By Gina G.

Making It Work:  Wood Paneling              

Many of us have had some type of experience with wood paneling.  Whether it is considered a left over relic from previous home owners, a byproduct of the 1950s suburban housing sprawl, or embraced as a unique décor in your home, wood paneling can appear to be dated.  And, although often times those who inherit a room or home with wood paneling are ambivalent about it, there are actually a few different ways to make wood paneling work for a home.

One of the more common things to do with a wood paneled room is to paint it white. This is a less expensive alternative to removing the wood paneling and helps you keep the natural décor of the room if that is your aim.  It also makes the room more neutral and easier to decorate.  Keeping with this idea, I recently encountered a room in which the home owner had alternated the painted white panels with dark brown colored wood panels.  It looked gorgeous.  And what a brilliant idea, especially considering the recent décor draw of stripes!

Another way to make wood paneling work would be use it as an alternative to painting. It can be a great addition of natural décor by adding it to a blank walk.  Now I have seen this done multiple ways. You could completely panel just one wall, which would be a similar concept as painting an accent wall.  Or, another idea would be to panel just a portion of a blank wall, perhaps taking the place of a wall mirror or picture.  You could also leave the walls alone and panel the ceiling.  These ideas allow you to control the amount of wood paneling utilized in the room.  However, perhaps the greatest key to updating this look is to panel horizontally rather than the traditional vertical way.