While dark wood paneling was a staple of homes built in the 1970s, it doesn't quite fit into most families' modern lifestyles. If you're looking to give your home a facelift, covering up worn paneling with a new coat of paint is a great place to start.
Preparation is key when it comes to painting wood paneling. Begin by cleaning the paneling with a mild, non-oil based detergent to remove dust and buildup. Wipe the area with a clean, damp towel and wait for the walls to dry completely. Fill any nail holes or other imperfections with caulk or another spackling spread. Wait for the filler to dry and then sand the area until it is flush with the rest of the wall.
Next, sand the entire wall with 100 grit sandpaper to remove the shiny finish. Paint will be able to better adhere to this rougher surface. Don't forget to sand the baseboards and trim if you plan to give them a new coat of paint as well. After you've completed all the sanding, go over each surface with a clean, damp towel to remove any leftover dust.
Prepare the area for painting after the wall has dried completely. Lay down a drop cloth, tape off any areas you don't want painted and get your supplies ready. Apply a stain blocking latex primer to the walls and trim using a 3/8-inch roller and wait for the area to completely dry. Use another medium nap roller to apply your choice of latex paint to the walls. A semigloss paint will work best. Wait for the first coat to dry and then add another.
After the wall has dried complete, carefully paint the trim and baseboards using whatever contrasting color you have chosen. Once everything is dry, move your furniture and accessories into space and enjoy your bright new room.