Help! Family room is way too dark!

Old 06-09-05, 09:29 AM
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Help! Family room is way too dark!

From front door entry-you see living room, kitchen (painted butter yellow) straight into the family room wall that is a dark reddish brown brick that contains a wood burning fireplace inset incased in a black front. When you walk into the family room on the left wall there is a large bay window and two narrow windows on each side of the bay that are almost ceiling to floor. On the right side of the room there are two more of the narrow windows.

The three remaining walls are a medium dark paneling. Because we usually have a fire most winter nights, the smoke settleling on the panel has prevented us from painting these dark walls.

The ceiling while painted white has 5 wooden beams.

The carpet is a mid tone range of light-medium shades of brown

The large sectional sofa is maroon.

I would like to get out of the cave! I would like to lighten up the brick wall by painting (Sponge painting, maybe) it. I plan on changing the carpet color also. As much as I would like to paint the paneled walls, i'm sure I'll not convince my hsb.

Can anyone help me with color direction and accent colors to liven things up in here? I love yellows, oranges, and reds. The living room is a terra cotta color in the suede paint. As LR, Kit and family room are are in a direct line I would like these rooms to coordinate.

Any ideas on how to paint the brick wall are also welcome.
Old 06-09-05, 10:25 AM
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without painting or getting rid of the wood paneling, i don't think it'll ever be really light & bright (although it sounds like there's plenty of light from all the windows). lightening up the carpet to a nice berber or something similar will help a ton. but simply painting the brick wall (1 of 4) won't "get you out of the cave." i'd work harder on convincing your husband to paint the paneling (3 of the 4!) - you could go with a darker/richer shade of the butter yellow (more of a gold) in the kitchen, and keep the brick as is. it'll actually help the fireplace look better, as the brick will be accentuated against the lighter walls.

what kind of paneling is it? the kind with vertical grooves? or larger sheets like library paneling?

also, make the most of those windows. you don't say what window treatments you've got on them, but change out any heavy draperies that might be there, for lighter inside mounted blinds or shades with perhaps a valance over top.
Old 06-09-05, 05:37 PM
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I can't help with the color scheme but I do have some other observations.

Please do not paint the brick. That's a decision that you (or someone else) will deeply regret. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've been asked how to get paint off brick that was purposely painted.

If you have smoke settling on the walls, you have a problem with the fireplace that needs attention. Smoke should be going up the chimney, not into the house. When was the last time the flue was cleaned? With that many fires, you really need to have a chimney sweep clean it. If you've never had it cleaned or its been a couple years or more, you are inviting a chimney fire.

If there is still smoke in the room, try opening a window about a 1/4 or 1/2 inch to let in fresh air and allow the smoke to go up the chimney.
Old 06-13-05, 11:34 AM
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The fireplace may need a hood. This can be a brutal sheet of black steel, or a handsome and appropriate focal point. Depends on the hood.

The fireplace may also want a leaky house so it can draw up enough air. That sounds inefficient, and it is. If you've had the house sealed tight by those energy experts, you may need to crack a window while the fire's burning.

I'd like add "please don't paint the wood" from experience similar to BobF's, but that's asking too much I guess.

Burning scenic fuel every winter night, while you're at it why not pump the room full of light from the electric company's generator? This waste is minor in comparison, if it is waste at all - but that's another issue.

If you're yearning for the brilliant light-drenched spaces in magazine photos, forget it. Those pictures are staged with theatrical lighting.

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