Dark-wood paneling was popular in the 1960s and 1970s, but it can now make a home look outdated and dark. Many people opt to remove the paneling and install drywall or to live with a dark, outdated room. Others choose to fill the grooves with a drywall compound and sand it until there is a proper, smooth surface for painting. With the right primer, however, paneling can simply be painted over without the mudding and sanding.
Clean the paneling with a rag and all-purpose household cleaner. It is important to have a clean surface before you begin painting the paneling.
Apply a small amount of putty to all nail holes and scrape the excess off, leaving only the filled hole.
Sand the paneling with 100-grit sand paper. This type of sandpaper will make the surface a bit rough so that the primer and paint will better adhere to the glossy paneling.
Apply one coat of latex or oil-based primer using a brush or paint roller. Match the primer to the paint color as much as you can. Doing so will require fewer coats of paint.
Allow the primer to dry overnight before painting.
Paint the paneling with two to three coats of latex or oil-based paint.