How could I brighten up this room?

This is my living room. I thought about doing a whitewash on the brick. The walls have already been painted a very light shade of green. The beams are dark, the leather couch is dark and the fireplace is dark. The floors are actually wide pine and are not so dark ( not sure if the photo does them justice).
Thanks for any advice!
q does anyone have any suggestions about how i could brighten up this ro, home decor, home decor dilemma
  34 answers
  • Pauline thomas Pauline thomas on Sep 18, 2016
    Also the beams make the room smaller it would open it up if the beams were taken down the ceiling and walls painted a pale cream. And lay beige coloured carpet and it would go with the dark furniture
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Sep 18, 2016
    Personally I do not think a white wash per say would be the answer against the dark browns between the furniture and the wood.Changing out the carpeting,drapes and pillows may give the room a different effect.I would start there and see if you like the room any better before attempting the fireplace.
    • Michelle Michelle on Sep 19, 2016
      I think that is a good idea! Before making a huge change that would be hard to undo. I had a bathroom with no window. It was painted light yellow like the hall and kitchen. But I hated the bathroom no matter the shower curtain,towels or rugs I used. Finally I found a light green paint and bam that made the difference. I went on to paint the hall and kitchen the same color. Ultimately I believe if it is your house do what you want! It doesn't matter if someone who may own the house one day likes it or not. They will change everything anyway! So if you want white brick go for it! But try simple changes first.
  • I bet a light rug, throw pillows and curtains would make a big difference! I would also consider adding some lighter accent decor to your mantle (maybe a white reclaimed wood painted sign or cotton ball wreath?). Also maybe you could paint your TV stand a light color. I love to original bricks and rustic beams so I would hate for you to paint them and cover all that character up and buying new furniture is pretty spendy!
  • William William on Sep 18, 2016
    Whitewashing the brick would brighten the room! The dark beams do make the room smaller. Gives the appearance of a low ceiling. I would also whitewash the beams. Then add some light toned accessories, pillows, throws on sofas, a floor lamp to throw light in the room and on the ceiling,
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    • William William on Sep 19, 2016
      If your kitchen is bright enough keep the beams dark in the kitchen, but if your looking for an open concept, whitewash all the beams, if that is a plan. Personally. I would whitewash all the beams in an off white or eggshell tone while keeping the ceiling a bright white. This would brighten up the space, but not lose the beams and give visual height to the room. I would also hang the clock over the fireplace. It's kind of lost in the corner and would look great over a whitewashed fireplace. Take the picture off the fireplace, get a picture stand or make one and set it in front of the fireplace as a screen cover to cover the black fireplace screen. You can play around with all the ideas here and see what works for you. In the end, it is your space.
  • Mary-Ann Mary-Ann on Sep 19, 2016
    I did something recently which really lightened the look of my brick fireplace. I added cream white doors to the area above the mantle and then decorated the mantle in front of the doors. It was a simple fix and made a huge difference.
  • Sandra. Jackson Sandra. Jackson on Sep 19, 2016
    You could always white wash the beams instead of the bricks, change the walls a different colour and have a lighter floor.
  • Patsy Patsy on Sep 19, 2016
    If you paint the brick,it will make the room look lighter and bigger.
  • Ann G Ann G on Sep 19, 2016
    Paint the stone fire place white or an off white. Ive seen it on several home reno shows and what a difference it makes
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    • Rhonda Miller Rhonda Miller on Sep 24, 2016
      Don't paint inside. Paint is not made for high heat. They have spray paint for engines and ovens and grills for high heat. Must say high heat
  • Ada1383354 Ada1383354 on Sep 19, 2016
    I would paint fireplace as other suggested but i would also paint the walls a creamy white. Leave the wood beams and mantel as is. the white will brighten the room and the wood contrast is perfect
  • Gerry Davis Gerry Davis on Sep 19, 2016
    We have some very old, unique bricks in our family room/kitchen and we would never paint them, BUT we painted all the woodwork and doors white as well as the beams and it made a huge difference. We also painted the walls a very light beige. I notice on HGTV that people are excited about finding brick walls in a home.
  • Linda Linda on Sep 19, 2016
    I painted mine to match décor- mixed own paint using primer as base. I love it, but it was hard working up the courage to do it.
  • Kathy Haines Cramer Kathy Haines Cramer on Sep 19, 2016
    I would paint the walls, including the wood paneling , and the beams a lighter color. I'm not a fan of brick, so I would also paint that. lol. Or maybe white wash some of te darker bricks.......Or put some plaster on it making it look really old In the "old world" kind of way. Kind of like this.... Also, if you could some how illuminate the artwork on the mantle. :)
  • Pauline Pauline on Sep 19, 2016
    What about skylights?
  • Jackie Jackie on Sep 19, 2016
    A man I know who has worked with brick all his life, told me not to paint brick, it will deteriorate. I would be tempted in your livingroom, it would look great! Good luck!
  • Jennifer Jennifer on Sep 19, 2016
    Paint the ceiling beams white. I did that in my old house and was happy with it. Also, paint your mantle above the fireplace white. The black fireplace enclosure thing may have to go but I can't see what it looks like behind it so I'm not sure. I can't see the window or door there with the curtains either but take those curtains down and put up a white cellular shade or just a curtain topper depending if you need privacy or not.
  • Jennifer Jennifer on Sep 19, 2016
    Oh also, that wall paneling may need to be painted white too.
  • Donna Powell Donna Powell on Sep 19, 2016
    Hey. Great room but it is a bit dark. Besides painting the fireplace (which would help) you could also add some tall floor lamps that would bounce more light off the ceiling. And since most of your furnishings are dark, you could add a lighter colored rug and some white pillows and throws to brighten up the furniture. If you don't want to paint the fireplace just change your mantel accessories to all light colors. Even changing the drapery to sheers or white would make a difference. Hope this helps.
  • Gill Moreton Gill Moreton on Sep 19, 2016
    Hi, I'd do the following: whitewash the brick, the wood on the walls and the beams; place a large mirror on the wall opposite the window; lighten the colour of the TVs unit; and get some cushions in lighter shades! Phew!
  • Pat Pat on Sep 19, 2016
    We painted out rustic dark beams white like the ceiling.....looks so much better. We painted our white brick fireplace a sort beige and the paneled walls are now light yellow. Our floor has light beige is now so light and airy. I think you should paint the dark beams like the ceiling and then see now you like your room.
  • R Walter R Walter on Sep 19, 2016
    Have you seen the German schmeer that the Gaines did on TV. That would definitely lighten the fireplace but retain some of the original brick color. link to see what it looks like.
  • Cristine Meixner Cristine Meixner on Sep 19, 2016
    I'm with Gill.
  • Rhonda Miller Rhonda Miller on Sep 19, 2016
    If u decide to whitewash the fireplace use a stain for brick that was it will hold up unlike paint. I would do the fireplace and the paneling on the walls. Light throw pillow on the couch or throw blanket. I love the ceiling beams and would not touch them. After everything else is lighten the beams will pop and look great and be a special feature. Start small and with the easy stuff. A frosted glass front tv cabinet and pillows could be a small start
  • Carol Carol on Sep 19, 2016
    I would put in the ceiling scattered here & there lights. The room certainly needs more light. I would go with a little lighter floor with an interesting geometric pattern.
  • Diane Niksic Diane Niksic on Sep 19, 2016
    Paint the beams white and the ceiling and the walls a light blue,hope this helps
  • A distressed white finish on the wood beams, distressed white on the brick (the German Schmeer is a great idea). Light and bright throws and pillows, off white walls. More lighting, possible pot lights between the beam.
  • Deanna Nassar Deanna Nassar on Sep 20, 2016
    Cover the brick with thin plywood and paint a light color. Put a contrasting piece over the opening that can be removed when in use. Then if you change your mind you still have the bricks untouched. Re-do the beams in a lighter color maybe blonde. If you remove the beams you might have to put up a new ceiling. You can cover furniture with lighter colored sheets, blankets. Do you knit or crochet? A large afghan would add some color to the room.
  • Debi53 Debi53 on Sep 22, 2016
    Although you might love the stained beams, they do darken the room. Paint them and the rest of the ceiling a soft white--not your typical 'ceiling' white. The beams will still be there and add interest, they will just not darken the room. I also think the green is not a great choice for the room. A very soft aqua will look great against your dark couches.I would also paint out the lower paneling--either the same shade as your ceiling or the color of the upper wall. There is no rule that says you have to paint the lower wall a different color. Stain your fireplace the same shade of white (but use masonry stain, not paint) as your ceiling if you want it to stand out, or stain it the color of your wall if you want it to blend in. (Our fireplace just seemed to take over our whole room. After staining it dark, then white, I finally did it our wall color and am finally happy with it.--just a thought.) If you really want to add light, hire an electrician to put in ceiling can lights. As long as he can get the wiring pulled to the different area of your living room ceiling, it's not really that expensive. Get someone to just come out and give you a quote.
  • Marilyn Zaruba Marilyn Zaruba on Sep 22, 2016
    I wish I could see your windows but it appears you might have heavy drapes blocking part of them. I had the same problem so took down the drapes, left the sheers and it made a huge difference. Also, paint those beams and that will make the ceiling appear higher and brighter. I would vote to whitewash that fireplace. Do not touch those floors...I would love to have them.
  • JAC10175653 JAC10175653 on Sep 22, 2016
    Judith Chilcutt, San Antonio Paint the walls, ceiling & beams "off white"; remove the drapes, leaving sheer ones. Replace the picture above the fireplace with the clock from the wall; it will pick up the pattern from the rug. Replace the dark fireplace screen with a brass one; it will add brightness; add bright color pillows to the sofa & chair & add a similar toned throw on the back of the sofa.
  • Jackie Jackie on Sep 23, 2016
    I apologize, I am correct and I am wrong! First off, I live in Canada where the weather is extreme. Outside brick will deteriorate if it is painted, it needs air. Inside brick can be painted with no problems in the future.
  • Rhonda Miller Rhonda Miller on Sep 24, 2016
    Brick stain. Don't have to keep touching up or repainting. All home improvement stores have it and u can order it. Many many colors. Brink stain is the answer not paint on brick
  • Diane Niksic Diane Niksic on Sep 25, 2016
    We painted our brick more than 20 years ago we used cheap water baste paint ,it still looks great,because the paint soaked into the brick and it looks it looks like light gray,We used white.some of the natural colour of the brick is showing through ,we watered down the paint so it's just a wash not solid so there is nothing to peel ,try experimenting with different colours ,but thin it with water.Good luck hope this helps
    • Elaine Elaine on Sep 26, 2016
      Absolutely correct, Diane! There are many brick painted houses around where I used to live and presently live plus painted stucco and I always check them out and never see paint peeling, cracking or falling off. As you know, if you live in Ontario, we had a severe winter (about two winters ago) and non-stop heat this summer and they still are all holding up and look fine.
  • Elaine Elaine on Sep 26, 2016
    Re outdoor brick, I live in southern Ontario and drive by a house that had its exterior painted back in 1966 and the paint STILL looks good! Re inside, I personally have found green really seems to "suck up" any light entering a room. However, if you don't want to repaint, paint the fireplace a warm white or warm taupe, add a cream colored throw on the couch, plus lighter cushions. Also reduce the number of items on your mantel (if you can) and add just a few lighter colored accessories. Pick a few larger items rather than a bunch of little things for more impact. Go to Pinterest for ideas. I love dark beams but if you still find the room dark, paint them a soft driftwood looking color. That "weathered" look is very popular right now and always looks classic and classy. A live plant (not a bunch of small ones but one good sized plant) always adds "life" to a room. Perhaps a palm - which doesn't require too much light and are tough to kill. I wish I was there in person! I'd have fun helping you! Also, if you have a coffee or side table, add something shiny - like a brass bowl - to add some "gleam" to the room. Take down the pictures over the couch - if you can - and add a large smart looking mirror. That will bounce light around the room.
  • Elaine Elaine on Sep 26, 2016
    PS: I just took a second look at the photos, and should add .... a mirror above the mantel would be lovely if you don't want to change the ones above the couch.