Asked on Sep 17, 2014

Living room- what do I do with it?! Help!!

by Albion
I'm struggling with ideas for our living room. We have a high slanted ceiling. I feel like the room is dark overall. There is a hideous wet bar that I desperately need to update. We replace the old, broken, brass fireplace last winter, so at least that's a start!
old fireplace
I'm thinking about using chalk paint on the cabinet part of the wet bar, taking out the sink and replacing the counter, removing the mirrors, and changing the shelves.
What would you do with this space if you could get your hands on it?
I want it to be a cozy, comfortable, and happy room. I know it has potential, but I just can't figure out a game plan!
  78 answers
  • Blindsgalore Blindsgalore on Sep 17, 2014
    Have you thought of updating your window treatments? Woven wood shades are impeccable, but I'm not so sure the mixing of wood tones works in this room. A nice Roman Shade or Cellular Shade might compliment the room nicely :)
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  • Anna @Annabode Anna @Annabode on Sep 17, 2014
    This room has great bones! I would start by painting the wood paneling white to match the rest of the walls. Then you have some options: if you wanted to leave the brick unpainted, I'd definitely paint the mantel white to make it pop. If you wanted to paint the brick, you could do it in the white or in a dark gray--even a color--and leave the mantel unpainted. I love this room where they painted the brick turquoise. It's a leap, but it looks amazing: Definitely update your window treatments, as the wood is too matchy-matchy. I like roman shades, personally. Then I'd try to bring in some color with an area rug, couch, chairs, and pillows. You could even make a cushion for the window seat and add some throw pillows there too. As for the wet bar area--is this connected to your kitchen? It's difficult to tell the arrangement from the photos. I think all your plans for that space are great. You could add some pendant lights and bar stools if it's going to be an eating area. Good luck! I'd love to see what you do with it!
  • I think you need to beef up the mantle. It is too small for the scale of the fireplace. Plus you need to bring big drama to the mantle! that wreath is too small and is lost in the brick. is that your tv on the floor? and kids toys in the room? I see a bay type window with a seat which could be additional seating for guests in beautiful fabric cushions and window coverings. I love light sheers in my rooms because I love the sun. To update you could paint the beams and wood (I did this and love it). I would think about building shelves on each side of the fireplace and putting a beautiful backing of fabric or wallpaper on the backs of the bookcases. If that is your tv on the ground then i would seriously think about different room arrangements and put tv on the large wall. where is the wet bar in relation to the rest of room? I would not have a sectional in that room and would think about comfy sofa and 2 comfy chairs for better seating for adults and tv watching if this is the room for that. You could also use some color on the walls even if it is a beautiful neutral taupe/beige color. As far as the wet bar, do you need it? but i do not know where it is in relation to everything else. you have a great room to work with. i had 4 kids at one time and I always had their toys in their rooms in the closet with a toybox and shelves and baskets. i just threw some ideas out there. but the room painted and trimmed in white would give this room a makeover for little money. good luck
  • Kathy Kathy on Sep 17, 2014
    Put tv over the fireplace and maybe lower the mantel?
  • Curtis Mikolaiczik Curtis Mikolaiczik on Sep 17, 2014
    I think you should sand the wood wall just enough to take the shine off and then do a white wash over that and the brick. Not enough for it to be completely white painted, but enough to soften it. Or you could strip the wall completely and use different colored stains and make it look like a recycled wood wall. It is a good room with tons of potential. Or you could build built in shelving on that wall and use it as a library and decoration area. I'm jealous of this space!
  • Susan Alkire Susan Alkire on Sep 17, 2014
    I would paint the fireplace brick. I painted mine white, didn't fill in the caulk, just painted over and let its natural beauty come out. I would leave the ceiling white and paint the walls whatever color you want to live with... Everyone was shocked at the beauty of the fireplace after it was painted. I would then live the wood just exactly as it is. A pale green wall would be beautiful. If you really like color, mine were cranberry on the bottom, khaki (which is like a pale gray) on top and then my fireplace and trim were white. You already have the darkened wood which would be a natural trim. Then throw around the colors you like that match and as long as it has the colors you chose it will pull it all together. Paint is the miracle, cheapest cure for most anything. ;) Good luck with whatever you choose.
  • Nancy W Nancy W on Sep 17, 2014
    u do need to draw attention to the fireplace its your focal point ..right now it blends with the needs to POP.if u dont wanna paint like annebode suggested u need brighter colors on the mantel think big and bold.. maybe some large vases or a big picture ..or both. what is on the opposite wall .. move the children's toys away from the window ..thats a beautiful wiindow seat , need cushions and some throw pillows that will make it warm and inviting ..if its in the budget i would get another sofa ..and put it facing the fireplace .. if not try using them apart and maybe put entertainment center on that wall for the tv..hope my suggestions was helpful.. good luck look forward to see how it turns out
  • Cecelia Mavis Cecelia Mavis on Sep 17, 2014
    I agree the walls in a pale off white lighter beige color and Pure white trim on the mantel. It's a gorgeous room. Some type of display floating shelves on those large walls next to the brick would be nice. Definitely let the mirror and shelves go from the wet bar too.
  • Nena Lynn Nena Lynn on Sep 17, 2014
    Everything makes the eye go UP in the room...the roof line, the beams, the gigantic brick wall. Think HORIZONTAL. Maybe whitewash or paint the paneling and brick, then do a very wide mantel that extends wall to wall over the fireplace, and add a few horizontal shelves on the sides (storage!). Paint the beams the same color as the ceiling. Perhaps even consider doing some subtle, wide horizontal stripes on the other walls to carry on the look throughout the room. And while the sofa is beautiful and comfy looking, it looks too big for the room making it appear cramped. Using smaller furniture in brighter colors in the furnishings will help ground the room too. I hope you'll post more as you work on this very interesting room!
  • Debbie Rowinsky Johnson Debbie Rowinsky Johnson on Sep 17, 2014
    I would paint the slanted wall a color.If you are keeping the walls white then you could pick any color you wanted. I would do something with the mantel The mantel is too small for the wall.
  • Dana Burnett Dana Burnett on Sep 17, 2014
    Get the mirror and glass shelves off the bar. Get a new counter top if you can afford it.
  • Sarah Marks Sarah Marks on Sep 17, 2014
    light gray and white stacked stone on the fireplace and lighted white shelf units on either side running all the way to the ceiling.
  • Sally holway Sally holway on Sep 17, 2014
    How about whitewashing the wood walls and fireplace, taking the mantle down and turning the whole wall into a great art gallery? Start with BIG art...fill in with smaller prints, canvases, etc.
  • David David on Sep 17, 2014
    A stone veneer over the brick or just paint the brick. Use a hand hewn cypress or cedar log/beam as mantle, adjustment height depends on thickness of the timber. Get the gloss off of the wood, maybe a de stressed look or built-ins on each side using the wall as the inside back. Have Fun
  • Carole Carole on Sep 17, 2014
    It's a nice room. I would focus on the fireplace, beams and wood wall. Would malt it a lodge like room.
  • Nena Lynn Nena Lynn on Sep 17, 2014 of my best friends lives in Naperville! Small world!
  • Bamasusanna Bamasusanna on Sep 17, 2014
    I'm going in a different direction from everyone else. LOL I would keep the brick as is, but paint the mantle an egg plant color. Then I'd darken the wood walls and beams. Bring in your color with some art work. A tryptic would work well between the vents. Add a window treatment with some color and repeat those colors with throw pillows throws, etc on your couch. I like your idea for the bar. Get rid of the mirror and sink! use that as your display area, or turn it into book shelves. The TV needs a new home... but I can't figure out where! LOL
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  • Kayo Frazier Kayo Frazier on Sep 17, 2014
    Ok, Here's my 2 cents...I would leave the wood paneling, paint the brick to white, replace the mantel w/ something bigger chunkier to match the scale. Then on the longer side of the fireplace & mantel I would install floor to ceiling free floating bookshelves. The upper shelves can hold artwork or books. Bottom shelves can hold baskets of toys. or whatever else you have. For the bar, I would take down the mirror & shelves then pick your favorite color & paint the wall. I would put up shelves again, but I use corbels to hold the shelves. I would replace the counter w/ a dark quartz or silestone. So, those are my suggestions...Take em or leave em.
  • Michelle Wilson Michelle Wilson on Sep 17, 2014
    Box out the upper half of the fireplace brick, wrap around mantle, book shelves either side of the fireplace, paint or remove the paneling, paint out or cover the brick with cultured stone with a black slate for the hearth....just a thought !
  • Kelli Hembrook Kelli Hembrook on Sep 18, 2014
    Have a different rustic mantel built that houses the electrical cords for the TV. Mount the TV above the fireplace and have framed in like a picture or mirror would be. Then tackle the bookshelves etc.
  • Funnygirl Funnygirl on Sep 18, 2014
    Pretty room.would first prime,paint bar top with a neutral enamel then may need to paint several coats of polyurethane after painting.check with the people in the paint department.They usually have a lot of good advise.I like both the fireplace and wood trim,but not together.I would find some blankets,sheets,tablecloths,curtains,or extra fabric to tack to the walls and around the fireplace in the general colors you might like.I would also paint the mantle last.I like your blinds.To finish the room I would add a fabric valance,and large pillows that coordinate with the colors you choose.I love your room. great bones.I would not paint the ceiling trim.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Sep 18, 2014
    Looking at the styles in your neighborhood, I would never expect this kind of design inside. Please do not get your feelings hurt, but that wood walls and wet bar era was not one of my favorite. But this is still a beautiful room! I would take out the piping in the bar and cap it off. Remove the bar top, the shelves and mirror...all that says bar. Put on a board top (no overhang...just make it the size of the other shelves) and then add more shelves for a bookcase. Decorate with baskets, books and things you love like family pictures. Paint the room a pretty light color. You have a several beautiful very light grays in your brick...pick a gray with just a whisper of color! (Hint: put in white will change the color of the light coming into the room. Blinds can be slanted upward to deflect evening sun.) (You can google how to build and finish off bookshelves on the sides of the shelves that face outward.) Were it me, I would sheetrock over that wood wall if budget allowed or paint it out. If you decide to paint it (which will be pretty) make sure you get a very good primer! Those paints with primers included sound good but my experience has not proven to be good and they are very costly! They take 2 coats no matter what someone says. We tried it and went and got primer and plain old paint to redo the job. Leave the beams and mantel as is for now! Be sure and post photos.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Sep 18, 2014
    P.S. I just had to come back and say that I think all of us are living with a few things that we just want to change...that does not make them bad. I went and changed all my darker hammered door knobs to brass as well as my faucets (the expensive ones) when it was the rage in the early 90s! Know how foolish I feel now! HA! But it is what it is. I am too old to follow is all I can do to keep the place almost dusted! Ha!
  • Kimberly A Kimberly A on Sep 18, 2014
    Well, this caught my attention because the entire back half of my house was paneled exactly like that. We took down the paneling, then drywalled and plastered. We then repainted everything a nice updated light color. You can also resurface your fireplace with wonderful slate tiles. However you may not want to carry that all the way up. You can also drywall and plaster over the top portion which will actually make that area seem less massive. With regard to the wet bar, do you still want to have one? If so, then just put a new counter top on and do mosaic tile backsplash. Good luck with your choices!
  • MaryEllen T MaryEllen T on Sep 18, 2014
    I would get rid of the slanted wood by the fireplace, replace with built-ins on either side. If you want to keep the bar- remove the mirror, replace the older shelving with floating shelves, an new counter top, and paint the base. Beautiful fireplace.
  • Janice Fisher Janice Fisher on Sep 18, 2014
    I agree - that bar is horrid. Take it all out. Paint the fireplace and wood walls.
  • Rob F Rob F on Sep 18, 2014
    Remove the mantel, add a Huge SILVER MIRROR or HUGE SILVER WREATH, replace the broken wood slats on the windows and put black and silver or black and white toille window treatments (ie: roman shades), and hot glue black ribbon or fringe on the lamp shade. You can even make matching pillow covers for the sofa. Get a zebra print or something with red in it for a ground rug under the table.
  • Andrea Robinson Andrea Robinson on Sep 18, 2014
    I like that the wood work matches and I love the exposed brick, so I wouldn't change either one. My plan would be to raise the TV up onto a substantial cabinet. Box out the existing mantel for a more modern look and add 3 floating shelves to match on the longer paneling side with art. I would use a warm neutral paint color on the walls. Replace that lone end table & lamp with a slim floor lamp that can be used for fireside reading. The wet bar would make a nice toy storage area if remodeled, but I would keep it. It would make an adorable "concession stand" if you went with a home theater theme for the room. Maybe add a wine fridge, soda stream and popcorn maker? It would also make a great coffee/beverage center as the kids get older, so I would leave the plumbing connections underneath even if I removed the sink now.
  • Sue Cranmer Sue Cranmer on Sep 18, 2014
    I actually like the fireplace wall but do think the mantle needs to be more substantial. Agree with the lady about repurposing the bar area into shelves. I think different, lighter in color and size furniture could go a long way to making the room seem lighter.
  • Bethar Bethar on Sep 18, 2014
    I like the brick as is, I would love it if my brick was like yours and not ugly plain red brick. I think the wood paneling needs to be painted, too dark and it distracts from the fireplace, which I think should be the focal point. Leave the beams as is. Paint mantel with chalk paint in a neutral color. Decorate mantel and and fireplace with larger items. Roman shades on the windows as Rob F. suggested would be beautiful. You have to live with it so start with paint samples in colors that you like.
    • Jane Jane on Sep 18, 2014
      Excellent ideas. I was thinking along the same lines. I also like the idea of shelves behind the bar and do away with the mirror.
  • Christine S Christine S on Sep 18, 2014
    I have no idea what you should do with your room. The first thing in the picture that I noticed was the precious little girl playing with her dollhouse!
  • Rosemary Kelly Rosemary Kelly on Sep 18, 2014
    I'd leave the brick alone. I might paint the paneling white. I'd wall mount the big screen TV on the wall opposite the windows. Put the Japanese prints on the right side of the fireplace vertically. Maybe shelves on the left? I'd keep the wet bar, but update it. Tearing out plumbing is expensive. Maybe get a slider to shut it off? BTW-I've seen plate glass explode with lit candles under it. I'm hoping the owl is a plug-in. ;)
  • P P on Sep 18, 2014
    Lots of ideas here. l. the wet bar, I feel all you have to do to improve it is remove all the clutter and "stuff" you have around it. "Stuff" cheapens an area. Remove the mirror as it makes it look like a bathroom. A large piece of art or a large sculptural wall piece would look good there. 2. the fireplace, again it needs a very large piece of art or wreath onit the one that's there looks dwarfed by the scale of the room and chimney. Again remove the hanging "stuff" from the mantle. Paint out or replace the wood panel it is fighting with the brick for attention. I think you would like your fireplace when you have removed the wood. Tall book cases would look good as longas they were not loaded with more little collectables or "stuff". A nice collection of large pottery pieces would look nice in bold colours. Would liven up the room and be a nice contrast to the black leather. There you go.............all you have to do is .........GIT ER DUN P.S. by the way I have the same ceiling issues so I know of what I speak.
  • Trisha Flaherty Trisha Flaherty on Sep 18, 2014
    We have the same look in our house - I have painted the brick a million times and the mantle is too high -- so we are getting the exact same fireplace insert - we just purchased marble tiles to cover the hearth and the front of the hearths panels look like embossed wood panels but they are also tile - then we are going to cover all that brick with random width tongue and grove wainscotting all the way to each side wall - or just to cover all the brick then on either side of the hearth put built in bookcases. then we are going to paint it white to look cottagey. Good Luck!!
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    • Barbara Barbara on Sep 18, 2014
      @Grammie Linda moisten with water the bricks first, primer and then paint. It sounds crazy but the bricks need to be wet for the primer to stick. A friend sprayed his fireplace and the paint has stayed.
  • Pat Pat on Sep 18, 2014
    This room needs a MAJOR decluttering. Perhaps a high, arching faucet replacement - and granite countertop if you can swing it. Furniture is much too LARGE and dark, and huge screen TV and wall decor around the windows add to the eye clutter. Strip this room down and consider cozy areas and the traffic patterns you want.
  • Carla Young Carla Young on Sep 18, 2014
    One tip I'd like to suggest is something I'm not sure you'll like, but here goes. I would sand the finish off of the wood panel and stain the board with different light shades of blues, greens or grays (sort of nautical colors maybe?) whatever color scheme you like. I have seen this done on several decorating websites, etc. That would also mean changing the ceiling beams to match. As for the wet bar, I would remove it all together and make it into a built-in cabinet and shelves. You may even want to paint the fireplace brick a color that matches one of the shades of stain. Good luck.
  • Bethar Bethar on Sep 18, 2014
    Where is the wet bar located? I can't really tell where it is.
  • CK CK on Sep 18, 2014
    Actually I helped a client with nearly the same layout as your room. So I have many ideas to share. However, a lot depends on your budget. I usually give low-medium-high end possibilities to my clients depending on what they feel comfortable with financially. Overall, this room does have a lot of potential :-) Pretty room. Gorgeous windows and I'll bet the view is nice too!
  • Trisha Martin Trisha Martin on Sep 18, 2014
    I think I would choose a pretty accent color to brighten the room. Ocean Blue would be pretty. Paint the wood on the diagonal a pale grey or off white. Mount the TV over the fireplace. Add pillows and a throw in the Ocean Blue. Follow up the bar area with Ocean Blue accents. Use only a few. Chunky candles or a box to hold napkins painted in the Ocean Blue and clear the clutter for clarity. Just think about setting your table-think placement- 4 or 5 wine glasses are not necessary- unless you are having a formal 4 or 5 course dinner. Be happy with less. I have this same problem. Over decorating or wearing too much jewelry. Look at your room and then edit. Only keep what looks really fantastic. Good luck, I will look forward to seeing your "new room"- and may The Force be with you girl! You can do it! We have confidence in you!!!
  • Lynda Burgess Langston Lynda Burgess Langston on Sep 18, 2014
    That bar would make a perfect place for a coffee bar.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Sep 18, 2014
    I'd repurpose the wood - it's "heavy" and takes focus off the fireplace. Camo the vents by painting to match fireplace. Remove the wreath and dolls. Lose the mantle - it is too heavy and rustic for the light-coloured fireplace and your more modern style of furniture. You could hang a large horizontal art piece instead. Maybe paint the walls a darker, warmer shade to distinguish them from the ceiling. Think you need a few blasts of colour. Maybe turquoise, orangy-red in art, cushions, throws to help cozy up the room.
  • Liliana Lejos De México Liliana Lejos De México on Sep 18, 2014
    I would suggest a smaller couch in a neutral color (not a set) then add a comfortable reading chair. Do it slowly that way you get what you need and don´t end up being too cramped. The brick wall is fine ... I have a similar problem I have to take care of.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Sep 18, 2014
    Bar area. Guess you should decide if you actually want a bar area of not. Otherwise, could be used for storage, display, etc. I like the big mirror. You could add some moulding to frame it. Think the countertop needs to be upgraded whether you stay with the bar idea or not. Think there is too much "stuff" in the area. I'd choose the most favs to display.
  • Cathy Thomson Cathy Thomson on Sep 18, 2014
    Keep the wet bar, always handy when accidents happen (Children/Coffee). Remove the mirror, get different shelves but leave the shelve look. The Mantle should come down a bit and if you are going to keep the brick as is, paint the Mantle a bold color (Ocean Blue/Jewel) and the woods ...give them a white wash of sea foam, grey's, whites, blues. Put paint on the other walls to match one of the colors used on the wood. (Choose a pallet of colors you Love!) Break up your couch (add pillows of color) and reposition the TV (My husband hates the TV over the fireplace, they fight for attention). Make an area for the children to color/create by those beautiful windows. Build a storage bin under the bay window area for toys extra pillow, etc.) Put removable cushions on the bay windows. Get long flowing Ceiling to floor (Blackout) curtains that you can close for the Movies on the Big TV. Great Space and lots to choose " to do". Good Luck and Have FUN.
    • Susie Susie on Sep 18, 2014
      @Cathy Thomson Interesting about the mirror removal. I've come to realize that it doubles the amount of stuff, just by reflecting it.
  • Carolyn Morris Carolyn Morris on Sep 18, 2014
    I would mount the television over the fireplace...main focal point in room. Take away all the small things...lamp,accessories. Get a smaller l-piece sofa and maybe a chair to fit the room. A large lamp would be nice. Maybe take the mantel down. The bar could always be made into storage...cabinets, drawers or shelves. I'm sure you'll find a solution you're happy with. Good Luck.
  • Pat Pat on Sep 18, 2014
    First I would take down the diagonal paneling or if not possible, paint it the came color as the walls. I am assuming the bar area is behind the couch? I would take all the shelves down, clean up the clutter so that you have only the mirror and the bar area there. If that doesn't help, I would take down the mirror and hang a small decorative mirror over the sink and artwork around it. Not liking the TV where it is, but until your sweet little girl grows up and gets her doll houses out of the bay window, I would then like to see the couch there and the TV mounted on the wall where you have the pictures (across from the window).
  • Amy Amy on Sep 18, 2014
    Remove the mirror from the bar. Replace the counter with a nice piece of granite. You can most likely find a remnant for pretty cheap since it is a small piece. Maybe a nice tile for the wall ~ consider counter top to ceiling. Replace shelves with a nice wood ~ maybe something to match the mantle. Try a nice warm color on the walls, not dark, just warm ~ something on the order of Benjamin Moore Shaker Beige. You could even carry the color up onto the ceiling. I like the idea previously given of mounting the TV on the wall opposite of the windows. Anchor it with a nice credenza type piece of furniture. Great possibilities in this room. Hope you post when you complete your project!
  • Centrd Centrd on Sep 18, 2014
    Before ripping out the diagonal paneling, I'd try to make it a feature. Planking aka paneling is really popular right now but finished in new ways. My first thought was to do white, but I also like Karla Young's idea to refinish with a blue/green stain wash or a weathered gray look. Whichever works with your decor. I have a designer friend who stained her wood beamed ceiling a spruce blue/green and it makes the room. I'd also leave the fireplace brick in this situation. The wood beams give the room a more rustic look and that's a pretty brick, not an ugly one so it works with the beams. If you picked up the gray in the brick for the back wall, it could be really pretty. Then do the same with the beams. If you don't want the hassle of stripping all that wood, you could use a solid stain and get a similar look. I've used a solid stain taupey gray on my outdoor pergola in the past and it looked awesome. I'm attaching some photos of stained paneling as inspiration. As for the wet bar...I can't tell where it is to offer any suggestions.
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    • Centrd Centrd on Sep 18, 2014
      @Susie I like the white too. Really clean and crisp. I like the pendant idea.
  • Centrd Centrd on Sep 18, 2014
    Another idea for refinishing the wood without stripping. Here are some pics of a person who got a weathered look by staining her wood dark, then topping with a whitewash. If you like that look, you could perhaps consider a dark gel stain, which goes over existing finishes without stripping and then add a whitewash on top of the dark gel stain, to get the same look she got. This way, you still end up with the wood grain showing through a bit.
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  • Grace Gleason Grace Gleason on Sep 18, 2014
    Girl, you need some color on those walls and ceiling. Get a copy of Christopher Lowell's "7 Layers of Decorating" and read it thoroughly. Lose the white. Then decide what to do with the rest of it. You have some beautiful wood and brick in there. Once it's gone, it's gone.
  • Marinda Boydstun Marinda Boydstun on Sep 18, 2014
    Several years ago, I read a feng shui book. Some of it I was already doing, some sounded good, some was "?", and some sounded completely goofy. One of the things it said, that I was already considering, was to put mirrors/metal on the west side/wall. The room where I first put them is the office, whose west wall now reflects the light from the windows on the east wall. For the fireplace wall, I suggest painting the brick and wood(cheaper than replacing it, and I would love to have a fireplace). Other than that, declutter. Someone said the mantel(keep) is too high, and I agree. Halve that distance. Keep the bar- I agree with Cathy that it's handy for accidents, just sleek it up. Maybe hide it with doors(like a closet) or a screen. :)
  • Janis Hill Janis Hill on Sep 18, 2014
    the wet bar could morph into the perfect place for a TV or try some of these ideas: Before you do anything else, figure out your style, so when it is all said and done you will be happy with the results. You can do that here: Personally, I would white wash the brick, leave the wood just as it is and change the wet bar into functional cabinetry/shelves/media center.
  • Susan Susan on Sep 18, 2014
    I have a sister fireplace wall to yours. I have drywall on sides painted a cheerful light yellow. Anything to lighten up the wall. Bright color matching art on the side and a round mirror above will lighten up the room. On the bar a nice piece of granite and no shelves to obstruct the view. Oh yea. Keep that cute baby!
  • Therese C Therese C on Sep 18, 2014
    Replace the wood on the sides of the fireplace with hammered tarnished copper, paint he walls in a soft cream, and change the wet bar into a coffee station, remove the mirror shelves and add a coffee/cappucinno machine and vintage cups. It looks like there are small children there also, so don't forget the hot chocolate machine! Throw some comfy toss pillows on the floor, mount the tv above the fireplace and lower the mantle..then open the doors and yell "Family movie Night!!!" What a fantastic place for the whole family to spend their evenings together!
  • Karen Young Karen Young on Sep 18, 2014
    The slanted paneling looks very dated. Drywall right over it. You may have to remove some of the trim and adjust it a little but much less work than ripping out the paneling. Leave the rustic mantel and make another one that slides right over the old one. For the bar, remove the mirror and glass shelves, again dated.
  • Lisa Salerno Lisa Salerno on Sep 18, 2014
    call me old fashioned, but I like the wood and the brick as it is. lose the dark furniture and put some color on your walls, I think it's your furniture that's making that room dark.. it's too big and overbearing for this room. I agree the mantle is a bit high. I would stain that or paint it. Lose the bamboo shades, they offer no privacy whatsoever at night.
  • Sheena Sheena on Sep 18, 2014
    I think the T.V should go above the mantel. I like the ideas of trying to rehash the wood wall. I think I would tend to make it a quicker fix by just covering with some drywall and painting it. The wet bar I would try and add doors on and use it for books, children's toys, and if the counter could be used for a desk then it could be closed off but open when needed. This of course would mean removing the mirror and the glass shelves for something a little more solid. Storage always seems to be an issue but to be able to close it off is a plus.
  • Kathy Sorrentino Kathy Sorrentino on Sep 18, 2014
    i would paint the wood the same as the walls, a color you like, would not put the tv over the fireplace it look to high. do need some color, maybe with pillows or throws, and art work. not sure about the wet bar, can't see much of it.
  • Ikbe Ikbe on Sep 19, 2014
    Paint over the wood.
  • Susan Johnston Susan Johnston on Sep 19, 2014
    Drywall over the wood paneling or if that not possible paint it to match the walls( prime with Kilz or some other primer first). Perfect place for TV would be over the fireplace but lower the mantel if possible. If you can't do that, rearrange the furniture. Put the TV on the wall opposite the window and the sectional in front of the window. I'd think about painting the ceiling beams to match the walls also. New wide wooden white blinds would look good on the windows. For the wet bar get rid of the mirror(gives it a 70's-80's vibe) and the glass shelves. If it were my house I'd get rid of the sink too and turn it into a built in bookcase.Add a lot of bright colored, patterned pillows.
  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Sep 20, 2014
    You need more color in the room. Take inspiration from the Kozyndan prints. The fireplace looks washed out because the wreath get lost in all the brick. The furniture is so big it overpowers the room and the TV is at odd angle. I don't watch TV, so listen to some of the other advises here as to what to with it. I like the space on either side of the fireplace, but not the paneling. Are you are reader or do you collect figurines, plates, small sculptures? I would install shelves and put books or your collectible on those shelves. Please post pictures of what you decide. Good luck
  • Susie Susie on Sep 22, 2014
    This may look a little like, "the call is coming from the inside the house". But I have the same fireplace (but on the short wall), and have been trying to work this one out for myself. (As you can tell, I'm no artist) I have to echo some of the others: 1.) Paint the wood a light color. Those high ceilings make for low eaves - hence low light. Painting over wood makes a more interesting visual than just drywall. 2.) Wrap the edges of the fireplace with wood or MDF to diminish the visual impact of all that brick. It's not damaging, and when in 30 years your kids see the swing back around to "oooh brick! I love the brick!", then no one will be saying, "I don't KNOW why Grandma did that, but we can't undo it." 3.) Put in some cantilevered shelves on either side of the fireplace. You'll bring in color & excitement with the stuff you put on them. 4.) Paint the mantelpiece. 5.) Hang an interesting lamp to the long side - or perhaps a sconce. 6.) Take down that mirror over the bar. It reflects all the schtuff, visually doubling it, and takes away from the little novelties you like to share. Then let us see what you actually do.
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  • Sheri Frizzell Sheri Frizzell on Sep 24, 2014
    I would put some airy bold art in three pannels ascending from short to tall with the flow of the ceiling and get rid of the wreath that just blends in.
  • Jody Lange Jody Lange on Sep 24, 2014
    first I would change the brick on the fireplace to like tile and don't go all the way up to the top. Then my tv would go above the fireplace. Get a smaller sectional or a couch and 2 chairs or recliners on the wood I would replace it with dry wall and paint right now very out dated. and change the mantel.
    • See 1 previous
    • Jody Lange Jody Lange on Oct 01, 2014
      @Jody Lange Susie good question maybe lower the mantel and the tv could still fit if not ask an expert.
  • Jody Lange Jody Lange on Sep 24, 2014
    As for your wet bar make it a wet bar take out glass shelving put up a shelf to store wine in make sure it has the criss cross look. then under that make a place to hang your glasses. set a ice bucket up with a couple of nice glasses beside that with a bottle of liquor on the side. make a couple shelves wooden ones to set bottles or glasses on be creative.
  • M'sMammy M'sMammy on Sep 29, 2014
    I feel for you and I do know what you are going through! Mine is VERRRY similar! Not brick but wide, thin pieces of stone. My brass screen has not made it to the curb as I'm thinking of sanding and then painting black. Have you thought of painting the brick? I know you can; they even paint brick on the outside.
  • Cyndie S Cyndie S on Sep 29, 2014
    You need your favorite color on the walls. Cover or tear out that slanted outdated wood. Add shelves, built in desk w lamp, etc. Paint the ceiling beams only if you dislike them wood. LOVE the fireplace brick but mantel too high. Lower it and install TV above. Could make bar a tv center but i think its not in the right spot.Maybe make it a library with bookcases and a chair or "window seat" like a reading nook or a built in desk there for homework, etc!. If you use the bar, keep it and update it with new top, faucet and wine rack w shelves. To me, the fireplace is your focal point and bow window 2ndary focal pt. Photo angle makes sectional look big, but just put a sofa table and lamp behind, maybe a floor plant behind the curve part, add a throw and pillows for color. Lower your pictures to about 8" above the sofa so they "marry". Chunky accessories on new lowered mantel to scale w large fireplace. Love toys and kids in here, too. Thats why its called a family room! ;)
  • The Chirping Frog The Chirping Frog on Sep 30, 2014
    It's really not that bad..... I kind of like the fireplace and paneled wall... has a great feel to it.... there's simply too much contrast between it and the stark white walls... Pick a nice neutral of your choice to paint the walls and I'd rearrange the furniture to orient differently.... put your sofa in front of the window and the TV directly across.... Add some pops of pattern (light background color with a nice pattern with your wall color in them) on panels for either side of the window.... room needs some texture. A few throw pillows on the couch to brighten it up (choose neturals that are light colors with pattern/texture) and get something more majestic over the fireplace.... need to fill up some of that awesome space.
  • The Chirping Frog The Chirping Frog on Sep 30, 2014
    If you hate your mantle that's an easy fix.... build a box around it, add some decorative moldings and paint it white..... would make it pop and stand out.
  • Susie Susie on Sep 30, 2014
    Don't leave us hanging! Are you starting to settle in on any ideas? Inquiring minds...
  • Trisha Martin Trisha Martin on Oct 01, 2014
    We are anxiously awaiting the wonderful transformation. Come on get some color in that bland room. You can do it. Just paint the wood on the diagonal, mount the tv, purchase a rug with color and do something on the windows, add a plant or two and a throw....there you go...........................Wheeeeee.
  • Shelly Shelly on Oct 12, 2014
    i would also paint he wood, id buy some white book cases to flank the fire place, or do built ins, if your girls play in the bay window, id use some baskets on the shelving for their toys and try to have doors on the bottom for storage also. if you have to leave the vents open on the fire place will heat be an issue if you mount the tv? if so i would get a sofa and a few arm chairs, re-position the couch and mount it on another wall. make sure your color scheme and bright colored treasures are scattered evenly throughout your room to enjoy and im sorry you didnt get the blue rug, i think it would have been the perfect addition and you could then slip cover or 'paint' (?) the sofa a lighter color and gotten the lighting more on track. good luck!
  • Barbara Barbara on May 13, 2015
    I'd leave the bricking and woodwork alone, Make or purchase a large boxwood or evergreen wreath or even better, a large art print with colors you like avoiding too much black and white. A colorful throw on the sofa and decorative elements with color on the mantel. Lighter window coverings that don't add darkness to the room. We had a wet bar in our former home and I felt like I was in a dungeon it was so dark despite the corder mirrored shelves. I had the mirrors and shelves removed, painted the surrounding paneling a creamy white and took the overstuffed bar apart pulled out the stuffing and surfaced it with a diamond plaid outdoor fabric in my color range. Eventually we had to remove the bar due to plumbing problems but it was a more attractive arrangement for a dark corner of our family room.
  • Sally holway Sally holway on May 14, 2015
    Paint the whole wall...wood and brick and anything else on that wall...and go from there. That would both lighten the room and make the problem wall recede. Luck to you!
  • Kathy Sorrentino Kathy Sorrentino on May 24, 2015
    well, what did you do with this room, we are all wondering
  • Lisa hudspeth Lisa hudspeth on Aug 07, 2016
    i would sand the wood wall and whitewash it. which u can also do to brick. thats cheapest and fastest thing u can do. paint walls prett, lite color. beef up or change out mantle. cover bar countertop w/ daich products epoxy+real stone countertop paint. buy online. BEST money i ever spent on remodel material
  • Libbie B Libbie B on Jan 20, 2022

    I would tile the mirrored wall (after removing the mirror).

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Apr 16, 2023

    Replace Wreath with Large Oblong or Square Mirror and Bright Modern Art either side on Panelling