ASK DANNY: How Should I Lighten My Wood Paneling?

Want to lighten your home’s wood paneling? Try a whitewash effect, Danny says.

Hi, Danny,

What’s the fastest and easiest way to lighten up tongue-and-groove wood paneling that’s been stained and [polyurethaned]?

I’d like more of a driftwood or whitewashed look to it without losing the integrity of the wood.


Hi, Karla,

One suggestion would be to use liquid sandpaper to eliminate any gloss and create a surface that paint or stain will adhere to.

Then, in an out-of-the-way place, such as a closet, try using a white stain to create a whitewash look. Test this in an inconspicuous area first, to ensure it matches the desired effect.

This should give you a much lighter, brighter appearance while still being able to enjoy the beauty of the wood.

After staining it, you’ll want to apply at least one coat of clear polyurethane.

Good luck!


Watch and Learn: How to Brighten Up Dark Wood Paneling

Danny shares how to lighten wood paneling and even give it a smooth texture. Watch video.

Danny Lipford is among the country’s most sought-after home improvement experts.
The seasoned remodeling contractor and media personality served as the home improvement expert for CBS’s “The Early Show” and The Weather Channel for over a decade and has made more than 180 national television appearances on “Fox & Friends,” “Inside Edition,” “Morning Express with Robin Meade,” Fox Business Channel, Rachael Ray and more.
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ASK DANNY: How Should I Lighten My Wood Paneling?