Make a DARK room bright?!
Sarah McGrath
April 11, 2013 in Design Dilemma
This is my master bedroom- and it's really dark and depressing. I thought I could make it brighter by getting a white duvet,white curtains, painting the walls lighter, putting tall mirrors above the night stands, BUT will any of this make a difference? Should I embrace the lack of natural light and bring in more dark colors? Ugh! I'm at a loss and I sooooo want a wonderfully aesthetically appealing master suite. :-/
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Helga Simmons Interior Design LLC
Hi Sarah- you are completely right: first get a new duvet and some pillows and or shams with it. Crate & Barrel have some lovely light colored ones with flowers.
And what is that curtain behind the bed? Whatever it is, replace it with a kind of rough sheer (not too sheer, more like a loosely woven linen) in the lightest color in your duvet. Then we pick a color out of your duvet. Hopefully a cheery green for the walls and one a little bit lighter for the ceiling.
April 11, 2013 at 9:36pm     
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Helga Simmons Interior Design LLC
Then I would get rid of the night tables, they are too heavy looking and don't go with the contemporary bed. The new night tables could also be in a color, or in white. They should not be solid drawers from up to down, but just one drawer on top, then open space, then a shelf on the bottom. They should be modern, clean lined. I am going to try and find something for you. I don't know if I can get you pictures on here.
April 11, 2013 at 9:42pm     
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romey9us
Paint the night stands cream or off whitr and yes, a new light colored duvet with some colorful pillows.
April 11, 2013 at 9:42pm     
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Stamps Design Services
If you could post a picture with the changes you have made, perhaps we could see what is working and what isn't..
April 11, 2013 at 9:43pm     
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Helga Simmons Interior Design LLC
Sarah here is a link to a nice duvet. Next I will send you a night stand. http://www.crateandbarrel.com/sakura-bed-linens/f26029?m=taf&taf=1
April 11, 2013 at 9:55pm     
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April 11, 2013 at 9:57pm     
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April 11, 2013 at 10:02pm     
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Helga Simmons Interior Design LLC
April 11, 2013 at 10:02pm     
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LB Interiors
Try to keep everything light. Love the duvet from 'Helga'. Light weight funiture, not bulky. If you need drawer space, mirrored end tables in a modern simple design. Tall mirrors above the end tables. You could even mirror the wall above the headboard.
April 11, 2013 at 10:03pm     
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Helga Simmons Interior Design LLC
If you like the duvet I sent you, you can do some pillows with larger flowers with it, or one with flowers and two plain colored. But you have to keep it light and airy. Nothing heavy.
April 11, 2013 at 10:04pm     
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Sarah McGrath
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! I SOOO appreciate the feedback!! I should have said more about the space. The bed was my husbands and my own splurge when we got married, we were young and didn't think about decor. I really don't like modern or contemporary. I love cape cod, or pottery barn. Budget won't allow us to get a new bed right away so I need to make it work for the time being but I don't want to match to the style of the bed because soon I hope it gets a new home (in my guest room ;). The curtains hanging from the bed need to come down (bad idea- reaching for some color), and the side tables....I agree loom heavy and dark but I LOVE them :-( I do like the mirrored table from PB- I love just about anything from PB! If the side tables are keeping the room from brightening up then off with their heads...or off to the guest room ;). I will make some adjustments and post new pics.

I picked up two pillows today from PB hoping they would whisk me away into a design direction and still I'm stuck....but I LOVE these pillows.

I also bought a plain white duvet but for $119 it seems TOO boring and I might as well get the pintuck version from west elm for only 20 more?
April 11, 2013 at 10:13pm     
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Helga Simmons Interior Design LLC
If you can, Sarah, give the plain white duvet someone who would love it - or sell it. Also the pillows. Get a little color in there, but GENTLY. I like the bed, BTW. But get rid of that curtain, like we said, a loosely woven creamy white fabric, matching the duvet white, like I said...... Good night, I am going to bed. Talk tomorrow.
April 11, 2013 at 10:17pm     
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Helga Simmons Interior Design LLC
And no don't keep and paint the night stands, they are too heavy for the space. You saw the ones I sent.
April 11, 2013 at 10:18pm     
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Helga Simmons Interior Design LLC
Oh, if you bought the pillows only today, take them back. Wait until you have your duvet. Then take the duvet with you to buy the pillows.
April 11, 2013 at 10:20pm     
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Cozy Casita
Love those pillows ! ... And think, since you love them too, you should go ahead and dress the bed the way you envision it. Love Helga's idea for a drapery panel in an open weave linen and think your pillow choices will add to that soft, light and natural look, the pintucked duvet cover will give you more nice texture ... which is what your bed should be about. More pillows .. some nice large square European ones .. to sit up against the headboard. A palette of creams and whites will go well with the existing wall color, too,if you're not planning on repainting. Maybe two oblong pieces of art, for either side of the bed and something a little more decorative on your side tables (which I suggest you work with right up until you decide you hate them ! ) ... I just noticed that you say you're wondering whether to repaint ... I think you'll find that simple changes to your fabrics and introducing all your creams and whites will make a huge change to the way your room feels. It looks fairly small, so, in my opinion, it's all about the bed and how comfy and inviting it looks !
April 11, 2013 at 10:51pm     
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wstdspace
Sarah I have an Alvine Stra duvet cover from Ikea. I bought the king-sized for my queen bed so it hangs down a little more. I love it. So crisp and fresh and light. Have washed it multiple times and haven't needed to iron it. Ikea actually has some very pretty duvet covers right now. Good luck!
April 11, 2013 at 10:54pm     
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wstdspace
Here are a couple of pics. My walls are way too dark for what you want, but there are so many possibilities for a throw blanket and a couple of beautiful pillows.
April 11, 2013 at 11:05pm     
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LB Interiors
I love your pillow choices. I'm pretty sure you would be able to find a duvet or comforter that will go with them. Since the pillows are nautical, what about a very pale blue or blue and white duvet?
RGN Construction
Bedroom 3
Guest Bedroom 2
April 11, 2013 at 11:40pm     
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Cozy Casita
wstdspace .. I agree, I also like the look of a duvet when it's oversized .. looks comfier, somehow. :-)
April 11, 2013 at 11:49pm     
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OnePlan
have you considered painting the bed and bedside chests, in fact painting everything in white. a totally white room can then carry off any colour throw on the bed to match the season or your mood. they key is to keep it simple and uncluttered. !! best of luck !!
April 11, 2013 at 11:56pm     
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Sarah McGrath
Thanks all!!!!! LB I LOVE the pale blue paint color in your Guest Bedroom 2 and 3 photo....do you think it will show as well in a space with almost zero natural light?
April 12, 2013 at 12:00am   
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Sarah McGrath
ugh....I think painted white furniture in this room would be perfect, BUT I would feel guilty painting the apothecary chests....they are antiques from the UK and it pains me to think about painting those- so they might have to be moved to a different room. The bed...I might paint...hmmmmm......
April 12, 2013 at 12:01am     
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lean020
OMG! Do not paint the bed! Have another look at the PB link. They have a linen on a bed that is almost identical to yours. (hope the link works) http://www.potterybarn.com/products/park-mirrored-pull-bedside-table/?pkey=cnightstands-bedside-tables
April 12, 2013 at 12:08am     
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Sarah McGrath
LB I love the duvet too....just like what I saw at West Elm- pintuck. This room has my name on it...minus the pink because I have to share it with my husband. ;) How can I have beachy and bright without becoming too girly?
April 12, 2013 at 12:09am     
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Sarah McGrath
linen hung from the canopy rails?
April 12, 2013 at 12:11am     
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LB Interiors
If you use very very pale blue/whiite paint, two end table lamps, or floor lamp, dresser lamp, mirrored end tables, I think you can achieve the look you want. For hubby, you can add very small doses of navy or lapis blue in a print in pillows or artwork or a throw.

April 12, 2013 at 12:19am     
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Mrs. Prescott
I think...[4] things would help this little dilemma.... [1] The brighter/livelier duvet & pillows that everyone is mentioning. [2] Sheer canopy material in a "drape-like" shape would bring a light, airy & awakened feeling to the strong wood canopy frame. [3] Have you considered a different colored accent wall to break up the color? It's a large bed & a pale accent wall might make everything look more spacious around it. [4] According to feng shui principles, the best way to visually & mentally open/brighten a room is to have the bed facing AWAY from the door, de-clutter, & limit unnecessary furniture.

Here is a quick source: http://www.abhomeinteriors.com/blog/2012/05/5-ways-to-brighten-up-a-dark-room/

Hope that helps. :)
April 12, 2013 at 12:23am     
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LB Interiors
For the canopy, only very sheer gossimer - llike fabric in white/cream, draped only at the 4 corners of the bed, not spread out.
Like wedding tulle.
April 12, 2013 at 12:28am     
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LB Interiors
Blue greens, aqua greens are beautiful accent colors also. Walls, canopy and bedding should be pale. Colors in accents.
April 12, 2013 at 12:30am     
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LB Interiors
Blue green as accents. Can use both colors in the room as accents.

April 12, 2013 at 12:32am     
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Cozy Casita
LB ,,, like the 'wedding tulle' idea :-) ... I'm not sure whether they still sell them, but IKEA (some years back) used to sell mosquito netting made of the softest cotton feeling fabric, piped with a fine band of satin ... they made great curtains and were such a lovely texture. something similar would definitely work with a relaxed beachy theme,if that's the aim.
April 12, 2013 at 12:35am     
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LB Interiors
If hubby doesn't lke those accent colors, sneak one in and add a navy/white pillow.

April 12, 2013 at 12:38am     
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LB Interiors
The netting, maybe from Anna's Linens, Target online. Joanne's Crafts might have tulle.
April 12, 2013 at 12:39am     
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Cozy Casita
Lots of places online to buy cotton tulle too ... I like to keep away from anything acrylic when it comes to drapes, natural fabrics always hang better, I think.
April 12, 2013 at 1:03am     
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Dale Victor
WOW!
April 12, 2013 at 1:18am   
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Stamps Design Services
You can buy cotton muslin very cheaply and sew curtains for the bed, which will give it a soft ethereal look, that combined with pastel colored walls, the white bedding and window draperies should help the space seem lighter and brighter. I would like to see pictures from other veiwpoints to see the other furniture as well.
April 12, 2013 at 1:21am     
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Cozy Casita
To stop it being too girly, I'd use fewer brights and more of the muted (more masculine) unbleached linen look of your second pillow (the ones you just bought) and stick with more muted blues and seafoam for your accents. .. Bedroom 3, in LB's room pics shows the palette I'd go for with whites. I actually like your existing wall color .. which, on my screen looks like a wet sand color .. a shade darker than your pillow ? .. though the computer screen is not the best place to get accurate color readings ! I still think, in your place, I'd dress the bed first and paint last .. if you still feel you need to.
April 12, 2013 at 1:36am     
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Cozy Casita
Love those big fat bedside lampshades in the second pic, Stamps ! ...
April 12, 2013 at 1:42am     
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OnePlan
wow ! think that's lots of inspiration ! isn't this site great !!! I agree if you are not comfortable painting a piece then maybe re locate elsewhere and bring in something that you can paint or that complements the room better!
April 12, 2013 at 2:33am     
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All Pro Builders Inc.
Is a skylight an option if adding windows isn't possible?
April 12, 2013 at 2:46am     
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wstdspace
What great ideas they have for you Sarah! I can't wait to see the finished product!
April 12, 2013 at 2:18pm     
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LB Interiors
Love the pics posted for bed canopy by 'Stamps' but because the room is very small, I would not cover the rails so much. Only loosely bunched together at each post. They may make the room smaller and may feel like it is closing in on you as the focal will be high and enclose the openness of the bed.
April 12, 2013 at 10:39pm     
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Stamps Design Services
LB, I prefer the curtains drawn back as well, but I just wanted to show Sarah some options....
April 12, 2013 at 10:52pm     
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LB Interiors
ok so sorry 'stamps', just wanted her to know the way it would feel. I apologize.
April 12, 2013 at 11:03pm     
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Sarah McGrath
Thank you everyone for your input. My goal today was to pick up a new duvet and remove some of the dark pieces and hang some mirrors---but of course the day got away! I hope to put up new pics tomorrow! :-) skylight......probably I will ask my contractor!
April 12, 2013 at 11:15pm     
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Michele Lister
Just wondering if they have some sort of light reflective paint over there, I have a dark room that I painted with the Space and Light range from Dulux and it is amazing. I wasn't sure how well it would work but when I read that people were using it to create a screen for projectors and had to add silver to it because it was too bright I decided to give it a go. I've used a cream and it really does work very well, I did three walls and the ceiling as one wall is covered with built-ins. I've painted that with a mid shade of aqua and wasn't sure if that would darken the room again as it is in the line of the window but it didn't and is really is just a beautiful colour. I also have a full length mirror in the room and that bounces light like mad. I love your bed and the side tables but would consider painting the bed cream or off white at a push or move the tables into another room just because the woods are different tones. BUT before painting furniture first I'd make the space more neutral with a version of white and then see what you think of the woods and start adding colour in through textiles or even a feature wall. See where you go from there. I LOVE the pillows you've chosen!
April 12, 2013 at 11:25pm     
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