1960s family room
November 14, 2012 in Design Dilemma
We are considering purchasing a 1960s ranch home. The family room has wood paneling, a brick fireplace wall and industrial gray carpet. We are planning to rennovate in a few years, but want to leave the room mostly as-is for the time being. The only improvements we will make are painting the paneling and replacing the carpet with hardwood (probably a medium dark oak or maple). I need suggestions for a wall color. I'd like to brighted the space with a white, but we have three kids so it needs to have some pigment to it. In the past we've used Benjamin Moore White Dove (flat) which showed SO much dirt. I was thinking of Bnjamin Moore Navajo White or Cameo White in an eggshell finish. The paneling is on two full walls and the room is very dark. Thanks for any suggestions!
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I should add that we will be installing some recessed lighting to help brighten the space as well.
November 14, 2012 at 7:58am     
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I agree with Anna, or, paint the brick too.
November 14, 2012 at 8:03am   
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Paint everything white in satin or eggshell finish. Pull up the carpet -- install either sisal wall to wall or work with whatever is beneath the carpet. Use area rugs for color if you want it (or a cow hide for fun) Make a long cushion for the raised brick next to the fireplace so your kids can sit there -- a couple of pillows and its a great place for them to read (if they are that old). Install inexpensive Ikea curtains near the ceiling around that window. Replace the fan with a more modern, better designed version (there are a ton of them under 200 bucks). To break up all the white I'd have old wood installed around the fireplace and up the wall -- barnwood or similar. some ideas are here: http://untiqued.miiduu.com/DIY-Ideas
November 14, 2012 at 8:18am   
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Thanks. I agree that a white white would be too stark. I was hoping to find an off-white or really neutral shade that would pick up the tone of the brick. I am avoiding painting the brick because I like the look of exposed brick and wanted to live with it for a while to see if I can make it work. The fireplace is gas but that's a good point!
November 14, 2012 at 8:19am   
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I also had a hard time choosing my counter top. I ended up going with cambria quartz (windermere) over granite. After talking to everyone and doing a lot of research I think I made the right decision.
November 14, 2012 at 8:24am   
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Sorry my comment went on the wrong post :(
November 14, 2012 at 8:26am   
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I would choose a lighter colour in a soft natural and neutral green. Goes great with the red brick look, and will brighten the room and still compliment the character. I think you may like the dusty miller http://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-ca/paint-color/dustymiller, just an idea!
Heck, have a look at http://www.benjaminmoore.ca just to help with your dilemma! Good Luck, and Keep us posted with lots of photos!
November 14, 2012 at 8:38am   
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Aja Mazin
Please do not paint the brick!
November 14, 2012 at 8:56am     
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I had the same issue when we purchased our 58' ranch. I knew we would not get to this part of house right away but wanted something I could "live" with at a low cost. Here is what we did.
1.Wash down the paneling with Simple Green as there were several years of cigarette/wood smoke built up on the surface.
2.Located flat paintable wall paper (9.99 a roll) on the top half and painted it a light gray. (Manhattan Mist by Behr, while it is a gray paint- it does reflect the light really well).
If you’re not afraid of some color- A moss green should give you a nice contrast with the brick tones.
3.The bottom was a slightly tinted white (Pure would be to harsh) after a coating of Kilz’s primer.
4.We added a chair rail where the colors/wall paper met slightly above the mid-point to give it the look of a classic wainscoting.
Most of our guests never notice that it is the same paneling and comment on the make over-
Total cost was less than $100 and now I have a bright, clean and more inviting space while working on the rest of the house.
November 14, 2012 at 11:01am     
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I wouldn't go with a white. I think it would pick up the grout in the brick fireplace rather than the fireplace itself. I would go with a cream or beige for right now. They would go with the hardwood floor and fireplace and these neutral shades will make it easier to work with until you decide what you want to do with the room.
November 14, 2012 at 11:18am   
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Aja Mazin
Do you plan to fill in the grooves in the paneling before you prime and paint?
November 14, 2012 at 11:47am   
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Prep is primo! Clean with TSP (tri-sodium phospate,) rinse, dry, lightly sand, tack off, prime with KILZ or other oil based primer (stinky,) and follow with two coats of Latex paint.
November 14, 2012 at 11:52am   
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HI --- I don't think you need to paint the wood panelling . I am usually one of the first ones that says remove or paint, so I can't believe I am saying this . I think the panelling looks fine until you get to remodeling the whole room later on . And I also like the fireplace just the way it is .Just put lots of white furnishings in the room . Remove the window shutters and add white drape panels and have white sofas and chairs (white canvas slipcovers) and white and glass and some chrome decor items like the lamps and side tables etc. Make materials washable because of the kids and life and so on . This will brighten things up and give the room a young and fresh look and yet still look warm and comfortable. Choosing the flooring -- if the it is going over a concrete base ,- then look at some engineered wood or even cork - it handles any moisture much better because it is on a more stable and stronger base . Then use natural fiber area rugs to go with the white furnishings. Carpet tiles are also great as an area rug . Great with kids and easy to replace a square or two and clean from spills etc.
November 14, 2012 at 12:31pm   
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Just reverse the coloring - light, warm gray paint on the paneling in an eggshell finish, hardwood on the floors (in about that tone of brown).

The paneling looks like cheaper '60s veneer sheet type. They may have drywall underneath (doubtful though). You could explore by seeing if you can carefully lift the paneling in a gap and see what's under the wall. If there's drywall or plaster underneath, take down the paneling.
November 14, 2012 at 12:46pm   
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I would go with a putty shade for the walls ... Benjamin Moore Feather Down OC-6, or French Canvas OC-41 would be good choices.

As for flooring -- I've always wanted to try FLOR carpet squares. I think this room could be a good application for them.
November 14, 2012 at 12:53pm     
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Be sure to test the house for asbestos before you do any work other than painting, especially since it looks like it has a wood-burning fireplace.
November 14, 2012 at 1:08pm   
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You can also look at texturing over the paneling if, and only if it is secured to the studs. Apply lightweight texture to paint and slap it on. Agree to fill the grooves first to level out the surface. mushroom is a pretty color and goes well with that era home. it's creamy. if you need something more cheerful and you trend towards yellow; a custard could be a good option. If you don't like the mention of texturizing in the paint, you may actually get away with faux painting this room using rag rolling method. if you need a sample, I will find and post it.
November 14, 2012 at 1:14pm   
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Hello ljones76, http://www.artsparx.com/ragroll_ac-pmethodr.html tells how to do rag rolling. you will need some alone time to do this properly and it is a bit messy. effort worth it. practice on a few refuse boards first to make sure you and family like it..
November 14, 2012 at 1:18pm   
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I would paint the wall one of the lighter colors found in your beautiful brick fireplace. Great suggestions above!
November 14, 2012 at 1:24pm   
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Thanks for all the great suggestions! I will post pictures of what we end up with.
November 14, 2012 at 7:47pm   
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the right furniture can make any room look great.
November 15, 2012 at 7:58am   
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I had a very similar looking room. We tore out all the trim. New larger trim in neutral shade (sherwin Williams)... And used urban putty (also SW) on the paneling. New hardwood floors are similar shade to what the paneling was. - a bit darker. Very happy with urban putty/neutral shade.
November 18, 2012 at 2:31am   
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I wanted to post some updated images from the 1960s ranch that we ended up purchasing. Thank you for the advice. We installed hardwood floors, painted the walls Benjamin Moore Hazy Skies, and knocked out a wall between the living room and family room. At first, the paint was a lot greener than I expected, but it's actually grown on me. The attached pictures are taken at night, when the color reads much greener than in daylight.

We've moved in, and our decorating needs have been pushed to the backburner due to spending a lot on renovations (and due to having 3 young children). I'm finally ready to start making some decorating decisions as we have a complete hodge-podge of furniture right now. I have two primary questions:

1) in the living room and dining room what type of curtains would you suggest for the wall of windows? We need privacy at night, so I will need to be able to close the drapes. I was thinking of cream silk drapes (double width on the wide bank of windows in the living room and single width on the smaller dining room windows). Not sure if I should layer with sheers as well?

2) the white couch that is front of the living room window will go. I need some seating there though. I was thinking about two chairs against the window and a backless bench floating in front of them? Not sure if you can tell by the picture, but we knocked out the wall to open the living room to the family room.

Any other decorating suggestions (in any room), would be greatly appreciated!
July 31, 2013 at 5:13am   
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I should add that the first picture is the new entry way. The second is the family room. The third the living room, which connects with the dining room. I've attached some more pre-reno pics as well.
July 31, 2013 at 5:17am   
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Looks like a home now. Great job. One tiny detail--paint the vent to the left of the buffet the same color as the walls to help it disappear. Plus any others that you have.
July 31, 2013 at 5:43am   
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A few large pieces of art would bring it all together.
July 31, 2013 at 5:48am   
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I agree, no need to paint the brick. The panelling will look awesome once painted. I would go with a light beige to blend with the brickwork.
July 31, 2013 at 4:56pm   
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