A Dining Room Pick My Presto

Hey there- and welcome to another installment of Pick My Presto!

This week, I had some Photoshop fun with a photo of my friend Shaunna’s dining room.

She told me she wanted to add some wood planks to the room, and that she’d love it if the planks were varying widths.

That gave me an idea, but I told her to her to brace herself before I shared it with her, because it was a bit of a wacky one.

What about cladding it with some of that thin, 70’s lookin’ paneling they sell at home improvement stores?“, I (hesitantly) asked.

(Pardon the damsel in distress. Notice the thin 70’s paneling behind her.)

Before she could answer, I quickly added, “The “planks” on them are varied widths, and sure, it might not be the look you’re going for initially, but I’m telling ya, once that stuff is primed and painted, I think it could look pretty great…my Mom painted hers and it looks amazing…and it would probably  be the least expensive way to do it too ’cause it comes in big 4’x8′ sheets and they’re only like 20 bucks a sheet“. (That’s me, talking really really fast and so that Shaunna couldn’t answer.)

But I mean, come on, if it was painted, it could look like this, right?


And it would be an inexpensive way to clad just one wall, right?

Anywho, I think she’s going to least check it out…but I did send her this presto change-o drawing I put together, to help her visualize it a little better…

(Move your cursor back and forth on and off of the photo below to see the photo she sent me switch to my inspiration drawing)

(Note: My drawing is for inspirational purposes only, and the ideas shown in it are just that. Spontaneous, totally flexible, just-for-fun, ideas. And since this is a just-for-fun-photo-consultation, and not an actual-and-perfectly-to-scale-virtual-consultation, I have no idea if any of the furniture or accessories I used in the drawings would actually fit in the room. Boom.)

Here are the still images…

Shaunna’s dining room now

My presto change-o

I love the increased sense of height those floor-to-ceiling vertical lines add to the room!

I pretty much just wanted to show her what the paneled wall and the gallery lighting would look like, but I couldn’t help but sneak in some built-ins and a window seat while I was at it! And although the table and chairs probably aren’t anything like the table and chairs she’ll actually use, (I plucked those from PotteryBarn.com because they were positioned at the right angle for my drawing and pluckers can’t be choosers.) I did think it would be neat for her to see what using some kind of upholstered captains chairs would look like.

Can’t wait to see what her and her handy hubby come up with!

Wanna submit a photo for our Pick My Presto series?

Send an email to PickMyPresto [at] aol [dot] com titled, “PICK MY PRESTO- Living Room. (Replace the words Living Room with whatever type of room you’re actually submitting.) In the body of the email, include your name, your blog name (if you have one) your design likes & dislikes, and one photo of the space in question. (No links please.) It should be clear, and measure at least 400 pixels high x 600 pixels wide. (In other words: at least 4″high x 6″ wide) The bigger the better! Make sure it’s a photo you’re comfortable with us showing and writing about on our blog. Then, whenever I’m feelin’ the urge, I’ll randomly select someone’s email and have a little fun creating some traditional or cottage style presto change-o inspiration. Oh, and since I love surprises, I probably won’t email you to let you know I’ve “picked your presto” unless I have a specific question for ya about your space.


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  1. says

    My parents moved to a ’70s manufactured home in a retirement community that had those paneled walls EVERYWHERE! They painted everything a creamy white and it looked FANTASTIC. Your idea has given me ideas for my dining room. I have the red walls (so chic in the 90s) that needs updating. Love the changes you recommended.

  2. says

    Wow! I love what you did to the room! It’s amazing before with that awesome ceiling, but I love the paneling and built ins with the after! I’ve got to get off my duff and send you a picture of my “what do I do with this” huge ol’ wall in the my living room. You’re seriously amazing and talented!

  3. says

    Oh my gosh, I was laughing at the first picture because I thought you were going to get us with an April Fool’s Day joke, but then I saw the painted paneling and you’re right, it looks beautiful painted. Oh the magic of paint.

  4. Renae says

    Fantastic! I was thinking of something behind our headboard wall and this might be just the thing. We were “stuck” with it in our first home but we painted it (they had used it to chair rail height) the same color as the upper part of the wall and it was fine!! Okay girlfriend, I have to send you my presto!

  5. Penny G. Malone says

    I love it! Before I got married, I lived in my great grandmother’s house and guess what?!?! Every room was in paneling!!! Dark paneling at that. I re-done the kitchen with the help of my mom and dad. We primed and then painted an off white creamy color on top and a creamy yellow on the bottom. I added a basket weave chair railing that was stained to match the rest of the baseboards and trim in the room. I absolutely LOVED it..then I got married and moved to a new state before I could finish the kitchen floor, counters, and cabinets. Oh well…but I totally agree with painting the paneling..it gives it a shabby chic look.

  6. Kelli says

    I am moving in to my grandpa’s little old farm house and there are two rooms of 70’s paneling just like the first picture. I have not found it in my heart to paint them BUT seeing a glimpse of what they could look like painted white might drive me straight to the paint store today. Decisions Decisions!!

  7. Kari says

    Do you think that paneling could work on ceilings? I have ugly popcorn ceilings I want to hide.

    • Kim says

      Or wallpaper the ceiling with embossed wallpaper that looks like tin ceiling tiles. Not terribly expensive, not sure about the labor though. I am hoping to do a ceiling in my house this summer.

    • says

      Those popcorn ceilings are really easy to get rid of. All you need is: a spray bottle with water, plastic drop cloths like you use for painting and a plastic scraper.

      Remove whatever furniture you can and cover the floor/furniture with a plastic drop cloth. Spray a small section of the ceiling with water and then give it a few minutes to soften up. Scrape the section you’ve sprayed. Once you get going, it actually goes fairly quickly. You have to get the hang of spraying enough water to make the popcorn come loose but not so much that the ceiling gets soggy.

      Many years ago I helped a friend scrape her bedroom ceiling and it was actually kind of fun to watch huge clumps of that awful popcorn come down.

  8. Mary says

    We have that creepy 70’s paneling in our family room that opens right into the kitchen. It is primed and been painted a couple of times. I love it! In fact we have talked about adding it to the kitchen walls to keep the flow.

    From Virginia

  9. says

    My parents had some of that panelling in their sunroom. They painted it pale yellow with white trim and it’s a whole new, gorgeous room! I’m considering doing beadboard backsplash in my kitchen like yours, but I wonder how it will look with my dark cabinets… better send you a photo and beg for a pick my presto.

  10. says

    I thought you were going for an AF joke, but hot damn no way are those amazing built-ins a joke. I’ve been begging S for dining room built-ins for a year now. Maybe I’ll have to put our dining room in for a pick-my-presto just so he can see how freaking amazing they’d look.

    Oh and the paneling looks nice too. We’ve got a ton of it already painted white she can have if she wants to stop by in a few weeks when we demo our current basement!

  11. says

    This is just AWESOME! You have some talent girl! I love your presto changos! Wish I could send you my kitchen. It is all a mess right now!

  12. Lindsey d. says

    I love the look of painted paneling! I think it adds great texture without being “textured,” ya know?

  13. Kim in MD says

    I LOVE Pick My Presto! You are so creative, Layla. I absolutely love the built-ins, the window seat and the paneling (painted, of course)! Your design style is amazing! :-)

  14. Celeste says

    Beautiful as always Layla! I see you changed the floor color a little too. Tell me, if you could have any color hardwoods throughout your house, what would it be? We will be installing hardwoods in our next house and I would love to know your opinion. Dark (like most of your house), light (like the room you just refinished or your bathroom), painted? Thank you.

    • Layla says

      Hey Celeste!

      We’re slowly but surely goin’ with all light floors here at TLC, but I think it really depends on the house.


  15. says

    We have the ugly-dark-wood paneling in our basement (no windows!). I want to rip it out but hubby thinks we can paint it. After seeing this, I’m starting to agree! What kind of paint is best for it tho? I was thinking the paint would be easy to chip/scratch and it would require a lot of paint as it would soak into the board.

    Any suggestions on durable paint type?

    • Layla says


      Shaunna would probably be able to answer this better than I would!
      Shaunna? You out there?

      • says

        he he…..regular ole latex should work well. If the surface is really glossy, you can use an adhesion or bonding primer. Valspar has a new one, and Sherwin Williams has a great Adhesion. You can then paint on top with latex paint. Hope that helps!

    • Rachel says

      Tonya – We painted the panelling in our house, and we just primed it with KILZ for shiny surfaces first, then we painted it. I believe that my hubby only needed one coat of actual paint, and we have had zero problems with the paint coming off. I believe we used a semi-gloss paint on ours. We have had it for 3 years now with no chipping or peeling and it is in our kitchen/family room.

    • Sara says

      I would recommend priming it with oil-based primer and then finishing it with laytex water based paint. I have not painted paneling, but I have painted my kitchen cabinets and two bathroom vanities with this technique and I don’t have any chips or scratches.

      I like Kilz or Zinnser oil based primer and I have used both Behr and Benjamin Moore Satin and Semi-gloss paint over the primer. You might check out the blog Young House Love. I think they have a tutorial for painting paneling as they did that in their old house.

  16. says

    Shaunna, RUN (don’t walk) to your nearest home store and buy those panels! That room is pure perfection, Layla. LOVE everything about it!

  17. says

    I think I would do it as wainscoting rather than the full wall height. I like the idea but it takes away from the elegant feel of the architecture and makes it very country. Maybe it’s just not my style.

    • Layla says

      Hey Joy!
      Shaunna’s actually trying to move more towards a cottage/farmhouse feel, and really wants a full wall’a something up there.

  18. says


    I did exactly what your mom did when I lived in a home that had a panel clad room — painted it! You gave Shaunna a wonderful solution to getting the look she wants without breaking the bank. Love it!

    Your Friend,

  19. says

    When I read Shauna’s post about her dining room the other day I had a feeling it might be your next “pick my presto”! I LOVE the window seat. I’ve always wanted one. Along with the built ins it adds such a nice, unexpected touch to a dining room.
    And I love the paneled walls too. My in-laws have the old 70’s paneling in their living room and we have been trying to convince them for years to paint it white. It would look so good! So far they haven’t listened to us :)
    That wall reminds me a lot of the wall you did in your own dining room (the one where you tore down the existing wall to expose the original wall and boards).
    Ok I’ll quit blabbering! It all looks great! ;)

  20. Lorrie says

    I love the built-ins & window seat. We (my husband) just finished building floor to ceiling bookcases between our bedroom and sitting area/office, and we love them. Built-ins are the way to go! Love the whole look – especially the paneling idea.

  21. Annie says

    Ok now you’ve got me totaly confussed. I really was set on the horizonal lines, but my room is long and I’m thinking that the vertical would give me more height. I really like your Presto.

  22. says

    Love the floor plan we actually painted our mountain home’s cheap paneling (also 70’s) white in the 90’s and have never been sorry and never had a problem with scratching or wearing of course we have freshened it up a few times since then. Beautiful windows are hard to come by and unless you don’t like the view or the fabulous light it brings in I wouldn’t block it with the window seat.(Of course I am obsessed with windows and light it seems like there is never enough in most homes for me) Fabulous Pick My Presto Layla as always.

  23. Brenda says

    Disappointed…but only because its not my pick my presto. Ha! Layla, the room looks wonderful as always!

  24. Gwen says

    Layla these are absolutely the best. Love seeing the Pick My Presto changes! You do a fabulous job. My parents had that 60’s/70’s paneling and if I ever run into it in a house again it’s definitely getting a coat of white primer and paint :) Thanks for all of the ideas!

  25. Erin says

    I love your blog! This Pick My Presto is so great for me. Our family room and kitchen has one long wall that is only divided by a fireplace. I am trying to figure out how to break it up. I love the collage idea, but am scared to do it wrong in my own house. I am going to try this! Thanks for your inspiration.

  26. says

    We live in a 1894 Victorian. In the mid-seventies, the previous owners did their own remodel job which included the thin paneling you are referring to. When we moved it, due to limited funds, we decided to paint the paneling in our bedroom and staircase. It turns out, I love how it looks. It has been almost six years ago we did this and I have no inclination to change it. It is painted a pale buttery yellow and looks lovely with the original painted white trim.

    There were a couple of other areas in the house that had it, but we tore those out. We found out that the paneling was used to cover huge gaping holes in the wall. Ugh.

    So… I am still VERY happy with painted paneling. I suggest everyone should give it a try before going through the expense of ripping it out!

  27. Debbie D. says

    Love everything you did, especially the sneaked in window seat and built-ins. I love those wooden blinds but usually can only find them in smaller sizes. I think I could pull something off like this in my dining room. Do you know a place that sells the larger sized blinds or do you think they’d have to be special ordered? Pick my Presto is my favorite…I get so excited when I see that another one has been posted. :) Thanks for all of you help and inspiration.

  28. says

    Ok, I LIVED in a 70s house with wood panelling that we painted! It was gorgeous. The only thing is that 70s panelling is a huge paint in the butt to paint. It’s like painting sponges- it soakes up every coat of paint and waits for more! So make SURE to use primer and buy more paint than you think you’ll need. Once the memory of doing it wears off and your eye stops twitching it will be totally worth it! :)
    And I gotta say, that room is gorgeous with the huge window and that ceiling! It’s going to be beautiful.

  29. says

    P.S.- I just had a thought. If your house doesn’t have the panelling already, maybe you could prime it before putting it up on the wall. That might be an easier way to go.

  30. Summer says


    WHERE did you get that wonderful sofa in the paneled living room? Is it the Restoration sofa with belgian linen? I’m looking for something that I can also wash because I have teen boys who use the sofa.


  31. says

    Wow. Thats amazing! I love painted paneling and I think its a great suggestion. Lots of bang for little bucks! That photo shop stuff is fantastic. I’d do the room just like you show it!

  32. Amber says

    YESSSS!!!! Thank you for posting…now I can show a visual to my hubby to convince him to paint (and not tear down) the cheesy 70’s paneling we have in our lower level room. Maybe he’ll actually go for it and we can save a ton of money AND back labor :)

  33. says

    Yes, Ma’am! Paint it! I completely love my in-law’s farm house now that they let me paint their “updated” 70’s paneling. I hope Shaunna’s hubby goes for it (the whole look)!

  34. says

    Love the idea of using the paneling…I wish I could sneak into my gramma’s house and paint hers! :) hee hee hee The presto change-o is delicious…I read her blog this morning and she was oooo-ing and ahhh-ing over it! :) Those are built-ins I’m about to tackle in my dining room. I bought doors with glass inserts at Ikea and I”m going to build my cabinets to fit them, with a window seat in the middle. Well, I’m going to do that after I get my laundry room done. My house looks like the laundry room exploded…yikes! It’s gonna be pretty when I’m done though…black, white and aqua…”oh yeah”! (in my best Vector voice from Megamind!) :)
    Love ya girl and hope all is well!
    Hey, how is the adoption stuff going?

  35. says

    Oh that is LOOOOVE….really very stunning presto change o…I’m still dreaming that maybe you will pick mine one of these days, it’s that really long bathroom wall fiasco…I still can’t wrap my arms around that bathroom.

  36. says

    Layla, I think that is the best Pick My Presto you have done so far! The builtins are great and the paneling really adds some texture to the room. Great job! Hope she goes for it!

    • Layla says

      Why thank you Amanda! That is a very sweet thing to say and I appreciate your kind words so much!

  37. Irene says

    I love this Pick my Presto! We have a 50’s house with a kitchen and dinning room all covered in wood. I dont think it’s the cheap wood paneling. The wood looks thick and all diferent lengths, kind of like a cabin home. Our realtor said not to paint it, but I really do hate seeing all that dark wood, mainly because our kitchen cabinets are dark wood and the floor is a dark brick floor. Both rooms look so dark! I tried putting light blue and white everywhere to light the space up.. I so wish I could paint it, but I keep thinking of what the realtor said!

  38. says

    Great mock up Layla! Gotta love the beauty of Photoshop!

    I just did a mock up for our bathroom and redid the front of our house lol.

    We actually have the varied length paneling in our house and it was dark and dreary BUT I like the character of the lines architectually so I painted it…grey and painted all the trim white and it turned out stunning. It’s like a whole new living room. I only wish I had Shaunna’s ceilings :(

  39. says

    There are 3 rooms in our house that do NOT have that 70’s wood paneling. I hate wood paneling. Once it’s painted a color you love, you really don’t notice it anymore.

    The worst part about painting it for me, was having to go along each of the indentations with a brush before I could use a roller. One wall wouldn’t be so bad, though!

    Love the Presto Chang-O!

  40. says

    I didn’t read all of the comments, so forgive me if this is a repeat, but I love the idea and the look! I wonder what it would look like if the panels were installed horizontally instead of vertically?

  41. says

    Fabulous ideas!!1 My daughter is just buying a house with paneling in the downstairs family room and we intend to paint it…wait till I show her these pics!!!

  42. says

    I once lived in a 77 mobile home complete with harvest gold appliances, shag carpet and this paneling. I painted the paneling white thruout and did some designs in my kids rooms and most folks did not realize it was still the same old paneling but now with a farmhouse look. Of course the harvest gold everything got changed too. Outside still looked like an mobile home but the inside was “me”.

  43. says

    Love it! You are so talented. I love the “boom” at the end of your sentence! =)

    I was @ Lowes the other day browsing through a copy of the Flea Market magazine & spotted you!! Love seeing you in magazines!! It was a wonderful article!

  44. Sylvia says

    Love the look. Another great design. I have painted the 70’s fake paneling and the real stuff. I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

  45. Jenny says

    Fabulous presto of Shaunnas dining room. I hope she puts it in place and does a post on it. The paneling looks amazing painted and I love all of the additions you have given the room. Well done! ;-)

  46. says

    filing this one away – love the paneling idea … thanks for sharing your creativity & thriftiness! btw – any news on the barn door project? can’t wait!

  47. Imp says

    I may steal this for my kitchen! I’ve been trying to come up with some good “open up the room” ideas, and I think this may be it!

    Now Shaunna, if you get rid of that table, though, there might just be criminal charges involved. That is GORGEOUS! Looks heavy as all get-out, but too beautiful!

  48. says

    Hey Layla!
    My bedroom had that ugly brown paneling in it when we bought the house, and the first thing we did was paint it Navajo White by Porter Paints. I love the look of it.
    It doesn’t really show up very well in my pictures on my blog. I think it would look good “glazed” or something to make the “planks” show up better.
    Hope you guys are doing well.
    Miss u and luv u!

    • Layla says

      Hey Trac!

      I suggested to Shaunna that she might want to paint the grooves with a slightly darker color first, then paint the rest of it with the lighter color. Maybe that would help bring them out a little more?

  49. says

    Layla, what a truly fabulous idea with the paneling!! My mom painted her paneling in her house. The dining room got the white treatment…and actually when I was a kid…we painted it as a family. Then just this past year she painted the paneling in the paneling in her living room red. What a statement it makes! I’ve been longing to put wood planks (?? can’t think of the correct term I mean) in our home but have feared that when we sell, a buyer would love it. But now thinking of the paneling idea, that would be so easy for a buyer to change out if they didnt’ like it….esp if it was just a feature wall. You got my gears turning!!!!

  50. says

    I’m wondering WHAT we were thinking back in 1986 when we added brown outdoor panels like that to the first house we built!… I hope the people who live there now read your blog and will paint them creamy white!

  51. Barbara says

    Hi! I have a question re a previous post – on Shaunna’s eBook. I emailed her from her site, asking if the book could be printed (I want to give it to my sister as a gift, and she has no computer), and never heard back. I think it’s the perfect thing for her – of course not if I buy it and have no way to get it to her!

    If you can answer, or pass this question on to Shaunna, I’d appreciate it. Thanks!

    • Layla says

      Hey Barbara!
      Yes! She now has a PDF version available…I’ll send her a message and let her know you’re interested in one!


    • says

      Hey Barbara! Sorry about that…not sure why I didn’t get it. I do have a PDF version available now for $8…you should be able to print it in Landscape to keep the layout the same. The only thing she would be missing would be the videos…you can always send her a link for when she has access to a computer. If not, let me know and I’d happily burn her a cd. You can find the PDF version here…



  52. says

    I just posted on your Facebook wall, I’ve painted cheap paneling and it works.

    I came here though HGTV, editors pick; birdbath sink. Clever! I didn’t know you write articles for HGTV. Good for you!!

    Recently, I was contacted by a journalist that writes articles for HGTV about helping her with a couple projects.

  53. Bonnie says

    Hi guys!
    Love the transformation! I have been looking for rattan or bamboo chandelier shades. Where did you find the ones you used in Shaunna’s dining room?

  54. says

    Our basement is all painted paneling and I love it. It’s a basement so the ceiling is low, but the vertical panels make it feel higher. But don’t think you can only have white! When we moved it it was off white and it was fine, but I wanted a bigger color statement, so I painted it “Dolphin Gray” from Glidden which is a gray with purple undertones. It’s firmly in the purple family. It works so well. It was already painted in latex and we used latex satin and we’ve had no problems. We also inherited an aged drop ceiling. We can’t replace that right now, so we used a paint sprayer, took down the panels and painted them a creamy white and painted the metal grid. We did not prime. It looks fresh and clean. You don’t even notice it anymore.

  55. says

    OK, WOW!!! I’ve used Photoshop for years and sometimes do a little Phtotoshop magic with my own rooms to help me visualize changes, but I’m nowhere near this good! You’re awesome! And I can tell you have fun doing it!


  56. Sherri Langford-Farrell says

    Hi, Layla,
    Loved the redo. What colour white did your mom use on her paneling?

  57. Andrea says

    Layla! I was watching my recorded episode of The Nate Berkus Show today and Shaunna was on House Proud. She was giving a home tour of her house and she got to her dining room and I totally recognized your Pick My Presto! Thank you for sharing all your ideas and tricks. I just had to let you know how amazing you are!

  58. says

    LOVE this dining room. I realize you are a tad bit busy these days with your move but I was hoping that you might do a feature blog post on “cottage style” dining room tables. It’s such a big ticket price that you need to get it right the first time. This request is spurred by our own family needs, but if time allows I would LOVE to read a post all about dining rooms. Thanks in advance!!!! And FYI the link to the other “Pick your presto” dining room is broken.

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