Before and After: This Living Room Redo Shows How to Make Knotty Wood Paneling Look Chic

published Jun 12, 2021
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About this before & after
Home Type
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Rental Friendly
Before: Living room with wood-paneled shelving, exercise bike, and mustard-colored floors

Wood paneling can quickly be disregarded as dated, basement-only material, but in recent years, plenty of homeowners have made wood-covered walls look cool. And perhaps the place where wood walls look the coolest is actually in the woods, in cabins.

Homeowner Ashley’s 1994 four-plex cabin in Idaho was, frankly, cool to begin with. Custom-built beginning in 1954, the cabin had a secret set of steps to reach the top shelves and overlooked a hill with a tunnel in it for water and electricity to run through.

But, moving into the space after a divorce, Ashley was looking for something that felt a little less fisherman’s cabin and more distinctly her. “She wanted it to feel updated, feminine and fresh,” Ashley’s interior designer, Amber, of @amberwallacehome, says. “She wanted a vintage-cabin, Anthropologie-inspired mix.”

Amber and Ashley wanted to keep a lot of the existing features, like the built-in shelves and the fireplace, and they wanted to keep them true to the rest of the home. (Ashley lives in one unit with her son and rents out the other ones.) “The wood is featured in every room in every unit, so we wanted it to be a special feature instead of painting every bit of it,” Amber says.

Instead of covering all the wood with paint, Amber added a meadow-inspired wallpaper, which set the color scheme for the whole room. She filled the rest of the space in with soft pink and earth-tone details: a pink metal table from Article, leather sofas, and a vintage-looking Loloi rug.

However, they didn’t forgo paint altogether. In fact, they added a splash of color in unexpected place: the concrete floors! Out with aged mustard, and in with a subtle rosy pink.

This is now the perfect place to throw on some flannel, put “Folklore” on shuffle, and kick back with a hot cup of tea — just like Ashley had hoped, she now has a dreamy woodlands setup that still feels feminine and modern.