Living Room Update Help
September 20, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Hi We just moved i with my mother n law to help update and remodel her home to sell in a few years. We are going to update her kitchen with white woodwork and I'm trying to convince her to do the same through out the rest of the house. The living room has a lot of brown from the furniture to the walls. A lot of paneling and bookshelves. The other issue we have is how to incorporate the stairs going to the loft which will be its own project in the near future. Hoping someone has a similar layout that they have updated so we can show her what the room could look like. Im thinking soft white trim and paneling and the walls a soft mocha or grey. Any suggestions or pictures would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Emily Hurley
I found a few painted paneled wall photos the other day that I really liked.

Dining Room

Menlo Park Full Remodel

Spanish apartment
September 20, 2012 at 12:05PM   
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This is tough. The railing design speaks natural wood to me, not white paint. New front staircase

Although I can see why you would would want to paint the wood trim. I think you could do the baseboards and window trim, but hold off on the paneling and the railing. If you do paint, the brick is going to look different. Think about a grey or light tan.

Here is one rail close in style to yours: Breckenridge Plan - Stillwater Model Home
September 20, 2012 at 1:03PM   
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Heres a concept : Why not take OUT the stair rail and put in an entire NEW one - perhaps some the lighter rods in wrought iron with wooden hand rails? And I would definitely reduce the size of the wooden trim to a smaller portion appearing on the walls going up and surrounding the loft space. I would also most definitely PAINT all of that wodden trim as all it does is outline each opening in the rooms and chop up the space - leaving everythng looking very dated and much smaller - this was very trendy in the 1970's or so, but not really happening now.

As for the paneling - if you can neutralize everything else in the big family room - this will help also. Have you ever considered painting with Stain? Check Olympic Stains, etc., you can do an opaque stain or a semi-solid stain - IN ANY COLOR (????) which would leave you with the grain of the wood.

Biggest change: getting rid of the current stair rails - update definitely with wrought iron rails. If you will just plug in wrought iron stair rails on your search engine - a TON will come up.

this will also open your space and make the entire room look more open and enlarged.

good luck
September 20, 2012 at 1:49PM   
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I have seen beautiful stair rails with only the spindels painted white, while the handrail and newel posts remain wood. Maybe that could be a comprise? Don't know if I spelled everythiing correctly, sorry.

If it were me, my main concentration would be on that fireplace wall. The wood surrounding the fireplace looks quite beautiful, at least in the picture, but the brass on the fireplace itself needs changing. The brick looks old, tired and dusty to me. On HGTV Sabrina Soto uses foaming bathroom cleaner to clean brick around the fireplace and it seems to work really well.

I would declutter; replace all things brass; liven up the brick; use a wood friendly soap like Murphy's Oil and then step back and take a second look.
September 20, 2012 at 2:15PM   
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Stanton Designs-online design services
I agree...replace the stair rails. If you are doing these changes to sell the house...that will make a huge difference. The fireplace wall I would suggest painting the panels,(suggest's a nice neutral and works well when selling) the wood makes it look dark and dated. You want this space to feel open and welcoming. Place a few accessories on the book shelves and add a little color on there...nice vase of flowers. The brass..easy fix you can buy paint and just paint right over it...give it a updated looks. To stage it to sell I would add a large mirror in place of the painting to fill in the vertical space and it will allow light to flow around the room to make it appear larger. A couple candle sticks on the mantel and then remove everything off the lower part of the fireplace.

Then I'm confused and hard to tell....are those hanging lights by the fireplace?
September 20, 2012 at 3:57PM   
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Dear Bobbie P: I think the problem with the wood - ALL the wood - is its proportions - very heavy in this home and much too prominant for the space. My opinion.
September 20, 2012 at 5:38PM     
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I refinished my stairs last winter it made a big difference.
September 20, 2012 at 6:02PM   
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updated stairs
September 20, 2012 at 6:05PM     
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September 20, 2012 at 6:12PM     
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To be honest, while I would probably agree that you should paint the paneled walls in the living room, I wouldn't paint the staircase. That modern style of staircase, in my opinion, looks better in the natural wood. I'm afraid it will look cheap and out of place in white. More traditional styles of wood staircases look fine painted white, or having white spindles and wood rails (one of my favorite combinations for older staircases), but your mother in law's staircase has a much more modern aesthetic, and I think you would be better served keeping it intact (or replacing it if you don't like it, but honestly I don't think it needs to be replaced just for resale).
September 20, 2012 at 6:36PM   
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Good Idea Bobbie P - about cleaning everything first around the FP. This always helps.

ChucknBuck: I also just noticed there is carpeting on the stair steps! Ouch. I KNOW it is hard to do all these things now, (my Mother is 86) getting someone to change their home, where they are comfortable is like pulling teeth from a dead horse with lock-jaw! Trust me, I know.

I would just hold onto my ideas, collect them in a special folder and wait on any type of RE-construction. For now, I would simply ENJOY my time with someone I KNOW is special in your lives - maybe just try painting some of the rooms and HELP go through personal things NOW - while you can - distribute some things to other family members, organize papers, picitures - share looking at these togehter? Fix whatever it is, she thinks needs attention! Clean the gutters? Put in some new landscaping? All of those little things - SHE can enjoy NOW.

You can do all of these things later - when you NEED SOMETHING to keep you occupied.
AND - it will certainly be a lot eaiser on your MIL to NOT have to endure a mess in her home. These things can all be done in a matter of days - replacing the stairs, removing the carpet, putting down new treads. I think I would look at all the things which can be enjoyed TODAY!

My 2%.
September 21, 2012 at 12:53PM     
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