How do I lighten up this dining room?
May 15, 2013
Hello people,

Got such great advice last time I posted a dilemma, thought I'd try again. So we just moved into our new house and the one room I just have no clue with is the dining room in the attached picture. It's so dark, with the dark floors, face brick and wooden ceilings and not much light coming and I think the dining set and patterns don't help much with this...brown on brown on brown on brown...

So how do I brighten this room up without breaking walls down, getting new furniture and re-tiling etc. What colour curtains can I put, should I repaint the walls, can I put a rug down and what colour? So far, I'm thinking of putting up the pendant lighting in the attached picture and a huge mirror on the wall between the windows to reflect the light.

Any help/ideas please?

Thank you!
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Is painting the ceiling white an option? That would help. As will a new light fixture.
It will also make a difference to the light coming in through the windows if the curtains weren't in front of it. So a wider curtain rail or pole will help, so that you can push the curtains beside the window. It will make your windows seem larger too.
A light coloured rug. If you're worried about stains, go for an indoor/outdoor one.

6 Likes    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 3:48AM
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Painting the ceiling is definitely an option. Didn't actually think about the curtains blocking the window, they were there when we moved in so we just left it, but I think I'll extend them or maybe put in some blinds? Thanks for all the advice :)
    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 3:57AM
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Definitely paint the ceiling white. I did it in my hallway and the increase in light was amazing. It totally changed the room.
1 Like    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 5:24AM
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I like the dressed feel that curtains give to a dining room. Usually I'm all for blinds, but since they will probably have to be mounted inside the windows here, you'll be blocking a tiny bit of light again. Not sure... Could you post some photos of the other walls of your dining room? Having a good view of the space will help to get some clear ideas of what you can do with it :-)
1 Like    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 6:58AM
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Amala Carpets
How about adding a painting with some bright colours. Maybe yellow?
1 Like    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 7:08AM
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Try a mirrored buffet with lamps or sconces on the wall and art above would brighten things. A new drum chandelier should hang 36" or less above the table. It should be 1/2 the width of the table as well. Agree you need to pull the curtains off the sides of the windows. You may have a wall opposite a window that, with a mirror, would pull light in from the window and reflect the new chandy. A rug would need to be 4' wider and longer than your table, and that might be a bit snug against the walls, so you may want to keep the tile bare.
A Ranch Re-dressing Hanover NH
Heather Garrett Design
Zuniga Interiors
Mirrored Buffet/Console
2 Likes    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 7:36AM
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Saw this chandelier on sale and liked it, although three 60watt candelabra bulbs may not be what you would want. I created a rough image of painted ceiling with the light.
5 Likes    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 8:09AM
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I have a problem with a dark room, also, because of lack of natural light. I agree with an earlier suggestion of an investment in new lignting. You just have to use artificial light to compensate. The use of a mirror is also a great idea. I don't know what is used for wired lighting now, with the new laws about incandescant bulbs, but I would invest in it, and with dimmers, etc, it could have very NICE lighting effects in the evenings, especially if you use mirrors.

I think the idea of a lighter colored rug would be nice, and if you look around, you can often find small upholstry business that could reupholster the chairs in a lighter fabric, which would brighten the wood up a lot.
Some people feel a formal room is just not dressed without drapes, but with the small windows they look kind ofheavy in the room. I would explore simpler window coverings that would coordinate with any decorating changes you make.

Also, I would check with a decorating store about paint with subtle reflective properties, or light colored wallpaper.

You may be able to invest in some complementary painted wood accessory pieces, that might also work.

You actually could have a really nice looking room.
1 Like    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 8:42AM
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Warner Decor
I think that some nice curtains that will show the natural light through them and a mirror will definitely help! Here are a few options, as well as a rug that I think would work nicely:
    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 9:03AM
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Often the problem with a north facing or badly lit room can be remedied with several steps....I like to paint my ceilings with a pale apricot shade rather than dead white as it gives a suggestion of sunlight, choose a silk finish for maximum light reflection, next, clean your windows and paint the frames white, fix luxury sheers to bright metal poles, or choose a Bold floral that has summery colours in the design, nothing that has brown.......Next, the walls can take a pale satin finish wall paper in a reflective vinyl finish, think of Brocade fabric....Then you can add a large white or cream tablecloth, which adds light, then pick a large colourful rug in summery colours , which are ideal in dining rooms, rather than plain rugs which show accidents easily....Use a side table and a pair of shiny metal lamps with striking shade, in a zingy colour, and fill a crystal vase with flowers on the table, set it on a mirror tray for maximum'll have the folks around the table every weekend!
    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 9:09AM
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Creative Lighting
Although the light you selected is lovely. It would not do much to really add enought light to your space. I'd suggest finding a chandelier that will provide both up and down lighting and adding additional lights if possibe. (Lamps on a sideboard would be easy, or try wiring for wall sconces or recess lighting) Here are a few ideas that might work, depending on the style your are looking for...
    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 9:30AM
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I too would paint the ceiling a white or very light color. I'd replace or lower your light over your table's much too high....I forget if it is supposed to be no higher then something like 30"-36" above your table, perhaps someone reading this could tell you....then, I'd step back and check it out and see if it appears any brighter....doing those two simple things will make a huge difference I would think without a lot of cost involved other than paint.....yes, I'd put an area rug under your table in a light color also with a pattern to break up the darkness of the floor....just for the sake of trying to "see in your mind" what a light rug would look like, move the furniture out of the way and lay a white or light colored bed sheet on the floor, move the furniture back, sit down and study what it looks like to you as far as brightness before doing anything major to the room.....
    Bookmark   September 8, 2014 at 3:58PM
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Thought perhaps a beige milkwash paint for the ceiling. I would slipcover your chairs, which will also lighten the room. Add a series of light pendants over the table for increased reflection and a large mirror resting on the floor, on the wall next to the window.. Printed fabric blinds (you can buy a white one and glue your favorite fabric). [houzz=Falmouth Residence]; [houzz=1020s Mediterranean (After)];[houzz=Eclectic Family Room]
    Bookmark   September 8, 2014 at 6:49PM
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Urban Modern
a painting with bright colors?
    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 6:10PM
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