Faux Painting Walls to Look Like Wood Paneling

Faux painting is a popular painting technique for creating texture and design. On walls, a professional faux painter can create everything from a Tuscan villa to a tropical beach. For the do it yourself homeowner, faux painting can give access to wall treatments that may be too expensive or require too much commitment. For example, if the look of wood paneling is appealing, but the expense of having it installed is too much, consider faux painting walls to look like wood paneling by following the easy guide below.

Prepping the Walls

Before the faux painting can begin, the walls of the room must be primed and painted. Begin by wiping down the walls with a damp cloth to remove dust and dirt that may have accumulated. Follow the washing with a quick pass of a clean, dry rag to speed up the drying process. After the walls have been washed and dried, prime them with a quality primer.

Once the primer has dried, paint a base coat in a color similar to the wood look that is desired. A light pine would have a very light tan base color, whereas a mahogany would have a much deeper, richer base coat. Check with the paint counter at local hardware and home improvement stores to find a perfect match to the shade needed. Some paint stores will custom match a color, so bring along a small sample of the wood that is going to be imitated.


Once the base coat has been applied and allowed to dry for 24-48 hours, lightly mark the lines for the panel boards. Depending on the height of the room it may be difficult to get a straight line from top to bottom. In that case, consider using a laser level that can be purchased fairly inexpensively at home improvement stores and online retailers.

Use a light pencil mark and then follow it with a steady handed paint brush. Try to stay as straight as possible for a more realistic look. Continue painting the lines for the panels around the room. When that has been completed, it is best to allow it to dry overnight before adding the detail.


The walls are primed and painted, the panels have been drawn and painted on, and the only thing left to do is add the detail. Invest in the right tools to make the process easier. Some paint stores actually carry wood grain rollers and tools. They are used to apply paint from the top of the wall to the bottom and create a wood grain effect. Although the tools make the application of the faux finish much easier, they do have a learning curve, so be sure to practice on a piece of cardboard or plywood before attempting to paint the wall.

If specialty tools are not in the budget and the painter has a steady, creative hand, the other alternative is to hand paint the wood grain lines on the wall. Small, delicate brushes will yield the best results. Study the look of real paneling by taking pictures or even purchasing a small piece to use as inspiration and a guide. Each board will end up being unique, but will have a distinctly artistic feel to it.

Experiment with different shades and painting tools before attempting the finish on the walls. Ask for expert help from home improvement stores who frequently hold faux painting workshops free of charge. And most importantly, work with the best tools available and a great deal of patience.

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