Don’t be afraid of…1/4″ wood paneling

I was looking back through some of my posts and I realized that I hadn’t done a “Don’t be afraid of” feature in a while. For those of you unfamiliar with it [since it’s been a while], “Don’t be afraid of” posts deal with design elements in a house that might “scare off” potential buyers. I go into a lot of different houses every week. As a result, I consistently see certain features in houses that consistently turn buyers off! There are some wonderful older homes prospective buyers will walk away from simply because they don’t know how to deal with a certain element of the house (something dated, filthy or otherwise).

In the past I have featured knotty pine paneling, skimpy trim molding, nasty-looking wood floors and weird bathroom colors, to name a few.

Today I am featuring 1/4″ wood paneling. I am not talking about the really thick knotty pine paneling popular in the ’50s that’s making a bit of a comeback now [sort of]. You know the stuff I am talking about…it was popular in the ’70s and had a faux wood look. I am loathe to admit my own mother tried her hand a 1/4″ paneling in my brother’s room in the ’70s. I am sure she thought it would be a fashionable touch for a young boy’s room…I am equally as sure the people who bought our home ripped it right out upon taking ownership :-)

To the right is an example of the stuff I am talking about.¼ inch paneling (untouched)

In any event, I originally thought this stuff could never be salvaged from a decorating perspective. I mean seriously…what do you do with a “wood room”??

But recently, I have seen a few things that have changed my mind.

First, as I have mentioned, I have my eye on a certain house that I like. While beautifully decorated in it’s day by a very talented interior decorator, it is looking pretty “last century” now. It has mirrored walls everywhere, built in desks and bookcases in every room (the kind with the metal rails bolted into the wall so the shelves can be rearranged) and it too has 1/4″ wood paneling in certain areas. Now, the paneling has all been painted fancy-schmancy interior decorator-y colors so you don’t really notice it at first, but it is there. As my husband was trying to impress upon me the actual cost of bringing the house up-to-speed from a decorating perspective, he referenced the fancy-schmancy painted paneling. My response to him was, “that can wait to be changed until later since it’s not as awful as some of the other stuff.”

Now, did I think those words would ever leave my lips with regard to 1/4″ paneling? NO!!

Still reeling from my mother’s foray into 1/4″ paneling 40 years earlier, not in a million years did I think I would make that statement. But, after I said it to my husband, I got to thinking…actually how bad is painted 1/4″ paneling? I came to the conclusion, not so bad. Now, don’t get me wrong, if money were no object, yes, I’d rip the stuff out and patch the walls. But if money is an issue [which for most of us it is] it’s not so bad to live with it if it is painted a pleasing color.

I have actually been noticing painted paneling in a couple of decorating-y type places and it doesn’t look half bad.

Here is an example of painted paneling that I actually quite like


Dare I say, I actually find it…chic?!?

In any event, if you have found a home whose bones you like but is riddled with 1/4″ paneling, don’t discount it from your selection set. With a few good paint choices, it just may actually work!

Images: Top: Houzz, Bottom: H&H Home


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One Response to Don’t be afraid of…1/4″ wood paneling

  1. Pingback: Knotty Pine is making a comeback?!? |

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