How do I refinish wood paneling? Refreshing and painting wood paneling

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Wainscoting is back in favor and often appears in interior designers’ projects. Do you have boards on the wall? At a low cost, you can make them a fashionable decorative element. Check how to go about it.

Wainscoting in fashion again!

Wainscoting – several decades ago (yes, it’s already several decades!) enjoyed great popularity. Those who put it on didn’t take it off for many years (after all, it was quite an expense), even though paneling was definitely out of fashion. These days, it’s back in vogue again. So if you have wainscoting in your home, it’s worth deciding to refresh it and give it a more modern feel.

How to refresh your wainscoting?

To refresh your wainscoting, you must start by cleaning the boards, of course. The first step will be to wipe the boards with a damp cloth to remove dust and other dirt from them. The next step is to remove all the layers of varnish and paint that have been applied to the paneling. This is best done by hand – using fine sandpaper, sanding all the boards and grooves between them. This is a very tedious and unpleasant job due to flying dust, so be patient before you start. Your favorite music or audio book will be an invaluable aid in making the sanding time pass more quickly.

Remember not to damage the wood paneling while sanding. Scratched boards will not look very nice when painted. Therefore, use a high-grit sandpaper and do not press too hard.

After sanding, vacuum the boards and wipe them with a clean damp cloth.

What should I paint the wood paneling with?

If you like natural wood in your interiors, go for lacquer. Such painted paneling will look great in the interior, which was decorated in a rustic style. We suggest choosing a matte transparent varnish or a shade that matches the colors of the interior furnishings.

Very fashionable recently is white paneling, which works well in interiors decorated in a Scandinavian or modern style. White paneling optically enlarges the room and makes it seem stylish and neat.

An interesting idea is also to paint the wainscot in a pastel color. Fresh mint, light gray, soothing blue – let your imagination run wild. Remember, however, that wainscoting cannot be the main decorative element of the room, it should not play the first fiddle. Therefore, if you decide on pastel-colored walls, be sure to choose the right accessories.

Wood paneling in a child’s room

Wainscoting on the wall in a child’s room is not only fashionable but also very practical! They are easy to clean, which is an undeniable advantage of wall paneling in a children’s room. However, it is worth taking care that the wainscoting is not boring. A great idea is to paint it alternately with two or three pastel colors. 

Painting wainscoting without sanding

Paint manufacturers assure you that there is a way to refresh the paneling without sanding – painting the boards with chalk paint. This is certainly a faster way, but it is also more expensive due to the high price of this paint. Before refreshing the wainscoting, therefore, you need to decide whether you can spend more time or more money on the renovation. 

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