Flip a Knotty Pine Dungeon

About: Furniture, fabric, architecture, building, painting. I specialize in upholstery design, restyling, repurposing and writing all about upholstery. I teach loads of upholstery classes all week long and also te...

My basement studio was covered with yellow-y brown knotty pine paneling. I finally gave in, bought a paint sprayer and these are the steps I followed to flip it into a bright, cheery sewing/crafting studio. I couldn't photograph it while I sprayed for obvious reasons--would ruin brand new camera!

Step 1: The Knotty Pine Dungeon: Before

This is one shot of the dark, miserable cluttered studio.

Step 2: Supplies

Gather: paint sprayer
TSP cleaner for the walls
good water based primer for the wood paneling
paint additive to extend workability
extension cord
mask to wear
blue tape
brown paper roll to slide under baseboard
lots of canvas throws to cover the carpet
screwdriver (not pictured) to take off switch plates
final latex satin finish wall paint (not shown)

Step 3: Cleaning the Walls

Move everything to the center of the room and cover it with plastic. Remove all switch and plug plates, put tape over them.
Clean all walls with water and TSP cleaner. Let dry.

Step 4: Cover Up and Go to Work

Cover every inch of carpet. Put the mask on to avoid inhaling airborne paint. Following directions on sprayer, begin spraying walls with a back and forth motion with the primer. When finished, go back and spray knotholes with extra primer. Check around for drips, smooth with a sponge brush. Place two fans in the room and let it dry for a day.

Step 5: Run Out to Get a Breath of Air

If necessary, before you're finished, open sealed door and go get some air.

Step 6: Final Spray

When the primer is dry, seal all openings and fill sprayer with latex paint mixed with a paint extender. Start at the top of one wall and, working in four foot squares, begin spraying with a back an forth motion, not coating an area more than twice or the paint will run. Move down the wall as you go. You have to take charge of the spray trigger. let paint dry for one day.

Step 7: Re Furnishing

With a fresh studio, add back only the furniture that is functional and looks good in your new digs.

Step 8: The Supplies

Organize supplies for the class on shelves and in baskets.

Step 9: Neat and Tidy Work Stations

Set up nice, neat stations for the class.

Step 10: Hooped Fabric

Frame some colorful fabric selections in embroidery hoops to add color.

Step 11: Ping Pong Table in Disguise

Cover an upturned ping pong table with fabric for a cutting table and a large piece of fabric wall art. Built-in shelves come in handy for extra sewing machines.



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    22 Discussions


    8 years ago on Step 7

    Great instructable but I gotta say, if it were me, I'd have left the trim and the door the original, unpainted wood and only painted the walls. ;-)

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    I had to do the same in my basement, but it wasn't pine. The previous owner had put a tongue and groove on the walls and stained it EBONY! There was dark green carpet in there also! Even with lights, it was always dungeon like, so I feel your pain.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Great !
    However I'm not sure you went really faster with a spray gun than with a more conventional roller.
    And the danger of catching cancer molecules in your lungs is much higher !…
    Doesn't mean I want to be right.
    Wish you the best !…


    8 years ago on Step 11

    absolutely great ! …
    It's a studio and it feels like home ! …
    When can I move in ?…
    OK this i an esy one … 
    In fact in find wood paneling is great with beautiful exotic wood or oak … I feel pine doesn't make it as changes everything into a cheap Vermont winter cabin.

    I always found that painted wood panels were great and you did a great job !…
    No the real question is : do really feel that using a spray gun made things easier than roll and brush : after all the most difficult part in painting is cleaning before and moving stuff back were it belong after…
    What do you think ? … 

    I'll have to go out in the garage and see what it is. I think it cost about $129.00 maybe. I don't remember. Once I get the name and model number, you can look it up.


    9 years ago on Step 3

    I see that you wanted to make it brighter for a working space by painting it white,  but I think this is nice warm paneling not dark and dingy.   Now we had some dark thin cheapy wood panels on the walls (half way up) of our old house when we moved there.   When we remove them, they were covering holes in the wall, old lathe and plaster.


    9 years ago on Introduction

     this is essentially the complete opposite of what my uncle did. he put pine over  white walls. I think it all depends on the room its self though. His room looks much better with pine walls, and yours looks better white.

    1 reply

    Being in the basement, we really needed to lighten it up. I can appreciate nice wood paneling but this was yuck-o!


    9 years ago on Step 7

    We had an absolute cave in the basement of a house we owned and it was completely transformed by doing what you did. I've never tried a sprayer. though, are they easy to use? My son just got a house that has a dark dingy pannelled bedroom in the basement It's not exactly attractive. lol It's time to whip out ye old white paint.

    1 reply

    It really lightened it up but it has no style. I'm consulting with a young designer to give me some ideas. We're just trading services, isn't that sweet!


    10 years ago on Step 2

    Fab overhaul! Thanks for sharing! My husband and I painted pannelling 2 houses ago, and it was realy tedious (it turned out very well though; it had been dark and dingy and we transformed it into a bright cheery room.) Was the sprayer messy to work with, and have you ever seen them for rent at a rental outlet? I've never used one but it sure looks like a good idea.


    That looks great! What would you recommend for the rough-hewn pine? My folks have that in their basement and we're all at a loss of inspiration.

    1 reply

    Just prime with a really good primer and then paint. My hubby wanted that room for his man cave--done in a dark color with a flat screen t.v. but I won. :)

    Believe me, the pine is still all over the stairway walls and the other sides of the doors. It's nice that it's not overdone now. The room seems so much larger. Thanks for commenting. :)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    "That pine is naughty!" :D Great instructable!