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ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

How can I cover up old wood paneling without painting or damaging it?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (10529points) February 2nd, 2012 from iPhone

The new house we’re moving into is adorable and the beach is in our backyard. We truly love it and the landlord has renovated mostly everything but for some reason he doesn’t want the outdated wood paneling painted over. Call me materialistic but I have to find a way to cover it up! It’s only one wall in the living room but I have more of a modern style and the wood just doesn’t go with my furniture, decor, etc. Is there anything that I can do to cover it up and still make it look nice? Do stores sell fabric wall panels or something along those lines? Any ideas or links are much appreciated!

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16 Answers

DrBill's avatar

I would use strip-able wallpaper. You can get a pattern you like or use strip-able paint-able paper and paint it any color you like.

When it is time to move just peal it off the wall and no damage done.

SpatzieLover's avatar

You could do as @DrBill suggested or you could
hang starched fabric to save even more time & money.

It’s simple to do, and peels off with ease.

Kardamom's avatar

I’ve seen some pretty nifty rooms (mostly basement media rooms) that had one wall that had floor to ceiling, wall to wall curtains hung on them. Like this (sorry this is not the best rendering).

In a similar, maybe more modern vein, I’ve also seen panels used as curtains or room dividers, but you could use those on the offending wall too. Similar to these. I know Ikea used to sell some very inexpensive sliding panels that were very modern and came in several nuetral colors including my favorite, that was a dark chocolate brown. I think this is the one I saw.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I was going to say hang curtains, but I think @SpatzieLover‘s idea is better.

Or you could tack up some plywood over the panelling and paint that. I would actually paint the plywood and let it dry completely before I tacked it up

Pull the plywood off the wall when you leave. You would have to get some wood putty to fill the holes in the panelling when you left, but it wouldn’t ruin the wall.

Coloma's avatar

Cork board or bamboo matting.
You can create some really cool tropical walls with bamboo fencing. :-)

CWOTUS's avatar

This might be perfect for a temporary wall covering in a marine / beach environment: Check out used sails in “decorative” condition. (That way you’ll be paying for a sail that has no useful life as a functioning sail, but will still look good as a wall covering, awning, temporary shelter, etc.)

I did a quick search (because the idea just occurred to me when I read your question) and saw that the price range for a 10’ x 15’ sail would be around $50, so it’s not going to bust a budget, either. And it would sure fit in with a beach house.

Kardamom's avatar

@CWOTUS that sounds very nice! You nautical boy!

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Awesome ideas! I’m checking out all the links now. So many great options that I never would have thought of :)

BosM's avatar

Check out this website:

“Tempaper is self-adhesive, “peel-and-stick”, temporary wallpaper that eliminates the need for paste or water. Simply remove its backing and adhere to a primed and painted surface. Just peel off to remove. It is fun and high-impact decorating for those who do not want to make a long-term commitment to a permanent design or renters who can’t! ”

Coloma's avatar

I went nuts last year and painted several walls in my living room a metallic bronze, they came out amazing! One wall has my pride and joy, a huge 5×5 abstract original painting in turquoises and greens in an oceanic theme, it just EXPLODES off of the bronze wall! If anyone is thinking of experimenting with metallic paints…10 creative thumbs up over here! :-D

HungryGuy's avatar

Do what they did in medieval times: hang tapestries on the walls (but that probably won’t work for you if you want a modern style).

gasman's avatar

My wife renovates old houses all the time. She uses drywall mud (joint compound) to fill the grooves in wood paneling and then wallpapers over it – thus the grooves don’t show through. It’s not as irreversible as painting if you think you’ll ever want to restore the paneling in the future.

jca's avatar

I can’t imagine why the LL would not want you to paint the paneling. I had (have) paneling in my house and once I painted it over, the house looked so charming, so bright, so crisp, it was like night and day. I wonder what he is thinking – that wall paneling will end up coming back in style? That wal paneling is so chic looking it simply must remain?

Two other ideas I had for you are either a curtain that is shirred – that is, a rod at the top and a rod at the floor level, so the curtain is taut and might be a bit more contemporary looking. Another idea is to tack (thumbtacks or small nails) fabric flat against the paneling. This would take up less fabric than the curtain idea – because the tacked fabric would only need to be as wide as the wall itself, whereas the curtain/shirred fabric would need to be at least double the width of the wall in order to look right. So with the fabric tacked to the wall, it might look less like curtain and more almost like wallpaper (even though it could be white if you wanted).

Please post an update as to how you end up covering that horrible panelling!

The Update Lady

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@jca That’s exactly what I want to say to him! Wood paneling doesn’t give a house character. But it’s hard to explain that to someone who’s house is nothing but wood paneling.

I like the idea of the peel and stick wallpaper but the website says it needs to be a primed and painted surface so that probably won’t work.

I love the bamboo idea but I’m not sure where to find something like that or if it’ll be too costly.

I’ll probably end up going with the curtain idea if I can’t find the bamboo matting.

jca's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217: If he’s an old guy, he might think wood paneling is “valuable and luxurious” meanwhile, most wood paneling is fake wood anyway.

If you don’t like the ruffly looking curtain, just go with tacking fabric up to the walls. You can pick any fabric, any color, the sky’s the limit!

augustlan's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 You might still be able to use the wallpaper idea, but tack it up as @jca suggests you do with fabric, rather than using the adhesive.

Also: [mod says] This is our Question of the Day!

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