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Decorating a Living Room with Knotty Pine Walls

Ever since we bought our old farmhouse, I've been slightly worried about how difficult decorating a living room with knotty pine walls might be. I shouldn't have worried. What a cozy-looking living room we have, with these 73-year-old solid knotty pine walls.

Knotty pine walls are coming back into style. While there are many articles out there about how to paint knotty pine walls, we figured it was worth a shot to see what the space looked like finished, as we could always paint the walls later if we decided we couldn't live with them. So far, so good - I'm pretty happy with how our vintage knotty pine walls look in the living room at this point.

knotty pine walls in the living room

I haven't hung any pictures on the walls yet, but as you can see from the living room photo above, the space actually doesn't have a dark depressing feel at all. The darkness of the walls and floors is offset by a white ceiling, light-colored area rug, and white trim around the floors, windows, and doors, which combined really help brighten the room, as do all of the windows. The photo below also shows the living room, but facing the other direction toward the formal dining room.

I love that we have enough space for a piano. The former residents left the piano here, and I was able to clean it up. My daughter has enjoyed playing it, and I'm considering lessons for both of us.

Since we are living in the original 1940s farmhouse, which is larger than the ranch hand's house next door, the rooms here are all oversize. I can just imagine all the activity this space used to have, with important guests being entertained here, ranch hands coming in for breakfast in the room off the kitchen, and a big family making lots of noise around the house.  (Interestingly, the ranch hand's house next door was built at the same time and also has knotty pine throughout - how cool is that?)

The light fixture in the formal dining room needs to go. I'd like something that's more of a traditional farmhouse style.

When we selected the new flooring for these downstairs rooms, we went with a dark bamboo that picks up the darker tones in the knotty pine. The wood floors are Click Strand Carbonized Bamboo. I like that the flooring has little variation in color, which really helped to tone down how busy the room looks, making the overall effect somewhat soothing, at least IMHO.

wood floors and knotty pine walls

A lot of work went into prepping the floors since there had been a lot of settling in the old house. Thankfully, our sub-contractor has experience with how to level flooring, and they ended up grinding down and removing some of the underlayment that had been put in place.  I took a photo when they first got started to show the hidden layers of floor that had been put down over the years.

removing layers of old flooring

In fact, there were multiple layers of flooring.  We had already removed the old carpeting and linoleum.  Under that was a thin, oriented strand board underlayment. Beneath that layer was linoleum that had been put down in probably the 1960's.  And then under there, lo and behold, was solid oak wood flooring.  What a shame - the linoleum was glued directly onto the wood floors, making it quite expensive had we wanted to restore them.  We did not, however, since we had already purchased beautiful new bamboo floors to put in.  The upstairs has the older oak floors fully restored, so we do have that feature retained in half of the house.

I'm really happy with how the new wood floors look in combination with the old knotty pine walls.

See More Photos in Our eBook, This House with Knotty Pine

See many more photos of our house with its wood walls in our e-book, This House with Knotty PineClick to download your copy from the Amazon bookshelf (for reading on iOS, Android, Mac, and PC using the free Kindle app). 

Knotty pine walls e-book

In the book, which you can download and view now, you'll discover how we stumbled upon our unique home. The house was once part of a dairy farm, but it had fallen into disrepair over the years.  Despite the sad state of the house, the solid planks of knotty pine throughout were still in great shape. Included are photos of the renovation plus many more photos of each of the eight decorated rooms. Click to see the book on Amazon.

We invite you to download your copy of the book, which follows our journey as we share what we learned while renovating and decorating a house with its vintage knotty pine walls. See photos of our rooms from start to finish and throughout the seasons.


  1. i stumbled accross your blog while looking through pinterest! We just purchased a 180 year old home and our master bedroom has cherry wood walls! Super cool but we were having similar worries on having no clue how to decorate. Do you have any photos of bed rooms decorated with the wood walls? We have been here two months approx and i still haven't decorated or gotten furniture (besides our bed) for the master because I am at such a loss.

  2. Hi! Thanks so much for your question -
    you inspired me to take some photos of my master bedroom, which does feature knotty pine walls. I've posted the photos in a new article on my blog - you can find it here:, and I'll also share the photos on pinterest. Thanks again, and I hope this helps. Most of the rooms in my house have knotty pine walls, and so I'll be sharing more in the coming weeks.

  3. What an amazing transformation. I would love to sink my toes into the soft fluffy rug.

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  5. I am glad that I came here and I can gain more information about this. You have written this article very factual which is understandable for everyone, Thanks for share it.Premium bath and kitchen Malaysia

  6. Home and business owners should realize the importance of having excellent quality flooring in their properties. Unlike area rugs that can easily be changed when necessary, floors are a more permanent element of a space. That in itself makes it a very significant investment.Flooring Contractors Tolgus Mount

  7. We have this exact same knotty pine paneling. Can you send a link to the exact flooring you installed? Thanks!

    1. Hello! I don’t believe they make this exact flooring any longer, but it is from LL Flooring and it’s made from bamboo. I would recommend going to your local wood flooring shop and buying a couple of sample pieces in dark shades. That way you can bring the samples home and hold them against the wall. That is what we did to select a wood floor color. It was amazing to see how different even a slight variation in color looked against the wall. Then, you can select a floor color that has a matching grain color in it to go with the wall.


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