What's the best way to paint ugly old dark paneling in my kitchen?


I I have ugly old dark paneling in my kitchen. I want to paint it. Most of the kitchen is his ugly dark paneling. It's been up here since the early 70s. Too much of a chore to take it down too expensive to replace with something else. So what's the best way to go about painting it?

  8 answers
  • Lydia Lydia on Aug 06, 2018

    Asl lowes or home depot. Tbey suggest the best methods and have tbe supplies.

  • Unexpected Elegance Unexpected Elegance on Aug 06, 2018

    If you prime it first with something like Kilz, you should be able to paint it with any paint/color you want! 😊

  • Holly Kinchlea-Brown Holly Kinchlea-Brown on Aug 06, 2018

    First you would need to do a thorough cleaning with a degreaser to remove the accumulation of decades....krudkutter is a good option as is tsp and water. As far as the painting is concerned, you could do almost anything depending upon what finish you want as well as the amount of prep work you are willing to do. I personally hate sanding, so I would likely choose an a chalk paint or fusion mineral paint (or any paint that doesn’t need a sanded finish to start). If you’d like a shinier or more protected finish, you could then topcoat with polycrylic to seal and/or add shine.

  • Jlf28852220 Jlf28852220 on Aug 06, 2018

    I would but you need to make sure there is no grease on the paneling or the paint might not stick.

  • 2dogal 2dogal on Aug 06, 2018

    You can cover it with thin wallboard, then paint. I just washed mine with TSP, then painted it with a quality paint that had primer in it.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Aug 06, 2018

    Hello Sharon,

    I understand your situation. We have a log cabin and too much wood is dark and dreary. You can see in the photo below -outside the one doorway how dark the cedar walks are. We are quite pleased the previous homeowner placed paneling in two bedrooms and painted it a light color. I would suggest not to hesitare to your paint paneling for a room brightening update.

    I think you’ll be really pleased with your results. Best wishes in your paneling painting adventure! Heres some helpful links!



  • CJ CJ on Aug 06, 2018

    Sharron, these folks have provided good answers, I would like to add you will need to clean the paneling first to remove grease and dust, (no offense to your housekeeping!) Every kitchen gets dusty and greasy. You might also need to sand it a bit to remove gloss of any clearcoat that it may have and to rough the surface so the primer will hold on.

    You can do this! A previous owner painted one paneled room of my house and we've repainted the room a few times over the 30+ years we've lived here. It still looks good!

  • Joyce M Schemonia Joyce M Schemonia on Aug 06, 2018

    I also dislike paneling so I've painted a couple of dozen rooms over the years - still working on the living room in our current home. Here's what works best for me:

    Wash all the areas with a strong solution of TSP (trisodium phospate - available at WalMart, Lowe's, etc.) Fairly inexpensive and worth it to get rid of the accumulated grease/smoke, etc.

    Fill small holes with wood putty, caulk, etc. When dry, sand and smooth.

    Most paints are now primer/final coat in one, so purchase the best you can afford in a Satin finish - you'll be glad you spent the extra money for better paint when you see the results.

    If you can't find that kind of paint then use Kilz or Zinsser for the prep coat - which also means you avoid sanding the entire walls :)

    I don't use "Flat" or "Eggshell" because marks and bumps are readily visible - you'll then have to 'touch up' the marks.

    Plan on painting at least two thin coats - maybe even three, depending on how dark the wood is underneath. The final color will also depend on how dark the underneath wood is - I know it's probably boring but Antique White has always been a go-to for me - it has a warm feel, is light but not stark white.

    If you want 'shiny' walls then use a Semi-Gloss finish - no need to seal with polycrylic.