What can I do to lighten up a dark family room?

About 30 years ago we stained the tongue and grove, rough sawn paneling It served us well while the kids were young, but we would now like to update it a bit.
Also, we have a plush carpet that is difficult to vacuum and a dark color, so we are thinking of adding luxury vinyl planking in a light brown color.
What is the easiest way to whitewash the paneling before we install the new floor? And we should really scrape the “stalactite“ like ceiling plaster that is in poor shape.
Feeling over whelmed and in over our heads. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance! Marie from Maine
q what can i do to lighten up a dark family room
  9 answers
  • Judy Judy on Nov 11, 2017
    We had panning and tried to update it. Decide if you want to hide the grain. Find a good primer for dark colors. I'm sure there are videos on YouTube about this. If it's rough paneling painting can catch it. We had to sand ours. Good luck.

  • 2dogal 2dogal on Nov 11, 2017
    I did this - I primed the wall paneling first, then painted it. It looks great! I have a brick fireplace, but decided against painting it. I know in a few years brick will be back in style and I can't remove the paint. Vinyl planking in a medium color will also brighten your room. I'd put a large area rug on top.
    The ceiling? I have the same. I hate it, but am leaving it alone due to money constraints. I'd do the ceiling first due to the dust and dirt it will create. Just do one project at a time and you won't feel as overwhelmed. My best to you.

    • Marie Marie on Nov 11, 2017
      Sounds like you have been through this. Thanks for your quick reply.
      I guess we should start with the ceiling b/c all the debris will fall on the carpet which we want to replace anyway.
      Then priming the rough sawn pine should come next for the same reason.

      Did you sand your paneling first? Did you just apply a light white wash, or did you cover the paneling completely? Somehow covering the paneling completely sounds easier. What paint and color did you use?
      Sorry for so many questions, but we are both retired and not as strong as we used to be.

      Thanks for for your good wishes.

  • Carol Carol on Nov 11, 2017
    What you need is light accent colors. You could get nick knacks in light bright color & good lighting. Choose a pastel color that you like & go with it.

  • Joyce Holden Joyce Holden on Nov 11, 2017
    You could add floor to ceiling built in cabinets, painted white to lighten up the room. Another easy fix would be floor to ceiling curtains in a light color, hung on either side of the fireplace.

  • Karen Tokarse Karen Tokarse on Nov 11, 2017
    If you're going with light brown flooring, paint the paneling a lighter cream, but paint the fireplace bricks to match the flooring. Sal85902 is right about the ceiling, and I would paint the beams to match the ceiling. The beams are too heavy for the height of the room.

  • Vrohde Vrohde on Nov 11, 2017
    I would look to see if the beams can be removed easily. They look like an add-on they might be hollow. They had those years ago. Oops, I just dated myself! I would then work on the other parts of the ceiling it will be messy but the end will be awesome. The paneling now. A restaurant near me had rough siding throughout really dark. They took paint in white and added water to their desire and rolled it on. It looks beautiful kind of like whitewash much lighter but also let the wood grain show through. You would have to test how much water to add more water lighter coverage and so on. I sure hope this helps you. Believe I know the retirement part for sure. Happy days.

  • Linda Linda on Nov 11, 2017
    Light Sand the paneling and paint a few coatS of white or a cream white. It transformed my bedroom from dated to updated. Did it years ago and still love it!!

  • 2dogal 2dogal on Nov 11, 2017
    Marie, I moved to this house 3 years ago at 70 years old. I've repainted the inside of the whole house by myself - you can too.
    Regarding the paneling: I primed then painted it, not whitewashed it. I used Cottage White, a creamy off white by Behr. It seems to subtly change color with the lighting and colors in the room. I like it, but you may want to get a sample paint chart and see what color looks good in your room. I'd say if the paneling is really rough, I'd sand first.

  • Cindy Hagemann Cindy Hagemann on Nov 12, 2017
    We had the same issue in this house, dark paneling, dark brick fireplaces, and old dingy carpet. We primed and painted the paneling, whitewashed the brick, and replaced the flooring with vinyl plank flooring. What a difference, it’s like a new home!