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kimellsworth

Need help with outdated living room

kimellsworth
11 years ago
This is a living room in a house that is about 270 years old. The dimensions of the room are approximately 18 x 30. The room was last renovated in the early 70's. We are in agreement that the wallpaper must go, the curtains must go. We can't come to any agreement on what to do with the fireplace wall, what colors we should paint, and how to make the layout more efficient. We don't need the table in the room, we just can't figure out what to do. Their are three old ripple glass windows and french doors leading to the screen porch. The floors are original heart pine that we really like.

Comments (73)

  • Carolina
    11 years ago
    If this is a dark room, you could put a mirror above the fireplace to bounce light around: Keep the windows as uncovered as possible to let the light in.
  • carole
    11 years ago
    last modified: 11 years ago
    ;-" hi kimellsworth, you have a good tactical plan !! i would take out the panelling,and paint the walls taupe or a light bleu...
  • pattiegoode
    11 years ago
    Are the french doors opposite the hall entry? Strip the wallpaper & paint in whatever color makes you happy (white, beige, taupe, yellow, blue). Paint the FP wall, too. If you aren't fond of the red brick surround, paint it. Change out the screen or paint the brass. Consider linen for drapes or shades & pillows. Do you like toile? Or crewel? Pillows in either of these would lighten your sofa. Have fun!
  • PRO
    HX Home Solutions and North Star Stone
    11 years ago
    The paneling, beams and ceiling fan need to go. I would suggest adding new canned lighting. On either side of the fireplace you might consider adding bookcases. I have read from other posters, that you usually recoup the investment in bookcases.The fireplace definitely needs a make over. You can do something traditional or something more rustic. I am attaching a before and after picture of a family room with paneling. A stone fireplace is timeless.
  • Suzi Dunn
    11 years ago
    The house is 270 years old. Be careful not to let anyone talk you into "remuddling" your jewel. You are extremely fortunate for a home like this to trust in your love to take care of it.
  • kimellsworth
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    oh my goodness, I love the woven crystal ceiling fixture! I like blue better than taupe, but I am not hard over either way. I seem to gravitate towards shades of blue. I have been afraid that I might paint the whole house blue. So far, only one bathroom, but it is my favorite color. I am going to pick up the swatches and paint a piece of wallboard to see if we like it.!
  • kimellsworth
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    I also thought about putting in bookshelves, but we have a tendency to clutter every available shelf. I am afraid that pragmatism rules in the living room...don't provide any area to mess up...mess has to be hidden in the rest of the house
  • blrussell
    11 years ago
    I like the leather furniture. The other ones need to go. Do you use the fan? If so, replace it with a darker model and encased light bulbs .
  • kimellsworth
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    well, it just figures. I went to buy the ceiling fixture and you can't get it anymore. I would have decorated the whole room around the light :)
  • kimellsworth
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    Well, according to my husband, the walls are made up of some kind of old lattice method...they didn't have drywall back then. Hence the wallpaper, as the walls were pretty miserable. I am still intent on removing the pine by the fire place, but it looks like we have to put wall over it, rather than tear it down.
  • handymam
    11 years ago
    Why not paint the wall of wood first then, to try out your colors? You may even like the look of the painted wood. It has texture. And you can get a very neutral type of paper that is meant to be painted. It looks like a linen texture.

    I think first you and your husband really need to decide what furniture is staying and what isn't. That is the only way you will be able to decide on colors.

    Love that you took away knick knacks and no one even noticed. :)
  • lepstein
    11 years ago
    You probably have lathe and plaster. It will be uneven which I think of as character (my house is just over 100 yrs old), but you may prefer to cover with drywall. Remove, paint or drywall over the fireplace wood wall - very 70s. A heritage blue would be lovely in your room. Keep the antiques, get rid of or move the large leather furniture. Also, remove the fan and replace with a crystal/drum chandelier. The flat crystal ones shown are gorgeous (I have one &love it). Just be careful because the light can be quite uneven (beautifully artistic, but possibly not the best for a main light source). Love the yellow ( cream?) chair. Most of your pictures are too small. They should be grouped or replaced with larger art.
  • PRO
    OasisDesign&Remodeling
    11 years ago
    last modified: 11 years ago
    My biggest issue is that the room is top heavy on the fireplace end...in other words, the weight of the space needs balanced. There's not enough weight on the dining table end. THIS is the wall where bookcases/cabinets need to be with doors at the bottom & glass at the top. If you don't want to do custom, take a look at Bassett Furniture's bookcase line. And the bookcases will be where all the keepsakes go. (I think that country plate rack & cocktail table has to go...use something more classic for your cocktail table with a glass top) I would have the middle of the bookcases open at the top with only base cabinets. Then in that space I would do a pair of hardwired sconces & artwork. In front of that you can put the table there & set up as a game table.

    Replace fan with flush fixture.

    The fireplace end can keep most of it's furniture. You can paint the wood & wallpaper over the wallpaper with anaglypta wallpaper. It's thick & textured & can be painted. You could even use it on the ceiling, but I wouldn't in this case. Paint the anaglypta a shade or 2 darker than the stairway color, or close to the color of that beautiful wedgwood chair!!! Get rid of the drapes & do a natural linen in a relaxed shade style like from Smith + Noble. Use Pure White from Sherwin Williams for the ceiling & fireplace wall. Replace rug with some creamy yellows in it & pick up the creamy yellows in pillows. Large artwork is a definite for over the fireplace with sconces flanking it to give more light on that end, with maybe even a picture light over the artwork for that Ralph Lauren look.

    I love your home!!!
  • Jacque Berg
    11 years ago
    I love our painted pine. We added book shelves and doors but it is current and comfy.
  • pattiegoode
    11 years ago
    Does the TV have to stay in its current position? That is one thing restricting your layout.
  • Carolina
    11 years ago
    I'm so glad you like the woven crystal light, but I'm so sad for you that it is no longer available. Ah well... there must me one somewhere that you'll like too.
    Meanwhile... Oasis has a point that bookcases in the dining room half will bring balance to the room. I wouldn't worry that shelves will look cluttered. If you or your other half have the tendency to collect lots of stuff, you can at least keep it in one place, leaving the rest of the space clutter free ;-)
  • handymam
    11 years ago
    Jacque Berg, that looks very nice! I love the texture the painted wood gives to the space.
  • qam999
    11 years ago
    Overhead light must go (impractical, unflattering). I recommend fan only (or nothing). Then work on lighting elsewhere.
  • kimellsworth
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    Thank you to everyone who has given such wonderful advice. I ordered a crystal drum lighting like the one pictured above. I have asked my handyman to cut out pieces of drywall to put over the fireplace and next to it, so we can start visualizing things...before tearing everything down. We have decided that we want the couch to stay, but are flexible on every other piece of furniture. We have oodles of chairs scattered around the house (many antique as well as some leather wingback chairs). All of them will need to be recovered but that was going to happen anyway. I will take some pictures of the chairs as options. I also have rugs that I can pull in from other rooms (before I go purchase a specific one!). I also have a large painting that I would like to incorporate (have never been able to figure out what to do with it....but we fell in love with it!) I will post pictures. Additionally, we are going to take down the wallpaper behind the knickknack shelf as that wall is actually drywall. Originally, there were fireplaces at both ends of the living room. They boarded up the fireplace behind the knickknack wall and turned it around. Now we have a huge stone fireplace in the kitchen that we never use
  • kimellsworth
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    Some misc furniture
  • kimellsworth
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    Tv cabinet. And picture
  • Carolina
    11 years ago
    Well... there's a beautiful picture that you can take your colour inspiration from. Difficult to see on a computer screen, but the light blue sofa (gorgeous piece) and the red/pinkish patterned chair seem to have similar colours as in your picture. Love your furniture!

    If you hang art, hang it so that the center of the piece is about 60" above the floor. Above furniture just a tad above the furniture, so that it sort of connects to it.

    Do I see a glimpse of your hallway? It seems like you have a gorgeous blue/greenish colour on your stairs too. If you don't want to paint everything blue, you could opt for a yellowish/creme (I'm just looking at the photos of your cabinet and picture and behind your picture is a nice wall colour).
  • Suzi Dunn
    11 years ago
    I love all your old furniture pieces. They could be recovered in such cool ways. Example below. I recovered a French sofa & chair in four different fabrics for my B&B. would show pic but they're in storage. You can go very formal, funky or in between.
  • Suzi Dunn
    11 years ago
    Is this your only living area?
  • kimellsworth
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    Thanks...the hallway blue/green was my first attempt at picking a paint color. Love what Valvorie did with the couch. Probably would cause a heart attack around here. I kicked it out of the room as it is really not very comfortable. No, the farm house is quite large (about 6000 sq ft). In the new section (about 150 years old) we have another sitting area, and upstairs we have the larger lounge area with a section as my daughter's idea room (rather than play room) I am just trying to get the first room as you walk in the front door to reflect my own sense of style rather than the hodge podge of what we have. We also have a long almost six foot couch that got banished that is very similar in style to the Loring sofa up above. It also got banished as uncomfortable (as well as needing to be reupholstered). Guess I am going to become quite adept at reupholstery
  • Carolina
    11 years ago
    :-D
  • Suzi Dunn
    11 years ago
    Comfort! That's why I was asking. Your main living area must be comfy! Your antiques need to go in a room for quite repose. Throw in a couple of comfy chairs that blend with the antiques so you will use the room. If you have a separate dining area you could divide your 30' room into 2 sections. One for viewing TV & one for conversation & games.
  • kimellsworth
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    thanks...Comfort is why the big leather couch migrated down there...may not be the perfect couch, but it is incredibly comfortable.
  • MG Mack
    11 years ago
    last modified: 11 years ago
    I love this room. The floors are beautiful and I like the leather furniture with it. I personally like the wood panels. It isn't the same as paneling. It could be refinished. If you have plaster and lathe plan on an enormous mess if you start tearing things down. I agree that putting wallboard over what is there is a better bet. (asbestos is a potential concern if you get in there and start stirring things up) Use the fireplace as your focal point. The rug could be a smaller "Ralph Lauren" and serve as a color reference. I would pull the furniture to the edge of the rug. The wall accents are too small. Something large over the fireplace or a mantel for remaining knick knacks ;) might work well. I would replace the insert as well. The following is just an example of using the fireplace as an object d'art.
  • carole
    11 years ago
    valvorie dunn,that was what i was going to ask,it seems such a shame these antiques wont have a nice room to complement them,but comfort is more important for everyday living...kimellsworth,would your husband agree to a less formal livingroom and do you have another room where you can bring all the antiques together??
  • MG Mack
    11 years ago
    last modified: 11 years ago
    Create a more inviting, intimate, balanced place to gather with furniture placement and accents...
  • carole
    11 years ago
    i am intrgued about the fireplaces?are there any photograps from when there were 2 in the livingroom,maybe???
  • PRO
    Bay Area Floors
    11 years ago
    The flooring is beautiful! Just maintain its healthy stature!
  • MG Mack
    11 years ago
    Another Houzzer painted the brick, changed the insert and loved it:
  • kimellsworth
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    Hi all,
    I am uploading additional pictures. We have tackled the project in baby steps. We couldn't afford to have the whole room torn up at once, so I am tackling one wall at a time. The couch has been put there temporarily as we work on the other end of the room. I am beginning to feel really nervous about the blue wall (Fiji by Benjamin Moore).
  • kimellsworth
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    Also, I changed out the lights per your comments.
  • Carolina
    10 years ago
    The light is such an improvement on the fan that used to be here. Do you like it?
    I'm liking the blue on the fireplace wall. What are your plans for the other walls?
    kimellsworth thanked Carolina
  • Carolina
    10 years ago
    I love how the blue of the wall is picked up in the painting above the sofa!
    kimellsworth thanked Carolina
  • Suzi Dunn
    10 years ago
    I'm not crazy about the blue. I think it makes your ceilings look lower in the picture. Where did you end up finding your light fixtures?
    kimellsworth thanked Suzi Dunn
  • kimellsworth
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    The other walls are going to be the same color as the wall behind the painting. Frappe by Benjamin Moore. Regarding the light fixtures...I love them. Can't say that everyone else gets it yet, but I think once everything gets done, everyone will be on board. I have no idea what kind of curtains to get, and still don't know how to arrange the furniture, and the rug is absolutely stumping me. However, I just keep picking away, one wall at a time.
  • kimellsworth
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    Found the lights at elklightinglight.com
  • victorianbungalowranch
    10 years ago
    last modified: 10 years ago
    I think the blue is a bit bright for the age of your home and the rest of the decor. They did love color back then, but blues tended to be a bit more muted. A glaze can tone it down a bit. Going with a grey, but not battleship gray or anything too cold, might update and enhance the rest of the room.

    With such a historic home, I would really consider consulting someone who knows their stuff about how to gently update such structures. It doesn't have to look ye old colonial or English Country House or 1976 bicentennial., but it is definitely a good idea to keep what is original, and maybe most of what is old, say 80 years or more. An expert can figure out when each part of the house was done and changed over the years and help you achieve a more cohesive look.

    Really, a whole house inspection for structure and décor and phased plan is a good idea and can save you money in the long run. This house is much older than you are and it is a legacy to pass on to the generation. It can seem intimidating, but it is possible to make it comfortable and livable without scrapping everything old.

    I would love to see more photos....
  • tessaway
    10 years ago
    Get rid of wooden panelling or at the very least paint it or plaster board over it.
  • lepstein
    10 years ago
    You may think I'm nuts, but I think you should add black into the blue paint. It will "gray down" the overall effect so it is not as bright (more muted) and much more in keeping with the age of the house. We did this to my 100-year-old living room (all of the walls but with soft white trim) and I have loved the colour for over 20 years. Recently, I painted the ceilings in the same colour (greyed blue) and love it! It is anything but cold and helps make the other elements in the room pop.
  • edwinbaker123
    10 years ago
    Furniture restoration can retain your reputation of place. Furniture is the only thing which occupies the maximum space of the room. http://austinfurniturerepair.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/timely-furniture-restoration-helps-maintain-the-reputation-of-a-place/
  • smurfboots
    10 years ago
    I think if your on a budget and your dog loves the rug and all the furniture is staying, then simply strip the wallpaper and paint the walls a Duck egg blue, then maybe whitewash the paneling just to lighten the whole room up. Goodluck, the room is very nice and will look spectacular once freshened up.
  • 2dogssashatess
    10 years ago
    I would strip the wallpaper off and paint the walls a warm white. I would paint the wood panelling white or possibly put plaster sheeting over it. I would get rid of the wooden rack holding the collectibles and the table and chairs. The wood floor is lovely but I would have a nice light colored rug on it. The tv cabinet looks heavy and dark to me and although your couch looks comfy it looks a bit chunky and dark. I would add some color via the curtains and put a large mirror opposite the window to bounce the available light. A Large artwork would be lovely over the fireplace. Built in shelves either side of fireplace would allow you to store away some of those knicks, assuming you had cupboards at the bottom of the shelves.

    if you want the room to be light and airy, I would suggest furniture that is a bit more dainty and not flat to the floor, ie the furniture should be elevated so you can see the floor underneath ( this makes the room look bigger too.)
  • sheilaskb
    8 years ago

    I would suggest you get two white-painted mantel shelves and install them so that the fireplace mantel goes across the wall. Then, I would suggest you paint the wood paneling below the mantel shelves white and keep the paneling above the shelves the original wood tone. You might paint the exposed ceiling beams a wood tone or a pastel accent color you are using in the room, such as a light blue grey (if that is your color choice) to accent the red tones in the room.

  • User
    8 years ago

    Hopefully, this room is finished.

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