How to Paint 70s’ Panelling

Painting dark, dated panelling is really easy.  If you take the plunge and do so, the results are instantly dramatic!

Here’s how I do it:

1.  Wash walls so that there is no greasy, dirty residue that will prevent paint from adhering.  I use a few Tablespoons of TSP powder (you can find this at a Hardware store) dissolved in a bucket of warm water.

2.  Prime.  I like this all-purpose latex primer from Behr.


You’ll notice it says it “adheres to glossy surfaces”.  That’s what you want when you’re painting panelling.  This big bucket of primer has primed many surfaces in this house!  It goes a long way…

Here’s a little tip:  You don’t have to use a paint brush to paint in the grooves of the panelling.  Just use a roller for smooth surfaces (or a foam roller, if you can find one), and put some muscle into it!  The paint will fill in nicely…and it’s so much quicker than using a brush!

3.  After the primer dries (about 1 hour), paint with the color of your choice.

That’s it!

It took this wall from this (when we first moved in):

Woodstove and dark trim


To this…


And now this…

woodstove after

woodstove wall after

Obviously, the “whole look” isn’t finished!  We have some trim work to do…and I have big plans for that wall…

I tried at first painting the wall in white.  We didn’t like it…(Yep, that happens sometimes!).  So, in the end, it’s all blue.

The color?  – I got it at General Paint, but it is an exact match to Benjamin Moore’s “Misted Green” color.  Isn’t that hilarious?  The blue I love so much is called “green”.  Hmmm…please tell me I’m not color blind…

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  1. I had a wall once that was actually named some sort of grey, but it was really a blue or green, depending on who was looking at it! I loved that color for a long time, but it's gone now. Moved back to a very neutral color which I'm loving at the moment.

  2. Thank you for de-mystifying panel painting. I think a lot of people are afraid to tackle the job, but as you point out, priming is the key.

    Your room looks light years ahead in style now! Nice work.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on my tray make-over.

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