Our Wood Paneled Living Room Makeover

Have you ever had one of those projects that absolutely overwhelms you and makes you want to postpone them for the longest time? Well, that was exactly how I felt about our living room! I mean look at it! ICK! It had that super ancient wood paneling, puke-brown scratchy carpet, black outlet covers and that dinosaur of a ceiling fan. Just thinking about re-doing this room made me so excited, but also groan because I knew it would be a time consuming project!



Thankfully, my husband is a get-it-done kind of a guy (a huge blessing to me) and we where able to begin working on this stuffy, old living room just 2 1/2 months after moving in. After doing some reading on Pinterest (seriously, what would we do without Pinterest!) about how to properly paint over wood paneling, we began going over the walls with a fine-tooth comb to find any nail holes or dips in the paneling, and then filling them with wood filler. In a couple spots we learned (the hard way) that if we missed any holes once we painted over the paneling they would be painfully noticeable. Being meticulous and generous with the wood filler was pretty important.


After the wood filler and sanding came the fun part (at least for the first 2 hours): priming! We used Zinsser Water-Based primer, which worked pretty well. It dried almost chalky-like and didn’t cover the paneling as much as we thought it would, but it did give a nice base to paint on top of.


Because the cracks/seams in our paneling were black, we went over all the cracks with generous amounts primer before concentrating on the wall as a whole. We wanted those cracks in the wall to fade into the background once the living room was finished, so we went over all the cracks at least twice with a small brush (which takes longer than you would think!).


Oh, it felt so wonderful to have that first wall sorta white! It then dawned on me that this was only the first wall and only the first coat of primer… The combination of this realization and sore wrists from painting made my motivation dive! But we kept on!


YAY! Wall two done with first coat of primer! šŸ˜›


Then FINALLY, after taking our sweet time for 3 months, we finished priming! AND tore down that old ceiling fan and replaced it with a much needed upgrade! It was a nice little inexpensive one from Home Depot. Since our ceilings are kind of low in the living room, we wanted the fan mounted quite close to the ceiling and white to blend in seamlessly.

Now I was on crunch time to pick out the paint color! I tend to have more of a Scandinavian leaning when it comes to decorating. I love light airy neutrals, especially when it comes to wall color. The living room is a southwest-facing room and the afternoon light can’t be beat. I wanted a very light, creamy wall color that made the room feel fresh and calm. So off to the stores I went in search for that perfect paint color!

Please tell me that I’m not the only one who comes home with, like, a thousand paint samples?! I’m about 95% sure that the paint department people thought I was planning to wallpaper with their samples! But even worse, now I had to go through all of these samples and find ‘The One’! So many choices!


But thank goodness, Seth and I finally found one we liked! It was called Heavy Cream by Pittsburgh (the middle color on this sample). Sooooooo, I began painting a little patch of wall to see how it looked…and I DID NOT like it! It almost looked like terracotta or clay. It probably would have worked fine, but I was looking for something a bit lighter than Heavy Cream.


Heavy Cream is on the right of the chimney… It would have been a great color and probably would have worked fine but it just didn’t look right to me. So back to the store we went, to return the unopened paint and pick up a new color…


This time we went with Milk Paint, again by Pittsburgh, a shade lighter than the first color. And we LOVED it! It was a hassle to change colors, but we’re so glad we did.


Settled on Milk Paint, we began painting again: going through all the seams and then the whole wall. We did two coats of Milk Paint. Then we painted the ceiling trim a bright white to give it a finished look.


A fantastic sale on carpet at Menard’s was happening at the perfect time for us (totally an answer to prayer!), and we were able to get a soft, cushy carpet that we loved for under $2 per square foot!


Yay! Out with that scratchy old carpet! A friend of Seth and I who has years of experience installing carpet helped put the carpet in (since we really had no idea what we were doing).


After finishing the carpet, putting on most of the outlet covers, painting the vents, and installing white trim near the floor, we’re done!!! Just have to move furniture it!







living-roomBefore we never used this room because it felt so dark and dirty, but now we spend a TON of time in here! Its our place to curl up with a coffee and book, watch an episode of Hogan’s Hero’s, or just kick back. It feels so clean, fresh, calm, and light now! We’re so thrilled to have a finished living room that we love!

We love to look at the before and after pictures! We think it’s quite the transformation! šŸ™‚








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