Updating a wood panelled wall

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Regular plaster takes some skill to apply, but many modern earth or clay plasters make it possible for a first-timer to get a professional look, because the wall can be dampened and reworked as many times as needed to get it right.

Attach expanded metal lath, or metal grating, to the wall and use two coats of primer designed for use with plaster.

Look for graphic prints with lots of contrast and few repeats or floral patterns that look like modern art rather than traditional floral wallpaper.

Paintable wallpaper, with textures similar to finished drywall, also can cover paneling.

A perfectly smooth finish with a glossy sheen creates an ultra-modern look, while large hand-troweled swirls in flat, earthen finish adds an artistic warmth while still looking modern.

Although some wallpaper patterns can be just as outdated as old wood paneling, there are plenty of new designs that can modernize the paneling.

However, this can be used to create a modern glazed look.

Experiment with a scrap piece of material or a hidden corner to find out what kind of results your laminate paneling will get with stain.

Plaster can be applied right over wood paneling with the right preparation.Look for unusual colors that aren't seen in most dated wood paneling finishes, such as orange, verdigris green or red.Add sleek molding to your wood-paneled walls and then paint or stain it to match.Fill grooves with caulk or wood putty to create a smooth surface, or leave them unfilled for a textured wall.A smooth wall fits well with sleek, modern decor, while leaving the grooves visible works well for shabby chic or French country styles.

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