Big Changes In My Living Room

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How I added the look of reclaimed barnwood wall paneling in my living room without spending hundred’s of dollars.

Over the weekend, Ed helped me make a big change in the living room. I have been letting the room evolve over the 4 years we have lived in the house, but have never been truly happy with the decor as a whole.

Small living room with natural seagrass area rug with chalk painted border trim

I like many parts of my living room, especially after adding the stone fireplace and getting the floor refinished, but it is the only room in my house that has never felt quite right.

Bloggers Fall home tour living room decorated in fall colors of orange and brown with a navy accent.

Recently though, after lots of time sitting in the room over the last few months, I figured out what would make the room come to life and more importantly coordinate with my White & Woodsy decorating scheme I am going for so the room flows with lake beyond the sliding glass doors.

I found it needed an added touch of warmth and texture to add interest that would work as a center point for the room making the open concept of the living room and kitchen feel balanced with each other.

A sheet of Fake barnwood paneling bought at Lowes

I found what it needed in the way of fake barnwood grey paneling.

Ed helped me to install it on the two walls in the corner of the living room.

Wait!!! Hold the phone… Stop the clocks!!! Say what?

Did Diane just write that she installed fake wood paneling to her living room?


Installing barnwood sheet paneling to a living room.

I just installed fake wood paneling to two walls in my living room and…. I LOVE IT!!

I am a little in disbelief myself! But came to realize that things come and go, the circle of trends is always spinning. Everything that goes around, comes around… again, although in a slightly different way.

If you live long enough you see it and can remember back when a trend in fashion, home decor, recipes and more were popular and how when it comes back decades later, has a new twist or varied look.

Back in the ’60s and ’70s faux-wood paneling was used all over living rooms, dens and basements on every surface including the ceiling. It was quite common budget friendly way to decorate.

4 of the 5 houses that Ed and I have owned, had it and we painted…. every… single… inch… white! I am a pro at painting paneling. I even painted it in our garage when we first moved to the lake house.

A collection of three homes using Barnwood planks and white rustic and interiors.

Photos: 1 | 2 | 3

Lately, though everywhere I look when out and about in hotel lobbies, restaurants and in more and more decorating magazines and decorating blogs, I have been noticing an emergence of a different kind of wood paneling — it’s a little rustic and a little modern that I find myself being drawn to.

Call it Modern Mountain or whatever you want. I wanted a little bit of this rustic modern look, but needed to find it on a budget. I found it at Lowes in the way of faux barnwood grey paneling.

So what changed for me about faux wall paneling…

  • I needed a budget-friendly way to get a vertical panel wood look for my living room to warm it up, but not over power it while keeping the color scheme neutral.
  • I looked into the cost of 8-foot reclaimed barnwood planks, but the cost was way beyond the budget I allotted for the room, like $1000+ more.
  • I also considered using wood flooring, but that comes in random lengths, I didn’t want to see any horizontal seams creating a pattern on the wall. I even considered painting the wall to look like barnwood.
  • Adding the grey barnwood paneling to only two short walls in the open concept space, creates visual warmth and interest while not overtaking the room like paneling was done in the 60’s and 70’s. A little bit is all that was needed.
Barnwood Grey 4 x 8 paneling in the sunlight.
  • Other changes that made me rethink wall paneling was the color of the paneling itself. It looks like barnwood. I found it at Lowes. The paneling is fiber board with a printed wood sheet overlay with a wash of grey stain over it. I like the way it has some light oak bands that pick up the color of the natural pine of the sofa table that is placed in front of it.
  • I also like to keep abreast of changes in the decorating world that happen with the passage of time. Right now I am seeing a shift from all white rooms to adding wood, more texture and warmer and darker colors on walls to create interest.
  • I read in one decorating magazine article that the shift to using darker colors and more wood in home decor could be coming from the feeling that the world feels a bit off and we want to create a place that feels warm, peaceful, safe and comfortable.
  • And lastly, I am not afraid to try things out, especially when they didn’t cost a lot. If over time I think the room needs to evolve again, I can paint the wall any color I want. I have lots of experience doing just that. :-)

Life Changes… Decor Follows

Decorating is more than creating a perfectly coordinated space or adopting the latest design trend. It is about creating a quality of life in a space that reflects how you want to live every single day.

Have you ever read, A Good House is Never Done by John Wheatman? It is one of my favorite decorating books. It is an older book, but the advise he shares is timeless about how to work with our homes as living spaces that evolve along with how our own lives do.

Change happens. The longer we live, we know this for sure. It is also true for a house. The more you live in it, you not only learn from it and its surroundings, but you start to know what it needs to make it become a space that reflects how to make the best of it and your current life in it.

Items to use for a White and Woodsy Decorating trends and style for a living room.

1. | 2. | 3. | 4. | 5. | 6. | 7. | 8. | 9. | 10. | 11.

After 4 years of living in my house that is surrounded by nature with expansive views of the lake and trees out every door and window, I have felt my decorating style shift, and I like the change.

It is more nature inspired with a hint of modern, but just a touch using larger accessories and less stuff overall. More importantly, I want the inside and the outside of my home to feel connected to each other.

A few weeks ago I gave you a hint about my plans for the living room and the name of the decorating style I came up with that best describes what I will building on as the room evolves more to my liking. I am calling it.

White & Woodsy – Not quite rustic, but with a nod to it. Casual, laid back, but clean-lined and a little bit polished.

Living on a lake with tall pines and cedars swaying in the breeze all around me every day, makes this White and Woodsy decor fit the house.

Here is Sneak Peek of the Barnwood Grey Paneling

The barnwood grey paneling is up, but I am not done with what will be on it yet. I have been experimenting with ideas and trying them out until I like what I see. It evolves a lot of trial and error.

Living room wall before adding barnwood grey vertical sheet paneling to accent wall.

Here are the bare white walls where the sofa goes with the large clock placed over it. Each of the two walls has a wide doorway, so they are not the full length or width of the room walls.

This made them a good place to create an accent wall area to balance the color of the stone fireplace on one end of the open space and my driftwood color kitchen chairs on the other side.

Stone fireplace and barnwood paneled accent wall

I took this photo with my phone after we had the paneling and crown molding up. You can see how the color of the wood works nicely with the stone fireplace. The room actually looks bigger now. I was not expecting that to happen, but am happy it did.

The barnwood color is also right across from the wall of glass doors where the bark from the trees is right in view. The room feels balanced not only inside, but with the outside now, too.

Barnwood Grey paneling added as an accent wall in a modern rustic white and woodsy decor

In the other direction, the barnwood grey coordinates nicely with the woven kitchen chairs. From this angle, the two rooms look more cohesive with each other now.

Barnwood Vertical Paneling on an accent wall in a living room

The rest of the space is still white and when in the kitchen, the walls are not seen so everything from that point looks the same. It is not until you enter the living room from the kitchen, that you see the accent walls.

I am having fun bringing different furniture and pieces into the room and trying them out to see what works. I would LOVE to bring all my white pitchers and pieces into the room somehow. Still playing around with ideas for that.

I brought the stripped cabinet down from the guest room. It matches the long table behind the sofa. I like it here, but the space is too narrow. I want to keep the rooms, open and airy, so it may not be staying.

Barnwood Grey paneling added as an accent wall in a modern rustic white and woodsy decor

Like I mentioned in my post about restyling what you already own. More playing and styling needed to get the full White & Woodsy look I am after. I may need to purchase something new, but for now I am playing with what I have.

I am having more fun doing this room than I thought I would. Goes to show you when you take a left turn where you always went right…. could be a good thing for your room, home and even your psyche. :-)

Since I added the faux barnwood paneling, I have added a photo gallery wall. You can read more about it in this post: Making My Living Room Look Larger

Where to buy faux barnwood grey paneling. It is for budget conscious home decorators.

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  1. This may just be the ticket for our basement family room. I have been thinking about it and reviewing pics for a year or more. This may be my “left, right turn “too! Thank you, Diane!

  2. Incredible difference! I need to add texture to my living room wall and was going to use tongue and groove but this looks amazing. You guys did a great job on the install too. How did you handle the outside edge please?

    1. Hi Suzanne – I need to add to the post how I trimmed the edge of the panels. I thought a lot about different ways to finish the edges – from molding strips to leaving alone. But since the walls the meet the paneling are white, I simply used white caulk and smoothed it with my finger as you do when you apply it along wood molding around ceilings, baseboards, doors and windows. It sealed the gap and looks seamless with the white walls.

  3. The new walls warm the entire space so much. I love white and wood together – the best of both worlds. It’s a wonderful improvement and you’ve given me inspiration for the wall in my bathroom behind my toilet, vanity and mirror. It definitely needs warmth.

    1. Very cozy and inviting.
      I have a silly question…. how do you decide what to do next? Time? Size of project? I get overwhelmed at times because of time and want to finish in a day! So instead, I usually just watch and see what you’re doing next :)
      Thanks for the inspiration.

      1. Hi Lorraine – Believe me when I say I get tired and overwhelmed at times, but I do have one motivator. Doing projects around my house is my job. It is how I make my living. There are some days that I just want to sit back and relax.

        When deciding on what projects to do, I try to have a few in the works at all times. This way when the paint is drying on one project, I can be sewing or creating something else for another project. Right now I have 4 projects in the works and am planning for what I need to do outside once spring arrives.

        Having a dedicated work space in my house does make working on multiple projects at once a little easier. I can make a mess while I work and then close the door behind me. I don’t have to clean up all the time.