Which paint should I use when painting panelling?

Blue satin paint for boot room

How to paint wooden wall panelling? It’s the question on every interiors guru, lifestyle blogger, and IG  influencer’s lips at the moment. Panelling is having a moment, and painted panelling? Even more so. 

Installing panelling – either by yourself or with professional help can transform a room and give a lovely fresh, wholesome, country feeling. Whether you have panelling in your living room, kitchen, hallway, bedroom (or even on your bathtub!) Annie Sloan paints can make it even more beautiful.

If you’re confused about which paint to use on your panelling project and looking for some helpful advice, you’ve come to the right place. Generally, we’d recommend our hardwearing Satin Paint range. Satin Paint is ideal for interior wood and works brilliantly on panelling. Having said that, if you prefer one of our Wall Paint colours, you could always paint your panelling with this instead – just expect a matt finish, rather than the slight silky sheen Satin Paint achieves.

Of course, you could also use Chalk Paint on panelling, as it can be applied to almost every surface. However, you’d need to ensure you applied a coat of Chalk Paint Wax or Chalk Paint Lacquer afterwards, which will make your project a little more time-consuming.

It is important to bare in mind that each project is different, depending on the condition of the painting prior to painting. Read on to learn more about painting panelling, what mistakes to avoid, and how to get it right in your home.

Unpainted fresh wood panelling

 If you’ve just installed new wooden panelling, it will be very porous. You may require an additional coat of paint as a primer. If you’re using Annie Sloan Satin Paint or Annie Sloan Wall Paint, a diluted base layer of the paint will act as a good primer. Once primed, apply your final coats using undiluted paint.

Fresh wood may sometimes have untreated weeping knots. These are unsightly, but can be painted over with a little prep work! To treat weeping knots in your wooden panelling: 

  1. Apply heat (if you don’t have a heat gun a hairdryer may work in a pinch!) to the area to draw out as much resinous material as possible. 
  2. Use a palette knife to remove the resin.
  3. Clean the knot using white spirit and allow the area to dry before painting.

If you have opted for Chalk Paint on unpainted, fresh wood panelling, you won’t need to prime, but you will need to apply a protective layer of Chalk Paint Wax or Chalk Paint Lacquer if you want the finish to be hard-wearing. 

Painting previously painted panelling 

If your panelling has already been painted, there are other considerations to make before you can get stuck in. Proper preparation before you begin will make your life easier in the long run, so don’t try to skip ahead. The first thing you should do before repainting painted panelling is to rule out potential complications with some thorough patch testing. 

Annie Sloan says:

“Always patch-test a few different random areas just to be sure you’re getting an overview of whatever you’re painting. Better to discover problems at this stage than when you’re halfway through!”

Peeling or flaking paint will need to be removed, of course, but unless the paint is glossy, Lacquered or Waxed then there should be no need to go any further than removing flakes and giving the surface the usual wipe down. Then you can get cracking with your beautiful new Annie Sloan Satin Paint, no priming needed!

Painting over Gloss Paint, Lacquer, or Waxed finishes

 Is your panelling painted with a high Gloss Paint? Has your wooden panelling been Lacquered or Waxed? Glossy, shiny, waxed, lacquered or otherwise “shiny” paints on wood panelling often repel other paints, including Annie Sloan Satin Paint and Annie Sloan Wall Paint.

If you’re not sure how to tell if your panelling has been lacquered, what we’re looking for here is a shiny surface which repels the paint. A thorough patch test before you start will show you whether the Annie Sloan Satin Paint will take or if you need to thoroughly sand, clean and degrease your panelling before using Annie Sloan Satin Paint.

Annie’s tip:

“Alternatively, because my Chalk Paint was developed to be applied to virtually any surface without priming or sanding, you can skip the elbow grease and apply a coat of Chalk Paint in a neutral colour such as Old White or Country Grey over gloss painted, waxed or lacquered panelling to prime before using Annie Sloan Satin Paint” 

Painting over Annie Sloan Satin Paint will not require any priming. You can overcoat Annie Sloan Satin Paint just like you also can Chalk Paint. 

Alternatively, you could use Chalk Paint directly on top of previously lacquered or waxed panelling, with no sanding or priming required. Just remember though, you’ll need to apply that protective Chalk Paint Wax or Chalk Paint Lacquer finish! 

¾ Panelling or Half and Half panelled walls

If you’re painting panelling which goes three-quarters or halfway up the wall, and the wall above, and you want it all to be the same colour, use Annie Sloan Wall Paint. 

The main difference between Annie Sloan Wall Paint and Annie Sloan Satin Paint is the finish. Annie Sloan Wall Paint has a suede-like, matt finish whilst Annie Sloan Satin Paint has a slight sheen for added hard-wearing qualities. If you want the walls and the panelling to be an exact colour and finish match, use Annie Sloan Wall Paint for both. 

Always paint in vertical stripes working along the wall from top to bottom rather than doing the panelling and then the wall (or vice versa).

Annie says:

“When painting panelling start at the top and paint down, strip by strip along the wall. You want the colour to match the whole way down as the wooden slats draw your eye downwards”.

If you want the wooden panelling and wall to contrast, we recommend you use Annie Sloan Satin Paint on the panelling and Annie Sloan Wall Paint on the wall. The difference in finish will mean that even if you use an Annie Sloan Wall Paint and Annie Sloan Satin Paint in the same colour, you’ll have a slight contrast because one is matt and one has a satin-like sheen. This subtle contrast in texture will give a refined feel to a space. 

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Cladding an entire wall

If you clad your entire wall with panelling, then the choice really is yours! 

Think about your desired finish and choose Annie Sloan Satin Paint if you want to achieve a slight sheen, Annie Sloan Wall Paint if matt is more your thing, or even Chalk Paint if you fancy one of the colours from this range (just be prepared to apply Chalk Paint Wax or Lacquer afterwards!).

Follow the advice above depending on whether the cladding is newly installed, painted, or glossed.

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When painting beading we recommend using Annie Sloan Wall Paint if you’re going for a monochrome wall. Otherwise, use Annie Sloan Wall Paint on the walls and Annie Sloan Satin Paint on the beading to emphasise faux panelling. 

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wall Paint for desk

When all is said and done, of course, all Annie Sloan paints are high-performance, water-based, premium-pigmented, low VOC, Toy Safe paints and will look sensational on your walls or panelling. These are just our best recommendations on how to get the quickest, easiest, most long-lasting results when painting your panelling, and we hope you found them helpful.

If and when you take the plunge and paint your panelling, please tag us @anniesloanhome when you share your photos on your social media pages. We LOVE seeing your transformations. Happy painting!


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