What are some creative ways to cover old outdated paneling in our den?

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Our home was built in 1970. The den is a rectangular room that is underused because it is dark and drab, as it still has the original paneling and carpet. We would like to better use the space. We are considering the idea of removing the wall separating our living room and den.
q what are some creative ways to cover old outdated paneling in our den
q what are some creative ways to cover old outdated paneling in our den
  8 answers
  • Janet Packard Miller Janet Packard Miller on Jan 01, 2018
    You can paint paneling and I think it looks nice. if paneling is highly polished, use Kilz first then paint.

  • William William on Jan 01, 2018
    Paint the paneling.

    Make sure the paneling is clean and dry. Prime with a good stain blocking primer like Zinsser 123 or BIN. Then paint like painting regular wall. If the paneling has grooves you can fill them with drywall patching compound. Let it dry overnight. Next day use a damp sponge to smooth the patch. Then prime and paint.

    As for removing the wall. It's more likely is a load bearing wall. That is something you need to investigate. I also since the wall is separating two rooms, I would assume it is hiding a center support beam. Some exploration can determine that.

  • Liz Sanders Duren Liz Sanders Duren on Jan 01, 2018
    Agreed!! Paint it. Been there and it makes a world of difference. Change out the flooring to whatever you like. Depending on the budget, DIY tile squares or have something installed.

  • Jeffrey Scarff Jeffrey Scarff on Jan 01, 2018
    Before taking out a wall, you must make sure it's not a bearing wall, or it will compromise your whole house. If it is, you must install a beam running the length of the wall for support.

  • O.shag O.shag on Jan 01, 2018
    Well maybe not so creative but a light paint would certainly brighten it up. It's cheap and easy too. There's also wallpaper which goes over paneling ( more expensive and perhaps not so easy). Sheer curtains would help brighten it even more. As for removing the wall, is it the wall at the far end in the first picture? That would make a very long room! Sometimes it's nice to have a separate living area so people can do their own thing. And if you remove it then you have to figure out furniture placement. Having all the furniture clumped together at one end around the TV wouldn't be utilizing the space any better!

  • B. Enne B. Enne on Jan 01, 2018
    I agree with the other 2, painting will make such a huge difference you won't believe it. We painted our cottage walls, and people were shocked and amazed it was the same house. It was dark and dungeon/cave-like before. Some people pass up good deals on buying homes because of panelling.
    Ours have been painted for 20 years, with a Sherwin-Williams latex with off-white eggshell finish. It was meant to be temporary, and we haven't changed them.
    We and the painter used liquid deglosser (a.k.a Liquid Sandpaper), and a good primer, and an acrylic latex paint.
    I noticed that the newer paints (other brands) take longer to cure due to low VOC perhaps, so keep that in mind if you go that route.
    So to sum things up, paint first then decide. You may even like your carpet. Ours looked a lot better with the nice-coloured walls. Then your creative juices may flow better. I would treat them like regular walls, no decoupage or things like that.



  • LadyD LadyD on Jan 02, 2018
    Light colored or bright colored paint and a HUGE mirror on the long wall. It will reflect any light coming into the room and make the room appear wider and not so shoe box shaped.

  • Gene Gene on Jan 02, 2018
    For what it's worth... I just installed LED bulbs in a ceiling fan (the daylight ones... not soft white) and it made an unbelievable difference in the room. Give it a try... bonus.... the bulbs will last 20 years or so and save on your electric bill.... best of luck and Happy New Year !!!