Sunday, June 23, 2013

When You Can Live With Wood Paneling (And When You Cannot)

Wood paneling.

Just say those words and watch people's reaction.

Some folks nod their heads and smile, thinking warm and cozy thoughts.

Other folks cringe.

Let's face it. If you are in the habit of purchasing older homes, you are likely to have a few close encounters of the wood paneling kind.

One of my favorite homes was a cape cod style bungalow. The previous owner had painted the wood paneling in the family room a bright shade of white. It was a little too harsh for me when paired with the brick fireplace. We painted that paneling a rich warm shade of terra cotta, and it made the room very inviting.

Another of my favorite homes had a wood paneled wainscoting in the family room in a rich burled wood. It suited the room, with its brick fireplace flanked by built-in bookcases. It would have been a travesty to mess with that wood paneling.

The family room in this sixties colonial guessed it!...wood paneling. Walls and walls and walls (and walls!) of it. Truthfully, I like it! This is our movie viewing room, and we want it to be on the darker side. My husband is not convinced that he can live with it. I keep telling him to have a little patience. When we get new furniture for this room (and that will be a necessity very soon), it will make all the difference. The room also faces the east, and gets plenty of light during the day.

For now, I'm doing my best to make the space a true family room. Framed photos. Beloved books and movies. Games and entertainment. Comfy places to sit with plenty of throw pillows and blankets. I'm adding brightly colored accessories to counteract the darker nature of the wood paneled walls.

In a weird twist, it's becoming one of my favorite rooms of the house. Go figure!

And then there is the issue of the den.

We were lucky enough to find a colonial with not one, but TWO wood paneled rooms. The den is situated at the back of the house. It is in the southwest corner of the house, with two windows that are shaded by trees. There is absolutely no overhead lighting. It is dark, dark, dark for the majority of the day, save for an hour or two in the late afternoon.

The den has a ton of built-ins, perfect for a craft room.

And it would be a perfect craft room, too, if you could actually see what you are working on in there. Unfortunately, the light gets sucked by the dark paneled walls.

This room will also serve as the guest room. It is situated next to a full bathroom on the main floor, perfect for guests. Unfortunately, I can't imagine a guest who would want to stay in that room in its current condition.

I am sensing a painting project in the near future.

The July issue of Country Living magazine features a Cape Cod colonial where the home owners painted the wood paneling a warm and sunny yellow.

Sunny, bright, light reflecting yellow.

It's a possibility.

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