To paint over wood paneling, wash the paneling thoroughly and use a primer before painting it. This helps to cover the wood if it is a darker color and provide an even base for the paint.
Use diluted TSP when washing the wood paneling. This helps to remove all the dirt, grime and fingerprints from the paneling and get it ready for painting. Let the walls dry completely, then smooth the surface by sanding it lightly. Wipe away the dust with a wet rag. Cover the paneled walls in primer. If the walls are veneer, use a primer with shellac. If they are solid wood, use a water-based primer. After the primer has been applied and dried, apply the paint. Allow each coat to dry before continuing with another coat.