Painting Wood Paneling & Opening Up a Wall in a Small Living Room

5 Materials
$2000
40 Hours
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We purchased property with a small cottage as a vacation place in August 2018. The cottage was built in the 1940's and was in good condition, but needed lots of updating. If you search, you will find some of my other posts on the same cottage. The living room walls were covered with wood paneling and it made the small room seem dark and even smaller. Additionally, the room was closed off from the kitchen

painting wood paneling opening up a wall in a small living room

There was a lot of work to be done in this living room, it had a large unsightly brick fireplace that was covered in rocks (we removed the rocks), the ceiling had two false drop ceilings in addition to the drywall ceiling and the flooring was old linoleum.

painting wood paneling opening up a wall in a small living room

This is a wall to the left of the rock fireplace - we decided to remove this wall to make a counter that will be open to the kitchen.

painting wood paneling opening up a wall in a small living room

This is the fireplace, but I put up another post about removing the stones.

painting wood paneling opening up a wall in a small living room

This is the area to the right of the fireplace, front door is there too. Because of the small space, we will be using this space in the living room as a dining area.

painting wood paneling opening up a wall in a small living room

We tore out the wall next to the fireplace - beginning the process of building a counter/bar to open up the small space.

painting wood paneling opening up a wall in a small living room

Painted the paneling for an instant update! Primed the walls with Kilz and then painted with a paint + primer paint by Valspar.

painting wood paneling opening up a wall in a small living room

Studs were cut down and electrical was rerouted for the wooden counter to go in place.

painting wood paneling opening up a wall in a small living room

Room with painted walls, new ceiling and light fixture.

painting wood paneling opening up a wall in a small living room

This is the board that I purchased to make the bar/counter - from Lowes. It needed to be cut, sanded, and stained to fit the space.

painting wood paneling opening up a wall in a small living room

Counter in place, tongue and groove wood planks placed in the front of the bar (same as the ceiling).

painting wood paneling opening up a wall in a small living room

Purchased LVP (luxury vinyl plank) flooring to put over the top of the old linoleum floor.

painting wood paneling opening up a wall in a small living room

Here's the before and after photos of the area left of the fireplace that we made a bar/counter - open to the kitchen.

painting wood paneling opening up a wall in a small living room

Here is the before and after of the area to the right of the fireplace (near the front door) that we are using as a dining space.

painting wood paneling opening up a wall in a small living room

This is another photo of the fireplace - after the renovation on it - look for the post on the fireplace if you are interested in that information.

Suggested materials:

  • Tongue and Groove Wood Planks  (Lowes)
  • Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring  (Lowes)
  • Paint  (Lowes)
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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Zac Builds
    on Dec 19, 2018

    Wow what a difference Cindy! Are you planning on keeping this one or is it a flip?

    • Cindy Hagemann
      on Dec 19, 2018

      Thanks, Zac! We plan to keep it as a vacation cottage - it is 4 hours from our home in TN and has 16 acres with an amazing private 4 acre lake on the property that is stocked with fish! We plan to build a larger home on the property on the lake in the next few years for retirement and using the cottage for guests! So let me know when you plan to visit us in Virginia!

  • Cheryl
    on Dec 26, 2018

    Oh Cindy, I’m a few steps behind you but following the same path.


    I purchased a bungalow about the same size as this as yours in Gastonia NC. Built at the same time as your as well. No rock on the fireplace but it was covered over. Has similar drop ceiling, paneling needs a lot of cosmetic changes.


    I notice in your after pics What looks like beadboard on the ceiling, was it there and covered by the drop ceiling? If so, did you need to do any restoring to it?


    I have beadboard on my ceilings under the drop ceiling, YAY.... but the drop ceiling tiles have been glued on unfortunately. Hoping the beadboard can be salvaged, time will tell

    • Cindy Hagemann
      on Dec 26, 2018

      We had two drop ceilings to remove and then found a drywall ceiling. We added tongue and groove wood to the drywall ceiling and plan to do the rest of the cottage as well with the same. I have a couple of other posts on my profile from the cottage - you will find them interesting as well. Good luck with your renovation- we are not far from each other either! We’re located in middle VA.

Join the conversation

4 of 19 comments
  • Violet
    5 hours ago

    I have a house with wood paneling in living room, dining room, door arches and hallway. Also, a long beam used to add more footage which is paneled. I have been told sometime ago to rup it out and go back to the wallboard behind. The panel is in good shape. I thought of a gray-green paint or grey blue.

    • Cindy Hagemann
      30 minutes ago

      Paint it - you have nothing to lose! Clean it and use a good primer like Kilz and then be sure to use Paint + Primer in one for the paint. It is important to do the actual primer first and not just use the Paint + Primer in one only. It will take several coats of paint, but it is worth it. Use a good expensive paint.

  • Rachael Bruesch
    4 hours ago

    The room looks amazing!

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