How to Work with Old Wood Paneling (and Make it Look Fantastic!)

If your home has old wood paneling, you may be wondering how to give it a modern update. Wood paneling was popular in the ‘50s through ‘70s, and at first glance it may seem difficult to work with, but wood paneled walls can give your home a cozy, rustic feel that’s anything but outdated. There are plenty of ways to work with wood paneling to give it a modern makeover and make it a statement piece in your home. Whether you want to keep its rustic charm or elevate it, here’s how to work with wood paneling and make it look fantastic! 

1. Paint the Wood Paneling 

If the wood paneling in your home looks out of date, consider painting it to give it a brand new look. You can paint it any colour, but there are a few shades that really make wood paneling shine. A fresh coat of paint in white or cream will brighten up your room, giving it a cottage-like vibe. Black wood paneling can also be gorgeous in a study or powder room, and navy wood paneling in an office or hallway is incredibly stunning. 

2. Add Shelving or Artwork

If you have wood paneling in your office or living room and want to pare it down, add shelving to your walls so the paneling is a little more subtle. Built in bookshelves are a great way to disguise a wall of wood paneling, leaving only a small portion of paneling at the back. Artwork is another great way to subdue wood paneling. Wood paneling is the perfect canvas to layer a large art piece or gallery wall on top of.

3. Contrast with Marble

One of the most gorgeous materials you can use with wood paneling is marble. Adding marble will elevate the paneling, making the whole room look more luxe and sophisticated. If you have wood paneling in your living room, consider a marble fireplace. If you have wood paneling in your kitchen or bathroom, opt for marble countertops for a beautiful contrast. 

4. Bring in Some Plants

Plants are an easy way to add personality to any space. It’s not only the plants themselves, but what you place them in that can transform your room. If you’re designing around wood paneling, opt for macramé plant hangers, large ceramic pots, and wood planters that will help illuminate the paneling. Choose your favourite plants and place them around your room- the greenery will pop against the wood. 

5. Add Warmth with Rugs and Cozy Furniture

There’s no denying that the warmth and rustic vibe of wood paneling creates a cozy space. Embrace this with the furniture and decor you use in the room. Layer rugs to give the room even more warmth and dimension. Choose furniture pieces that embrace the cottage-like vibe. A big velvet couch, vintage armchairs and a wood coffee table are great pieces to add to a room with wood paneling.

Wood paneling doesn’t mean your house has to be stuck in the ‘60s. Use these ideas to update your wood paneling and make it look beautiful!