Wood Paneling Makeover Ideas: Take Your Wood Paneling From Dated to Chic
Interior House Painting

Wood Paneling Makeover Ideas: Take Your Wood Paneling From Dated to Chic

Posted on November 17, 2021

If your home has been rockin’ the rustic wood panel vibe since the 70s, you might be looking for some wood paneling makeover ideas to introduce a more fresh or modern feel. Wood paneling can add a great deal of rustic charm to a house, but it can also look dated and tired. This puts homeowners in a difficult spot. Removing wood paneling can be a daunting task. It can also damage the walls underneath, resulting in massive repair bills. Wood paneling can be part of a modern aesthetic that matches the rest of your home. It can even be a fast way to get the on-trend rustic farmhouse look if it’s done right!

But wood paneling is more versatile than homeowners think. A fresh coat of paint can transform an old-fashioned space into a room Joanna Gaines would be proud of. Painting outdated walls is more cost-effective than tearing them down. With the variety of colors and painting techniques available, there’s simply no reason to spend the time and money uninstalling wood paneling.

“Wood paneling is very popular right now. It adds character to any room, whether that’s through a rustic country chic vibe or a more modern clean-looking atheistic,” says Jessica Belman of CertaPro Painters® of Redmond, WA.

If you’re wondering how interior painting can give your wood paneling a boost, keep reading. Here are some of the many design options to consider before hiring professional painters.

How Do You Refresh Wood Paneling?
Wood paneling in a living room before being painted.

Everyone’s home is different. Wood paneling might be concentrated in one room, or it might be a theme throughout the house. It might consist of inexpensive veneer panels, or high-quality, individually-cut boards.

Painted wood paneling can breathe new life into retro walls, but what color scheme you go with largely depends on your unique style and situation.

1. Paint It White

White is a classic makeover option that can make any wood-paneled wall pop. Wood paneling halfway up the wall, also known as beadboard,  looks fresh and clean with white paint. It can also allow you to be more bold with the color choice on the other half of the wall, or really break the mold and go with a funky wallpaper. The balance of the white beadboard can ground the look. With fully paneled walls, a coat of white paint can quickly turn them into something resembling trendy shiplap, for that rustic farmhouse, or rustic beach cottage look. and cottage paneling.

2. Embrace Cottage Core

If your home has cottage décor, white painted wood paneling can add to a shabby chic look. Accent pieces like patterned pillows give a boho vibe that can help personalize a space.

3. Go Darker

Painting wood panels a darker color can be a showstopper, but be careful not to overdo this tempting makeover idea. Grey and grey-blues are gorgeous tones to paint the wood paneling.

4. Stay Consistent

Seek inspiration from the rest of your house. Focus on maintaining the same theme throughout the space. Whether you are going for an edgy vibe, a clean, or shabby chic style, stay consistent. No matter what, painting your wood paneling can add to the charm and character of your home.

5. Try Whitewash
Painted wood paneling. This wood paneling went from non-painted to white.

If you don’t want to go bold, there are plenty of other options. Try a whitewash for a happy middle ground. This wood paneling makeover idea adds modern charm to the wood by using paint mixed with water. Once you apply the paint, make sure to wipe it off right away to get lighter wood.

6. Preserve Detail

Paneling with knots can be ideal for the whitewash technique. If the wood is high quality and has character, preserving its detail will give you a more attractive look.

7. Create Contrast

If your home has built-in bookcases, try painting the back wall to give the shelf a modern look. It can also provide a contrast to the items displayed on the shelves. Painting an accent color behind the shelves will guide the eye to similar colors in the room and throughout the house.

Why You Should Choose To Paint Wood Paneling

While painting can be a rewarding makeover idea for wood paneling, it can be tricky. The natural texture of real wood and the slickness of faux wood paneling means the right prep work is paramount. If you don’t do it correctly, the results could be disappointing, to say the least.

A professional painting service will take the appropriate steps necessary to protect your home. A professional interior painter will know the important home hacks like adding colorant to paint to increase its ability to adhere to the wood.

Any expert will tell you that the most important prep step when painting wood paneling is sanding first. “Our professional painters provide our customers with prep work to ensure they apply a perfect coat of paint, no matter the surface,” says Jessica Belman of CertaPro Painters® of Redmond, WA.


CertaPro Painters® will help you explore more options so you don’t have to call in an expensive crew to tear your wood paneling down. We also offer advice and free painting estimates.

More homeowners are deciding to update their wood paneling rather than attempt to damage their home or spend more money tearing it apart. You’ll feel confident about joining the trend after speaking with one of our paint consultants. Contact CertaPro Painters® today and inquire about our painting services for more information on how we can help you bring your wood paneling makeover ideas to life!