Design ideas for updating a knotty pine den

Written by judi light hopson
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Design ideas for updating a knotty pine den
You can paint or stain knotty pine to give a brand new look. (NA/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

A knotty pine den can create a warm and nostalgic atmosphere, but homeowners often want to give these rooms a facelift. Knotty pine is still used in upscale mountain homes and cabins, and certain design techniques will make the wood visually appealing for what buyers desire. One option, for example, is to use other natural materials to add to the look or provide contrast. The rustic nature of knotty pine provides many options for homeowners who wish to update the look.

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Add a New Finish

You can change the finish of the wood. First, you might need to strip the wood and remove a shiny sealer and old stain. By taking off old varnish and adding a light gold stain, for example, you can make walls look brand new. As another option, paint or stain the wood lightly to allow the grain show through. Removing years of yellowed varnish and sealing it in a satin varnish without any stain added first can work well, too. If you add heavy crown moulding around the ceiling perimeter, this will add a touch of elegance to the room.

Use Additional Materials

Combining knotty pine with drywall or other surfaces can help update it. You can remove knotty pine from two walls and leave two walls in tongue-and-groove pine, for example. By adding two walls of drywall, the room will look lighter. If the room is small, having all walls in wood can give a cramped feeling. It's possible to repurpose the knotty pine taken from two walls to use for a new coffee table or shelving. You can also use bead-board panelling in natural wood on the top half of two walls with old knotty pine left on the bottom half of those walls.

Use Paint and Great Furnishings

Strip and paint knotty pine for a cottage look. You can strip the varnish or use a paint with primer already added. Paint the knotty pine stark white. Add large mirrors in the room and a couple of pieces of antique furniture, such as a French sofa or small china cabinet to store family memorabilia. For a more casual look, add a sofa and two upholstered chairs in a bright yellow checkered pattern to contrast with the painted pine.

Create a Chair Rail

You can leave pine on the top half of the wall and tile the bottom half. Use hunter green 12-inch squares turned on a diagonal design on the bottom half of the room. Add chair railing around the top of the tile. Leave the knotty pine in place on the upper walls. You can install a large light fixture overhead if the room has high ceilings. Or, use brass wall fixtures to lighten the space. Add tightly-woven carpet or tile flooring that harmonises with the knotty pine wood.

Try Contrasting Stains

Treat one wall of the knotty pine with a dark finish. Use a dark cherry stain, for example, after stripping the wood. Stain the other three walls in a light-gold oak stain after stripping the wood. Add mirrors and shelving on the lighter walls in the dark cherry stain finish for contrast. Install upholstered furniture in various shades of green. Add a light green area rug.

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