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Painting Wood Paneling

Sometimes you want to change the wood paneling in your home. Maybe your style has changed, it doesn’t look right with new furnishings, or you want to paint the walls as part of a remodeling or redecorating project. No matter your reason for wanting a change, painting wood paneling can seem daunting.

  •   Preparation is the key to this process. Clean the walls very thoroughly, making sure that any stains have been completely removed with the appropriate cleaner, and that the walls are all free of dust and dirt. Next, putty any nail holes or imperfections and, once dry, sand until it’s flush.
  •   Next you want to sand the paneling itself, just enough to take the sheen off the finish and rough up the surface so paint will adhere better. Don’t forget to sand other wood trim in the room and then go over it all with a clean, damp cloth to get rid of any leftover sanding particles.
  •   Caulk any cracks or gaps between the paneling and other elements in the room, such as doors or windows.
  •   Now you can go back to your normal paint prep routine—protect your floor by covering it with drop cloths, and use painter’s tape on areas it’s needed.
  •   Using a medium nap roller cover, prime the paneling with a stain-blocking primer. You may want to have the primer tinted so that it looks similar to the color you’ve chosen for the topcoat. Once the primer has completely dried, you can paint your topcoat, probably needing two coats of Miller Paint.
  •   Last up is applying primer and then painting the trim in the room.


Traditional Hall by Aiken Architects & Designers A. Tate Hilliard, Architect/Builder

Traditional Hall by Aiken Architects & Designers A. Tate Hilliard, Architect/Builder


When you’re ready for a change but the room has wood paneling, not to worry. Follow the steps above, seek out advice when necessary, and your paneled room will feel new and fresh in no time.



~This post inspired/contributed by ColorGuild. ColorGuild, the global paint and color authority, is a member based organization serves as a definitive resource on color and coatings.  As a member of ColorGuild, we welcome their contributions.