Wood Paneling in Your Basement or Den? Update it For a Fresh Look

Wood paneling can look very 70’s, and if you’re not looking for retro, there are things you can do to update paneling and give it a fresh look.

In this Complete Home Remodeling Guide you will learn how you can update that old wood paneling in your basement or den and make it look up to date.

Paint the Paneling

This one is obvious. It’s the easiest way to brighten a room dominated by dark paneling and also the cheapest. You’ll still have the paneling grooves, however, but most people aren’t bothered by them. If you don’t like painting rooms yourself, you can always request free estimates from companies in the area that are happy to do it for you. Even if you choose to tackle the project yourself, you’ll learn more about what’s required to get it done.

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If you are going to paint the paneling, the most important thing to do is to prepare it properly and to plan for added expenses for paint in case your older paneling needs more coats. To readily accept paint, the paneling may have to be cleaned and scored. Use a high-quality primer too. It will seal the wood and help your top coat of paint go farther.

Strip the Paneling and Refinish It

If you’ve got cheap particle-board paneling, this won’t work. But if you’ve got solid wood paneling, updating it by painting on a lighter finish can be ideal. This will take some time and effort, but can also have a higher return on investment and increase the value of your home. You’ll need to strip off the old sealer and sand out the stain before you can start fresh. All of the products you’ll need are available at most home building centers.

Remove all but One Wall of It

Huh?  Here’s the idea. Remove all of the paneling on most walls – or paint it – and use the last wall as a place to mount old family pictures, sports memorabilia, the 10-point buck or the 5-lb large-mouth  your beer signs, collection of neon clocks, velvet Elvis, diplomas and certificates, etc.

Give the paneling a good cleaning first and brighten the surface with a spray-on/wipe-off product or with a new coat of sealer. Old paneling serves as the perfect backdrop for stuff with a nostalgic sentiment.

If you just don’t like the paneling, then tear it out and start with something new. If you want the cheapest fix, then paint it. For something a bit more creative, consider the other options for updating wood paneling in your den or basement to give it a fresh look.

For guides on deck remodeling, kitchen remodelingbasement remodeling, and bathroom remodeling projects, visit our helpful learning articles for tips and tricks!

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