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8 Paint Colors That Go With Wood Paneling

8 Paint Colors That Go With Wood Paneling

Are you having trouble finding good paint colors that go with wood paneling?

Wood paneling offers a vintage look that makes the home appear more welcoming.

However, you might be surprised to know that this type of wood wall paneling is quickly becoming the preferred choice for homeowners who intend to enhance the aesthetics of their homes.

When you’re deciding on the best colors and patterns for rooms that have wood paneling, it’s always best to go with earthy and neutral colors.

The best choices are yellow, white, turquoise, off-white/ivory, grays, blues, greens, and beige.

Modern Paint Colors That Go With Wood Paneling

Photo of a kid's room to help illustrate what paint colors go best with wooden paneling

When it comes to design, wood trim and wood paneling have unique accommodations that you should adhere to.

By learning which colors allow you to add other features to the room without clashing, you can bring your vision to life.

1. Yellow

Yellow furniture matched with wood panels on the wall

Vadym Andrushchenko/Shutterstock

Yellow is a versatile color that pairs beautifully with both dark and light wood panels because it echoes the desired undertone of the wood.

You can use muted mustard yellow, and this color will work wonderfully in a modern bedroom or kitchen. You could just as easily use a bright and sunny shade of yellow as well.

2. White

Kiving room with white wood panel walls white sofa


The color white pairs well with everything, and therefore it’s called a universal color, mainly due to the fact that it’s incredibly versatile.

For example, a room with white walls, when matched with light-colored wood paneling, makes for a modern, warm look.

More specifically, this is the way to mix a techy appearance with a natural look. Typically, people who go with white do so to enlarge the way that their room appears.

3. Turquoise

Turquise sofa combined with wood panels wall


Suppose you are a person who has taken a pointer or two from traditional interior designs. In that case, chances are you’ve noticed that wood paneling and turquoise are staples of Southwestern décor.

The funny thing is that this is not a trend exclusive to the Southwest. This color is for anyone looking for more of an exotic look. The turquoise gives a beach-like ambiance against the wood trim when used in this way.

4. Gray

Gray furniture and wood paneling color combination


Gray can complement a white-themed kitchen counter adorned with white-paneled wooden walls and cabinets filled with kitchen utensils.

You may be surprised to learn that gray is where it’s at when it comes to home design. This is especially true for those who enjoy modern and traditional looks. 

If you’ve been mulling over what color to choose for your panels, gray is the best choice. Gray is versatile and can be used with country, modern, and traditional looks. This color simply complements everything.

5. Blue

Blue sofa and wood panels color combination


If you wish to have royal themes using your wood paneling, blue is a tried, true, and classic choice. It’s common to find older homes with a cerulean or royal blue hue against mahogany or cherry.

This is indeed a fantastic contrast, and it will give your room a sophisticated feel and look. This happens to be even more accurate when paired with gold.

6. Different Shades of Green

Green wall and light brown furniture


When it comes to wood trim, green is more of a conventional color to put with it, even more so if you have wood finishes that are darker, such as mahogany.

This kind of color scheme is not foreign to the design of Ivy League schools. The look is not only rustic, but it looks refined as well.

You may be shocked to learn that you don’t have to choose the darkest shade of green for it to pair well with the wood paneling. For example, mint green is an excellent choice due to the contrast that it provides.

If you wish to give off tropical or ocean vibes, turquoise is the color to achieve this effect. If you want something elegant and regal, try pairing turquoise with brass or gold, which will add a nice palatial feel to your home.

7. Beige

Beige sofa in living room with wood panel sofa and wooden floor


Beige is an excellent choice for nearly any trim or wood paneling. Thanks to the fact that its color is neutral, this sandy color can be used in an extensive range of palettes.

You can use this shade with a quirky or traditional look due to its versatility. Beige hues can be used with a mild golden tone, and this will help improve the aesthetics of the wood panel in any room in most situations.

8. Off-White/Ivory

Off-white and ivory design livng room matched with wood paneling on the walls


You can try a modern kitchen with wooden paneling and a lower cabinet section that’s painted white. In some instances, white can contrast too much with the color in a room.

That’s even more true if your goal is to design a kitchen that’s more inviting with a more comfortable and cozy look.

A mild off-white, like eggshell cream, will work wonderfully with delicate colors. Moreover, if you are fond of a Tudor-style design theme, there’s the option to match a dark wood with off-white instead of white.

Tips on Choosing Paint Colors for Your Wood Paneling

Photo of wainscoting for a piece on what color paint goes with wood paneling

Remember that furnishings and fabrics can help bring wood paneling to life by enhancing the tones. When deciding on the best wall colors, don’t forget the fabrics and furnishings to enhance your wood panels.

Take into account the dominant tones that add high drama to your color scheme.

For example, warm and neutral colors, like dark gray or tan-green, will highlight the rich dark brown color of the wood panel if you match the walls with an even-toned brown color; it makes the environment more comforting. 

The primary goal is to make sure the colors are simple and don’t overdo it by selecting furniture that’s too dark and makes the room feel dreary.

Also, try using contrast to make the room pop more and to make the wood paneling stand out in a good way. When you contrast the color of the walls with the wood panel, your room has a more distinct look to it.

For example, if the room features dark wood like walnut, mahogany, or oak, it stands out beautifully against light blue, ivory, or white.

If you have a lighter wood tone such as maple, ash, or birch, go with a dark and bold color like navy blue or dark green instead. 

How to Make Wood Paneling Look Good Until You Paint

Here are ways to liven up your wood paneling even without painting it:

Stain the Wood

If you have had your wood paneling for years and you’re trying to revive it because it’s looking dull, try adding a stain to it to see if that helps.

If the paneling is actual wood, use a rich stain that will adhere well to give it that “new” look. 

Focus on the Furniture

If you feel that your wood paneling isn’t eye-catching, but you’re trying to draw attention and be bold, focus on the furniture.

Choose a few distinguished pieces, like sectional or trendy chairs, designer tables, and so on. Go for bold patterns, bright colors, fun textures, and other exciting aspects that distract from the walls or complement them.

Interior Decorating Mistakes to Avoid

Black walls shown for a piece on what color paint goes with wood paneling

Anna Maryenko/Shutterstock

Using a wood panel is tricky because it’s a classic design theme that is easy to butcher.

There are some simple and effective ways to make it look great, and it’s even easier to make it look horrible. Be sure to avoid these mistakes when decorating:

Choosing the Wrong Paint

There are two ways that this can go wrong. You can choose the wrong paint color for the room itself, like pairing dark colors with dark paint and vice versa, or just choosing a color that doesn’t match well, like orange. 

Or, you could be painting the wood panel itself incorrectly. Be sure to sand and prime the panel first, and then pick a vibrant paint, with oil-based being the best option. Also, don’t rush the drying process. 

Trying to Match a Rug or Carpet to the Panel

Under no circumstances should you try to make the carpet match the color of the wood paneling. Dark brown wood with a dark brown carpet looks awful and will totally bring down the brightness in the room.

You also don’t want to pair light wood with a light carpet because it’s too one-toned and doesn’t add anything distinct or contrasting. Remember, light walls go with dark floors, and dark walls go with light floors.

Things to Consider

Brown couch in front of dark gray wall panels with orange and red pillows

The thing to consider most is the pattern of the wood panel and its color.

  • Every kind of wood has its own unique characteristics, including color and grain pattern. Even though you can alter the color tone of the wood through staining, most people prefer to leave the wood trim the way it is naturally.
  • Wood with a light color has been making a resurgence as of late in modern interior design, and you can find it typically paired with light-colored walls.
  • Medium-colored wood goes well with neutral or light furnishings and wall colors.
  • Honey-colored wood presents much more of a challenge to paint with the right color match, as this particular color was popular in the 90s, right before falling out of favor. 
  • Dark brown is the most common wood-tone color, and it can add a feeling of richness to any given room. All wall colors will complement dark wood panels.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the responses to the most commonly asked questions regarding pairing colors with wood paneling:

Is it a bad idea to paint wood paneling?

Absolutely not. Painting the wood panel is a simple way to transform a home interior from outdated to modern.

If you’re not sold on the wood panel, and you’d like to go for the element of texture, this is the perfect solution. It’s also a good idea if your wood paneling has become old and looks worse from year to year.

Is wood paneling outdated?

People often think that a wood panel is a bad choice for home décor because it’s old and reeks of the 70s. However, while the reputation for retro is accurate, that doesn’t mean that the concept can’t be freshened up and made to look more modern.

If your colors clash, then it will indeed look outdated and worn. But if you can bring the right furniture pieces in and choose the perfect paint to go with the wood paneling, it can be a gorgeous addition.

Can you paint stripes on wood paneling?

The answer to this depends on what look you’re going for with the painted paneling. It’s challenging to bring a room together with striped walls because it’s hard to match the furniture with that design theme.

If you have a skilled interior decorator that can show you how it can work, go for it. Otherwise, avoid painting stripes on the wood and focus on painting the walls a solid color instead.

Can you make the wood panel lighter before you paint the walls?

If you want to paint the walls a dark color but the wood panel is already dark, you might consider trying to lighten the panel itself. Bleaching and whitewashing can help, but be sure that you completely cover the parts of the room that you don’t want to be exposed.

Should you use wood paneling in the bedroom?

Admittedly, wood paneling looks best in a living room or a den, and you don’t typically see this type of theme in a bedroom. However, if you have a home office in your bedroom, it could go well to make the space look more professional.

What Colors Go With Wood Paneling?

So there you have it—paint colors that go with wood paneling.

Choosing the right colors to paint your walls can be the difference between a beautiful and creative room and a dull and boring one.

If you go with the perfect colors to make the wood panel look fresh and modern, the possibilities for color combinations are extensive. 

Remember that the most popular choice will be your neutral colors like grey, white, beige, and off-white, but colors such as green, blue, and yellow work really well if done correctly.