Okay, Alaskan winters are dark, long and cold.(30 below this A.M) ...... She says, living/dining rooms are like a cave and wants lighter walls. Barring tearing out and re-doing, can panelling be painted? If so, how?
You bet, Paneling can be painted, here is what I do:
1st- wash with tsp and well rince.
2nd- sand with 150 grit to rough up all the surfaces and vacume up the walls and then go over them with tack cloth.
3rd- Prime with a good quality primer ( I use oil based for best results,You can use Kilz primer for this).
4th- Sand again to smoothen surphace and clean well
5th- At least 2 coats good quality interior paint ( I use Ben Moore paints).
I had a wall of painted paneling in my living room. It had been done by the previous owner. If you want a quick fix then painting is the way to go. I went ahead and just drywalled on top of the paneling. Everything looks good, and you cant tell a difference between it and the other walls.
Hope this helps.