Got some old panelling from the “dark” ages. What can you do?
One option is to simply drywall over it. You can apply drywall directly on top of the panelling if you mark stud locations on the floor and ceiling, based on where you see nails in the panelling.
Or you can pull it right off and then drywall. This way you can double check the stud spacing to make sure you’re 16″ or 24″ on-center. You can also rewire and add new outlets as necessary, or add insulation..
Don’t feel up to drywalling right now?
By dulling the surface with tsp, an abrasive cleaner mixed with water or painting with one of the new, super-adherent primers, you can paint it.
The options are wide open. A solid color is the easiest, and you create the effect of a painted panelled wall in an old farmhouse.
Or create mock wainscoting. Paint the bottom three feet in one color, paint the rest of the wall in another, and run a chair rail around the room. Now the bottom looks like separate wainscoting.
If you’re prepared to be a little bolder, paint stripes, simply following the lines of the panelling. Two colors in the same range, or muted complementary colors work well. Experiment with the color match before hand.
You can also cover it with wallpaper. Prepare the surface as you would for painting, but unless the wallpaper is heavy vinyl, you’ll need to fill the cracks with drywall mud.
Replace the panelling. Panelling ain’t what it used to be. These days, you can choose from a wide variety of contemporary styles and colors.