How To Decorate Wood Paneling Without Painting It

How To Decorate Wood Paneling Without Painting It – We Have Some Great Ideas

Wood paneling did go out of fashion a few years back, but now it is back in fashion due to so many people realizing they can do so much more with wood paneling to make it look better without removing it altogether or painting it.

Let’s face it. Painting is a pain!

You need to clean it all, down sand it, clean it again, and then apply a few coats and then sometimes a sealer.

That is a lot of work.

Instead of suffering through all of that, let’s look at the easier ways that you can turn your wood paneling around that is actually affordable and can be done in a day!

How To Decorate Wood Paneling Without Painting It

To give your wood paneling an updated look, you need to have the right colored furniture beside it first and use warm lighting. You can screw some shelves or bookcases to the wood to add a different effect or create a wall collage, so one wall of wood paneling becomes the focal point.

Use The Right Colors

When we are talking colors in a room with wood paneling, it is important that you go for color schemes that are going to complement the wood paneling.

You want everything to blend in together and look as it should under light circumstances.

If you have furniture in the room, then go with the same color scheme as the wood paneling, which is often browns, oranges, and golden reds.  

Cushions and throw or other décor need to be in the same color palette also.

So if you have a brown couch to match the brown paneling, consider golden-colored cushions with a brown throw etc.

Creating A College On Your Wood Paneling

Collages have grown in fashion over time.

These have now become a feature in interior design and work well to create a feature.

The perfect background is wood paneling especially if you use the right items for the collage.

Go with black or white frames for the pictures, as these will stand out the most and work with the wood.

These can be applied with hooks or screws, whichever you prefer.

A collage is non-uniform.

You can have different sized frames, but mix them up so you avoid having too much looked the same bunched together.

A collage wall doesn’t just have to be left to photos of the family; it can be designed on a theme such as a child’s birth, a wedding, or graduation.

Just be careful not to overdo it as you run the risk of taking away the view from the wood paneling.

Adding Plants

If you want your wood to appear rustic or natural, make use of house plants.

Have some hanging plants draping down on the wood paneling or hanging from the ceiling but low enough, the wood acts as a background.

This will allow for a more earthy feeling in the room.

You can mix between green plants or flowers, but flowers tend to make the paneling seem cluttered.

Leafy green plants work well with wood paneling and whereas flowers will need to be matched in.

What If You Have Too Much Panelling?

If you have wood floors, wood paneling, and wood exposed beams, then your room might feel too overpowered with wood.

Consider striping three walls of the wood but leave one as the feature wall.

Add in a large floor rug to break the wood from the floor to the walls.

You can then decorate the wood paneling by putting designer furniture in front of it or plants and even shelving. 

Choosing a wall near a window will allow for light to hit the wood paneling.

The Lighting Circumstance

When you have wood paneling, you need to highlight the warmth within it. Warm lighting is a good way to do this easily with just an orange or yellow bulb.

You will see on some bulbs they will actually say warm light, which is what you want.

These globes give the room a cozy feeling, along with a few table lamps added into the mix to help bounce light off the wood panels.

The more light, the more natural grain of the wood is going to show.

Using Shelving To Decorate The Wood Paneling

A good way to break the wood paneling up and have it looking not too drab is to use shelving.

Some people have wood shelving from one end of the wood shelving to the other.

This allows you to cover some of the wood if you feel it’s too much.

You are also allowing the wood paneling to be used behind the shelf as a background feature.

Ornaments, frames, and plants can be used on the shelving to help decorate.

Floating shelves will work here, or you can consider using brackets that are matt black to stand out against the wood.


Wood paneling doesn’t need to be stripped and painted. Painting is just one way to improve how something looks.

From shelves to plants to anything else you can think of that looks good can be used to enhance the look of your wood paneling. You can mix and match and play around with designs to see what you like best.

Painting is a lot of work if you don’t like it when you are finished.

The other options can easily be removed if you choose to go with something else.

Frequently Asked Questions about Wood Paneling

Can You Make Wood Paneling Look Modern?

You can definitely make wood paneling modern. The good thing about wood is it can fit into the Modern, world, the vintage, and even rustic. It all depends on how you decorate it. For modern, stick to modern colors, lighting, and décor ideas.

Has Wood Paneling Gone Out Of Fashion?

Wood Panels are not out of fashion. While they were a while back, they are making a huge comeback. With all the different ways to enhance their look, there are no more staredowns when people see wood paneling in your home if you style it well.