Wood paneling has a timeless charm that can transform a house into a warm and inviting home, making it a sought-after choice in recent times.
However, after installing wood paneling in your home, you may feel stuck when deciding what colors go best with it. Fortunately, you can choose from many options to create a welcoming ambiance in your home, plus the looks exactly as you have in mind.
A general rule for those dipping their toes into wood paneling is to use neutral and earthy colors above all else. The best shades are thought to be white, turquoise, off-white/ivory, yellow, greens, grey, blues, and beige.
But be aware that there is much more to know when it comes to painting paneling and the best color ideas for surrounding decor. By learning which colors go best with your specific panels and wood trims, you can create a gorgeous room that combines perfectly.
Wood Paneling Paint Color Ideas
When choosing the paint colors for wood paneling, keep an eye on the type of wood, grain structure, and shade it has.
Ideally, the colors that go well with dark wood paneling may not be the same as those that go well with light wood paneling.
For example, if you have a room with dark cherry wood paneling, you may want to paint the walls a creamy white or light gray. But if you have maple wood paneling in a room with lots of natural light, you may want to consider painting the walls a bolder color, like deep green or navy blue.
Furthermore, there are some hues that work well with wood wall paneling and may surprise you, so read on to learn more if you are feeling excited with me…
1. Mustard Yellow
Yellow is one of the most versatile colors when it comes to pairing with wood. It looks great with both light and dark wood paneling since it reflects the same undertones in most shades of wood.
You can use a muted mustard yellow to work with the wood, giving it a modern, light look, or use a sunny, bright shade of wood for a similar effect.
2. Wonderful White
White is a color that looks good with anything you pair it with. It’s often used to make a room look larger and is known as a universal color due to its versatility and ability to make it work in any design.
For instance, having a room with white walls and white or light-colored wood panels gives you a modern and contemporary look. If you pair it with neutral colors, it takes on a coastal appearance.
3. Beachy Turquoise
If you’ve ever explored Southwestern decor, you’re likely to have noticed that turquoise and wood paneling is something of a staple in this area. Though it is popular in the Southwestern United States, it is not exclusive to that area.
It is good for anyone who prefers a more exotic look or those who want something vibrant but coastal; the turquoise offers a beachy ambiance when paired correctly with the wood trim and painted panels.
4. Classic Grays
If you’re trying to decide which colors to use with your wood panels, you can’t go wrong with gray. It truly does complement everything even a white kitchen counter decorated with white-paneled wood or a glass-doored cabinet filled with wooden utensils.
The versatility of gray also makes it a perfect fit for both traditional and modern spaces. And guess what? It even complements rustic and country styles beautifully and it’s the secret ingredient that adds a touch of elegance to any room.
5. Crisp Blue
If you want a royal look in your home to pair with your wood paneling, blue is a timeless choice. For this reason, it’s common to see older homes that have a royal blue hue working in harmony with cherry wood or mahogany.
Crisp blue on your 70s wood wall panels also brings with it brilliant contrast that offers a sophisticated appearance. To make it stand out even more, you can include gold accents here and there to create a truly regal look.
6. Shades of Green
When you are using wood trim, green tends to be one of the more conventional colors you will notice it paired with. This is especially true if there are wood finishes that are darker in color, like mahogany.
This type of palette is common in Ivy League schools, so it brings with it an air of sophistication.
That said, you aren’t limited to dark shades of green to make it look good with wood paneling. For instance, you are free to use playful mint green as it will contrast just as well.
If you want to add some tropical or beachy feelings to the space, a turquoise green color will be the shade you want for this. And if you’d like to make that more elegant, you can add some gold or brass to offer that royal appearance.
7. Mild Beige
Beige is an incredibly versatile color that complements wood paneling and trim with effortless charm. Its neutral nature allows it to seamlessly blend into various color palettes, be it traditional or vibrant and quirky.
Moreover, beige effortlessly pairs with gentle golden hues, elevating the overall aesthetic of wood paneling in any space. For a modern look, you can use shades of beige with more intense colors like navy blue or deep green. For a classic feel, incorporate subtle pastels or muted hues that go well with wood tones.
8. Off-white and Ivory
Finally, you can go for something entirely modern by choosing paint colors like off-white, cream, or ivory for updating your old paneling.
For example, you can achieve a contemporary kitchen look by using wood panels and painting the lower cabinet in mild off-white. Or use an eggshell ivory finish for panels and equally light colors for the trims to create an elegant, timeless look. This will make your paneling appear brighter and lighter and give you a brand-new color palette.
That said in some cases, off-white or light creamy shades may contrast too vividly if there is too much color already present in the room. This is especially important to note if you are hoping to create an inviting kitchen with a cozy and comfortable look instead of something commercial or industrial.
Furthermore, if you like Tudor-style homes, you can embody some of that aesthetic by matching dark wood panels with off-white instead of going for pure white.
Tips on Picking Paint Colors for Wood Panels
Before diving into planning the perfect colors for your wood paneling, there are a few things you need to keep in mind…
The first is that fabrics and furnishings are excellent at bringing out the beauty of wood paneling all on their own. So, if you want to enhance the tone of your existing panels use such accessories wisely.
Furthermore, much like any other interior design, the look you are sure to like sits somewhere at the intersection between color theory and personal preference. As you start to plan out the colors for your wood paneling, consider first the lightness or darkness of the wood and decide on the colors from there.
1- Pick Neutral and Warmer Colors
You will also want to take into consideration the dominant colors that create a more dramatic feel to your palette.
For instance, choosing neutral and warm colors such as tan-green or dark gray will elevate the appearance of the space because the wood’s rich, dark brown hue will be highlighted among the colors should you match the walls using an even-toned brown hue. It creates a space that is warmer, more comfortable, and more inviting.
2- Playing Contrast with Some Dark Shades
Keep in mind that darker paneling can create a stunning, dramatic effect, while lighter colors can create a calm ambiance, perfect for rooms with lots of light. The lighter color will also help reflect light and make the room more serene. So, if you want to create a calm and relaxing atmosphere in your room, go for lighter wood paneling.
You can add darker shades like black and coffee brown a bit here and there without overwhelming the space if you want to play with contrast. Especially if your room has darker wood like walnut, mahogany, or oak in a richer shade, it will contrast well against white, ivory, and blue.
But if you are working with lighter wood such as birch, ash, or maple, you are sure to prefer the look of bold hues like dark green or navy.
3- Carefully Select the Paint for Your Wood Paneling Walls
Along with colors, you will also need to make sure that you find the right paint and finish for your project.
For wall paneling, it’s a good idea to go with interior latex paint with a satin finish that’s typically used for trim, cabinets, and doors. This type of paint is durable and can withstand scratches and bumps over time. Plus it also provides good coverage and a nice shine along with easy cleaning.
To paint your paneling surfaces first clean and prime the wood evenly. Then apply a thin coat of paint, starting from the top and working your way down using a brush.
Be thorough in covering the gaps between the panels and remove any excess paint that may collect in the panel grooves. Additionally, promptly address any drips that may occur.
The bottom line
Planning to redo your 70’s wood paneling to make them look nicer? Well, there are endless options you can try to get the makeover done beautifully.
In this article, we touched on a few of the most popular options for you to get familiar with. We also gave you key points to remember when planning and painting your house paneling.
Keep both in mind as you shop and plan your new interior decorating project, and you’re sure to fall in love with the end result.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.