What Would You Do with Wood Paneling?

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Q: My husband and I just bought our first home. We got a great price, but it definitely needs some love. My main question is what to do with the wood paneling on the wall in the living room. I'm not sure if I should paint it white to brighten up the room or stain it darker. By the way, the sellers are just moving out, so don't mind the mess in the picture. Thanks!

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.