How To Paint Wood Paneling


Welcome back to part 2 of our Room Makeover Challenge. While we are still putting the room together, I thought I’d take the time to share how we went about painting over that awful wood paneling. I’m sure there are many methods out there, but this is what we did and what worked for us


  • TSP (Trisodium Phosphate cleaner, found in the paint section)
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • All other necessary supplies for painting



The first thing we did was check to see the quality of wood paneling we had. Simply put, we wanted to make sure there wasn’t a varnish or vinyl like coating over the paneling which is common with cheaper products. To do this we tested a small area of each type (we had two rooms after all with very different paneling) with the TSP solution. Wear gloves and protect your floors, the warning on the box is no joke, this stuff is an irritant and can cause burns!

Once I saw that it didn’t destroy the paneling, my next step was to treat each wall. Wash with TSP then rinse it off with warm water. Even though there wasn’t a coating on the panelling, it still removed loads of dirt and remnants of ‘cat household’ from the previous owners. If there had been a coating, we would have had to sand, which I wasn’t looking forward to doing, but we didn’t need to. You may need to, so don’t skip this step and think you’d be fine. It would be terrible to go through painting and then just have your paint chip off the walls!

After washing the walls it was time to paint. When we went to Lowe’s to purchase our paint and primer the worker offered to tint our primer as well. I had no idea that was a thing and was happy to have it act as a first coat, we had lots of dark to cover up.


:: I’d also like to take this time to say that while they do offer those paint+primer hybrids, this job isn’t like painting an already painted wall, or even drywall. This is wood, therefore it acts differently and you need a separate primer, getting it tinted helps even more ::

My approach to painting was to take my time and make sure everything was covered. The lines separating each panel are black, a very annoying difficult to fill in black. It took me 3 days alone to cut in, and fill each line with enough primer to at least tone down the black.

It paid off though because once there was one thick coat of primer, and one thick coat of paint color the second coat wasn’t necessary in the lines.


Moving forward, after primer we painted the walls, then did a second coat in the main room only, which was absolutely necessary. The sun porch/room addition thing was an entirely different paneling and the quality of it was mediocre at best. Not terrible, but not great either. We let that room just be with one thick coat because it probably would’ve taken 4 coats and too much annoyance to be worth it. I mean, everything in that room had to be done by brush, no roller would fit!


Altogether the process took about 2 weeks, mainly because I was working alone and took my time. I am very pleased with the results! The room instantly became brighter, and even though it was an overcast day when I took these photos (I was impatient to wait for sun) and there are no lights, it still looks amazing. I loved the results so much that I took the leftover paint and redid the main floor bathroom!

I can’t wait to fill this space and make it functional.

:: Things to look forward to ::

  • Half Bath Makeover
  • Master Bedroom makeover
  • Living Room Makeover
  • Guest Bedroom Makeover

If you missed part 1, check it out here

:: Also, Joseph wanted a side by side, so here is the before and after
IMG_3456   img_3507


Can you tell that I’ve been full force into putting our home together? I have a few projects going at once, when completed there will be a post for each. I also have plans set in motion for a few weekly series such as a Sewing Saturday, where each Saturday I share a project, and a weekly recipe (not sure what day or alliteration to use yet) as I am expanding our family meal book and experimenting with new dishes. Thoughts and suggestions as to what you’d like to see regularly on the blog? Leave a comment!

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