How to Update Old Panelled Walls

Update old panelled walls to rejuvenate a room. One decorating option for updating panelling is to paint over it. Paint over dark wood panelled walls with a light colored paint to lighten the room up and to give the old panelling a modern look.

Old paneling is usually dark and often leaves a room with a cave-like feel.
  1. Evaluate the surface of the panelling. Check for holes and dents, and decide if you want the natural seams in the panelling to show or if you want a completely smooth surface.

  2. Apply the wood filler to holes, dents and (if desired) the seams with a putty knife, and then drag the putty knife over the filler until the surface is smooth. Drying time of the filler depends on the brand you choose, follow the manufacturer's recommendations. Do not paint until it has dried thoroughly.

  3. Sand lightly over the filled in surfaces to eliminate any rough edges. Wipe with a damp cloth to remove residue. Do not paint until the panelling is completely dry.

  4. Check the roughness of the panelling. If it feels rough to the touch you may want to sand it with either an electric sander or sandpaper. Start at the top and work your way down. Use a damp cloth to remove all residue when you are done. Do not paint until the walls completely dry.

  5. Use a good quality primer to paint the panelling. Apply two coats of primer. If budget is a consideration use a less expensive primer for the first coat.

  6. Select the paint color of your choice and apply to the walls. If the primer is not completely covered you may need to apply a second coat of paint.