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

5 Materials
40 Hours

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 and other parts of the cottage.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

Room with painted walls, new ceiling and light fixture.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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)
See all materials

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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 21 comments
  • Rachael Bruesch
    on Jan 16, 2019

    The room looks amazing!

  • Starbright57
    on Jan 22, 2019

    great job! If moving into an older house with paneling, I wouldn't gamble that the walls behind the paneling are in good shape. They could be old plaster cracked walls. The paneling would be better when painted.

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