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How to decorate our dark family room...

citycolor
9 years ago

Our house is a rambler and the formal living and formal dining are parallel to the family room kitchen area. The formal side faces West and gets plenty of sunlight. The family side faces East and gets absolutely nothing all day because of our huge porch and our neighbors trees.
Over the last few months, we added a solatube in the kitchen, two skylights and cut out a few interior windows (on the right int he picture) between the family room and the living room. After all that it is still so very dark!! I find it depressing and wonder how I never noticed this while we saw the house.
I am not sure if I can spend more money on renovation anymore and frankly am afraid to since nothing seems to make too much of a difference.
A huge mistake I think we did was buy this dark charcoal couch! We have little kids and didn't want a lighter one but perhaps this was too dark? We have ordered a light rug and I am thinking of painting the brick wall a light color too.
This house needed so much work done! We changed the fixtures, added recessed lighting in the kitchen, changed the floors and the kitchen cabinet hardware.
Ideally we would like to push the living space out to the porch but we don't have the funds for that now.
I would really love suggestions for wall paint color that will work both with the couch and the cherry cabinets. Also appreciate anything else you have to say.
Thank you so much in advance!

This post was edited by citycolor on Mon, May 20, 13 at 0:37

Comments (50)

  • citycolor
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    View from the other side. Will a white dining table work here?
    Also looks a lot brighter here than it is in real, although this side of the room is a lot better than the other one.

    This post was edited by citycolor on Mon, May 20, 13 at 0:37

  • Olychick
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    What a pretty room -
    I wanted to tell you that one of my friends faced a similar problem. She had a large porch roof overhanging her windows. She ended up putting skylights in the porch roof (not sure if that would work in your situation). It made a HUGE difference in the amount of light that came to the windows. She didn't use anything too expensive and it was money well spent.

  • Related Discussions

  • yayagal
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I would just invest in two standing lamps and two smaller ones and just keep them lit. Then I'd throw a large flokati rug, a light throw on the sofa with lighten up the walls. You have a beautiful home.

  • Tmnca
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    It looks like that brick wall is sucking up a lot of the light. Have you considered painting it white?

    Otherwise just go with it and make it ultra-cozy with darker drapes, lots of lamps and candles etc.

  • Olychick
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    You could also use a large mirror on the fireplace wall to reflect some of the light from the kitchen end of the room.

  • Moshie143
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Beautiful and creative designs with the attractive color combination that will get from it.

  • k9arlene
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I would definitely paint the brick to lighten up that end of the room.

  • caminnc
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Paint that brick for sure, bring in a light area rug an a nice big mirror and it will solve your problems. Besides, that red brick doesn't go with you modern decor. Everything else is beautiful.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I agree, paint the brick, add a mirror. Invest in edison's lights since you don't have natural light....CFLs or LEDs are less expensive to operate. Use Christopher's technique and put some uplights on the floor in the corners. Adding some recessed cans in front of the fireplace to graze the wall with light and bring out the texture of the brick would be nice.

    I don't see a single lamp in the space. Can you rotate the dining table so it goes the other way, maybe giving more space by the sofa so you can add an end table and a lamp....keep the end table light, maybe glass topped to reflect light. Lighten up the sofa with an afghan or throw and some throw pillows in light colors.

    Something about the layout is bothering me. It feels like there is a bowling alley down the middle of the space. Is there room to put the sofa where the tv is now so it faces the light, and then move the tv to the opposite wall near the fireplace? Or rotate the couch so it faces the fireplace? It just feels like a lot of wasted sq footage...

    Also an area rug in a pattern would help enliven the space...

  • Oakley
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I would embrace the area, add lamps, a light colored throw for the sofa and the rug you ordered. My LR is on the dark side while the rest of the house is brighter. Even though it has windows on all three walls.

    I love to go in there and rest while a fire is going. There have been times I've closed the shutters during the day so I can get that nighttime cozy feel.

  • TheRedHouse
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    What a nice space! There's a lot to love about it. I do agree with Annie regarding the furniture placement though. I think it's working against the way you want the space to feel - lighter, brighter, more open. From the kitchen, it looks like all the dark furniture is massed near the darkest corner. Before you paint the brick, which I think would be lovely painted, can you try rearranging the furniture to see if it makes a difference?

    Try the TV to the left of the FP and swing the sectional around so it faces the FP. That would allow you to add a sofa table with lamps if you wish. It's hard to tell from the photo, but I think you'd have room to put your chair where the TV is now, but maybe a little farther down the room. While you're at it, maybe try the dining table the other way too. Adding lights, rug, mirror or light art work above the FP and a throw will all help a lot. I can't really see if you have a mantel, but adding a lighter one with a modern feel might help too.

  • tracie.erin
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I struggled with the same thing in my really dark living room. I thought about painting or whitewashing my FP stone (not brick, but dark like yours) but I couldn't get up the nerve to do it.

    What I finally (as in, last week) did was put white built-ins on the wall on either side of the FP and it makes a HUGE difference in addition to giving me a ton of extra storage. I went inexpensive and bought the IKEA Billy bookcases and added the half-height doors.

    If you didn't want to paint, I would do something similar with your FP by just placing the bookcases atop the hearth on either side of your FP. In your case, I would probably do full doors or no doors, not the half doors because of the hearth. You can probably do this for under $300 sans doors, $600 with doors, if you go IKEA like I did.

    The IKEA Billy line also has matching floating bookcase shelves - I might stack two or three of those to the ceiling, or hang one at mantel height, over the actual FP to bridge the gap.

  • alex9179
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Paint color: Not white, because it will look dingy in that kind of light. Funcolors responded to a similar predicament on another thread and recommended any clear colors, not grayed or muddied which are in such fashion right now. Yellows are excellent for light reflection, but aren't easy to pick.

    Before I tell you what I'd do ;), I want you to know I'm speaking from a similar experience. I moved to the Tx Gulf coast 6 yrs ago from KCMO. I couldn't believe how very dark this house was in comparison!! I just hated our living area and kitchen because the quality of light, combined with facing north, was so different than one I was used to. I tried different golds/yellows on the walls and they all looked harsh. I settled for a gray that I really like.
    Instead of fighting the battle, I finally embraced the dimness. I have lamps placed around the room. I've used warm-toned colors for furniture and accessories. Unless you want to invest in more recessed lighting for the living area and do something about the roof of your porch, working with the cozy/moody feel of the room is your best bet.

    I would still paint the brick, but not white. Maybe a medium gray. Use floor lights to wash up the walls, as Annie suggested. Get lamps in there.

    Here are some moody examples-NOT necessarily what you should do but to give you an idea of the feel.

    [

    [(https://www.houzz.com/photos/farmhouse-living-room-farmhouse-living-room-austin-phvw-vp~131892)

    [Traditional Living Room design[(https://www.houzz.com/photos/traditional-living-room-ideas-phbr1-bp~t_718~s_2107) by Austin Architect Tim Cuppett Architects

    [

    [(https://www.houzz.com/photos/craftsman-living-room-craftsman-living-room-seattle-phvw-vp~92383)

    [Traditional Living Room design[(https://www.houzz.com/photos/traditional-living-room-ideas-phbr1-bp~t_718~s_2107) by Seattle Architect knowles ps

    [

    [(https://www.houzz.com/photos/global-living-bluefish-home-showroom-transitional-living-room-atlanta-phvw-vp~29635)

    [Eclectic Living Room design[(https://www.houzz.com/photos/eclectic-living-room-ideas-phbr1-bp~t_718~s_2104) by Atlanta Interior Designer Global Living

    [

    [(https://www.houzz.com/photos/leesburg-traditional-kitchen-fridge-and-ovens-traditional-kitchen-dc-metro-phvw-vp~88576)

    [Traditional Kitchen design[(https://www.houzz.com/photos/traditional-kitchen-ideas-phbr1-bp~t_709~s_2107) by Dc Metro Design-build Synergy Design & Construction, Inc.

    [

    [(https://www.houzz.com/photos/concrete-and-glass-fireplace-modern-phvw-vp~189847)

    [Modern Living Room design[(https://www.houzz.com/photos/modern-living-room-ideas-phbr1-bp~t_718~s_2105) by Raleigh Fireplace COASTROAD Hearth & Patio

  • citycolor
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thank you all! Will certainly paint the brick. Any color suggestions? I have read in several places that white is a wrong color for dark rooms as it reads grey. Even if I chose to do white, I wouldn't know where to begin. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated so I can go out and buy some samples. Else, I might just try to paint it the trim color?

    I have tried moving the furniture around as suggested. The sectional is so large that it looks gigantic in any other space and completely takes over the room when placed across from the fireplace. Any furniture in place of the tv also blocks the pathway. Also my kids, especially my 4 year old love to run around this whole area through the formal and back so I would hate to block that.
    We did order a light colored rug...the one I have attached to be precise.

    I also tried the dining table the other way, looks odd to me for some reason! Will get a picture later. Also we really should be getting another set since these are just things we had around the house in our last house.

    I think lamps are a great idea. Any way I can inject color in this space? I love color...again don't know why we bought that grey couch! My inspiration pictures always have tons of reds and blues with eclectic accessories. I am just stumped because everything I love looks very different in this light!

    We do have a carpenter who can make these built ins for us if we want. So, I will look into that.

  • teacats
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Let's see:

    a)Switch the counter stools to backless, saddle-seat ones in black or dark wood. Why? Because the white ones draw the eye WAY too much and are the focal point of your whole space at this time.

    b)Change the table to a dark-wood table like the one from PB. Again -- A white table would dominate the room! A darker table -- with a warmer, rough appearance -- adds visual texture (and therefore warmth)


    c)Yes -- paint the brick to white and add a long (wall-to-wall) rough dark wood mantel. THEN add artwork or a mirror over the mantel.

    d)Switch the TV to the left-hand-side of the fireplace area.
    e)Turn the very dark sectional around to face the fireplace and the TV. IF possible (in the future) switch to a sectional with a woven cover in natural tones.

    f)Add lamps around the whole space. Lamps add warm comfortable pools of light.

    g)After moving the TV-- add Billy bookcases (with lights) along the hallway wall. Add books -- and baskets and artworks. Even on top and around the new bookcases.

    Meanwhile -- when you paint the brick and add the rough worn wood mantel -- you will notice a HUGE change in the feeling of the room.

    Here is a link that might be useful: PB -- table

  • lazy_gardens
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Start with a lighter slipcover for the sofa - just wrap it in something as a trial.

    And add a light and bright colored rug in the FR area.

  • palimpsest
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I skimmed the other responses.

    I think that lack of light, which can only be solved by artificial lighting really, is only part of the problem.

    I think "dullness" or lack of contrast or saturation is the primary issue. Putting lighter colors in there will mostly just make evertything disappear.

    If you look at historical rooms like the ballroom at Lansdowne House at the Philadelphia Museum and the rooms at places like Governor's Palace in Wmsburg the colors are extremely "dark" saturated and jewel toned. The ballroom is hot pink and teal. Not because they liked psychedelic colors but because the rooms were in full darkness lit only by candles when in use and any lighter colors would fade to grey.

    If you lighten everything up the room will still be dark, that is the nature of a room that doesn't get much light, but it will just be a beigey greyish looking dark room.

    It needs saturated colors to give it warmth. I would also not paint the brick because it is a counterpoint to the dark kitchen cabinets at the other end.

  • geokid
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Yes, you need a clear path for the kids to run in circles. I have two little ones myself and I know how important that is. :-)

    I too really like your room. I just think it needs to be adjusted a bit. Humor us and try rearranging the furniture. Rotate the dining table to give the living area a bit more room. In the future, maybe a round table is your answer to this space. One that extends for when you need more seating.

    Then put the TV between the window and the fireplace. Either against the wall or at an angle in the corner. Whichever works best.

    Then try placing the sofa. It could either go facing the windows or the fireplace. With the dining table rotated, there should be room to put the sofa in those places and not have the chaise part be right up against the fireplace. Leave the hallway walkway clear (for the circle for the kiddos). If the sofa is facing the fireplace, there should be room behind it for a sofa table or buffet, which would be a perfect place for lamps.

    Now tackle the fireplace. I don't think you should paint the brick. I agree with Pal. Before you paint the brick, I'd investigate installing a long mantel or framing out the fireplace, or both. Adding a mirror or artwork and accessories to the mantle and to the hearth would add some texture and interest to the fireplace wall. The brick should be a lovely backdrop, not the focal point.

  • madeyna
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I agree with painting the brick and reranging the furnature .Does you son really need that long a runway in the house? It will really be hard to get a cosy well put together effect with that long runway in it. I would move the sectional to the wall the tv is on and put a really large mirror behind it. That arrangement would invite people to be in the room rather than just pass threw it. It would be safer for your son since at four he is probly still climbing on furnature and could fall threw that window if he were to fall off the back of the couch. Facing the windows would really lighten up the dark sectional and add a bright throw and some bright pillows in the colors you love and the huge mirror over the sectional and the feel of the room would really change to a warm inviting sitting space rather than a walk threw space. I love the rug you picked out.

  • lizzie_grow
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I've studied your question & responses...a beautiful home you have.

    My suggestions:

    Keep floor plan as is because of your little ones. Paint the brick, but not white...maybe a lively grey or greige to compliment your sofa color. I can't see the area well enough where built-ins or bookcases would go, but that might be nice. You could even have them match the fireplace color.

    Put an up light or combo up/down in that far corner near fireplace.

    Get some lighter, textured pillows for your sofa...there are lots of the shaggy look ones out there in great colors.

    Can you do a mirror on the FP?

    Maybe paint out those two white stools at the kitchen bar...they don't seem to fit with the rest of the room.

    Our kitchen/tv, famiy rm are on the dark side of our house, too. It is a challenge!!

  • domino123
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    BM Linen White
    SW Dover White

    Two very popular whites. I worked for a painting company and the builders / homeowners 99% of the time went with one of these two whites for trim color.

    I have to disagree with white looking "grey" in a dark room, at least in my own experience. I painted my walls BM Linen White in dark rooms in my home with very little natural sunlight, and well, they look white not grey. My house is an old english tudor surrounded by mature maples.

    Linen White isn't a stark white nor a grey white, more a creamy-ish white, nice compliment for warmer colors.

    With that said, I ONLY painted it white because we hadn't picked out our furniture yet, and the original paint was a gawdy coralish color.

    I have cherry cabinets in my kitchen, darker than yours though. My walls are SW Viva Gold. People love the color, offsets the cherry cabinets nicely. And yes, I'd definitely keep warmer colors in that dark space or it's going to feel dreary. I love a contemporary "loft" look with modern greys and slates, but not in dark spaces - they look too cold to me.

    If Viva Gold is too bold for you, another I like is Pratt & Lambert (NOT BM) Maple Sugar. It doesn't do much for me on a paint swatch, but once I saw my friend's kitchen in that color I was hooked. I used the same color in my bathroom and it's beautiful with my black panther painted cabinet / sink, so I think it would compliment that grey couch nicely.

    I would definitely paint the brick. It looks outdated, IMO. I would use a lighter accent color on the brick wall in the back from the same swatch if you can't find a better alternative (sorry I don't have my paint decks on hand). Make sure you use at least a satin paint on that brick to show off the texture! It will look fabulous.

    Other yellows I like are P&L Popcorn, Caramel Tint and Bay Rum.

    Great space!

  • domino123
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    p.s. I would have your carpenter build you a mantle to go over that fireplace too.

    I don't know if I'd use a mirror on the fireplace, seems too 70's to me, and floor mirrors in my opinion belong in the bedroom. You already have a big space, you don't need to make it look larger, you just need to brighten it up.

    I'd use a nice large piece of art to showcase to the left of the fp / mantle. Something with vertical height and bold bright colors that will pop against the accent color you paint the brick. Make that wall your focal point, not a mirrored reflection of the rest of the room.

  • citycolor
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions. So this morning in between running around for errands I rearranged some furniture. Here is the first view

    This post was edited by citycolor on Mon, May 20, 13 at 0:38

  • citycolor
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    ....here is the second

    My son was pretty shocked to find the room this way after getting back from school! I am going to keep it this way to get the rest of the clan's opinions. I certainly think it looks a lot better in the picture although when one is here it does feel a little smaller although is a lot cozier! I love the space around the fire place now...I have always wanted to have a painting collage of sorts on the wall adjacent to the brick wall. Now I think that will look quite good!

    I feel the large back of the couch could use an interesting fabric of some sort to give some texture and color.
    I did read each one of your suggestions in detail and I apologize if I am not addressing everything here, I appreciate all the help!
    Thank you for the color options. I do LOVE color and am not afraid of it although one wouldn't guess looking at this room.
    Those two bar stools are new and I want to paint them a fun color...something that will go with the rest of the room perhaps?
    I am not liking that crystal chandelier anymore, my husband will not be happy to hear this as this is the second chandelier we have changed and he loves this. I just don't think the scale is not right at all! Again it looks worse in the pictures to me!
    Here are some rooms that are in my inspirations files...

    One of my favorites
    {{gwi:1883785}}

    Love turquoise with red
    {{gwi:1883786}}

    {{gwi:1883787}}

    Would love to have a similar collage
    {{gwi:1883788}}

    {{gwi:1883789}}

    Sorry...didn't mean to upload so many pics! Please let me know if that is a problem!

    This post was edited by citycolor on Mon, May 20, 13 at 0:39

  • TheRedHouse
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Here are the two different furniture arrangements side by side for easy comparison. (I hope you don't mind that I did this citycolor)

    (Edited to try to fix the pic)

    This post was edited by TheRedHouse on Tue, Nov 27, 12 at 14:46

  • citycolor
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thank you The RedHouse! I do like the second one of course!:)
    The weird part is tho...you will notice that the picture shows a lot more light in general today although today is a really drab day here! Weirdly this room feels a lot more "caveish" when it is a bright day outside!!
    I love that the windows are not covered by the couch!

  • madeyna
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thats not were I was thinking of puting the sectional but its amazing how much light it allowed into the room moving it even that much away from the window. By the way I,m drooling over your floors;). I have a shaded northfacing livingroom thats long and dark 23 by 13 and I painted it a really creamy pale yellow in a semi-gloss that reflexs light back into the room . For years I was very happy with it painted in a yellow based cream that read white when you glanced at it but if you looked hard you could see it was a plae yellow. I don,t know how you feel about yellow but I loved both shades. The yellow is milkyway galaxy by Behr. The cream was the milkyway cut in half with white.

  • erinsean
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Much better.....room looks lighter with the windows free. I would get some new colorful pillows and a throw for over the back of the couch....aqua, yellow, red, cream, white....you get the idea. Then your stools could be painted to match the pillows. You really need some lamps...either a tourchier on the window side of the couch or a narrow table behind the couch with a lamp on it. After your rug is down, see if you need to paint the brick...maybe not. Really looking good.

  • teacats
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Ah!

    A bit more of bohemian look! And yes -- we LOVE to see lots of photos -- always helps us to help you! :)

    Let's see:

    a)From your inspiration photos -- you will notice that a lot of the "warm" feeling in each one is derived from the use of LOTS of textured items -- like rough woods, baskets.
    Therefore: I do stick to my original thought that the fireplace brick would appear much lighter and more "boho" with white-painted brick AND the contrast of an added large, hefty rough-dark-wood mantel. THEN you could add lots of colors with various artworks.

    b)I do like the new direction of the dark sectional -- and would add the contrast of a darker sisal rug -- again -- for texture. THEN add a sofa table (in dark rougher wood) with colorful lamps across the back. Also add an ikat-inspired textile throw across the back with bright cushions. Add a large painted wood bowl to the coffee table.

    c)Yes -- try painting the stools at the breakfast bar -- BUT do try them in black first -- and then add colorful cushions.

    d)Do switch to a darker rough wood table, chairs. Add colorful cushions, textiles and pottery dishes and bowls.

    e)You could add dark wood bookshlves -- as in inspiration photo #1 to the wall where the TV now sits. Ikea's Billy bookshelves are only 11 inches in depth. Might work there -- or check stores like Pier One or World Market.

  • madeyna
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I love your the colors you posted and don,t see why they wouldn,t work in that space. A old trick is to dig out a few tee shirts in the colors your thinking of and let your throw pillows wear them a few days and see if you like living with those colors. I think a bright fun throw and pillows would make you happier with the dark sectional. What ever you do,looking at your insperational photos I,m sure its going to be fun. Have you though about what your going to do with your windows yet?

  • citycolor
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Yay! The DD loves it...LOVES it! I am so thrilled. Thank you all wonderful people! Now to see what DH thinks. Also I love this corner...I can totally see a bunch of interesting paintings going up on the wall. I finally have a feel for this space.
    I don't think it can get any lighter but hopefully will have more character. I love the tshirt idea...will do that. Love Ikat. We have tons of paintings to put up as well as a lot of textiles etc. all in boxes still.
    Also will look into a darker table. We got a pottery barn table from craigslist...round which extends. It was the exact same color as the cabinets and the floor..it looked pretty bad! Earlier we bought a dark-ish table from World Market which didn't work either! It is pretty expensive to have these trials LOL so we just figured we should stop buying tables for a while! Maybe I should try and photoshop some tables in.
    Maydena..I love these floors too, they instantly updated the house. We had ugly carpet, uglier vinyl and the worst tile in these spaces. I was very happy to see those go!
    Thank you all for the color suggestions, easy to go get some samples now. I want some wall in my house to have a teal wall but perhaps I will do that in a brighter room!

    This post was edited by citycolor on Mon, May 20, 13 at 0:41

  • madeyna
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I have another thought for you . Brightly colored see threw glass up in those cutins above the tv. Something like hand blown vases or something simple like jars colored in with Bev Doolittles stained glass paints. The light would shine right threw them and make them almost glow. I also like the idea of several bookcases on that wall with the tv fitted into one of them. The tv might end up being easier to veiw on the fireplace wall though. Your room is turning out to be a very exciting place .I,m really glad its starting to come together for you. I love it when things start to click. Still waiting for that too happen in my bedroom;)

  • crl_
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Your post made me think of a slide show I had seen on Better Homes and Gardens with before and afters of fireplaces.

    http://www.bhg.com/decorating/fireplace/styles/before-and-after-fireplaces/

  • Gracie
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'm glad you mentioned changing the chandelier. You've got my vote. It's way too glitzy and formal for your casual table and open concept plan.

  • roarah
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I think the best advice you have received is from Alex and Pal. Trying to turn this room into a light and airy cottage room will not work. light painted brick does not suit your space. The brick is perfect with your kitchen and contrary to the popular idea that light paint is always right it actually is the opposite in a naturally dark room. I think you need a deeper color on the walls to add depth and interest into the area. I do think the room and the changes you have made are a good starting point but you need depth of color and texture not light for the room to be perfect. Sorry to be down on the painted brick it seems like it would be the answer but I think you might really regret it if you do. The room will be very off balanced and then you might need to paint the pretty cabinets too and you will still have a dark room.

    Here is a link that might be useful: one of many articles supporting Pal's arguement.

  • madeyna
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Looking at your second inspirational pic. I noticed the bright painted turquoise cabnet how about looking for something on creigs list that you could paint colors like that for the behind the couch? I have always like really dark contrast with light but for some reason that couch is really sucking all the light out of that room. I think pillows and a throw and a table behind the couch could possibly change that or at least lesson it. I know warm dark colors can work for a natually dark room but it doen,t work it thats not what your looking for.

  • peegee
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Agree with Madeyna's tip to try out pillow colors using t-shirts; in the same way, I would tape up white and various color sheets over the brick to study the effect before committing to paint....it's exciting to follow someone else's process of change - keep the pictures coming!!

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The room looks so much more defined with the sofa that way. Now for the next step, I would get something narrow that can be used as a sofa table behind the sofa and put some lamps on it....it will add light and help to further define the space. Now that I know you like a boho look, perhaps if that piece is painted a bright color as in your inspiration pics, it would get you started in that direction. I agree the chandy doesn't go with boho. And if you want that more rustic look, then don't paint the fireplace wall...but do add a beefy mantel.

    Also consider staining the fireplace wall instead of paint....you can stain it so it still looks like brick, but you can make it whatever color you want. I saw this done on an episode of Sarah, and they actually cut a paint roller the exact size of the brick and rolled it on each brick, leaving the mortar in tact. Just a thought.

    Here is a link that might be useful: brick stain

  • citycolor
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Peegee..I was thinking just that! I have these plastic white sheets that I used as backdrops for my daughter's party. I figured I could stick them on the wall. I will try that with other colors too like you say.
    Maydena..yeah, the couch! I know it is sucking all the light. I will throw something bright on it tomorrow and take some pics.
    Roarah, I agree with you. I am wondering tho that there are several such rooms with dark cabinets and no brick and that seems to work? Anyway I will try hanging some things on it to see how it feels and looks.

  • lizzie_grow
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I am changing my vote on painting the FP!! Tending to agree with roarah that it might throw things off balance. I would try with art & pillows, etc. first, and live with it for awhile. Especially when I saw your inspiration pics, which I, too, actually love!! In fact, I am borrowing the red & aqua idea for my project room!

    I mentioned our FR off Kitchen is darkish. too, even though there is a west window on the kitchen end. We went even more drastic & had our maple cabs that were stained cherry painted out in a cream!! My challenge was the opposite of yours....I then had to bring cream into the FR & did so by a media cabinet from West Elm. It lives on the same wall where your FP is.

    Hope your DH likes it!!

  • geokid
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I love how it's coming along! Pulling the sofa away from the window has made a big difference.

    If you get shallower bookcase or shelf to put your TV on, you may be able to pull your sofa a little bit away from the windows and make room for a side table. A mirrored one would go really well there. Or something shiny. Like these:

    Your description and inspiration photos immediately made me think of these photos from West Elm. Especially after seeing the bird pillow on your chair! I think a teal painting collage wall would look fabulous behind the chair. Not sure where you would stop the blue though...there doesn't seem to be a natural break on that wall. Or maybe you could swap the TV and chair and have the teal/collage wall be the interior wall with the chair and a funky table in front of it.

    Also agree with painting a narrow table for behind the sofa.

  • citycolor
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Truth be told, we never were in love with the fireplace. This whole side of the house was completely dated and the fireplace was a big part of it. We even considered covering up the whole brick + fireplace with drywall but wanted to try other things before doing something so drastic and probably expensive.
    We also thought about painting the cabinets but that is just too scary to me for many reasons!
    There are so many pictures of painted fireplaces on the net and I almost always love the afters! When I imagine this fireplace the color of the wall, it calms me. The only reason that we haven't done it so far is because 70% of the people who have visited this home(which is like maybe 10 people...we just moved!:) ) say they like it!

    About the boho look...I love it but I never thought that this room would get anywhere close to that. Not with our couch and the cabinets etc. This room was about making puzzles, coloring, reading and watching TV. I have a blank slate in my living room, which I am truly excited about! That will be hopefully everything I want it to be especially since it is so bright!
    Hmm..Although when I look at my pinned pictures, I feel like I might need to have a healthy balance of what I love and what can be done here. This is so tough!

    Oh and I think DH likes it...he was too tired to jump around like DD so I couldn't really tell!:P
    AnnieDeighnaugh, the brick stain sounds interesting, will look into that.

    Here are some pictures I had pinned with dark couch in mind...

    With Ikat fabric on the back on the couch...
    {{gwi:1883794}}

    {{gwi:1883795}}

    More fabric on the couch, and I love the pillow,

    {{gwi:1883796}}

    and more spaces that I just love...
    {{gwi:1883797}}

    {{gwi:1883798}}

    {{gwi:1883799}}

    {{gwi:1883800}}

    One more and I promise I am done!!
    {{gwi:1883801}}


    Someone asked about windows. I have no clue. One option I thought was to have an extra long rod that extends beyond the windows and have curtain panels at the ends. So the eye will be tricked into thinking the windows are larger and none of the glass will be covered. I also wanted to hang them high. Haven't had any other ideas!

  • citycolor
    Original Author
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Geokid, I love those tables...are those West Elm too? The TV will eventually go on the FP wall, just didn't have time to do all that today. Also I might get a new chair, perhaps in a much brighter color and funkier. I do love teal and would love a teal wall but you are right, I wouldn't know where to stop it. I don't think it will look great with the cabinets.
    I am not sure what you mean by the interior wall?

  • geokid
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Oh, I meant, the wall where the TV is now. I was trying to make my description more clear, but it seems I failed! :). That wall seems to have a natural break that would be easy to paint teal.

    Yes, the tables are West Elm. I really love the gold one although I'm not a gold person usually. They're small sized and reasonably priced (especially if you get them on sale).

  • Tmnca
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I disagree with those saying that painting the brick won't make the room feel lighter - I have lived in homes with dark rooms and brick walls and painting them a lighter color definitely makes the room feel much lighter, fresher, and airier. The brick is not similar in color to the cabinets so in my eye it doesn't balance them at all, in fact it looks mismatched. I would prefer to see the brick the same color as the adjacent wall.

    Add a mantel shelf stained dark, and fill it with candles and some plants and items like what you see on the console table in your inspiration pic here:

    {{gwi:1883785}}

    For texture add some bright pillows on the hearth too... and definitely on the sofa. Can you slipcover the sofa?

    How about a rug to tie together the seating area? I love those floors, but a rug really makes a seating area feel cohesive. You could bring in some more of the colors you love, or just go with a neutral solid.

  • sserra85
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The new orientation worked wonders already for your space! A sofa table and lamps or bright accessories will also make a world of difference as Annie mentioned.
    I generally cringe at the thought of painting beautiful brick like yours. But you'll see in the blog link I posted that it can make the dramatic difference which I think you're looking for. In their home, I think most would agree that the white washed brick is MUCH better than the original dark brick. Just my 2 cents.

    Here is a link that might be useful: whitewashed brick

  • madeyna
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I love that link, thanks for posting it. Mine is painted but thier method is prettier and easier too do.

  • luckygal
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    All of your inspiration pics have color, pattern, and art. All things that are lacking in your room. Don't paint the walls or the brick until you have added these things. Better to make small changes first before doing something that is permanent. Colorful cushions, patterned rug, and colorful art on the walls will transform this room. New lamps will help also. All things that can be done relatively inexpensively.

    New arrangement is a great improvement.

  • funkyart
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I am certain that you can bring your boho look into this room-- and with that, I'd very strongly consider keeping the brick fireplace. Boho is as much about confidence as color and texture. You just need the confidence to step out of the box and go with colors and patterns that aren't so traditional. Your inspiration photos have a strong preference for the fun boho style.. I say go for it! Add some colored glass and textiles .. maybe try a kilim bench or patterned ottoman as a coffee table. Or something looks like a drum? Piece by piece you'll start moving to your beloved look!

    PS. I'd hang a stunning piece of artwork or a funky rug on the fireplace! Use the space!

  • mdrive
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I have to agree with those who say hold off on painting the brick....I have a living room dining room combination with a fireplace on one end and it is dark...I painted my fireplace white and would do it again (mainly because my brick was a very ugly orange) but I can't say it brightened the room...

    Watching intently how your room turns out because I have very similar issues (and nearly the same floor!) oh and I would kill for your windows!