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Embrace the Space: Living with Wood Paneling
by Cathy Christino on 1 comment
Wood paneling is having a bit of a moment right now but if you’re living with the kind of wood paneling that evokes more of a 70’s basement vibe than a cozy Scandinavian hygge feeling, read on! Wood paneling comes in many flavors and the choice to fix it or flip it lies entirely on your style aesthetic … until it doesn’t.
Maybe you’re renting and your landlord says “no” to painting the paneling. Maybe you just moved into your dream home and you need a quick fix because replacing the paneling is way down on your renovation to-do list. Or, just maybe, you’ve moved into your significant other’s home, and they flat out refuse to let you paint or remove the paneling because it’s “good wood paneling” (it’s not) and “makes the house feel like a cabin in the woods” (it doesn’t). If the latter scenario seems a little too specific, it’s because this author writes from personal experience.
If you’re living with ugly paneling, there are a few tricks to help you work with what you’ve got and embrace that space.
If a cabin in the woods is what your wall conjures up, why not incorporate a theme? Add wood furniture the same color as your paneling to blend in. Hang some antique skis crisscrossed on the wall. Switch it up seasonally with canoe paddles or fishing gear. It’s easy to find pillows, throws and even bedding that play into this theme. As for art, choose wood frames the same color as the wall so the art stands out against the wall.
Look Away (I’m Hideous!)
If rocking a ski lodge is not for you, try diverting attention away from your walls with a few simple décor ideas. Feature a bold focal point that will pull your eyes away from the walls. This could be a fetching sofa upholstered in emerald green, tangerine or turquoise. Hang a gallery wall with art displayed in various frames to create an attention-grabbing collage. Contrast with light colors to brighten up the space. White lampshades breathe new life into old lamp bases and keep the space fresh. Be sure to use warm lightbulbs to keep the room feeling soft. If you’re lucky enough to have great natural light, consider framing your windows with light colored sheers. In the space below, flax linen sheers are embroidered with copper and gold metallic thread in a nod to the brown paneling but add breezy attitude to a room that can easily feel dated.
If your room has interesting details like a window seat, fireplace or bookshelves, you’re already halfway to creating a space that minimizes the look of that dreaded wood paneling. Bookshelves – whether they’re built-in, floating, mounted or freestanding – not only block paneling but also provide a place for you to create an interesting display. Organize your books in a mix of vertical and horizontal stacking, and sprinkle with some of your favorite collectibles and home decor. Make sure to mix it up for visual interest. You can also create visual interest on your fireplace mantel. Place bold items to draw the eye and, if you have the option to paint the mantel and/or surround, go for white to lighten up the space or paint it a dark charcoal for drama (Benjamin Moore’s Racoon is excellent for fireplace surrounds). A nice, curated mix of pillows on a cozy window seat adds personality and comfort to any space.
Bottom line? Don’t hate the space. Embrace the space. You’ve got this!
I found this blog to be very informative on how to decorate your rooms based on your needs.