How can I paint wall paneling?

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Our cabin has dark paneling, dark floor , and ceiling. I'm keeping the ceiling ,but would like to paint the walls. Dont know what color.( furniture is neutral color). Do i paint the whole wall or portion of it. There is wood strips around doors,halfway up the wall i would like to keep wood looking and not paint. Do i paint kitchen cabinets. This is a wide open area. I do know that i am putting a barn door in place of the hallway pocket door .thank you so much.Donna cagle

q can i paint wall paneling
q can i paint wall paneling
q can i paint wall paneling
q can i paint wall paneling
  10 answers
  • Tami Stone Tami Stone on Nov 10, 2018

    Earth tones. Almond, light brown, rust... warm shades. Lighter colors make the room look bigger. In this space, I would use lighter shades, but not white.

  • Nan W. Nan W. on Nov 10, 2018

    Donna: It's easy to paint paneling! Make sure to prime first and then use a good quality latex paint. (Keep the wood look where you want -- you can always paint later!) Here is a photo of my painted paneling... it's the wall (to the viewer's) left of the fireplace.

  • Yes, you can paint it, Donna. Use painter's tape to cover the areas you want to leave unpainted. Painting the cabinets is a personal choice. You might want to paint the paneling first and then see what you want to do with the cabinets. Here's an article on painting paneling:

    https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/skills-and-know-how/painting/how-to-paint-over-paneling

  • Seth Seth on Nov 10, 2018

    Hi Donna,

    You can certainly paint the paneling. You made need to give it a light sanding or use a deglosser first, and use one or two coats of primer. The horizontal wood trim part way up the wall is covering the seam between the top and bottom panels. I can't tell how high your ceiling is. Painting it all one color would unify it and make the horizontal piece of wall trim not be as prominent. Unless you wanted to paint the wall different colors above and below that trim, I personally would not leave it the natural wood color as it will stick out. Grayeige tones are very popular right now and the right one will compliment the natural wood trim if you decide to keep it. You can always go back and paint the trim if you don't like it. Sounds like your cabinets are ripe for a refresh as well. Bringing in lighter paint colors will really brighten up the space. White Dove is a popular cabinet color, but I prefer Linen White. There are paints specially formulated for cabinets. We used Cabinet-Coat paint (available at Home Depot) with good results when we repainted our kitchen cabinets.

  • Cindie Taylor-pamula Cindie Taylor-pamula on Nov 10, 2018

    I love wood, But I can see that this is a lot of wood all the same tones, and they just run together. Yes I painted our Family Room, A Yellow Cream , We have a lot of oak in our home, cabinets floor, beams, doors, stairs, everywhere. It did brighten it up. Think about doing 1 wall a BOLD accent color . like a Barn Red, that will also help you from going from a all wood look to a all paint look. Or think about the BOLD look on the cabinets.It is still a rustic room no matter what you do . I think your room is very beautiful, Have some fun.


  • Dee Dee on Nov 10, 2018

    Yes you can paint paneling, but use a good bonding, stain blocking primer. Oil based would be best but it stinks. You can paint latex over oil based primer. THe reason to use a stain blocking primer is to keep the color from coming thru. If you want to you can fill in the lines with dap or wood filler. But without filling it sort of looks like shiplap. One step that is not really needed. If you can use a sprayer to paint the paneling, if not buy a good Purdy roller, it will leave less marks. And be sure to use a good paint, Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams or Behr Marquee.


  • Debi53 Debi53 on Nov 11, 2018

    Everyone has given great advice. I particularly agree with Seth on the colors and process. Make sure you use deglosser liberally and follow directions. Deglosser will give your paneling some tack that can grab onto the primer. If you skip this step, even with a bonding primer, you run the risk of your paint peeling off the wall. I have painted paneling and the deglosser step is crucial. Pale gray paint color will brighten your space and give it a contemporary look. White or beige tones will give you more of a cottage look. So your choice depends on what you like. Definitely paint your cabinets. A soft color like pale aqua or sage green (for your cabinets) will brighten your space and be beautiful with your wood ceiling.

  • Linda Linda on Nov 11, 2018

    I would go to the paint store and pull out several chips that match those stones you have around the bar. Choose one of the lighter colors for the walls (all the way to the ceiling) and a medium color for your cabinets. The trim around doors and windows should be the wall color in a semi-gloss trim paint. Paint the walls with eggshell paint (this is the gloss between semi-gloss and flat paint).

  • Heje Heje on Nov 11, 2018

    I agree with the other Hometalker's that painting the entire wall with trim to the top will keep the height of the room. The ceiling looks wonderful just the way it is. The cabinets can be painted to coordinate with the walls. I like the idea of the fall colors that were suggested. Good luck on what you decide.

  • Donna Cagle Donna Cagle on Nov 11, 2018

    Thank you everyone for all your help

    Decided to do the whole living room wall in this lite color and the kitchen area in this darker shade which matches one of the colors in my curtains

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