How can I brighten my den?

My house was built in 1920 and the den area has solid oak paneling on the walls and the ceiling. Does anyone have any suggestions of how I can brighten up that room? The carpet is a rust color also.

  16 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Oct 14, 2017
    White wash the paneling

  • Fern Hoglund Fern Hoglund on Oct 14, 2017
    I have the same situation and. I have decided to remove all the panels and replace with drywall. Then your options will be endless as far as paint colour

  • Angel Ashmore Angel Ashmore on Oct 14, 2017
    I painted my paneling on the walls and ceilings. It made all the difference in the world. I also used mirrors, they reflect light giving you so much more brightness. Good luck!

  • Ellis Ellis on Oct 14, 2017
    I wouldn't take out the paneling, solid oak would be outrageously expensive today. Get a good wood cleaner, marked safe for finishes, and clean your paneling first, before you do anything else. Test it on an inconspicuous spot first. I'm betting that any paneling that old will be pretty dirty, just from the dirt in the air, heating, cooking, smoking...

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Oct 14, 2017
    Nice Bright Pictures on Panelling.......

  • Mary Riva Mary Riva on Oct 14, 2017
    Paint the panneling

  • Mary Mary on Oct 14, 2017
    I filled in the groves then wallpapered over the paneling

  • Barb Barb on Oct 14, 2017
    I personally would paint the paneling a light aqua color this goes with rust add white trim to make that walls pop and the eyes moving around the room and start layering with throw pillows in aqua and vases, remember if you find the right item but the wrong color, just spray paint them so maybe the item now in the room will have new life. This will brighten and solve your question 📌💫. Hers sample of how stunning aqua is😊

  • Fiddledd224 Fiddledd224 on Oct 14, 2017
    Pick a neutral that is midway between the existing color and the color of your carpet and paint it using a primer and then top coat or a paint that has both. The primer is very important since the paneling is probably very porous and will soak up the paint and distort the paint color.

  • Rita Rita on Oct 14, 2017
    Don’t paint 100 year old oak! Clean it and use a liming solution to lighten the wood and enhance the graining. Pull out that rust carpet! see what’s underneath. Or place a light sisal rug on top to be almost wall to wall. Consider furniture with white slip covers....I know that sounds scary, but it’s seriously very easy to maintain. If they get dirty, throw them in the washer with some bleach and them come out spotless! Use table lamps and floor lamps to add light and shiny surfaces to reflect it. put white sheers on your windows.

  • Jacqueline Moore Jacqueline Moore on Oct 14, 2017
    Thank you for the idea although I meant to say it was knotted pine paneling! I guess you could probably do the same thing to that as you could the solid oak?
    Thank you all for the ideas!!

  • Karen Proctor Karen Proctor on Oct 14, 2017
    We have paneling in our den when has one tiny window, so very little light. I convinced my husband to paint. We covered the giant brick wall (with an unusable fireplace) with beadboard, and then painted the whole room in very light green paint. Molding was painted white. What a difference! Even though this house is 140 years old even my husband was shocked at how light and airy it is, now. The dark brick and dark paneling just made it so gloomy. He even made shelves in the fireplace and put all the electronics for our tv and music. A nice little door covers that up. I feel that preserving an old bit of the house as opposed to making our life better is a good trade off.

  • Suellen Hintz Suellen Hintz on Oct 14, 2017
    The paneling sounds as if it isn't original to the house but even if it is I'd think about painting it. With all surfaces a dark color there's no other way to brighten it up. If reluctant to do this, at least paint the ceiling and install new carpet. If the paneling is from 1920 I'd contact a company that buys items like this, then use the $ to make the room livable.

    • Jacqueline Moore Jacqueline Moore on Nov 02, 2017
      Suellen Hintz the flooring throughout the entire house has solid wood floors as well. Then my grand father put carpet down in every room except for my bedroom which still has the original hardwood. And yes all the paneling is original. The bathroom and kitchen has linoleum floors! Carpet is going to be replaced for sure and may go back with the hardwood!!

  • Suellen Hintz Suellen Hintz on Oct 14, 2017
    Knotty pine really deserves to be painted or ripped out. Don't hesitate.

  • Suellen Hintz Suellen Hintz on Nov 02, 2017
    You are so lucky to have a house your grandfather built; I'm pretty sentimental. However, try to balance sentiment with livability today. Take it slow and be sure of your decisions. Could be stripping and refinishing the paneling would lighten it. Paint the ceiling and use light colored furniture. Perhaps slipcovered? Layers of good lighting. One thing to think about doing is insulation under the flooring/house to add comfort to the floors and lots of rugs. Have fun!

  • Jacqueline Moore Jacqueline Moore on Nov 10, 2017
    Suellen Hintz it was actually built by my great grand parents! The windows still have the old roll up shades so I'm about to install the 2" vinyl blinds with a light colored draped curtain panel! Hoping that'll give a little more light. Put up light colored pictures instead of the dark. It's gonna be a long going project but hopefully in the end it'll look brighter and up to date!
    Thank you for all your ideas!