Reader Nancy asked Decorating Den:

“We are removing the original medium oak paneling from the halls and stairway in our 47 year old Cape Cod. We are in our early sixties and hope to age in place. Our trim is Behr Swiss Coffee, a white-off white. What color and type of paint should we use on the stairway wall with to maximize visibility and minimize fingerprints? Most of the walls in the house are cool, light colors. And no, I am not sure how the walls were finished under the paneling but am guessing 47 year old drywall, perhaps not even primed.”

Our friends at the Richmond Painters of CertaPro offered some advice for Nancy:

To avoid seeing fingerprints, go up with the sheen (as in the amount of shine the paint has when dry) one step. Typically we use an eggshell finish on walls and semi-gloss on trim, but in this case, using a pearl finish on the walls might be a good idea.  However, if fingerprints aren’t a huge problem, stick with the eggshell finish. Most eggshell finishes are pretty washable.

My guess is that the paneling was glued and nailed in place. If I’m correct they’ll be a fair amount of prep needed on the walls in the areas of the glue. Shinier paints show up the prep more than less shiny.

Need help choosing paint colors?  Contact Decorating Den today to set up a paint color consultation at 703.239.8112.