That old wood paneling might have been a good idea many years ago when you’d like the pine furniture to match it, but now that you have upgraded your furniture, it might just be robbing your living room of lighting. Painting the paneling can correct that issue, and it is not hard to do, but you need proper planning. Paint won’t adhere to paneling with a glossy surface, and it’ll vanish into the grain of unfinished paneling. Before you paint, you need to clean and prime the paneling; if the paneling has a finish, you need to etch the finish.
Cover the floors with plastic sheeting. Move furniture to some other room or cover it with plastic. Open windows to offer ventilation.
Wash the wall with a soap solution. For unfinished wood, mix 1 ounce of all-purpose cleaning soap and wash the walls with a sponge. For a gloss finish, mixture 1/2 cup of trisodium phosphate (TSP) with water and clean the walls with a sponge. Wear rubber gloves when using TSP.
Let the paneling dry, then lightly sand it. Use 120-grit sandpaper for unfinished timber and sand with the grain. If you’re painting over completed paneling, sand it with 150- or 220-grit sandpaper to etch the finish.
Mask the borders of the wall, including any wood trim you don’t need to paint, using painter’s tape and masking paper.
Spread a coat of stain-blocking latex wood tip. Expand the primer around the perimeter of the paneling with a synthetic-bristle paintbrush and use a medium-nap roller to paint the main pieces.
Wait for the primer to dry, then fill any holes, dents and other flaws with drywall joint compound using a putty knife. Make sure you pound in any protruding nails and add more ring shank finish nails to secure lifting borders. Touch up any patches or repairs with primer and await it to dry.
Apply the first coat of acrylic latex wall paint. Cut in the borders with a synthetic-bristle brush and roll the main part with a medium-nap roller. Let the paint dry for two to three hours, then apply a second coat. Apply a third party if necessary.