Interior Design Ideas Using 1970s Wood Paneling

While many great things came out of the 1970s, many people believe that wood paneling is not one of them, and many homeowners today are left dealing with outdated paneling in their homes. Some choose to remove the paneling, while others prefer the less-expensive and easier option of painting over it. With a few coats of paint and some design inspiration, those outdated rooms can be turned into fresh living spaces.

Beach/Coastal Designs

The old wood paneling in your home doesn't have to be a design tragedy.

Wood panels can be a great base for designing a beach- or coastal-themed room. Begin by painting the wood paneling, and any other walls in the room, white. According to "Better Homes and Gardens," you should first clean the wood panels to remove any dust and dirt, sand the panels with 100-grit sandpaper, caulk any cracks and then prime the panels. Then use a roller brush to paint the panels white, applying as many coats as needed. Next, add white furniture. For example, in a bedroom, use a white wood or metal bed frame, headboard and night stands. You could also paint an old trunk white and place it at the foot of the bed. Purchase a fresh, crisp white comforter and two white lamps for the night stands. Now add some color with the accessories. Blue is a great accent color for a coastal look. Layer the pillows on the bed using a mix of blues and seashell patterns. Hang artwork depicting beach scenes, sailboats or seashells. Place beach-themed picture frames on the nightstands along with a large seashell. For a living room, use a white sofa and chairs and white wood coffee table. White and dark-blue striped pillows on the sofa add a nice touch. Stack two to three coastal-themed coffee table books on the coffee table and place a large seashell on top of them. Large starfish, or glass vases filled with shells, may be placed on shelves. Finish the look with coastal artwork.

Shabby Chic Designs

Shabby chic decorating may also begin with painting the wood paneling a soft white. The shabby chic decorating style uses soft, neutral colors and either old furnishings or newer items made to look old (known as the "distressed" look). White painted furniture is often used in shabby chic decorating. You can pick up used furnishings such as dressers, tables, shelves and night stands at flea markets or garage sales. Paint the furniture white and sand off the edges to give it a nice used look, which will go well with the painted paneling. In the bedroom, use a white lace or flowery comforter, vintage lamps and black-and-white photos in worn picture frames. In the living room, use neutral-color pillows on a white sofa. You could also use an old trunk as a coffee table, place a small bucket of hydrangeas next to a chair, stack old books on a table or shelf and add old black-and-white photos.

Country Designs

For a country-style look, you can either leave the wood paneling as is or paint it an earth tone. To achieve the country look for a bedroom, use wooden bedroom furniture or a wrought-iron bed. Cover the bed with a nice quilt, place a hope chest at the foot of the bed and add an oak rocking chair. For a living room, use wooden furniture such as a hickory coffee table. Reds and yellows are popular country colors for accent pieces. Add baskets, wooden bowls and other accessories made from natural materials.