If you follow me on Instagram, you know we were installing paneling in my office last week! In case you haven’t caught on, we’re making a big push on home projects this summer. There are a few things that have led to this project push – my shoulder is finally project-ready (it’s been doing so well), we’ve saved up for some of these bigger projects and finally pulled the trigger, my parents were able to visit for the first time in almost a year and they are here to help with the DIY stuff, and the main thing is that I have a one huge project coming up that all of these projects tie in to! All of this to say, there is a method to the madness. It’s not just that I have a bee in my bonnet!
So, when Leslie of My 100-Year-Old Home pitched the idea of working on room makeovers together, I told her I wouldn’t have trouble coming up with content to share! I am working on several rooms right now, but decided I would share my home office for our Makeover in a Month series. We’ve also been joined by the lovely and talented Melissa of The Inspired Room and KariAnne of Thistlewood Farms.
I recently did a small refresh in my office when I reclaimed it from Jeff. He had been using it as his office when we were under Stay at Home orders in Minnesota. That snowballed into ideas of customizing the space even further. Initially, I thought about installing picture frame molding as I have in other rooms, but I spotted this MDF paneling when I was in Menards a couple of weeks ago and I immediately loved it. Installing paneling in a home office just works. It’s a nod to the days when offices and dens were clad in wood paneling and lined with built-in bookcases. This is just a simpler, much less expensive version.
THIS is the specific paneling I purchased. It’s called Honey Pine 164 by DPI (Decorative Panels International.) At $20 for a 4×8 sheet, it cost only $160 to clad the entire office. (Plus I can get an 11% mail-in rebate from Menards.) I felt like that was a pretty good bang for the decorating buck! Since our ceilings are 9′, I opted for a 2/3 height on the paneling, so it hits at about 78″ when it’s installed on top of the baseboard.
An advantage of working with MDF paneling is that it’s thin, easy to cut, and can be installed against most existing trim. If you’re installing paneling that’s made of solid wood (and thicker), the baseboards should be removed and reinstalled over the paneling. The downside is that mdf paneling is basically a step above cardboard, so you have to be gentle while working with it. It’s also similar to painting laminate, which means the paint has nothing to grab or soak into. It just sits on top, so you have to watch for drips like a hawk (and I still ended up with drips even after double and triple-checking.) It also means it requires several coats of a good primer and paint. I ended up applying two coats of an adhesion primer for slick surfaces and two coats of Benjamin Moore Advanced trim paint in satin.
The first couple of coats look terrible, but it will get there eventually!
I cut the trim at the top so that I could still hang my inspiration board. I’ll keep the extra trim in case I ever want to complete that section.
About halfway through this project, I started to second-guess myself. I wasn’t questioning the decision to put up the paneling, but the decision to paint it white. I had considered painting it a color…perhaps a blue or a soft green. I actually loved the idea of painting the paneling, trim, and everything one color, I envisioned a moody smokey blue, but I have these awesome white plantation shutters and spent so much time already painting the trim white that it just seemed like white was the best option.
So, I sat in the room with my paneling half-done, contemplating my choices and putting all sorts of pressure on myself to get it right and get it done.
I took my own advice and walked away. My mom and I picked up some paint samples along with more primer and trim paint. We also stopped by one of my favorite local consignment shops and scored a dresser that’s been on my shopping list for a while. I painted out the paint samples when I got home and held them up to the paneling. Nope. I liked the white. My curiosity was satisfied and the doubt was dealt with.
In the end, I decided to keep heading in the direction I started. I finished installing the paneling and I painted it white. I also ordered this beautiful Galerie paper that was in the running for the 1/2 bathroom to use above the paneling. (You can see a sample of it tucked between the bookcase and the window frame.) It’ll fill in the space above the windows nicely and be a nice finishing touch to the room.
With the paneling done, slipcovering this desk chair and hanging the wallpaper are next…