How do I makeover this room?


#1 This is a 100+ year old house bought in 1953 by my parents in 1953. Now it is mine. The plaster walls under all of the paneling is in terrible condition. I am 66 on a fixed income, but can paint & be crafty.These walls are covered with a synthetic material, not wood or simulated wood. They are “pressed something”. They do take paint well. The room was the dinning room but we want to use it as a project room for art, studying, reading. It will need shelves & a large sturdy table. We have all kinds of chairs around here. So, any thoughts? Don't miss the great pictures.

q what to do with this room

Lovely ceiling. Rather dirty & dingy.

q what to do with this room

Corner oops created by my granddaughter when she was 3. Looks to me like corner molding would be a good idea to cover up corner seams.

q what to do with this room

Another oops created by movers taking out the corner cabinet. And the lovely ceiling again.

q what to do with this room

That has got to go. Need a track lighting or something that will provide better light.

  4 answers
  • Linda Sikut Linda Sikut on Sep 01, 2018

    Hi Lex,

    The beautiful ceiling can be painted with latex paint. I would suggest that since the house is older, it would be a good idea to wash the ceiling and wall with a good degreaser like TSP. Be sure to wear eye protection so that it doesn't drip in your eyes though. Once that is clean, use a primer then any color paint that you would like.

    You should be able to repair the corner with wall putty and a putty knife. If you decide you want the look of molding though, I think you should use the same treatment for all corners. It looks like the part at the bottom has pieces of drywall or something over a larger hole. That can be ripped out and repaired properly. Even though you don't have drywall, the same method should be used for a proper repair.

    The holes in the wall can also be repaired with wall putty unless they are wood. In that case use wood putty, but from what you said they aren't wood so regular wall putty or spackle should work. Once the repair is made use sand paper to smooth out the repair and feather the edges. Clean the wall, prime the spot and then paint with latex paint.

    As to the the lighting, yes you'll need to replace it. I'm not up today with all of the lighting options. Track lighting would work, but I would go to a lighting store to see what they have that also might work. Do you want the entire room to be brightly lit at all times? Do you want areas that can have extra lighting as needed? Will some kind of area lighting work better than having the whole room lit? Will you need an electrician to add more receptacles? Those are all questions I would be asking myself when changing the purpose of a room. Wishing you success with your project. - Linda

  • Linda kelley Linda kelley on Sep 01, 2018

    If you can paint, Paint! If the surface is in poor condition use Kilz first to prime. The paneling would look pretty painted a soft white. If you want to add shelves, be sure to screw the screws into studs. This will hold the weight of what's on the shelves. There are many inexpensive shelving you can do. Even neat diy ideas. The first two pics are the tracks and brackets you can use. Then place boards across. The shelves that are already painted are expensive. Buy instead wood pieces 10" -12" and cut them to the length you want and paint.

    You can hang a pegboard on your wall over your table, to store your supplies.

    You can make a sturdy table using 2 saw horses and an old /new door.

    I hope I have given you some ideas!

    • See 1 previous
    • Linda kelley Linda kelley on Sep 03, 2018

      PS,,,If you use track lighting instead of the chandelier, put the chandelier in your bedroom, I put one in my walkin closet and I love.

      Also, Kilz seals everything. If you use this first, it will make your ceiling look pretty again! I would paint the ceiling in a light white, and the rest of the room in a color you like. Then I would purchase base molding, paint white, and put around the rooms. Once that molding on your wall is painted, it will be pretty again. Patch any holes on the paneling with wood filler, wait till dry, sand, and paint.

  • Danielle Danielle on Sep 01, 2018

    Ok, so first, I LOVE that chandelier. I totally understand why you want better lighting but my fingers just itch to get hold of that chandelier and make it over!


    It looks like the corner cabinet oops would be an easy patch with a bit of filler. I would paint the room floor to ceiling to get the "dinge" out of it. If your local paint or home improvement store has an "oops paint" section check there first to see if there are any likely colors. I think the corner molding idea is great for the corner seam, and the granddaughters oops looks like maybe a tall baseboard would cover it up pretty effectively, and baseboard is a relatively simple and cheap DIY.

    Since you'll be taking out the chandelier you'll have a ready electrical junction for track lighting and that's basically like tinker toys to put together, though I prefer to make others go up the stepladders, thanks!

    If you're looking for materials to keep costs down it's time to go thrifting! I am convinced that with time and patience you can find almost anything at a thrift store. A table for projects should be an easy find, and you can "paint the ugly off" almost any wood table, especially those generic plain wood cottage style ones that everyone seems to be getting rid of these days.

    Lengths of rain gutter can be hung on the wall for front facing book ledges.

    You can re-purpose old shutters by hanging them on the wall and using s hooks to hang small buckets or thrifted baskets filled with art supplies from the slats, or just screw a 1X4 to the wall (hitting studs please!), attach cup hooks and hang your containers from them.

    I see you have the Fort Sackwell Project Resale Store in your town and it looks like it might be a good resource. It also might be worth the drive to Huntingburg or Chandler to get to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Maybe call first and see if they will tell you if they have any of the materials you'd be interested in. They are a bit of a drive but a few dollars in gas to save lots more in materials costs can make it SO worth it. They carry everything from building materials to furniture, paint, light fixtures, you name it.

    You may be able to get a couple of old solid wood doors that could be cut into shelves with a table saw, and sometimes they even have shelving that's been donated.

    • See 1 previous
    • Danielle Danielle on Sep 03, 2018

      I have a feeling that it weighs a ton, plus it's bulky and that being the case shipping would be super expensive, but if I wasn't several hundred miles away I'd definitely be making you an offer on it!

  • Sharlee Osborn Sharlee Osborn on Nov 07, 2018

    i'm a hacker. I'd buy a paint sprayer, buy a coverup for clothes, goggles for the eyes & bandanna for the hair, and spray paint everything with Kilz. You can even lightly tint Kilz. Good luck.