more lighting in ceiling, depending what is above, only then consider painting it. first of all asses if the quality of wood is worth trying to save. Best of luck!
1 Like    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 6:35PM
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haha, that is assess.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 6:36PM
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Maison Pompeii Antiques and Interiors
Congratulations on your new home!You are very lucky to have this wonderful paneled room. I think the tile floor needs to be replaced with hard wood. We just bought a house where the family room walls were curley pine( very expensive and hard to find.) Floors are pecan. Walking into the room made me dizzy. We discussed everything from covering with sheet rock to painting it. We moved in before making any changes and when we got furniture in the room, it looks fabulous! Be sure to put down a very pretty rug. If you dont like the color of the wood, use sandless turpentine to take the old finish off the wall and then go back back with any minwax stain you like in the stain finish. Then chose your new floor. I would not paint as then it just looks like sheet rock with some molding on it.
Can you enlarge the two windows for more light as opposed to adding new windows or putting a picture window between the two windows if they are on the same wall.
You can add lighting with a pair of sconces by the fireplace and maybe a pretty mirror over the FP to reflect light. Canlights will help as well as some library lights over each book case. A Flemish style chandelier may help as well.
You can update the FP by covering the brick with polished granite.
So my suggestion is to live with it for a while,, get the room and shelves filled and you will see that it is not just a dark room of wood but actually a warm inviting room with character and not just some builder grade home. Good Luck!
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 2:34AM
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I completely agree with sharleeg, lose the ceiling fan and have recessed lighting installed. Don't paint the paneling! It's beautiful and the trim work is well done. Paint the ceiling a light blue to mimic the sky, and add a patterned carpet over the tile.
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 2:55AM
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I agree that the wood should not be painted; there are many suggestions above for lightening the room -- it would be a shame to cover quality wood paneling and near-impossible to go back.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 3:31AM
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Why not have the best of both worlds - sand back the timber to its original state and colour wash it so the grain of the timber shows through. This will give a lighter look to the timber not only in colour but in weight.

Choosing a light colour will reflect your limited natural light. I notice your tiles have several neutral hues, so you could pick a tint (lighter tone) of a colour from your floor tiles and put it on the walls and a lighter tint again and put it on the ceiling,then you will have a brilliant 'light' room to start designing.

It looks like a lovely spacious room and you can see from the pictures supplied the painted walls will give the room a modern look and the stained timber a more traditional look.

The house style, your climate and the style of your furniture may help you to make a decision on light fittings, rugs, carpet etc..

Have fun and good luck with it.
    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 4:14AM
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