Lighten a Room with Dark Paneling?
I live in a house I rent at the beach. It has dark rough wood paneling and a high ceiling with dark beams. The owners have asked that we not change the paneling. So I need ideas on how to lighten this room. The walls suck up the tableside lights. I can't install track lighting because its not my house, so it has to be done with furniture and wall decor, so my family will quit calling it the cave. Furniture must be child and pet friendly, and white is out of the question.
On a slightly better note, there is a floor to ceiling red brick fireplace with a dark wood mantel directly across from a large west facing picture window facing the bay. I was considering possibly a mirror over the fireplace to reflect the incoming light. I'll need blinds for when the sun is setting though. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Giorgina's Answer: A house on the beach is lovely because of the surrounding beauty of the ocean and views. It is such a wonderful feeling to awaken to the sounds of the waves and the fresh ocean breeze.
I understand the challenges you face because it is a rental and you are limited with what you can do. However, all hope is not lost. There are some things you can do to invite light and beauty into your home.
Some ideas you may wish to consider are as follows:
• A coastal or nautical theme is a great idea since you live on the beach. This theme is lovely because it is comprised of a light palette, such as white, light green, and light blue colors. I understand that white is not an option. For the sofa and couch pieces, consider opting for striped sofa slip covers (navy blue and white, with the navy blue being the dominant color). Don’t forget to add decorative pillows that feature seashore designs or in solid blue and white colors.
• For the side tables and coffee table, good choices are pieces that are painted in light green or light blue. You may do a distressed finish on these pieces to give them a weathered look. I realize that you prefer to stay away from white pieces, but white would help brighten the room and give the impression that it is more spacious.
• You mentioned that you would like to place a mirror above the fireplace mantel. Mirrors shaped like a port hole are a nice choice. To add interest, you may place a set of three mirrors above the fireplace (depending on the size of the mirror, you may vary the size with the largest in the middle and smallest on opposite sides). Another idea is to hang a mirror that has a seashell border. If you prefer an art piece above the mantel, then that is also a good option. Some excellent art piece choices are prints of ships at sea, lighthouses, seashells, starfish, birds, harbor scenes, and coastal scenes.
• Display pictures on the fireplace mantel of family and friends that are framed in picture frames that feature a coastal theme.
• Lighting is important in any room. Since you cannot install track lighting, consider floor lamps and table lamps that feature sailboats, star fish, seashells, egrets, and shorebirds.
• Sisal mats or rugs that feature a coastal scene are lovely choices. Rugs add warmth to the room and give it a cozy feel.
• Good window treatment choices are drapes or curtains that have designs of sailboats, lighthouses, seashells, and navy blue with white stripes reminiscent of the ocean.
• Lastly, do not forget to accessorize by displaying a large starfish or a collection of seashells on the fireplace mantel or side tables.
I hope this helps. Best of luck to you with creating a room that is inviting for you and your family!