Help My Mom Decide: The Great Wood Paneling Debate

Help My Mom Decide: The Great Wood Paneling Debate

Dabney Frake
Aug 14, 2012

To paint virgin wood or to not paint virgin wood, that is the eternal question. My mom lives in a very old house in a small town in Vermont. One room in particular is large and open with vaulted ceilings. We call it the "dorm" because it fits several beds and is perfect for groups of friends who visit.

(A quick commercial break to giggle at the Victorian 80s revival going on, complete with hunter green carpet, pink bedding, and floral fabric. Yowza.)

As you can see, the dorm still has its original pine wood paneling - the real kind, not the faux 70s stuff - on the walls and ceiling. It's a lot of wood. I am usually a wood purist, but I can't help but think the room would be so much brighter if it was painted. (I won't mention other changes that would bring the room more up to date. Ahem.) Mom goes back and forth about whether or not to do it, but can't seem to take the plunge. Maybe you can tip the scales in either direction.

What do you think? Should she do it? Is it wood blasphemy, or a necessary evil? If she paints it, should she paint the beams too, or leave them natural? What if she painted the walls, but left the ceilings unpainted? Leave your suggestions in the comments!

(Images: Dabney Frake)

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