Lightening dark paneling?

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How do paint dark paneling to make it lighter to match the oak paneling in our church? We have replaced the lower windows in our 100+ year old church and plan to insulate and cover over the upper section of the window. A member has generously donated dark paneling to use.


  21 answers
  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Dec 12, 2020

    Here are instructions, step by step:


    https://cutthewood.com/diy/how-to-lighten-wood-paneling-without-painting

  • You can bleach it, but I'm not sure it will match oak. You may want to sand a corner to see what kind of wood was used in the paneling, then you'll be able to decide the best way to match it. If you really want to paint it, buy paint to match the color of the oak and use a wood graining tool to make it look like wood.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Dec 12, 2020

    Hello we are in a lot log cabin and the previous homeowners placed painted paneling in the bedrooms for a room brightening effect. It is certainly going to appreciate.


    Heres helpful links!

    I hope this helps!



    https://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/design-101/painting-wood-paneling

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ifkbVlE9yyE#




  • William William on Dec 12, 2020

    If it is real wood then you can try to bleach it. A lot of work. Painting is the best solution.


    Make sure the paneling is clean and dry. Prime with a good stain blocking primer like Kilz. Then paint like painting regular walls. Acrylic latex paint will work. If the paneling has grooves you can fill them with non shrink drywall patching compound. Just put on enough to fill the grooves. Let it dry overnight. Next day use a damp sponge to smooth the patch. Then prime and paint.

  • Maura White Maura White on Dec 12, 2020

    I'm not sure you can paint to get the stains to match. You will just have to pick a color that will look good with the oak finish.

  • Em Em on Dec 12, 2020

    You can't "paint" dark paneling to light. You can sand the panels and use a lighter stain. I think painting the paneling would be a huge mistake.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Dec 12, 2020

    Hello Linda,

    You would need to get a Matt paint the colour of the Oak base and then when dry, rub in an antique wax to show up the grain. or to Stain the Oak you would need to Sand it down and start from the raw wood, with the lighter oak stain.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Dec 13, 2020

    If sanding and staining don’t work, Clean with tsp then you are ready to prime and paint. How nice that you have a donation.

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Dec 13, 2020

    For the cost incurred for supplies and the tine and work involved in trying to paint over the dark paneling, taking the risk that the finished outcome might not look attractive, or otherwise meet with expectations, might not be worth it.

  • Recreated Designs Recreated Designs on Dec 13, 2020

    Hi Linda, if you would like to lighten the would you can give it a whitewash. Use a paint that had no latex like Annie Sloan Chalk paint or Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint, water it down and then brush it on and wipe with a wet cloth. This will whiten it and lighten it.

  • Deb K Deb K on Dec 13, 2020

    Hi Linda, hope this one helps you out,

    https://www.hgtv.com/videos/painting-paneling-94079

  • Morgan McBride Morgan McBride on Dec 14, 2020

    If it's solid wood it could be sanded and re-stained to match.

  • Betsy Betsy on Dec 14, 2020

    Hi Linda: Here's a couple of sites that may help you out with this:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIZZfzCVmLo


    https://www.bobvila.com/articles/paint-that-looks-like-wood/


    How nice of your member to donate the paneling.


    Good luck

  • if it’s stained you’ll have to sand abs re stain it. If the wood is naturally dark just paint it a complementary color over the wood

  • Cindy Cindy on Dec 15, 2020

    Hi Linda. Sand it. Clean it. Prime It. Paint it. I would use a palm sander to sand it. Be sure to clean all sanding dust off. Use a quality primer. Then paint with a color to match the oak. Good luck Linda.

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Dec 15, 2020

    You could paint it a tan color and you could buy a roller to put wood grain on it with a roller that you could buy at home depot

  • Annie Annie on Dec 16, 2020

    Hi, Please check out our web site for this type of project.

    https://countrylivinginacariboovalley.com/?s=paint+wood

  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Dec 16, 2020

    A primer like Kilz will be the first step in hiding the dark, then paint paneling as desired.

  • Simple Nature Decor Simple Nature Decor on Dec 16, 2020

    You can sand it and then apply a primer, then paint a lighter color.

  • Libbie B Libbie B on Dec 21, 2020

    Lightly sand and prime it and should be good to go. Use a quality paint.

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Mar 07, 2021

    If the donated paneling has been sitting around awhile, after sanding it, I’d wipe it down with isopropyl alcohol from the dollar store to degrease and dust it.

    Then prime with a binding primer, like Kilz.

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