Last time we talked about the playroom, I had done all the prep work to get it ready to transform from the knotty-wood paneling look into something more modern and fun for our toddler. I covered the existing carpet with plastic, protected the windows with FrogTape, filled the knot holes in the paneling, and sanded everything for a smooth surface.
The next step was to prime the paneling thoroughly. Painting knotty-wood paneling is a little different from painting ordinary drywall (or plaster walls, which is the case in most of our house), in that you need to remember that there are natural oils present in the wood surface. I used a heavy-duty primer – Zinsser B-I-N Shellac Base Primer & Sealer – specifically formulated to block these oils and keep them from seeping through my paint job (especially from the many knots in the pine).
Because I wanted to make sure to cover the wood completely to avoid any oil bleedthrough, it was pretty intensive detail work, especially on the narrow decorative panels. I used a 1-1/2 inch brush to do those first, which definitely took up the majority of my time.
It was hard to get the knots inside those narrow vertical strips totally filled in, so sometimes I just left them with a bit of knotty texture. One of the best things about DIY is that you get to invent (or ignore) your own rules.
Once the vertical ridges were brushed in, I used a 4-inch roller to prime the flat parts of the panels. (Since most primers are oil-based and hard to clean up, I usually get cheap foam rollers for priming and just throw them out afterward.)
Overall, I did two complete coats of primer over the whole room, including the window frames.
Then finally, it was on to painting! The color we chose for this room is Dune Grass by Benjamin Moore.
It’s a paler, warmer green than the toddler’s adjacent bedroom (below – Urban Nature, also by Benjamin Moore), so the two rooms flow together but aren’t completely identical.
Dune Grass works well with the existing tan carpet in the playroom, which we are keeping for the time being. In addition to the walls, I also painted the window frames in a bright white, Decorators White by Benjamin Moore, for contrast. The painting process was very similar to the priming process: first I cut in with a brush along the detailed areas, then used a roller for the rest (a higher-quality roller than the one I used for priming). And just like with the primer, I used two coats for nice, solid coverage.
I may have needed a beer break once or twice.
While I was at it, I painted the outlet covers and light switch cover (which I’d removed before priming so I could cut in behind them).
And then finally, FINALLY, the painting was completed. All told, it took about six calendar days and approximately 36 hours (some days I only worked on this project for a few hours) from the start of prep to the finished paint job. Those vertical nooks and crannies were really time-intensive! The finished Dune Grass color was a little hard to accurately represent in photos, but hopefully this gives you a good idea.
We are so pleased with this transformation. Before, this room felt small and dark and old-fashioned. Now it’s brighter, modern, and feels like a natural extension of the toddler’s bedroom.
We haven’t done much yet with arranging furniture or organizing toys and books in this room. But now that the wood paneling is painted, we are starting to think about how to set things up here for maximum play enjoyment (combined with a good storage system). I’ve started pinning ideas over on the Rather Square Inspiration: Playroom Pinterest board and I’ll post more about our “playroom style” thoughts here soon.
So here’s our progress with the playroom so far:
Paint the wood paneling and window frames
- Hang curtains on the windows (UPDATE: we did this!)
- Install twinkle lights along the ceiling for a starry-night effect
- Add furniture and storage for toys and books
- Replace the existing sconce light fixture
- Hang art on the walls
- Get a child-safe space heater (this room is not connected to our HVAC system) or somehow vent the heating/cooling from the toddler’s bedroom into this room
- Fix the door between these rooms so it shuts properly
- Hang proper curtains or blinds on the door window
- Paint the stool and chalkboard we found in our back alley
- Replace the carpet down the road (hmm, maybe we add a heating element underneath?)
That’s a long list, but we’ll get there. John’s currently working on altering and installing some curtains we found at Ikea for the windows, and he’ll be reporting on our progress with this soon! (UPDATE: the curtains are installed!)
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