Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dark paneling, what to do?

Dear Addicted Design,

My husband and I are newlyweds and we just bought our first house!  It's a Ranch built in the 70s and we love it.  There is one problem though.  The living room has dark stained paneling.  We don't have the time or the budget to paint, but we don't want to look like we are actually living in the 70s.  Besides, it looks so dark and dreary.  Any ideas on how to lighten the room and update it without painting?

Dark and Outdated in Oklahoma

Dear Dark and Outdated,

It seems that dark stained paneling is a design staple of homes built in the 70s.  These days the first instinct is usually to paint it.   But here are some rooms that might make you think twice before painting!  Instead of painting, use your furnishings, artwork, and curtains to lighten up the room and bring it into the future.  These rooms prove that  dark paneling doesn't equal dark and outdated!

Betsy Burnham

Jeffrey Bilhuber

Jeffrey Bilhuber

Jeffrey Bilhuber

Phoebe Howard - paneled rooms 1

Phoebe Howard


Steven Gambrel


Albert Hadley

Rose Tarlow

David Hicks

Entry way

Mary McDonald

Some ideas for keeping dark paneling young and fresh:

*Incorporate some bright colors in your furnishings, pillows, throw blankets, and even artwork

*Modern artwork-abstracts, sketches, quirky paintings

*Clean lined and modern furniture, avoid  big and bulky

*Bring in some lucite for an unexpected touch

*Simple modern lamps with drum shades

*One of a kind accessories found at estate sales or thrift stores

*A graphic rug

*Mirrors to glam things up-think sunburst, or very ornate

 I hope you have found some inspiration for your dark paneled living room!

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