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Either side of the TV?
kimdee24
January 1, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I am looking for suggestions on what to place on either side of the TV in this niche. It needs something, but I'm not sure what. The recessed areas of the wall behind the fireplace will be painted the same color as the wall behind the TV. (Dulux "Arrow Wood" -- a brownish grey). Thanks!
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feeny
Others may disagree, but I really don't think you should keep this configuration. I would fill in the space, keeping just enough of an inset for the television to be flush with the wall. Right now it just looks like an oversized hole in the wall and does nothing for the aesthetics of your otherwise lovely fireplace.
January 1, 2013 at 9:05AM     
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PRO
Interiors International, Inc.
Much larger TV paint the back wall and back light the TV.
January 1, 2013 at 9:05AM     
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PRO
Dytecture
I would either have sliding doors that folds into the niche or invest in having custom wood panels cut to fit the shape of the TV so it is flushed with the fireplace and the void behind is hidden.
January 1, 2013 at 9:27AM     
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Arlen Dau
I think the wall structure over-powers the fireplace surround - mostly because the color contrast. My first effort would be to paint the box/structure a darker color to work with the fireplace. A larger TV would certainly help, but if that is not in the budget right now. Perhaps consider a panel/frame that resembles a speaker front grill on both sides to fill the space. Your speakers sit behind the grill. The grill fabric in a color that blends with the darker wall color - so find the fabric first and then the paint color. If none of this works for you, then bowling trophies :)
January 1, 2013 at 9:45AM     
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kimdee24
Thanks for all the suggestions. The TV is 50" so that gives you an idea of just how large that space is.
January 1, 2013 at 10:29AM   
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Steve
What about building some shelving around the tv in a weathered grey barn board. Looks like it might go well with the fireplace surround.
January 1, 2013 at 12:25PM     
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Dar Eckert
Seems like the best solution is to remove the box above the fireplace but it could also be concealed because it has become an eyesore to you.

In the first photo the fireplace has a band of stainless steel with horizontal wood above the stainless steel. Which would work to conceal the hole. The second photo has more stone up to the ceiling.

Quaker Bluff Residence
Private Residence 2
January 1, 2013 at 12:58PM   
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anitajoyce
Built-in shelving would be nice on both sides of the fireplace.
January 1, 2013 at 1:25PM     
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jagood
Groan... combining fireplaces with media centers is so difficult to get right, especially if you're trying to get a great surround sound too.

I notice you have lights installed over the upper niche. Are these far enough forward to light the front of the fireplace stone and the mantel. Does the upper niche extend into a mantel, and if so, how deep? Right now, the space looks like an alter to the TV and speakers! I think a combination of some sort of fitted fabric screen to conceal all the speakers (TV sits in front of upper screen) and some dramatic decorative objects on the mantel might work, but I'm not sure how a fabric screen might work with the lights in the top niche. If the objects on the mantel were not symetrical (one side more height than other), it might help to offset the feeling that the TV is dominating the entire space.
You could do an elevation sketch on top of a photo to see if this might work - convert photo to black and white and print it out or copy with light ink. Then draw on top.

You could also just try some objects on the mantel to see if it makes a difference - anything large enough to see from across the room, and play around with them. Large candles, hurricane lamps, real plants, art glass, lamps, etc.
January 1, 2013 at 1:51PM     
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kimdee24
jagood,
The depth of the niche is about 19" and the lights are centered in the space. The mantel itself is only about an inch in depth. I did toss up a few objects borrowed from other parts of the house just for height/width visualization, and that does seem to help -- not necessarily THESE objects, but I think with the right pieces it might fill up some of that space.

The green balls are from my dining room table centerpieces. Maybe repeating those here in a larger version would tie the room together as well.

I do like the idea of custom built-in shelving on either side of the fireplace, maybe that match the kitchen cabinets on the opposite wall, but that's beyond my budget right now -- but up for future consideration. It would also allow me to add some additional sound deadening material against that wall -- it adjoins the unit next door.
January 1, 2013 at 2:39PM     
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jagood
Just an inch of mantel - hmmm .... that sort of changes the equation of placing things asymetrical on the mantel because you really don't have a mantel, just a trim piece. The lights in the middle of the 19" deep niche is something we need to think about too.
January 1, 2013 at 2:46PM   
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jagood
Can the small speakers in the upper niche be pushed back and remain effective?
January 1, 2013 at 2:48PM   
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kimdee24
Yes, it's more the illusion of a mantel than a real mantel. The speakers could probably go back halfway and still be effective. Or I could tuck them in around whatever objects so they're not so noticeable.
January 1, 2013 at 3:02PM   
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jagood
Over in the corner, the vase with sticks, do you like that on one side of the TV? Understand budget constraints - you could start with trying a darker color on the back wall of the niche (charcoal gray?) so that the light from the overhead lights doesn't bounce off the wall and the TV doesn't look so stark against the wall. Install smaller watt bulbs - you want a soft glow on the objects you choose to display. (Or use dimmer switch if applicable.) Push the speakers back as far as you can while keeping the good sound. Keep the TV to the front, so that the upper lights are more likely to backlight it against the darker back wall. Then try arranging your objects in front of the speakers.
January 1, 2013 at 3:31PM     
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ckanters
I was wondering if you pulled some colours from your fireplace to add a little more punch. I would leave your mantel white and then use a lighter grey from the fireplace on the bottom half and outside of the upper part of the fireplace. I would then use a darker colour inside the area of the television.
January 1, 2013 at 3:42PM     
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jagood
I hope a designer that understands color well will jumps in here. I think your problem is more than needing to fill in the space on either side of the TV, but even so, if it were my place and no budget to make a major change, I'd experiment with sticking all kinds of things in that empty space just to see if it brings an improvement. I think the big problem is that you have two competing focal points - the TV niche and the fireplace itself. As I see it, the fireplace is the prettier of the two, but out eye moves up to the TV. I think the right paint colors could help solve this issue for you long term.
January 1, 2013 at 3:51PM     
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ginawithag
I just saw something at Horchow.com which is described as a PLASMA TV ENTERTAINMENT WALL CABINET WITH MIRRORS. It was gorgeous (bit pricey) but I thought I would suggest it for idea purposes. Take a look at it. If I knew how to attach it from their website I would do that but not exactly computer savvy! ;)
January 1, 2013 at 4:23PM     
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kimdee24
I think paint goes a long way. I have painted inside the niche (hard to tell when the lights are on, I know) a fairly dark greyish/brown that pulls out some of the color from the face of the fireplace. And I haven't yet decided what other parts need to be painted (the back walls for sure though). And yeah, I'd leave the mantel as is.

And I agree -- dimmer bulbs would be better. I'll pick some up tomorrow.

I have been throwing things up there (just from around the house) to get an idea -- I think the vase with the sticks will work. Maybe a pair of tall, thick candles on the other side, and I put one of the speakers on top of a couple of interesting books. I think filling in those side spaces with some tall things/color/interest/greenery is going to be the solution -- If I keep it simple and not too cluttered.

Tons of great ideas here, thanks everyone!

ginawithag -- that cabinet is beautiful!
January 1, 2013 at 4:56PM   
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kimdee24
Dulux "Arrow Wood"
January 1, 2013 at 4:59PM   
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groveraxle
I don't know if this is the cabinet at Horchow, but here's a link:http://www.horchow.com/p/Plasma-TV-Entertainment-Wall-Cabinet-Media-TV-Storage/cprod69240054_cat2540731_cat000010_/?index=18&isEditorial=false&cmCat=cat000000cat000001cat000010cat2540731

I suspect the idea is two bifold doors to close the niche off so it looks like a mirror when closed.

Try putting your speakers just behind the television on each side angled out and see if you still get good sound.
January 1, 2013 at 5:21PM   
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ginawithag
Yes! That's the item I saw @ Horchow!!! :)
January 1, 2013 at 8:52PM   
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kimdee24
Well, here's what I came up with. I still have some painting to do, but I think this helps? Also plan on installing a dimmer switch on those lights above.
January 5, 2013 at 9:19AM   
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kimdee24
Updated photos...

Any further suggestions for this room are deeply appreciated!
January 17, 2013 at 12:32PM     
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PRO
Marie Hebson's interiorsBYDESIGN Inc.
Built in shelving or floating shelves with darker paint colour or wallpaper behind open shelving
is always a great way to add sophisticated layers. make sure the shelves are "beefy" enough to proportionately compliment the fireplace - and add more cladding to the back of the wall as well, instead of paint - can be a gorgeous feature. Good luck
January 17, 2013 at 12:41PM   
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jannielee
You've come a long way in mitigating the problem. But what bothers me most about the design is the upper opening being wider than the stone below. This makes the opening look cavernous. I think if the face of the bottom section was painted darker, including the niches to each side of the stone, it would help give the bottom section more weight and balance the entire area. I like the paint color you used to each side of this whole combination. If it is very close to the color of the stone, I'd use that.

Now the wall to the right and above that low furniture piece needs something that won't compete with the fireplace and tv niche. Consider an oversized black and white photo without a lot of contrast. A landscape with a misty foggy quality would be nice. Perhaps something on a stretcher without a frame to de-emphasize the additional rectangle on that wall. Whatever you select needs to be large but subtle so it won't fight for attention or look busy.

I appreciate a neutral palette like you have. It is relaxing and restful. To keep a neutral palette from being flat and boring you need to bring in lots of texture and all the elements. A chunky woven throw on the sofa or chair or a Mongolian lambs wool pillow in a creamy color would add lightness and softness to the room. Can't tell if you have anything on your windows. I love a bare look but if you added anything, I'd keep it minimal like roman shades in a soft washed linen fabric. I think you've done really nice work, but my suggestion would be that any more additions shoud add softness because the stone, glass leather and wood are all hard surfaces. Washed linen pillows witha graphic neutral pattern would be good on your upholstered pieces too.

One last thought would be to add a large low vase filled with various greens and some bare branches to bring a natural element into the room without a predictable flower arrangement.

Nice room.
January 17, 2013 at 1:51PM     
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kimdee24
Marie & Jannielee -- Thank you so much for your comments!

Marie: Lovely examples, and definitely something on my wish list. Thanks for sharing them!

Jannielee: Thanks! I like the idea of painting the bottom out as well to balance. That exact thing has been bugging my eye as well. I wish they'd done the whole bottom in section in stone.

I'd like to replace that low chair with something else, more comfortable and not quite so small. It seems so little in a room with such high ceilings. Agreed about the artwork on that wall, I'll look around -- and for some softness -- chunky textured pillows and throws like you've suggested -- great idea!

The windows are currently covered with roller shades, they're very transparent, more for privacy at night than for light control. This room in the summer is very bright (which I love) and overlooks a lake and I didn't want to totally block that view. It's hard to see, but there is a wavy pattern to the blind fabric which to me, mimics the lake and the grasses around it...

I plan on custom drapery, yet to be determined.

Thanks again for all the great comments! It really helps to be able to run things by!
January 17, 2013 at 2:48PM   
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kimdee24
A better image of the texture:
January 17, 2013 at 2:50PM   
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PRO
STUDIO MB
Honestly it really needs to go away. Its such a large area and is the focal point of the room. An easy clean fix is to get a diptych and hinge them on each end to create doors to cover the whole thing when not in use. Otherwise your idea is just fine.
January 17, 2013 at 3:05PM     
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kimdee24
^ THAT is a great idea! :)
January 17, 2013 at 3:47PM   
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onthefence
Love the diptych idea! I wonder if it could be mounted on a small track so that each side slid open rather than opening like a cabinet door?
January 17, 2013 at 3:52PM   
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kimdee24
It would have to be two very large pieces. That hole measures 82" wide by 38" tall.
January 17, 2013 at 3:54PM   
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Rio Brewster
I hate to say this because I really like your paint job.

How about knocking out the upper niche altogether? Take it back to flush with the back wall. It will look like you have a nice wide mantel and it will open up the room a lot too.

And while the walls are open, you can rewire all the cabling inside the wall.
January 17, 2013 at 4:00PM   
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PRO
Wallmark Homes
Have you considered maybe adding LED mood lighting behind and covering the area with a screen to make it a conversation piece even when it is off?
January 17, 2013 at 4:01PM   
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kimdee24
I'd love to, Rio... but the vent ducting from the fireplace runs through that left side of the upper niche wall. I share a common wall with a neighbour so there's no other place for it. :(

Wallmark Homes: there are two accent lights in the bulkhead above. What kind of screen were you thinking of?
January 17, 2013 at 4:06PM   
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onthefence
Could you do something like the barn hardware door shown here? It looks somewhat unobtrusive and would handle the large panels you'd need to slide.
January 17, 2013 at 4:15PM   
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kimdee24
What a dilemma!

Maybe I can have someone build something. When I do the floating shelves eventually. This is a neat idea, too. Maybe in the meantime I can find a huge piece of art for up there.


January 17, 2013 at 4:46PM   
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kimdee24
Does anyone have a suggestion as to that tiny chair? Would like something... else... larger, more comfortable, not sure what color/pattern would work.

Meantime, I am obsessed with coming up with a simple in-the-meantime effective solution for this.

Maybe I can create my own diptych from two canvases - even just covered with a nice fabric. Or I can dust off my artist's hat and paint something. They might just lean up there when the tv's not on. I've thought about a woven wood roman shade for texture. I've considered creating a scrim frame insert. Or I could just tune the tv to the channel that shows beautiful pictures and leave it on continually... j/k. Ugh.
January 17, 2013 at 5:58PM   
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anitajoyce
Shelves on both sides would be nice. You can add artwork, books, vases , etc.
January 17, 2013 at 6:39PM   
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Dar Eckert


Here'a another thought for you. TV behind mirror. Although this mirror is not your style maybe you could find a more modern version.
January 18, 2013 at 7:09AM   
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kimdee24
Thanks, those mirrors are really cool! I don't think it will work in my situation though, given how large that opening is. I may just have to live with it until I have the budget for built-ins.
January 18, 2013 at 8:35AM   
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Rio Brewster
In that case... I really like what you've done with it. Do you need that chair at all? It seems kind of lonely over there and it looks like you have plenty of seating without it.
January 18, 2013 at 10:55AM   
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kimdee24
Thanks, Rio... I don't really care for that particular chair as I think it's too small and not adding a whole lot of value, but when I take it away, it seems empty in that corner. Perhaps a different one?
January 18, 2013 at 10:59AM   
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John Seiffert
I would demo all 3 pieces, two sides and top. Then start fresh with wood built-ins. This would still be a challenge to design.
January 18, 2013 at 12:03PM   
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Rio Brewster
Take the chair away and live with it for awhile and see if you still miss it.

You could put a tall plant stand with a vase or piece of art in the niche on the left hand side of the fireplace. That would balance things out so the corner wouldn't look so empty without the chair.
A black or silver pedestal with a vase and some greenery would pull in the pieces inside the niche.


I think a bigger chair will feel too bulky unless it's a tall narrow one.
January 18, 2013 at 1:38PM   
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kimdee24
You might be right. Here are some photos. Chair, no chair, and (slightly ugly but real) plant from dining room just because it was handy. But yes... perhaps a tall vase with something in it, or like you said, a plant stand would be better.

Oh, and I hate those lamps too.
January 18, 2013 at 2:26PM   
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jannielee
Well, it's me again with another suggestion for a natural material. Look at this chair but imagine cushions covered in a large scale walnut colored fabric with a cream colored lattice or mosaic type print. It would bring pattern, texture and the natural dark wicker element.
http://www.potterybarn.com/products/jacqueleyne-woven-rattan-armchair/?pkwy=coccasional-chairs&cm_src=occasional-chairs||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_--_-

Or if you don't care for the wicker, how about this chair in either the linen weave's timber color or the cotton basketweave in slate? Then add a lumbar pillow in a bold print. This same chair is on another web page in leather which comes in a fabulous brown/gray shade called elephant that I love and would probably be similar to your stone's color.
http://www.westelm.com/products/sweep-armchair-g030/?pkey=cliving-room-seating&cm_src=living-room-seating||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_--_-

In the meantime, try pullig the existing chair's front legs onto your rug and possibly closer to the side table so anyone that sits there can be part of the conversational group. The plant could move more towards the recessed corner.
January 19, 2013 at 2:44AM     
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fbmbirds
Ok looking at the area and the fireplace which looks to be a fake one. why dont you just take the entire fireplace and wall out so you have that much more living room space to work with.
January 19, 2013 at 3:44AM   
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elishia
what about framing the TV area with some nice molding, to visually finish it off?
January 19, 2013 at 4:36AM   
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mvanwill
Ikea has sliding fabric panels that many people use for curtains but they can be shortened. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/living_room/10702/
The panels themselves cost less than $15.00 each. The track system is not much more and are very easy to install. These could be used to frame out or even cover the tv when not in use.
January 19, 2013 at 5:07AM   
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alsad
I would agree with the panels from ikea.. They have some nice, subtle prints that can warm up the room even more.. Not to mention how cheap they are!
January 19, 2013 at 5:45AM   
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fbmbirds
I still say tear out that whole thing and make a flat wall. that would give you more surface area to work with
January 19, 2013 at 5:49AM   
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kimdee24
I'm not tearing down the fireplace. But I think I have found the solution. When I have built-ins designed for either side, I can have the cabinet guys install either shuttered doors or even doors that match my kitchen cabinets with the textured glass faces. That's not a 'now' project though. For the time being, I'll have to just live with the black hole.

Jannielee -- I REALLY like the wicker chair. I'll have to look around and see what I can find. Thanks for the idea! I found my textured, chunky afghan throw that my aunt made for me, in a cream color and that's really helping soften things. I am on the hunt for some soft white/cream textured/fuzzy/soft throw pillows as well. Thanks again!
January 19, 2013 at 8:29AM   
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PRO
Ironwood Builders
An idea? Move the bass speaker out of the lower niche, Store good looking (birch?) firewood in the two side niches to give the fireplace more weight. Raise the the TV up on an extending swivel wall mount. Add a shelf and apron below the TV. Frame and hang shutters over the TV niche, recessed so that the center of the mantle is deep enough to add low decorative items. Paint the shutters and low shelf front gray to work with the stone....
January 19, 2013 at 8:33AM     
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kimdee24
^ I like that a lot! Thanks!
January 19, 2013 at 8:42AM   
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Rio Brewster
I think it looks fine without the chair, and even better with the plant. Put in a black or silver stand and a little more refined pot/vase andI think you'll be good.

If you need task lighting, maybe ditch the table lamps for a nice floor lamp. These are from Lamps Plus.
January 19, 2013 at 10:35AM   
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kimdee24
A few updated photos. I have a designer friend coming in February and we're going to look at draperies and accessories and get the rest of this pulled together. But I think it's starting to come along, and an improvement from the start. Thanks for all your suggestions and help!
January 29, 2013 at 11:25AM   
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baon
The sliding panels from Ikea that were suggested are a great idea... you could purchase a couple of extra ones as wall art (or hang a smaller piece of art in front of it) for either side of fireplace. It would be a cost effective way to tie the 3 sections together and get an idea how it will look... and you can rotate the art out seasonally without having to store large pieces of wall art. Good luck! Much improved already.
January 29, 2013 at 11:48AM   
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PRO
Barbara Griffith Designs
I have 1 more suggestion. .as the TV opening is very large and cavernous I noticed you chose to highlight the fireplace area with your side wall color..frankly I think that is the problem ..too much contrast in shade from the fireplace to the surround light color. You have that beautiful gray tone on the wall behind the fireplace. Paint the fireplace and all the walls that color. From the new shots you posted, the gray wall color would also highlight your kitchen cabinets as well. Take the above photos and "Photoshop" them by putting the gray on the fireplace. It's a great area.
January 29, 2013 at 12:13PM   
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kimdee24
Thanks Barbara. I've added the color in photoshop quickly, what do you think? You might be right about that. I'd considered painting the entire fireplace out, but wasn't sure if it would be too dark.
January 29, 2013 at 12:25PM     
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PRO
Barbara Griffith Designs
I think it looks GREAT! Place some large colorful art on both sides.
January 29, 2013 at 12:37PM   
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kimdee24
Haha! I love it when a solution to a problem can be as simple as paint! Thanks!
January 29, 2013 at 1:08PM   
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PRO
Barbara Griffith Designs
My pleasure. Sometimes we all can overwork a problem and it only takes a step back now and then to let your mind start completely over.
January 29, 2013 at 1:29PM   
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