Before we dwell on the paneling let's get back to where you should start. I always encourage clients to make a stream of thought list of everything they would like to or that they need to do to their home. Inside and out. Once or twice for the time they own their homes as well as every month or season.
I would also encourage you to take the time to do a floorplan of your place. It does not have to be to cabinet maker accuracy but just scaling things out will cause you to think about things a little differently. I use Sweet Home 3D for simple floor planning. It is free open source software and works well with a relatively short learning curve. It will provide accuracy to a fraction of an inch but will not handle detail drawings. There are numerous other such programs out there of course.
With a floorplan you will have dimensions for ordering building and decorating materials and communicating with contractors. The software comes with furniture templates and all sorts of things.
Next I have clients prioritize and think honestly about what they have to spend in a given period in time and money. How much are the willing and able to tackle themselves?
Finally good old fashioned triage. What are the things, perhaps lacking glamor that really should be done: leaking faucets, faulty outlets and switches, tree pruning, fence repair, etc. Then as for elective things what are the rooms you really want to fix up and show off or live in first. Kids rooms need work to make them happier with the mood? Yellowed Victorian wallpaper in your bedroom keeping you up nights? Can you live without tacky lawn ornaments for another year and buy paint for the kitchen instead?
Not sure how we focused in on paneling but I guess my question is what kind of paneling? I realize from Joe's response he had a totally different image pop to mind than I did. We need more input. Are you thinking some tacky 50s stuff? Those thin planks you get in boxes? Some sort of nicer wainscoting and chair rail?
Purists will scream but some of the old inset paneling (and even old tin ceiling panels) that cost a fortune is being reproduced in stamped or vacuum formed paintable materials other than wood. Even complex moldings are being extruded in polystyrene and so forth and I sort of cringe but nobody is going to climb up to see a piece of crown 20 feet in the air is not wood. And in a day, around the era of your home, people cheated making expensive wood looking trim out of plaster.
Last edited by sdsester; 05-13-2012 at 05:12 AM.