Wooden panelling can look a little dated in a modern home, almost reminiscent of past decades. However, it is possible to update the look of wooden panelling without removing it entirely; if the correct techniques are used, it’s a relatively simple process to give old-fashioned panelling a modern look with a fresh coat of paint.

As our professional decorators at Scott Anson Painters and Decorators Ltd. will agree, proper preparation is crucial to achieve a high-quality finish. Rushing or skipping important steps can result in an inconsistent paint job, which is all the more disappointing after putting in time and effort.

Prepare the Surfaces

Using a damp cloth to remove dirt and dust from the panelling is a key step. It’s best not to rush, as it’s important to make sure that each crevice is entirely free of dirt. After cleaning thoroughly, the area should be allowed to dry fully before proceeding to the next stage.

Once the panelling is clean and dry, fill any pre-existing holes and cracks and then sand the surface as this will remove any splinters and soften it, allowing the paint to adhere to it more successfully. The use of masking tape will protect the wall above the panelling. DIYers can protect floors and surrounding areas by placing cloths and dust sheets on the floor.

It is also advisable to use decorators caulk to fill in any gaps between the joints of the panelling. Due to the variation in drying times according to the manufacturer, reading and following the instructions is important.

The embedded PDF takes a closer look at the most useful tools for decorating your home.

Applying Primer and Paint

If you choose to apply a suitable undercoat this can enhance the look of the paint job and protect the wood, and there are quick-drying options that can further improve the adhesion of the paint.

First and foremost, painting between the panels is best done with a medium-sized paintbrush. Meanwhile, a roller is more suitable for the larger parts of the panelling. This first coat of paint should be left to dry completely before applying a second coat.

The masking tape can be removed once the paint is almost dry. The finished look can give a room an immediate lift, and painting is far simpler and cheaper than removing the panelling and starting again.