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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Family Room Help

pwynkleFebruary 7, 2013
Need help with ideas for the huge family room. I'm not sure if the walls we just painted are too dark with the rug and whether I should repaint (my husband will kill me) or can do anything else to lighten up the room (perhaps with window treatment, pillows, wall decor, etc.). We need a coffee table and not sure what other furniture. Also, I don't know what to do with the fireplace. Not sure if you can see from the picture, but the hearth has different color bricks than the fireplace. Do we get a better mantel. We are also constricted by the baseboard heat so built-ins are out!

Any thoughts would be appreciated. I attached two pre-painting photos and one with the new couch. We took off those elbow lights on the beams, installed recessed lights and painted the beams white.
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A pity about the beams you painted white, I kinda liked the natural wood. Your room needs some color, maybe scatter cushions? and maybe update the windows by replacing the current blinds with something a bit more modern.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 5:57AM
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nFORMAL design
I actually like the beams white...helps lighten the room. There isn't enough natural light IMHO. Depending on budget, Get a Solar Tube or two. Also, if the beams aren't structural, I'd probably have them removed and then have the drywall patched. It would open the room.

The paint looks fine at night, but it does seem too dark in the day. That would be a judgement call and you'd probably have to be in the space to make it.

Fireplace...that brick doesn't seem to go. Any thought of putting stone tile over it? Travertine would look great or a bright white with tan/brown veins in it. Just a thought.
    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:05AM
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Lisa Rose, M.F.A.
The exposed beams are gorgeous but paint color on walls is distracting. I would repaint and repaint the room a cool white or match the ceiling at least. You want to accentuate those gorgeous beams. Color changes distract from that. The alternating brick color is too bad as exposed brick is gorgeous. Alternating brick color is not gorgeous - it is too contrived. You can purchase fabulous mantles/shells/facades that can go right over the fireplace to mask yours or I would simply paint the brick (white - match walls after you repaint). Not sure about the apron or hearth (leave exposed as is or maybe make a sort of cover/facade for it as well). Window treatments will make a huge difference. The wall heaters can be hidden by putting in book case/built in cabinetry/window seat/bench all around but even without that, once you have furniture in there, it won't be so disturbing visually.
    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:06AM
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I like the wall and beam paint, looks good. Are you against removing the brick, changing to a large wood mantel or at least remove the semi-circle of brick? If you don't want to, perhaps paint the bricks? As for the windows what about sheers to enjoy the light but hanging curtains on either side of the sheers so you get a wall to wall window finishing. And pull the couch away from it. I look forward to seeing other comments and would love to see an after pic when your finished. Good luck!
    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:06AM
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Lisa Rose, M.F.A.
You painted the beams white? Wow - I would have left them exposed. They are beautiful!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:07AM
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Agreed, if beams are not necessary I would remove them.
    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:09AM
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Jayme H.
No, it is not too dark...it looks better. I would find a large area rug with some color u like that coordinate with your walls...Yes, a more substantial mantel will help...Have u considered painting the fireplace? And have u considered drapery?
    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:20AM
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Blinds Direct Canada
I would recommend Silhouettes or Cellular shades for the windows . I would also suggest decorative drapery panels to frame the windows.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:32AM
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nFORMAL design
The beams as originally there made the space seem too closed in and dark. Painting white helped a lot, but I would get them out and open up that faulted ceiling!

I would shy away from painting brick unless you prep it correctly. My recommendation is to cover it with another material. Have a decorative concrete designer pour a solid white, polished concrete surround. If done right, it would only be 3/4" thick and be mortared to the brick. Then, he/she can make a concrete toe kick on that hearth, and you can top it off with a different material. Yes, a new mantel would be great as well.
    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:35AM
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nFORMAL design
pwynkle...where are you located?
    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:36AM
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You do not need to paint the walls, just need to add the wallpaper on the walls and adding some interesting furniture. Or maybe you can buy furniture from IKEA. Please visit http://inhomeinterior.com
    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:53AM
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you're on the right track.the FP and hearth do not look contemporary so don't fight it. paint it white. find a wonderful substantial mantle and surround. shop resale and antique shops or look on line.

hang art or a well framed mirror over the mantle with 2 sconces or an art light.

pull the sofa into the room. add a square coffee table painted white. maybe with a shelf or drawers but nothing too heavy.

hang floor length window treatments on both end walls. use a large print with the white and caramel and at least 2 bright colors. could be turquoise and salmon. or red and plum. shop til you fall in love wih something.

4" boxy white floating shelves on each side of the FP for display pieces and books.

is there room for a game table and chairs near the sliding doors?

you'll need height on the wall behind the sofa.i find big pretty good quality armoires everyday at thrift stores and yard sales. flat screen TV's made them obsolete. find one you can paint a color from your drapes, add shelves and it's repurposed for game and toy storage or a bar or craft center. whatever you need in the family room.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 7:09AM
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I'm in Massachusetts. We painted the beams white because I hate them. I wanted to have them removed, but no one could tell me with certainty whether they were structural and I wasn't ready to risk it. I intend to replace the out dated window treatment, just haven't figured out what to do yet! I'm not against removing the brick on the fireplace, I hate it. I just don't know if we can afford it! I thought about painting it white, but was nervous. Also, with regard to removing the hearth, what do I put there after its gone! Doesn't the fireplace need something to rest on? DIAspoton, where would you put the couch? towards the fireplace? The door to the room is currently about 28 inches from the right arm of the couch.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 8:57AM
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yes it looks likes there is room to pull the sofa away from the wall, closer to the FP.

after choosing accent colors,look for a couple of wonderfully textured throws for the back of the sofa. tj maxx and marshalls usually have a good choice for $20-$50 each. a group of mirrors or bold , framed art could give the height on the wall behind the sofa if there is no room for tall furniture. or how about a very large textile stretched over canvas.
    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:51AM
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I like the white beams, and if you can't remove them at least the white helps them "disappear" against the ceiling. I also like the wall paint color, and I think once you've added some additional furniture and accessories it will look even better.

I vote for painting the fireplace. If you hate the way it looks now, what's the worst that could happen? If you paint it and still hate it, well, you hated it already so no harm, no foul. :) It's the least expensive option, and therefore (at least to me) always the best place to start. I agree that the mantel could be beefed up.

Can you take some photos from other angles for us so we can see how the couch relates to the rest of the room? I think DIAspoton's suggestions are fantastic!
    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:52AM
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Maybe you could paint the bottom part of the fireplace white and brush it in, so some of the red shows (like some of the other bricks). Like a whitewash. I like the painting you did. I'd suggest curtains and net curtains to soften things up. Your couch looks quite massive, but that should be the least of your worries now ;)
    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:12AM
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I would be cautious about painting hearth white if this is a functioning fireplace. The soot/ ashes from fireplace will keep it looking dirty. Painting all of the bricks a mid to dark tone gray or brown would be the least expensive way to unify and modernize the look. The white mantle would contrast nicely with that. The paint color you've chosen has a nice rich look, no reason to change it. But u need some contrast and life added to the room with accents, as its seems mono-toned and drab. Easily fixed with accessories and artwork!

You could get that spark by adding dark and white accents throughout. For example, if u chose a darkish gray or brown for bricks, then carry that through the room in small touches such as tables or lamp bases or picture frames. Additionally bring in lots of white in your accessories or frames. Make a statement with it, it will tie in the white of the beams and mantle and brighten up the room. Place a mirror or some other reflective surface where it can reflect the light from the window back around the room. .Then choose your 1, 2 or 3 bright accent colors and make a splash in pictures, pillows and comfy throws. Those things can be changed in a couple of years if you tire of the colors. And never underestimate the power of paint! Take a new look at any accessories you already have. Painting them with a fresh updated color or bright white will give them a whole new life.

Take a deep breath, you've already done the hard part. You have a good basic color on walls and your main seating piece. Your beams are a stunning bright white, learn to love them. Now you get to the fun part--the icing on the cake! Close your eyes and try to visualize what color makes you smile. What color was your favorite crayon when you were 8? Maybe that's the perfect color to accessorize with? Whatever you choose, here's my main rule---don't buy or bring in a single thing unless you love it. That's right, love it or leave it out.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:11AM
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I do like the white beams and the color on the wall. Don't dislike the fireplace. I do think you need something to liven the room up. Simple curtains (panels), floor to ceiling. Perhaps in combination with white simple blinds.
I wonder if you like these ideas:
Portland Hills House · More Info

living room · More Info
    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 12:11PM
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These are great ideas. Here are a few more photos from different angles. Please excuse the mess.
    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:00PM
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Dated vertical blinds need to go. Paint the fan blades or replace the fan with something more substantial and contemporary. Pull the sectional out of the corner and center it floating in front of the FP on a big beautiful rug. Add a large round coffee table and two chairs with a side table between them. In the corner where the changing table was, add a family game table, chairs and floor lamp, or drop a good looking drum chandy from the ceiling in place of the recessed light can. Mount the TV above the FP, and on the wall opposite it add a large bookcase, reading chair and floor lamp. Too bad about the baseboard heat. How about we help with the nursery and playroom, so this area can be company ready? Might want to add a toy chest to the left of the sliders and allow a minimal amount of toys in the room. It will look great when you're done!
Family Room · More Info

Randall Mars · More Info

Contemporary Living Room · More Info

Spur Road - Edina, MN · More Info

South Charlotte House Family Room · More Info

Hillgrove · More Info
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:30PM
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decoenthusiaste this is awesome! when can you swing by??
    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:39PM
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Haha... your kid is definitely taking over the place. It is almost like 'the smaller the person, the more space he/she takes up' ;-) You definitely need storage space for toys there.
I do think it would look much better if you pull the couch out of the corner and a rug would give the seating area definition.
You could also try to turn the sectional around (1/4) and move it more towards the fireplace, so that you sort of split the room in two with it. Although it might result in a weird entry into the room. But perhaps worth trying?
Love the idea of a big round coffee table. I'm not a big fan of tv's over fireplaces, but that is a personal thing. Would much prefer it where it is now, but in/on a white piece of furniture that neatly fits the space. Maybe made to measure, with a lower section to put the tv on and a higher section for books/ornaments.

You may want to consider putting a couple of skylight windows in the roof at some point. We had a group of 4 Velux skylights put in our ceiling, similar to yours, over the dining room. So much more light! Really worth the expense and hassle.

Good luck.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 1:03AM
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love the skylight idea for brightening this room. CAROLINS tell me more about your new skylights. a month ago i decided the great rm ceiling needs painting. then the ideas snowballed. cover it and adjoining rooms in painted beadboard, replace lighting and add sklights.i haven't done anything yet. please give any info and words of wisdom on the skylights. also some idea of the cost including installation. thanks so much.
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 4:09AM
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Can't give you any info about the costs, because it included plasterboarding and skimming the ceilings (kitchen and dining room) too. Besides, I live in the Netherlands, so it could be an entirely different story here :-) Also, ours are remote controlled and we have screens on the outside (which we never close, so that was a waste of money. But I guess they could be useful if you don't have huge trees providing shade.).
I've included an image of our dining room. The ceiling used to be painted plywood. Not nice. We always used to have the lights on during the day, but that's not necessary any more. We love our roof windows!
Ours are Velux, http://www.veluxusa.com/
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 6:41AM
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absolutely beautiful carolins. thank you for sharing. love the skylighta and all of the glass to enjoy the woods. good to know about the screens and remote.
i just love houzz. i'm in the SE U.S. one minute i'm sharing ideas with someone in turkey and the next it's the netherlands. life is good.
2 Likes    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 7:11AM
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I would say your biggest issue is the fireplace. I would paint it white and put a rustic piece of reclaimed wood on top, or keep it modern and reface it with something contemporary - either tile or marble. You definitely need some storage for the toys. Ikea has some great things for that.
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 7:20AM
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Promethean Remodeling, LLC
I think the room is screaming for built-ins integrated with the fireplace. The heat under the cabinets could be replaced with fan assisted toe-kick heaters. See the attached photo.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 7:46AM
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Would love to come and help! My hands really get itchy when I see some of the dilemmas! You can do it!
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:41AM
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