Home>Discussions>PAINTING & FINISHING>What to do about 1970's dark paneled den?
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What to do about 1970's dark paneled den?

Can it be painted over? It is so dark, depressing and dated, I can't stand it. The whole house is 1975 basic split level with small rooms, no storage, stairs everywhere, but to start with the Den, any idea's - anyone????;):eek:

Re: What to do about 1970's dark paneled den?

Why keep it?

Remove it, finish the drywall, sand, clean, prime and paint. Viola, like a new home.

A. Spruce
Re: What to do about 1970's dark paneled den?

The best way to deal with bad paneling is to remove it as dj suggests. This will give you the best possible finish to the room that will be a modern and current style and easier to work with in the future.

If you don't want to go to that time and expense (which should be fairly minimal ), you can paint the paneling. The problem with painting is that you'll still have hideous paneling, only now it's got paint on it. The room will remain quite dated. To paint, you'll need to wash the walls down with a TSP solution, rinse, dry, prime with two coats of a good primer such as Zinsser's Bullseye 123 (blue label ) and follow that with two coats of a good quality paint, such as Kelly Moore, Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams.

Re: What to do about 1970's dark paneled den?


To answer your question specifically, yes, you can paint your dark paneling. I did many of them during the following decades. If you desire a light or off white color, it will be three times around, first with primer, then with two coats of paint. A darker color can possibly be done with two coats if you have the primer tinted toward the finish color by the paint store.

As with any painting, prep is important. Clean the paneling, especially where oil from hands is likely,such as around light switches. If the paneling is very shiny, a scuff sanding is a good idea. Use a primer that is designated as an "enamel undercoater".

You might consider giving the painted paneling a highlight with a glazing. The variations are limitedless. Glazing will highlight the texture or grain of the paneling. Glaze is rolled or brushed on and then the majority is removed with rags, cheesecloth, striated with brushes, etc. On very rough T-111 type paneling, I would actually remove the glaze with a squeegee, which would highlight the low spots in the grain. There are many books on the subject, or a good paint store might aid you.

Painting is already by itself considerable work. You might consider "dj1's" idea of pulling the paneling down, especially if you or your husband has some basic carpentry/drywall skills. Of one concern is that your baseboards and casings will have to be re-aligned, as the wall will be thinner by the thickness of the paneling. You might also want to back off a piece first to see exactly what is in back of it. It is not impossible that heavier paneling would have been hung without drywall in back of it, or that the drywall, if there, will not have been taped first.

Re: What to do about 1970's dark paneled den?

My mother painted her paneled den a nice warm reddish/rust color with bright white trim. It looks fantastic.

If you're going for an affordable fix, I'd definitely recommend trying to paint! Paint it white first (obviously with layers of primer) to see if you like it plain and white...then add color.:D

Re: What to do about 1970's dark paneled den?

Painting paneling - done correctly is still faster and easier then tearing it down and drywalling. Clean it, lightly sand it to get the sheen off of it, prime it, mud the grooves(twice) and then finish coat it. It will look like drywall. I did all five floors of my apartment building this way and no one has a clue that it is painted paneling.

Re: What to do about 1970's dark paneled den?

Paint it! And if you don't like it, rip it out! Work with what ya got:p

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