Paint can make a dated room look fresh.If you live in an older home you may have rooms with wood paneling. For those who like a rustic, lodge look, paneled walls are warm and homey. But in many homes, the paneling simply looks dated. Modernizing a room with paneling may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Paneling doesn’t need to be pulled out and replaced to achieve a more current look. Paint can do the trick. Here’s how:

  1. As with any paint project, you want to clean and prep the walls. Wipe away dust and try to remove stains with appropriate cleaners. Let the wood dry thoroughly. If there are holes or dents in the wall, repair them with wood putty. Make sure you allow the putty enough time to dry. Also, sand and smooth the putty for the best looking results.
  2. Sand the paneling. You don’t need to completely remove the lacquer. Use a medium grit sand paper to rough up the finish. This will help the paint adhere. Once you’ve finished sanding, use a damp cloth to remove dust. If you plan to paint your trim to match, sand it as well.
  3. If there are gaps near baseboards and windows, fill them with caulk. This will help you achieve a consistent look when you paint. Make sure you read the guidelines on the caulk and allow enough drying time before you paint.
  4. Prime the walls and trim. If you don’t want any of the wood grain to show through your paint, your best bet is to prime the walls first, especially if the paneling is very dark. You may want to tint the primer to coordinate with your final color for the best results. Make sure you get primer in the grooves of the paneling. It may require you using a paint brush, or a roller with a longer nap to get thorough coverage.
  5. Once the primer is dry, it’s time to bring in the paint! Two coats will give you the best results.

Depending on the size of your space, changing the look of your wood paneling can be a week-end project. And best of all, it doesn’t have to be a budget buster.

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