That shag carpet from 1973 is easily replaced, but wood paneling is a little harder to get rid of. Although it added a natural wood tone to any room, dark paneling also absorbed light, and today’s homeowners prefer a lighter style. But don’t panic, you don’t have to spend a bundle to update the look. You can paint or wallpaper over your old paneling with the right preparation.
First, wipe it down with a de-glosser, like Liquid Sandpaper. If you want to fill the grooves use spackle or joint compound and lightly sand afterward. Next coat it with a stain blocking primer sealer.
If you plan to paint, you might want to tint the primer a little bit toward the color you’ve selected. If you choose wallpaper, apply a liner or blocking paper first.