This website uses affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission from your purchase - at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more details.

I Need Your Thoughts: Can We Make Pine Paneling Work?

I want to talk about pine paneling.

Because we’ve been showering out there, I end my nights thinking about how to decorate the guesthouse.  I’ve logged a lot of hours out there, pondering.Last time I showed you the building , my Mom and I were moving the Etsy shop out there, but it turned out to be kind of inconvenient (and cold in the winter).  I ended up stashing everything on shelves in my otherwise useless, 5 foot tall basement and now the guesthouse is purposeless again.  It’s filled with some random furniture and some odds and sods.  What would be more practical would be to turn it into a proper guest room as intended, because it even boasts its own three piece bathroom!

The only downside is the pine bonanza happening in there.  The floors are a faux wood laminate, but the walls, trim and ceiling are solid pine.  I was originally going to paint it all a bright white, but I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by how much work – and paint! – that would be.  We have a laundry list of projects and renovations still to tackle all over the house so I don’t really want to commit the resources or time.  Plus, the bathroom out there is what really needs our attention: a new shower, floor, and vanity will take a chunk out of whatever budget we can allot to this space (which will be tiny).  We also need to build new sauna benches (and reinforce the sauna floor), because I insisted we rip out the existing benches for reasons that I won’t mention here.  (Rhymes with “cold ban walls”).So…in an effort to save some time and cash, could I leave the pine paneling and go for a rustic, Scandi feel?  Here’s some inspiration, before I flesh out my exact plans for the space:I can’t believe I’m arguing for keeping the pine paneling…Although it would be fun to go kind of dark and moody with a rustic feel, I’ll be adding the white bed and white bedding from the guest room in the townhouse.  A faux fur throw would be a cozy touch at the end of the bed – maybe my spare faux lynx one?

Then I’d add some throw pillows with this black and white Marimekko Kanteleen Kutsu print, which has a woodland theme but a mod, Scandi feel:
I’d do white curtains and white curtains rods – not that using towels as curtains isn’t a genius idea (I’m serious).  I’m thinking of painting the laminate flooring a dark charcoal grey (or maybe a pale grey or white?) and adding some cozy faux sheepskin rugs my Mom is trying to fob off on me.

A pine Ikea Tarva dresser, painted or stained white, could be placed across from the bed for some storage.  It would be brighter and lighter, but the same grain as the walls would peek through the finish.I haven’t measured, but it would be awesome if my black wool organic chair could fit out there too – although it’s doubtful (it’s such a small space!).

White desk with black chair // Black + white accessories

Then I’d update the lighting with something modern and simple.  Finally, I’d put my black/white abstract out there, because it’s been displaced from the bathroom, and maybe add some smaller textural pieces in creamy whites and soft greys.  My black tree painting is still homeless, too, and it might look great out there.

Am I totally crazy (and lazy) with my plan to keep the pine panelling?  Be honest!  Here’s some panelling inspiration that I think works:



  1. Just Me
    October 5, 2015 / 12:11 pm

    I'm with you: it's not my favourite look BUT it's not horrible. I would decorate around it for now & if after adding furniture, etc. you still don't like it then revisit the plan. Of all the pictures you posted I like the contrast ones: the one with wood walls & white ceiling or white walls & wood ceiling. Some large wall hangings might help cover up some of that pine.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 5, 2015 / 7:16 pm

      Yes – I seem to gravitate toward the ones with some pine, but lots of white too. I'm hoping that in such a small space, white curtains and white bedding with read as more prominent…We'll see!

  2. Cassie @ Primitive & Proper
    October 5, 2015 / 12:29 pm

    YES! keep it you can make it work! we just did pine planking on one wall in our bedroom and i LOVE it!!!!! i am so happy we did it! i vote for keep because it is easier and will look great!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 5, 2015 / 7:16 pm

      Oh my gosh, I totally forgot about that! I LOVE your bedroom, so you're inspiring me to keep the wood. Maybe subconsciously you got me thinking about loving the natural wood.

  3. Jae
    October 5, 2015 / 12:57 pm

    You can totally keep the pine. It can work!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 5, 2015 / 7:17 pm

      I am so surprised to see so much support for the pine. I'm happy! And so is the former owner, who would probably cry if he saw me paint it over, lol.

  4. Dana@Mid2Mod
    October 5, 2015 / 1:22 pm

    I think the pine will be perfect with the rustic theme you have in mind, especially since you have a sauna out there…besides being on the lake in the first place. If I were you, I wouldn't spend the time or the money on painting. You can make it gorgeous just as it is. (I'll be laughing about OMB on the benches all day. And the visual will be stuck in my head too, thank you very much! haha)

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 5, 2015 / 7:18 pm

      Haha – You got it!! I just could not keep those benches – decades of sweaty OMB. Sorry for the visual. After I posted this, I started wondering if the adjacent sauna would cause paint to peel? We don't use the sauna now so I never think about it, but we might in the future. I'll have to do a lot of research before I attempt to paint that floor.

  5. Haley
    October 5, 2015 / 1:57 pm

    I'm all for keeping the pine! I think you're plan sounds like it will look amazing. We have this paneling in our cottage it feels so cozy. Once there is furniture, window treatments, and art hanging up, it won't feel like there is too much wood.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 5, 2015 / 7:20 pm

      Yay!! I'm glad you think it will work. I feel totally out of my element opting to keep the pine, seeing as I painted over the rest of the pine and oak in the main house, lol. But I do love wood grain and I hope, as you say, this feels cozy like your cottage. I think you can get away with more wood in a cottage setting!

  6. gstoney
    October 5, 2015 / 2:10 pm

    I say leave it as it. I'm sure it will look fabulous! If you hate it you can always paint it down the road.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 5, 2015 / 7:21 pm

      You're so right – it will be easy to change my mind down the road. That room will stay pretty spartan because it's so small, so it won't even be much work to empty it out. I'm so used to painting before I move in to make life easier, that I forget you can always paint a room later, lol.

  7. Kirsten
    October 5, 2015 / 2:50 pm

    You can absolutely leave that beautiful pine paneling in the guest house. It would be a fun opportunity to experiment with a style that you would probably never put in your real house. The minimalist Scan style is one of those design styles that you can daydream about in an abstract way while knowing that it isn't a practical way to design your main living space, so the guest house is a perfect place to give it a go! Plus it might feel even more like a retreat if it is super different than your actual home. I'm excited to see what you come up with!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 5, 2015 / 7:23 pm

      I am very excited to try out a new style. You might not guess with my crazy color obsession that I love pared back, natural, Scandinavian spaces. Neutral color palettes, layers of texture, creamy whites and woods are things tt call my name, so it's going to be fun to try it out!

  8. Anonymous
    October 5, 2015 / 2:53 pm

    Not crazy. In an empty room all you see is the pine (and the ugly floor).With a painted floor and a painter dresser and a white bed and white curtains and black accents it would look great.Anna

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 5, 2015 / 7:24 pm

      That floor is SO bad!! I'm sure it would look fine in a space with drywall, but up against oodles of real wood it looks so fake. I don't know why he didn't commit to real wood flooring after installing ALL of that pine. I'm so happy to hear support for my plan! It's so different than what I normally gravitate toward, I really started to think maybe I'd lost it… I'm feeling motivated!

  9. Jazmyn Strydom
    October 5, 2015 / 3:58 pm

    I think if you painted the floor it could torally work!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 5, 2015 / 7:25 pm

      Thanks! It wouldn't be much effort at all – I just need to research and make sure that I can paint that kind of laminate. I always think with the right kind of primer, anything is paint-able.

  10. christine
    October 5, 2015 / 3:59 pm

    Keep the pine! You've got a lot of great inspiration photos and the plan sounds solid. Maybe bring the new white curtains to the floor…

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 5, 2015 / 7:27 pm

      Thanks Christine! The curtains stump me because there's electric baseboard heat out there so I'm not sure they can be brought to the floor. We had them floor length in the townhouse, but that was radiant baseboard heat. I do love floor length curtains, though, so hopefully it's not a fire hazard – I'll do some googling! The other option might be gauzy white roman blind-type window covering, to avoid to floating curtain look. Hmmm. I'll have to noodle on that – but I love your idea!

  11. Staci
    October 5, 2015 / 7:45 pm

    I am ALWAYS on Team Pine!!! In fact, I want to add a pine wall or two in my own home. If you want a reduction in the woody look, paint out the ceiling (white) and leave the walls. A large rug, or FLOR tiles can help reduce the wood-look laminate (and help your guests feel cozy). Adding in lots of white (bedding, furniture, curtains– maybe linen roman shades?) will really help break it up. I even like the idea of the TARVA stained black (so you can still sort of see the grain) for some drama. Oh, and a Turquoise pillow or two I'm sure.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 6, 2015 / 1:07 pm

      I'm really going to challenge myself here and not add turquoise, lol. I like the idea of FLOR tiles! I'm not one for carpeting in the house, but out there it can get chilly. It's such a weird size room so those tiles might be a perfect fit. Thanks for the idea! And black stain on the TARVA would look killer.

  12. Ann B.
    October 5, 2015 / 7:45 pm

    I'm with the rest, keep the pine. Paint the floor dark and add some rugs as you plan. With the black and white theme no reason why you can't add hits of aqua.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 6, 2015 / 1:07 pm

      It is a personal challenge to see if I can decorate a space without my favorite hue…

  13. sarajane
    October 5, 2015 / 9:09 pm

    Yes, embrace the pine! Cover up what you can with paintings, curtains and rugs and see what you end up with. I bet you'll really like it!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 6, 2015 / 1:08 pm

      I definitely think I can start to love the pine if the rest of the room was lightened up. The forest green towel/curtains (or, "window blankets," lol) aren't doing it any favors.

  14. Jen
    October 6, 2015 / 12:43 am

    Nope. Not crazy. Your plan sounds solid. I'm very curious to see if the floor is paintable, though. I've really never thought of painting laminate. Re: the baseboard heaters – our old house had them. I shortened the curtains to accommodate them (I called them flood curtains, and in retrospect it was probably a poor design choice), but they still got discoloured at the bottom from the heat. So…maybe consider a Roman shade or something similar?

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 6, 2015 / 1:10 pm

      I'm not 100% sure the floor IS paintable, but I will do some research. Thank you so much for the scoop on electric baseboard heaters! I was worried about that and you've confirmed my fears – and probably saved me a ton of money and heartache! Alright – Roman shades it is!

  15. Heather
    October 6, 2015 / 1:33 am

    I like your line of thinking, I think it will look great. If you need more white, how about a pickle or white wash finish for the ceiling only? I agree, with the right primer you can paint that floor.Not to take you down another rabbit hole but maybe look into an expxy finish instead of painting?I like the dark grey idea with whites. Maybe with some navy accents mixed in? The yellowish of the pine asks for navy and white in my mind.btw – the spider is perfect! Will follow up with pictures.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 6, 2015 / 1:12 pm

      I could definitely muster up the energy to paint just the ceiling – it could make the room feel taller.The guys at the paint store I love to frequent have talked about epoxy floor finishes – you can get really cool speckled, retro looks which caught my eye – so I will chat with them about this floor. They will probably think I am insane, painting over perfectly good laminate.So happy you love the spider! Yay!! I was hoping he would suit your tree 🙂

  16. shouldhavezagged
    October 6, 2015 / 2:23 am

    I think it'll look great with a dark floor and B&W accents.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 6, 2015 / 1:12 pm

      Thanks for the vote of confidence! I was so worried my laziness was clouding my vision, so it's nice to hear support for the pine.

  17. brikhouse2
    October 6, 2015 / 4:18 am

    Ick, I hate light colored wood with a passion, especially with knots. But if you are trying to make it an easier make over I would either paint or whitewash the walls and leave the floor and ceiling…..or white wash or paint the ceiling and floor and leave the walls like many of the pics you posted. I don't know if that makes it kinda choppy in a smaller space, but hey, I'm not the decorator here, that's you lol. I like all the other elements and thoughts except the color/wood tone of the dresser of course lol. And I have to admit, I have no idea what rhymes with "cold ban walls"

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 6, 2015 / 1:14 pm

      Haha – you really do hate light wood! I'm not normally a fan either. I think you're right: painting just the ceiling maybe could help lighten thing up even more. And don't worry – the dresser will totally be getting some kind of finish – maybe white stain? Someone else recommended a black stain, which sounds awesome…I will have to message you on IG – I don't want the phrase showing up on my blog because I'll get a whole different kind of readership…

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 6, 2015 / 1:15 pm

      But the first two words are "Old Man…"

    • brikhouse2
      October 12, 2015 / 8:44 am

      Ohhhhhhhhh! lmao, i got it! lol

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 12, 2015 / 1:59 pm


  18. Unknown
    October 6, 2015 / 11:20 am

    I agree that your guest house can serve as an opportunity for some fun with experimenting. Your pine paneling here is in keeping with at least some aspects of the Scandinavian aesthetic – as is the sauna, I'm sure you know. I have a distant cousin who lives near Lillehammer (my mother's family is Norwegian) who built himself a hunting cabin that's all about clear pine. It's overwhelming in the cabin's case, yes, but I'm sure that your plans to add furnishings that aren't unpainted pine will provide a fine balance, especially if you improve on the (mostly) bare laminate flooring. Maybe cover the floor with a roll of good old real linoleum, rather than paint?

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 6, 2015 / 1:18 pm

      Yes, the sauna is definitely Scandinavian in itself. I'm half Finnish and I went to Finland in the late 1990s. I hated saunas and my whole family thought I was totally nuts. They'd all sauna together and I'd pop in after for a solitary shower. We thought about tearing out the sauna part altogether, until we were told how much it added to the property value. We have not used it once, but maybe we'll have to try it next summer – just to say we did!You know, I never thought about linoleum! That could be even easier and way more durable. And I'm sure I'd find a great remnant piece for this small space. Thanks for the idea!

  19. Trudy
    October 6, 2015 / 1:37 pm

    I love the pine…..I know you can decorate around it and make it your own. As far as the floor, what about a large area rug that would cover most of the floor….I know Ikea has something that look like old fashioned rag rugs you could whip stich together to create a large rug……or maybe something from Craigslist? Or the FLOR pieces? That way, the floor is covered till you could do something more permanent (aka $$$$)

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 6, 2015 / 2:01 pm

      I might have to make do with a rug for now because it's been too cold and damp to paint out there, without running the heat non-stop. I might have missed the season to paint, but it would be nice to already start pulling it together. Thanks for the ideas!

  20. cred
    October 6, 2015 / 8:36 pm

    Okay, I have nothing new to add but just sending my vote for keeping the pine natural, at least for now. I think your plan of white bedding, curtains and dresser plus artwork with a grey floor (the not quite matching the pine and even more natural wood on the floor makes it way too much wood) will do a lot to diminish the wood overload. I like the rustic Scandi look- white and wood with black accents and the pine is well suited to the setting rural property guest house with attached sauna- I have to say it works. I do like the rooms with either white walls and wood panel ceiling or white ceiling with wood walls but why go to the work and expense if this plan works. It you still think it's too much wood once you've exacted your plan, then you can consider paint. (If you do, I vote for the ceiling- I think white makes it look higher) OMG-omb. I couldn't stop laughing. I love that you wrote it in code.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 6, 2015 / 8:57 pm

      I am completely surprised by the nearly unanimous votes for pine, but it makes me feel really confident going forward! I just needed that push, lol.I am definitely thinking that painting the ceiling – at some point – might be a great option and help lighten things up while keeping my work load low. Happy to hear so many great suggestions!Haha, I HAD to write OMB in code, otherwise I'd be getting a totally different kind of reader, lol.

  21. Nikki
    October 7, 2015 / 1:26 am

    I didn't read any of the other responses because, hey–NCIS. But I think you should totally keep the wood! Keep it! Keep it! Keep it!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 7, 2015 / 4:54 pm

      So, you're kind of on the fence about keeping it? Just kidding – thanks for weighing in! I love all of this feedback – thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂

  22. The Thriftress
    October 7, 2015 / 1:58 pm

    Check out Eddie Ross's CT home. He makes the paneling disappear .while still keeping it cozy!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 7, 2015 / 5:09 pm

      I will check that out! Thanks so much for the tip!

  23. Mrs. V
    October 7, 2015 / 7:57 pm

    I vote for keeping the wood! It would make for a really cute rustic style place!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 8, 2015 / 6:15 pm

      Thanks so much – it's so interesting to get everyone's feedback like this!

  24. Cheryl B.
    October 8, 2015 / 2:13 am

    Keep the pine. I like your ideas of going Scandinavian in design. Can't wait to see what you come up with.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 8, 2015 / 6:16 pm

      Thanks, Cheryl! I am hoping I can get to it soon, but it's a mess and we're getting SUCH cold weather – I might run out of time before we need to drain the lines and close it up for the season. I'm hoping for a hot spell, lol.

  25. Frances W.
    October 8, 2015 / 2:46 am

    What's wrong with the natural beauty of pine? Trends are trends. Try a green floor to ground the wood. White furnishings and textures will pop.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 8, 2015 / 6:18 pm

      You are so right – you just have to go with what YOU like because you're living with it! I do love wood grain but I surprised myself by letting the yellow tone of the pine grow on me. I usually prefer a light maple or dark walnut, so it's interesting that something different has caught my eye. It will be fun to decorate in a style different than what I usually gravitate toward. Thanks for the great idea – green would bring in a natural element which could be beautiful!

  26. bettie
    October 9, 2015 / 7:18 pm

    I love the pine! Those samples you showed with all that white are so lovely. Keep it for awhile and accentuate with white and black and it will be great! Why spoil a good thing?

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 10, 2015 / 6:17 pm

      You're right – and once it's painted, it's hard to go back!

  27. Anonymous
    October 10, 2015 / 7:20 pm

    the panel walls are totally that mid-century vibe. However the fake wood floors in that room have to go – would completely change and update the look. On the cheap – paint them black, or replace with inexpensive black stone line porcelain tiles???

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 12, 2015 / 1:59 pm

      Agreed! And great ideas, thanks! Totally wish the former homeowner had continued the real wood on to the floor…

  28. Crystal Atkins
    October 16, 2015 / 2:06 am

    I really think all that pine would work. I love your ideas, lots of white, and with all the other decor distracting the eye, it would be something different. Everyone's house looks the same (farmhouse, shabby chic, ick) you stand out beautifully.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 16, 2015 / 12:50 pm

      Thanks for your kind compliment, Crystal!

  29. Anonymous
    October 23, 2015 / 6:05 pm

    I LOVE IT!! After reading your post title and before you put out your ideas….I thought…..go for it using black and white. I am really excited to see how you pull it all together 🙂

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 24, 2015 / 8:30 pm

      Great minds think alike!! I don't know how much I'll get done before the cold weather sets in (we don't heat that building) but I'll at least give it a good scrub and get my ducks in line so next spring I can pounce on it right away!

  30. caught#in#the#middle
    October 29, 2015 / 6:47 pm

    Hi Tanya! I found you on Instagram a couple of weeks ago, and I started binge reading your blog today (sheepish smile) . My 2 cents – i think keeping the pine is such a good idea and Im sure u will rock it On another topic, I just loved reading your old posts and both your home tours. Your lakehouse feels young and fresh and colorful but not over the top. I have been so scared of using more color in my place. After a lot of hits and misses I have finally figured out that Navy and shades of blue and yellow-green are what I will never tire of, so I'm slowly trying to add more color. I really think i could get a lot of inspiration from your page, because the feeling of color I want to achieve is similar to yours. Is there color – Of course! Is it still calming – Yes!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 29, 2015 / 9:19 pm

      Hi! So happy you found your way here :)I'm so thrilled that I've inspired you to add more color. As you probably saw in the two home tours, I used to use a lot less but I was always fiddling with things because the townhouse never felt "right". Since moving here and being bolder, I've found I'm so much happier. Even our temporary aqua kitchen makeover has us thinking we might want to keep it longer than planned! I'm still nervous about choosing bold colours when something is really expensive – or permanent – but I have definitely felt the positive effects of more color. I'm so happy with my house now.Navy and blue and green are such a pretty color combo! I love greens tinged with yellow. It sounds like your home decor is going to feel really fresh and modern. I'm guessing you probably read Emily Henderson's blog? She used lots of layered blues, like cobalt and navy, and I just love her palette. Makes me think of adding some navy, and she's definitely inspired me to mix in some blues with my aqua obsession!

  31. caught#in#the#middle
    October 30, 2015 / 5:16 pm

    Yes yes I love Emily Henderson and she uses navy almost everywhere! I did notice that your townhouse and lakehouse are different color-wise. I think I completely understand when you said it never felt right. So far I have only played with throw pillow colors, but every color scheme made me feel it was not right. And I would get bored with it. I used to think I need to stick with neutral main pieces cos Im the girl who gets bored with a color soon. It took me a long time to figure out that it's because I don't love it yet! Since I can't sell my stuff and start from scratch (because – husband), I am trying to work with what I already have, and I love this journey of self-discovery.Your aqua kitchen is fabulous. I'm in a rental, so I cant do paint, so all my color would be from upholstery, rugs, drapes. Also, I did read about the art in your house, how your Husband's Grandfather did all of it. I'm usually not the kind of person who stares at art for so long cos really I don't know to appreciate it yet, but the ones in your home and the ones in the gallery that you posted – they are so beautiful. I keep going back to that post just to look at it. Ok I will stop talking now, I sound like a stalker lol.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      November 2, 2015 / 3:44 pm

      I think that in the real world, lots of people have to work around what they have. My cream sofa is not my "dream" sofa but it was affordable because it was previously loved (a classifieds score) and I keep saying I'll replace it but it's still in fabulous condition and we just don't have the budget for a new one so it stays! I have been able to invest in recovering a couple coloring vintage chairs, though, so I can't complain. It's always amazing how throw pillows and other textiles can make such a huge difference, so if you have a neutral base it's going to be easy to put together your palette using inexpensive accessories.I'm so happy to hear you like Bert's art – he'd be thrilled to know it! I ogle his stuff too! Sometimes I sit and stare at the ones we have but then we also have a book of his work and when I'm stressed I'll flip through it. He's so good at colour palettes. I wish I could decorate a bunch of rooms, each inspired by a different painting of his because he's put together some gorgeous color combos over the years!You're so right about decorating being a journey of self discovery! You really learn a lot about yourself when you try to narrow in on your "style". I recently discovered that I'm not as into patterns as I thought. Colors, yes, but I prefer texture over patterns and I prefer my patterns more subtle. Sometimes it takes a little trial and error.

Dans le Lakehouse is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. If you click on a link that leads to Amazon, I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases - at no cost to you. Thank you for your support!