Have knotty pine paneling in your home and not sure what to do with it? Before you paint over it or tear it out, try these knotty pine walls decorating ideas – it just might make you love that paneling after all.
As you know from my Ramblings post a few weeks ago, I had three makeover projects underway at the 70’s Landing Pad – the mudroom/laundry room, the guest room and the guest bathroom. The mudroom is finished, but the other two are still in progress and I have until Thursday night to finish them. That’s when the Man of Questionable Honor and his wife show up. As you might imagine, it is madness here.
At the same time, I’ve also been working on a few projects at the farm including the design plan / color scheme for the den and adding more color to the kitchen. So basically, I’m just asking for a mental breakdown.
For the most part though, with the exception of some damaged drywall on the ceiling which did cause a full-on “Screw it. I’m done for the day,” attack on Friday, the den is coming together pretty well. I’ve just been adding to the kitchen as I find different things, so it hasn’t really been all that stressful.
As you might remember, both the farmhouse den and kitchen are clad with knotty pine tongue and groove walls. Gasp!
While most people would be reaching for a can of paint or a sledgehammer, I absolutely refuse to do either. You see, I love that damn pine paneling. I can’t imagine that house without it. In fact, when we got the farmhouse house back from the previous tenants, my number one fear was that they had painted the paneling. When my uncle called me as he was walking through the house for the first time after the tenants had moved out, his words were, “It’s bad. Really bad. But the paneling is ok.” Everything else can be fixed, but that paneling, by God, you couldn’t just replace it with drywall. It’s got over 50 years of grease from fried chicken, cigarette smoke and memories in it. There are just some things that can’t be replaced.
Obviously, I could write a sonnet about this damn paneling.
So, in a nutshell, the paneling and I work together. Perhaps, I should have just said that in the beginning and spared you all my ode to the paneling.
So far, I’ve come up with three great ways, in my opinion, to make knotty pine paneling shine in a space.
Disclosure: Minted provided me with some of the art for these spaces. Bellacor provided me with the lighting for the den. All opinions are 100% mine. This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Knotty Pine Paneling: How to Decorate With It
Colors that Go with Knotty Pine
Obviously, knotty pine rooms are going to be very brown. Typically, you’re going to have a neutral flooring as well, whether it’s carpet or hardwood. In order to keep the space from just being a brown pit, add some color, but you want to balance it all out with a neutral.
I’ve found that blues and greens work really well with paneling. The den isn’t quite finished yet (I still have to get pillows and draperies made as well as a few other things), but so far I have added in these two green chairs and this rug and it’s made a huge difference.
I couldn’t afford new chairs, so I stalked Facebook marketplace for a while and found a set of chairs that I liked for only $50, then had them recovered in this material. Chattanooga folks, I used Don’s Trim Shop and they did an excellent job as well as having the best price! The only thing I would have done differently is used some thicker material for the upholstery. This one works, but it is thin. I didn’t realize that when I ordered it.
I layered in my beloved cowboy blanket on one of the chairs to add more pattern and color. I’m also going to have pillows made for these chairs in a floral print to soften them a bit.
I got super lucky and found the 8′ x 10′ area rug at Ross one day. I wasn’t even looking at rugs that day, but literally stumbled upon it while in the store. It was $50!
Now, I don’t plan on filling the entire space with navy and dark greens. That would make it too dark. Opposite these chairs, I’m going to put in a neutral loveseat in either beige or cream. I just haven’t found one that I like yet that also fits in my budget. The lighter upholstery on the loveseat will help to lighten up the space more too.
In the kitchen, I’ve been working on this wall and have pulled in lots of different colors here.
I’ve still got that green and navy going on with the barstools that help to anchor all the color, but I also added in bright pops of color with the art. I also balanced all of that color out by going with lots of white backgrounds and frames on the art.
So, pull in color, but balance it out with lighter neutrals.
Make the Knotty Pine Walls Sing
It is no secret around here that I love a great piece of art. I am picky about my art though. It always has to meet at least one of two conditions though: it has a special meaning to me or my family or it’s love at first sight.
With the pine walls, I knew that adding gorgeous art would really make the walls sing. Minted is one of my go-to places for great art. I love that you can choose to buy just the art prints or you can choose to have it framed – and the selection of frames is great.
In the den, the star of the show is, as you’ve already seen, the cow.
This piece of art was both one of those instant loves and also meaningful. Originally, I thought I would fill the den with lots of different floral prints to soften the walls, but then I saw this little guy and the deal was sealed. I come from a long line of cattle farmers, so this one also has special meaning. This one is called Faze. The vertical version is sold out, but you can still get this print in a horizontal version here.
I went with the French Farmhouse frame for this one. It has pretty corner details and a whitewashed finish, which looks good against the paneling.
Along one wall in the den, we have a closet and two doors open against this wall on either side. There’s no place for furniture along this wall, so we opted to put in more art and meaningful objects here.
The wooden yoke above the closet was my great-grandfather’s that my Pap had put in the shed years and years ago. We brought it in, cleaned it up and mounted it on the wall. On either side of the closet doors, I mixed art and little mementos from both my Pap and Grunt’s grandfather.
When we cleaned out Grunt’s grandparent’s house back in the fall, we brought home two of his grandfather’s military hats and a mounted bayonet that had been given to him while he was stationed in Okinawa in the 60’s. When I saw this America print, I knew it would be the perfect compliment to these pieces.
On the other side, there’s a nod to my Pap.
Grunt actually picked out this piece of art, Open Gate, it just happened to fit perfectly beneath my Pap’s belt and a couple of pieces from his old truck.
Folks, if you ever want to hang a belt on the wall, just know it will take lots of zip ties and patience.
I had pulled a few pieces off my Pap’s old truck a couple of years ago and finally found the perfect place for them. I mounted one of the Cheyenne tags and the center of the steering wheel in a shadow box and hung them above the belt.
The kitchen wall has a variety of different pieces of art and objects. This is the one full wall in that space where I can really add color in. The rest of the kitchen is cabinetry, counters and appliances.
The orange print was one of the first pieces I got for this space. I knew the bright colors would be the perfect punch of color for the kitchen. I’ve also mixed in a couple of family photos on this wall.
The strawberry plaque was my Grannie’s that she used to have hanging in here, as was the Board of Education. The back of it is actually signed by many of her former students. The chair print, called Family Reunion (Uncle James), is a new addition. I knew it was coming to my house as soon as I saw it. My grandparents had a couple of those kinds of chairs at one point and I remember them sitting on the hill in them.
On the other side, I have a picture of me and Grannie and two more of her things that she had hanging in the kitchen – the Peggy’s Kitchen and the Some Visitors Bring Happiness sign – that sign has always cracked me up. The little hummingbird is a new addition. Grunt’s grandmother liked hummingbirds, so I got it and put it in here as a nod to her.
Add a Touch of Shine to Knotty Pine Paneling
And finally, my last tip for decorating with knotty pine walls – give it some shine.
I think that every room looks better with a touch of sparkle. In the den, I added a bit of this with a new lighting fixture from Bellacor.
This is called a chandelier light, but I feel like it’s more of a pendant light. Either way, the sparkle of the polished nickel was exactly what this room needed. It lightens up the space and gives it a polished feel. Who says knotty pine can’t be a little fancy?
The lines of this fixture are pretty traditional though, so I feel like it will stand the test of time in terms of decorating trends – just like I’m making the knotty pine paneling stand the test of time.
What side are you on when it comes to knotty pine paneling – yay or nay?
Need more decorating tips?
Got faux wood paneling from the 70’s? Read these 5 Ways to Decorate a Room with 70’s Wood Paneling.
Need help plotting out your room design? Use this post to learn how to make a moodboard for your space.
Low budget? Here are five ways to decorate your home on a small budget.
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