How to Decorate a Knotty Pine Wall

Updated February 21, 2017

Knotty pine panelling was popular in the 1950s but will now give your house a very dated look. Unlike many fads that return with popularity years later, knotty pine panelling has not. Plus, knotty pine panelling can darken a room and make it seem closed in. The best solution to decorating your knotty pine is to paint over it with a light, bright colour. You can do this in a weekend and it will provide your room with a whole new look.

Open any windows and doors to the room to keep it well ventilated while you work. Take down all decor on the walls and remove any nails with the claw of a hammer. Cover your floors and furnishings with a protective covering. Take off electric outlet covers by removing the screw holding it to the wall with a flat head screwdriver.

Wipe down the knotty pine panelling with a vinegar and water solution. Mix a 50 per cent water and 50 per cent white vinegar in a spray bottle. Saturate the wall panelling by spraying it with the solution and scrub it clean with a scouring pad. Let the walls completely dry.

Tape the areas adjacent to the walls with painters tape. Paint on a shellac primer with a paintbrush. Test a small area first to see if the primer adheres. If not, you may need to wash down your walls again. Prime all the walls and let the shellac primer dry for 24 hours.

Pour the latex interior paint in a paint pan and cover your paint roller with the paint. Roll it on all the walls completely covering them. Use the paintbrush to paint areas the roller won't reach.


If your house was built before 1978, use a rag instead of a scouring pad in case the finish has lead in it. Wear rubber gloves when scrubbing and painting to protect your hands.

Things You'll Need

  • Scouring pad
  • Shellac
  • Paintbrushes
  • Protective cloth
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Latex paint (flat)
  • Paint roller and paint pan
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Rubber gloves
  • Painter tape
  • Rags
  • Spray bottle
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About the Author

JIm Cooper is an attorney and business consultant. He serves on the board of many corporations. He is also a published writer with more than 30 years of experience. Cooper's articles have been published in "American Executive," "Men's Health" magazine, "Newsweek," "Marie Claire" and "Mademoiselle" magazines.