Q. One thing that has always bothered me about our rented home is the tragic 70’s wood paneling that adorns one wall in our living room. The landlord thinks it’s beautiful and has instructed us not to paint it or put nails in it. Any thoughts on how to cover wood paneling in a rental? – Cheryl
A. I grew up in a house that had that horrid 70’s wood paneling and I still cringe every time I see it. So I certainly don’t blame you for wanting to cover it up completely. It is a shame that your landlord is making it so difficult for you to do. However there really are things you can do to remedy this. It may comfort you to know that this is actually coming back as a very popular design favorite.
Before you panic and shake your head no, please keep in mind this product is made to peel right off of the surface when you’re done. It doesn’t work the same as that wall covering from decades ago that both looked bad, and was just mind numbingly difficult to remove. There are some great patterns out there and it is probably a lot less expensive than you think. Just remember your walls need to be smooth enough to apply wallpaper correctly.
Apartment Therapy has a list of some great peel and stick wallpaper sources.
Don’t worry I am not telling you to paint the wood paneling. Purchase the cheapest removable wall paper you can, and just paint right on over it. Contact paper can do the same trick and is no doubt much cheaper. I do recommend testing out the contact paper and be sure you can remove it properly. There are endless videos and sites that help you find the best way to remove contact paper.
As all popular designs do, this one has circled around and made itself prevalent in homes once again. Perhaps you can discuss with your landlord the idea of updating it. He might appreciate that you give it a good sanding and a fresh stain or polish. As you can see there is a lot of potential for a room with wood paneling. Be sure that the decor is embracing this wall and you use it to your advantage. You might suddenly feel differently about it if you think of it as a benefit rather than an awful eye sore. I know I have taken such a liking to it that I wish I had it here in my own home.
In my opinion, there is no better way to hide something, or just bring out some great colors, than by introducing art. For help see ‘How to Hang Art Successfully‘. Without using nails you can successfully get away with adding some large oversize prints. Adhesive hooks are easily removable and are perfect for this. You can use a large canvas, or print them out directly onto poster paper and will have no problem with the adhesive hooks. However they do make larger hooks that can hold some pretty heavy frames. Either way you can cover as much of that paneling as you feel is necessary, and instead display something that you do think is beautiful.
I hope that one of these solutions works for you. I know it can be difficult when you have a landlord that wants nothing to change inside the home. Still, there will always be a way to make it work with your own taste and style.
Good luck Cheryl!