Wood paneling- what was once considered insulation from cold rock walls is now a decorative covering used to provide comfort. It first started showing up in homes around the 1970s, but like any fad or trend, it faded in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and has started to creep back into home decor within the last couple of years. Whether your home was designed with wall panels and you’ve kept them all along or you’re looking to have them installed,  follow these tips on how to update and decorate wood paneling.

Update Tips:
Like wood furniture, there are few simple ways you can update wood paneling.

  1. Stain it. If you are looking for an easy and efficient way to breathe new life into your wood paneling, stain it. In some cases, you don’t even have to sand the panels before you apply the stain. However, you should give the walls a good wipe down regardless of whether you sand them or not. Staining wood panels will give them a fresh, clean look for an instant update.
  2. Paint it. When painting wood paneling, you can treat it like any other paint job. First, you sand. Then, you prime. And finally, you paint. Choose a color that fits the way your house is currently decorated. If the room has light and airy decorations, consider a dark color for contrast. If you want the room to have a breezy vibe, opt for a pastel color instead.
  3. Whitewash it. Similar to staining, whitewashing the wood panels is also an easy update. To achieve this look, mix a solution of white paint and water. Paint the panels in small sections and wipe off excess paint with a rag as you go. Try to use the same amount of pressure when wiping the walls for a cohesive look.

Decorating Tips:
Wood paneling can work as home décor on its own. For example, you can position the panels in different directions or overlap them to create a 3D effect. But, that doesn’t mean you have to leave the panels bare.

  1. Install open shelving. If wood paneling wasn’t your first choice of wall covering, and you don’t want to go through the hassle of removing it, consider placing an open shelving unit on front of it. The wood paneling will peek through as the backsplash instead of being the focal point. You can place books, photos, and keepsake items on the shelves.
  2. Use it for displays. You can hang pictures, artwork, mirrors, or  your TV on wood paneling. For smaller, lightweight objects, using adhesive strips and tape are the simplest solution. For heavier items, you will need to anchor them to the wall. Drilling holes into the grooves of the panels is helpful in this situation.
  3. Make it an accent wall. If four walls of wood paneling seem a little much for you, create an accent wall instead. Providing a rustic element, this wall can now be the focal point of the room. It works especially well when it’s done surrounding a fireplace.

Completely removing wood paneling is a large job that requires a lot of time and effort. If you are thinking about conquering the task, take some time to figure out if updating or decorating the wood paneling would be a better solution. Ensure that your home isn’t stuck in the disco era with these wood paneling tips and tricks!

For even more decorating tips, contact The Coin Team, a group of interior decorators in Sanibel, FL.