My walls suck.
July 28, 2008 11:54 AM   Subscribe

Any tips on decorating my new home that has dark wood paneled walls? I want to try and lighten the place up without actually redoing the walls since we are renting.
posted by to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Using a large mirror or two as though they were paintings/art help to reflect what light there is there and it can really change the feel of the room. Makes it seem lighter as well as larger.
posted by gwenlister at 12:02 PM on July 28, 2008

The Moveable Nest has a lot of good ideas.
posted by mecran01 at 12:39 PM on July 28, 2008

How about covering the walls with a light-colored, slightly textured fabric? Rather than attaching the fabric to the wall (which might not be do-able without damaging the paneling), you could hang it from the ceiling using thin curtain rods or a track-rail system (IKEA sells those).
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 12:56 PM on July 28, 2008

The fabric idea is great, I just did that at my last apartment with the IKEA dignitet. We got clips that held up the material and let it drape naturally. With a couch in front you didn't really notice it wasn't applied to the wall.
I have also had luck when I was younger with giant rolls of colored butcher block paper. taping it to the wall at the top, along sides and at bottom. Then I hung my art and other wall decor right on top. I found it at the local teacher supply company. This is a very cheap solution, if not very professional looking.
posted by phytage at 1:28 PM on July 28, 2008

Is the entire wall wood, or just part way up? Our place is mostly wood paneled but only up to about 4 feet high. Light paint colors above the wood in a satin or eggshell finish have made a big difference here. The finish lets a little light bounce around and gives a glow to the room. Same with the ceiling.

Something else that helps, but isn't related to light, is to add elements that are opposed to the predominant geometric design of the wood. If the wood is mostly vertical, add some horizontally oriented items and rounded shapes. Or vice versa.
posted by cocoagirl at 2:18 PM on July 28, 2008

phytage: We used the dignitet system to hang drapes in doorways (we had a really small place and half-open doors took up a lot of room). We had a lot of trouble with the line breaking. Of course, we also had a lot of trouble with the cats yanking on the curtains. How did your line fare?
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 2:29 PM on July 28, 2008

Is the entire wall wood, or just part way up?

Yes, the entire wall, in every room. Blah.
posted by at 3:39 PM on July 28, 2008

Oh God. Horrible flashbacks of rented college house with room in floor to ceiling 1970s wood panelling. Ack. Ack. Ack.

OK, anyway, I did the sheets thing. I nailed them to the panels every couple of standard thumbtacks. That wood is dark and, well, grained I guess, so the holes really do not show. You can get cheap sheets - you're going to need a *bunch* - if you look around.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:22 PM on July 28, 2008

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