A trend of the 1960s, wood panelling is found in many old houses. It commands the room’s attention and is often considered an eyesore for homeowners who prefer bright, crisp walls. Luckily, painting over wood panelling is incredibly easy and cost-effective.


DIY Network Canada’s House Crashers (airing Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT and 9:30 p.m. ET/PT) offers a step-by-step guide to bringing a room into the 21st century.

Prep the space
Before priming and painting, lay down a drop cloth or layers of newspaper to protect the floor. Also, apply painters tape to the ceiling and baseboards to facilitate a clean line finish.

Prep the wood
To get the panels ready for their makeover, fill nail holes and other imperfections with caulk. When the caulk dries, sand it down and run a moist cloth over the entire wall to wash away any dust and debris. Unless the panelling is splintered or extra glossy, there is no need to sand the entire wall.

Prime time
Picking a primer is an important step when painting wood panelling. An oil-based primer is recommended over a water-based one, because oil-based formulas are more durable. This means no grease or wood stains will come through and ruin the final finish. Using a paint roller, apply a thin and even coat of primer over all the wood panelling. Use a paint brush to cover any cracks and corners that the roller didn’t reach to ensure that the entire surface is covered.

Get painting
Once the primer dries, use a high-quality paint roller to apply one thin and even coat of latex paint. Again, use a paint brush to get to any spots the roller missed. Allow the paint to dry completely and then apply a second coat for better coverage and a richer colour.