Asked on Mar 10, 2014

Trying to turn ex-bachelor pad into Our Home! Please help!!

by Carrie
I am a newlywed who moved into my husband's house and I am trying to figure out room by room, how to make this ex-bachelor pad our home. It is stuck in the 1980's and consists of Brick tile floor (which I kinda like), rough wood walls, (which I want gone!), a Massively long brick hearth (I think is too dark) along with wooden railing that is rough as well. It is dark and uninviting. It is such a challenge and I don't even know where to begin! We live on a farm and I am pretty traditional in my taste. I plan on using a contractor that has done work for us before, but I don't have a design plan yet! PLEASE HELP!
q trying to turn ex bachelor pad into our home please help, diy, fireplaces mantels, flooring, home decor, home improvement, how to, living room ideas, tile flooring, woodworking projects
q trying to turn ex bachelor pad into our home please help, diy, fireplaces mantels, flooring, home decor, home improvement, how to, living room ideas, tile flooring, woodworking projects
q trying to turn ex bachelor pad into our home please help, diy, fireplaces mantels, flooring, home decor, home improvement, how to, living room ideas, tile flooring, woodworking projects
q trying to turn ex bachelor pad into our home please help, diy, fireplaces mantels, flooring, home decor, home improvement, how to, living room ideas, tile flooring, woodworking projects
  191 answers
  • Carrie Carrie on Mar 10, 2014
    I want to replace the wood walls with Sheetrock but I need ideas on the railing, fireplace, and color schemes- there is a step up from living to dining room. photo examples are greatly appreciated. After this project is complete, the kitchen is next, and Oh my- I will definitely need help there as well.

  • Donna Byram Donna Byram on Mar 10, 2014
    Looks like the railings and post are structurally needed, if so, would make half walls with sheet rock and use a more traditional style post. I wouldn't do anything to the fireplace until after the sheet rock work and painting them is done. You may decide it looks good the way it is then. I have a wood vaulted ceiling and I went with a neutral color for my walls and use punches of color in my accessories. I would also get rid of the brassy fireplace doors by either replacing or painting them with heat resistant paint. You could also reface the mantle with crown molding and dress it up a little. I think you have handled the brick floors well, by having area rugs. I haven't looked for pictures, but if I find some I'll post them for you.

  • Gladys Gladys on Mar 10, 2014
    Those are very nice suggestions, Donna!

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Mar 11, 2014
    Wow! Men sure do like that beige and brown! if this is a working farm, keep the floor and buy interesting but dark rugs...rainy days means mud! Love the suggestions for the room divider wall and posts and fireplace. You are limited only by your budget. Pick colors you like and add some character by using different shades. I have fallen in love with a Benjamin Moore "Healing Aloe" is a very soft dusty green. It is stunning with white trim. Were it me, I would not go to the expense of sheetrock over wood...I would just paint the wood and use my money a huge covered and screened outdoor courtyard filled with flowers and dressed out with stunning furniture and overhead fans! You can make this home divine with paint and imagination!

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Mar 11, 2014
    P.S. Do yourself a favor and buy samples of paint and try them on all 4 sides of a room before you paint the entire room. I love Ralph Lauren's "Cottonwood' but it turns brown in my house!

  • Michele Eures Michele Eures on Mar 11, 2014
    I get a sort of "Texas" ranch feel when I look at the room. I'm not sure you like that sort of thing, though. I love the ceiling and beams and would probably paint the ceiling but leave the beams natural. Or perhaps an Italian farmhouse decor. I love the rooms, though, and I think you have a lot for inspiration. It just needs some brightening and light. (And a woman's touch!)

  • have loads of fun doing what ever you want

  • Carrie Carrie on Mar 11, 2014
    Thanks for all of the suggestions. You guys are giving me some great ideas. The wood railings are very rough to touch and are difficult to clean. I like the idea of the sheet rock half wall and post.

  • Amy Ogden-Paparone Amy Ogden-Paparone on Mar 11, 2014
    Why not just start off by painting the walls a very light color to start, it's inexpensive and would give you a chance to see what it is that you really want to do with the house. It would also brighten up the whole main floor!

  • Jennifer G Jennifer G on Mar 11, 2014
    Wow, that's a lot of wood. I mean, I know guys like natural wood and usually hate painting it but some contrast would be nice. Instead of putting sheetrock on the walls, have you considered doing a knockdown (textured plaster) right on top of the wood walls? I've seen it done beautifully, but a contractor would know best if your situation would lend itself to it without a lot of extra prep work. There is a product called 'Venetian Plaster' at the big box hardware stores that gives a room a lovely finish (think 'refined villa') - it has the pigment right in the plaster so no painting! You apply it with a trowel and it adds a bit of texture and interest without being too busy or messy looking. It would compliment the wood ceiling and beams nicely and go very well with the brick. Here's a link with more info:

  • Barb Rosen Barb Rosen on Mar 11, 2014
    Carrie ~ You might want to embrace the log cabin look like Creative Cain Cabin - check her out here on HomeTalk! I totally love her style - here's an example :

  • Janis Hill Janis Hill on Mar 11, 2014
    Nothing like the dark, somber colors of a rustic farm house. :-) But the good news is that a few tweaks will make the space feel better immediately! Here are a few ideas for starters. Change the dining room chandelier first. That will make a huge difference for little cash Rearrange the living room furniture. Place the sofa so it faces the fireplace. Add a couple of zebra print pillows for punch. Put the chairs on either side of the fireplace with the floral going on the left hand side. Add a zebra print pillow to the solid chair. Put the ottomans in front of them. Move the TV so it is flat against the far right wall. The two small pictures on that wall aren't doing anything for the room. We will come up with something after the furniture is rearranged. :-) The walls in the dining area seem to be a yellowish color. A soft green would bring 'life' into the room. Try Benjamin Moore Vienna Green 538. Buy a tester and paint a 2X2 swatch on each wall. Look at it for a few days and decide if you like it. I think it will be perfect. :-). The décor you have on the mantle screams shabby chic to me, so I wonder if that might be your style. Here's a fun test to find exactly what style you like: Back to the mantle: buy a slightly larger round mirror. One that will fit right between the vents. And a runner on the floor in front of the door will make a huge difference as to how the space feels, too. And now 2 questions: what is your favorite color and can the safe be moved? Keep us posted. I would love to see what you do with the rooms.

  • Carrie Carrie on Mar 11, 2014
    @donna Bryan- I thought about making window seats out of the hearth on each side of the fireplace. What would you do?

    • Donna Byram Donna Byram on Mar 11, 2014
      @Carrie I think the window seats would be a lovely idea. It would soften up that area and by using cushions and throw pillows. Good place to show your punches of color. Adding a picture to inspire you!

  • Harvey Painting Co. Harvey Painting Co. on Mar 11, 2014
    HI Carrie,I would paint all the wood,ceiling,walls and trim..You can also paint the fireplace if you want to .Remember,with todays primers anything can be painted..Good Luck!!!!!

  • Megan Lillich Megan Lillich on Mar 11, 2014
    I second the idea of making it a log cabin with warm reds for drapes and maybe a new couch? More and larger pictures That is beautiful wood and it would ruin it to paint it

  • Linda Snyder Linda Snyder on Mar 11, 2014
    I agree, the walls can be drywalled, fireplace cleaned and painted. The beams look like support so cannot take them out, so they can make them round if you like that look. Try paint chips around the room, no white, for me white is over-rated..A french or tuscan theme would look great with all of that. The beams can also be stained or painted.. Remove the railings to open it up more too, instead of dividing the space.

  • Joe Abbet Joe Abbet on Mar 11, 2014
    I would whitewash the ceiling, and maybe glaze the existing walls with a creamy yellow or aqua color and paint the fireplace out in white, and maybe add a large mirror or large art to reduce the mass of it. Adding two large urns on the hearth would bring a sense of balance to the mass of brick too.Take the beams, post and railing to a medium-dark grey. That will balance out the darkness and "orangeness" of the beautiful brick floor.

  • Caprice Caprice on Mar 11, 2014
    I like it...just change a few thing to luxury items, add crystal chandeliers , change fire place, add a beautifully carved antique mantel, oriental carpets ( thought I saw one) leather couch, fancy luxury chairs...elegant window covering...mix the rustic with posh furnishings...

  • Kathie taylor Kathie taylor on Mar 11, 2014
    Some really great ideas here. I have the same dining set and gold fireplace screen. My house was built in the 80's. I bought the "high heat paint", but couldn't face the change. I've wanted to do the fireplace mantle idea, but I have floor to ceiling bookcases on either side....shall we say it's a bit intimidating!

  • Jami Huntsinger Jami Huntsinger on Mar 11, 2014
    Start looking at pictures of rustic decor. Don't fight the natural elements. Use them in your favor. Much of southwest architecture is based on this "start." Think cabin -- don't fight it, work with it. Take advantage of it. You will find the look you are after.

  • Sharon Schnepp Mitchell Sharon Schnepp Mitchell on Mar 11, 2014
    Check out your local Habitat Restore for paint and misc trims. An idea may be sparked. The paint is industrial, no smell and costs around $11 per gallon. Those are MI prices anyway!

  • Pat Pat on Mar 11, 2014
    I would definitely white wash fireplace bricks and paint the brass. Nice bones to work with!

  • Vicki Chamberlain Vicki Chamberlain on Mar 11, 2014
    Well the first thing I would do is sit down and ask him what he would like to change about the way it is now. You didn't mention if he said he would like to see changes in his home. If you start changing things, and he is not in agreement with you it just might start WWIII. Start watching HGTV and DIY. Go to the home improvement centers and look to see what is out there. People can tell you all kinds of things to do and you might not like any. See what is out there that you really like then think about the room.It took us many years to remodel our old country home, but every bit of it was done on both of us agreeing. Or maybe he just agreed with me to keep me happy.LOL!!!!

  • Andrea P Andrea P on Mar 11, 2014
    Paint the main ceiling but leave the wood beams. Paint the dark walls a much lighter color. I like wood but this is very depressing. Go on other home time sites here and see how people have painted older furniture finds amend do that but leave some other pieces as they are, just polish them up. Floor length drapes, opened, on the windows, in a cream color and cream rugs. Paint the fireplace and change out the chandelier for a simpler for a simpler iron one.

  • Max Cady Max Cady on Mar 11, 2014
    Cover all item don't want painted. Clean all surfaces then spray prime all then paint..what a difference you will see just priming!!

  • Andrea P Andrea P on Mar 11, 2014
    Sorry for the typos, amend should be "and".

  • Suzi B Suzi B on Mar 11, 2014
    Beautiful home!!! Add a touch of color here and there but wait 1 yr before changing anything major!

  • S. Ulmen F S. Ulmen F on Mar 11, 2014
    I would leave fireplace and just polish the brass. Leave the ceiling natural but paint the walls white. The brick will pop and so will the floor at that point. The rest you can tie in with decor such as you have done on mantel. I.e. curtains, pillows and such. I see much potential but I love that kind of stuff. Go girl and do post after.

  • Sherry M. Sherry M. on Mar 11, 2014
    That is one beautiful "bachelor pad", don't usually see one that nice! I like it as is, I'd just add some pop's of color here and there after a good cleaning. The railings can be sanded and sealed to cure the roughness. I personally wouldn't paint all that beautiful wood (just my taste), but painting the fireplace would create a interesting focal point.

  • Sfg178760 Sfg178760 on Mar 11, 2014
    I love that cool and unique! I would paint the fireplace. I have a huge brick one too and although it is hard for me to paint brick...I am glad it had already been painted white. Brightens up the whole room. I think I would paint the walls and ceiling...but leave the trim, railings, beams in natural you do not lose the cabin feel completely. AND if you paint the walls and may not have to pain the fireplace. I would change out the lights too...the wagon wheel is kind of hilarious! o) Good Luck!

  • Vivian Goth Vivian Goth on Mar 11, 2014

  • Doug Warner Doug Warner on Mar 11, 2014
    Agree with you on the brick tile floor - I like it. I would leave the wood railings, trim and ceiling beams as is (or sand them/wax them to soften them up). Then paint wood paneling incl ceiling between beams. The fireplace brick is dated -- would look stunning all in a different color than walls -- and even though aged brass is back "in," I'd remove the fireplace surround and just get a cool screen. Then it looks to me like you really need all new lighting to brighten things up.

  • Cheryl Tedders Campbell Cheryl Tedders Campbell on Mar 11, 2014
    Take it slow. I'm in the same boat, finding out he doesn't like change, but can deal with it slowly. Don't immediately rush in with white paint.Try to make it a place for the two of you

  • Sharon F Sharon F on Mar 11, 2014
    First, what is your budget? Are you willing to paint walls, brick, etc? The best way is to start with some color, drapes, pillows, throws, and accessories. Rearrange the furniture. Edit if necessary. I see a safe (?) in the dining room. Can it be moved to another location? Choose colors you both love & start there. Good luck!

  • Welch Creative Lighting Welch Creative Lighting on Mar 11, 2014
    Paint everything except the posts and beams with soft, light white, please. Replace the fireplace screen and chandelier, accessorize with bright colors and you will be well on your way to perfection!

  • Nora Q Nora Q on Mar 11, 2014
    I like the wood and brick. I would slip cover the sofa and add some curtains in a nice print, put in oriental carpets. That wagon wheel fixture is too corny I would change that out. I would paint the dinning area walls a different color even though I love yellow it is too wood tone. I do like the wood but I have painted paneling before and it looked wonderful. I am partial to tartans with eyelet. But that is just me. A nice floral chintz would add some nice softness. Oh By the way I would ask him if it is OK to change his life around too. ;-)

  • Glenda Harris Prough Glenda Harris Prough on Mar 11, 2014
    Love this plan....pop some of your colors in there ..change out the mirror with the letter..paint add some flowers, pillows, pictures, throws.

  • Mary Mary on Mar 11, 2014
    I just like the country look altogether. What to change take your time because its very warm to me.

  • Valeria Blackburn Valeria Blackburn on Mar 11, 2014
    Take it slow and do research to find what you truly like before making any significant changes as usually they can't be undone. You have a lovely home and with a little updating it will be spectacular. There are tons of blogs and such out there, make yourself some boards on Pinterest for all the ideas you like. Here is one with a fireplace and living room almost identical to yours. See what she did.

  • Susan S Susan S on Mar 11, 2014
    Leave the fireplace brick as is, but add painted (white or light color) shelving and a seat on each side. This will add some brightness. The dining room just needs a fresh coat of paint on the top portion of the walls. Start here for some freshness to your home. Enjoy your marriage for a year or so before undertaking a big project.

  • Ruth Ruth on Mar 11, 2014
    I to had dark paneling when I moved into my house I primed everything then painted the ceiling an off white and the walls a soft yellow it's surprising how it brightened the room up

  • Keri Reyes Keri Reyes on Mar 11, 2014
    Color and update the furniture!

  • Pamela Garecht Lopez Pamela Garecht Lopez on Mar 11, 2014
    Good, classy silk flower arrangements .

  • Dana Huempfner Dana Huempfner on Mar 11, 2014
    looks like it's nicely decorated, I did the same thing 8 yrs ago and had a lot farther to go (more decorating) add color and some lace?!

  • Christopher Haney Christopher Haney on Mar 11, 2014
    Oh my heavens, do not touch the brick fireplace with paint. What is this about "PAINT"? Is every decor change involve paint? Every person who is a Mason, hates when folks paint there "works of art" IMHO, do what others have said about accessorizing the fireplace, but please do not paint that fireplace.

  • Jamie Neel Jamie Neel on Mar 11, 2014
    I would definitely prime and paint the walls a nice calm color - cream or dove grey will make it seem more modern and the paneling more intentional (think tongue and groove!) rather than a throwback to the '70s. Paint the ceiling in a lighter color, but leave the beams and possibly the railings natural - people pay a lot of money to have faux beams put in so work with what you got! I would take the trim to a nice crisp white as well, including window and door trim. Hang full length curtains from just below ceiling height or maybe just below beam height. Leave the fireplace and mantel unless they really bother you. It looks like you have a good start on some nice rugs to warm up that cold floor. You have such a nice big space with a lot of potential and natural lighting but it's so dark and dreary, lightening it up will do a world of wonders! And furniture can always be painted or stripped and stained to update it, but all that dark wood would look much better against a lighter background.

  • Bonita Swanberg Bonita Swanberg on Mar 11, 2014
    Fabric, Fabric Fabric-many sheets of matching or.contasting colors . curtians,pillows,tablescapes. aquilt on the wall or make it yourself artwork. sheets are cheap and have a large hem for hanging. Draw them back with a shash all light colors. Also could use lighting and rugs.

  • Elizabeth C Elizabeth C on Mar 11, 2014
    I would add some color to the walls where they are painted, some brighter furniture, even painted wood furniture. The rooms seem to be screaming for some white-simple panels on the windows? It looks like fun but take your time...

  • Bonita Swanberg Bonita Swanberg on Mar 11, 2014
    Yes, I would take him shopping with you and have him help in selection so he wont be resentful

    • Carrie Carrie on Mar 11, 2014
      Yes, I definitely want his opinion and he's already looking at new sofas! He's excited for me to help make it our home. It's a great house with great bones. I just needed some suggestions to get me started! Thanks!

  • Christopher Haney Christopher Haney on Mar 11, 2014
    Additionally, instead of paint on the natural paneling... Why not use some sort of whitewash type of stain (transparent) This way you can still see the natural wood grain! Once again, another covering up of someone's "art work" IMHO, using paint for this purpose, could be called a sin!

  • Crave Crave on Mar 11, 2014
    Omg 911 umm lots paint!

  • Rose T Rose T on Mar 11, 2014
    Colo And A Lot More light

  • Angela F Angela F on Mar 11, 2014
    @Carrie Oh my gosh, that would be a dream to decorate! Some more information would be useful - like what decorating styles do you like? Southern? Cottage? Modern? Transitional? Do you and your husband share similar tastes? You can private message me and I can give you some ideas and show you some photos of rooms I've done for friends and in my own house.

  • Carrie Carrie on Mar 11, 2014
    The wood walls are rough as well collect dust and are nearly impossible to wipe down. I want a softer, splinterfree look.

  • T. Gearhart T. Gearhart on Mar 11, 2014
    I like the floors. I think I would start with either painting the wood on the walls or removing and texturing them. Then see what needs to be done next. I like the ceiling also. Wood ceiling like these are being put in some very expensive homes where I live. The railings that divide the room might need to be sanded and perhaps stained a darker, rich color if you intend to keep them. Get rid of the fireplace screen for an updated one. change out light fixtures. I think it's just the darkness of the room that puts a damper on the feel. Like I said, change the wall first and go from there. I think you just need some contrast in those rooms.

    • Ruth Crawford Ruth Crawford on Mar 11, 2014
      @T. Gearhart OMG do not texture the walls, been there done that and you can never turn back. I will live with them until I die. No way to get rid of them. Did paint my paneling, on the 4th color now, beats taking it down and dealing with dry wall.

  • Ke Will Ke Will on Mar 11, 2014
    I had a huge fireplace that took up an entire wall like this and it had the ugliest brick...I used a thinned out white oil paint and basically hand rubbed it on to each individual brick making sure it didn't get into the turned out to be the prettiest fireplace ever!!

    • Lori J Lori J on Mar 11, 2014
      @Ke Will I like the idea of white-washing the fireplace.

  • Chloe Chloe on Mar 11, 2014
    Definitely furniture or artwork or anything that's not so brown!!!!

  • Sharon Wingard Sharon Wingard on Mar 11, 2014
    Please brighten up the walls with some nice paint. Get some pics on the walls. decorate the table with some placemats and maybe a center piece.

  • Cynthia Cynthia on Mar 11, 2014
    Good Luck, I lived with someone in his his rental for 6 years,,,it was hard to carve out my space and make it look like a woman lived there,,some men are very set in their ways,,,nice he is wanting to make it yours and his and not just his,,we have a beautiful house now and it is ours,,,southwestern, not my original style but I love it now,,,patience and color,,,,itis way too dark,,,and lots of flowers...

  • Sherrie Sherrie on Mar 11, 2014
    Once you paint it the whole thing will lighten up. I have painted a tons of rooms with paint over plywood. It is amazing what it will do for you! I also painted several friends and families house that had plywood. It makes all the difference in the world. Start with one room to see how you will like it. Usually houses like this have a bedroom with this in it. Start there.

  • This looks like it could be a fun project. Overwhelming if taken on all at once. I would start with whitewashing the fireplace. That will make a HUGE difference. Then I would tackle the walls. I think my preference would be to take down the paneling and put up drywall. Then you can paint it a nice soft off white, light beige that would open the room up considerably. I would also paint the trim work - Banisters, columns etc. The ceiling looks great - but as long as it is wood colored, it will darken the room. So you have to decide how much lightening up you want/need. By starting with one thing at a time, you can better judge just how far to go. Good luck to you and have fun with this.

  • Carol G Carol G on Mar 11, 2014
    Definitely a light stain on the walls and ceiling! Get rid of the railings separating the dining area from living area (that really dates the house as well) and add some type of built-in storage/bookcase or with doors to open on the dining room side….making them the same height as the railing but built to the floor. Not only will it change the look but it is useful storage or forego anything there at all. I am always needing storage plus it would define the space. Get rid of the fireplace door…either change it out or use a newer, free standing fireplace screen. Might consider adding a stacked stone surround on fireplace to change it up since it does not match the bricks on the floor. New light fixtures! Paint dining room and paint below chair rail a shade or too darker than the top half. Since my background is in design, I love helping people with projects such as yours. Enjoy!

  • Diana C Diana C on Mar 11, 2014
    looks cold and dark.. i would paint the hearth white. give the place some color.. light colored area rugs.

  • Boo boo kitty Boo boo kitty on Mar 11, 2014
    Start with painting the fireplace white, you'll need to begin with a good primer the bricks are ports so they will absorb a lot the use a gloss white paint. If you decide to paint the walls and ceiling you will need to prim those as well, the ceiling and trim would be nice in white . Then have fun with the colors

    • See 3 previous
    • Boo boo kitty Boo boo kitty on Mar 11, 2014
      I had a similar issue with brick and rough wood panels on my fireplace, the is a picture from the holidays so ignore the Xmas decoration

  • Marcia Marcia on Mar 11, 2014
    I think you got lucky if this was his batchelor pad. It has great bones just needs a womans touch.. Add some color by painting the paneled walls. Some lighten up the brick but painting light grey on the mortar.(I did that it made a tremendous difference.) Some pretty fabrics for pillows, window treatments and a bit of artwork that brings your flare into the mix. I would also paint the floor or replace with ceramic tile. The safe needs to be moved to another room. I would also do some distressing to the china closet. Don't forget to donate that furniture you are replacing to a loved one or habitat for humanity.Congrats on the marriage. Best Wishes on the make over!

  • Diane Woods Diane Woods on Mar 11, 2014
    I think I'd look at the positives and details that a lot of people add….like the beamed ceiling, brick floors, fireplace, etc. I would whitewash the ceilings except for the beams. Wallboard or paint the walls a different light color to brighten the room, and also paint the front of the step going up to the dining room. This adds the step as more of an architectural accent and also safety so you can see it. I'd cover some or all of the wood spindles with wall board and maybe cap them with wood too, to make them shelves. The fireplace I would face with some light weight stone material to make it more modern and less 'cabiny'. It looks like an awesome space, with tons of potential!

  • Marta Spencer Sturgis Marta Spencer Sturgis on Mar 11, 2014
    It has great bones, just needs to be brighter. I also agree with white washing the brick fireplace.

  • Tracy Bromage Tracy Bromage on Mar 11, 2014
    Get rid of the railing at the back, the front ones create an entry space paint white or preferred light color. The brick can be white washed and fireplace painted black ,with heat resistant metal paint . The panel if you can't remove I would paint over to . I see light shades of grey ,white grey's new light fixtures to update the over all look and will give more light feel to the roomsi love the brick floors. I'd even l"lighten" up the dining room furniture to give a more modern country feel. Nice space just needs your imprint. Good luck

  • Ruth T Ruth T on Mar 11, 2014
    Fix the lighting first -up lights and more of them. Do not paint your wood! Lighten the stain if you must, but don't paint! Lighten the style of furniture and the palette of furnishings. You cannot change the basic style of the building so make the most of it!

  • DeDee Smith DeDee Smith on Mar 11, 2014
    It just needs to be painted and some color added. It is a nice place just needs your personal touches added.

  • Greedith B Greedith B on Mar 11, 2014
    Depending on how traditional you like you can add pip berry garland to the railings. Maybe brighten up the painted walls but I wouldn't paint the woodwork. I have seen the bricks painted and it is very pretty, just make sure that's what you want before you even start painting because it is not as easy to undo the paint on them. Pictures for the walls, baskets added here and there. And throws and pillows for the furniture. Just stat in one area and get it like you want it. the rest will flow right in then. Good luck and have fun with it.

  • Mel Mel on Mar 11, 2014
    Congratulations and yeah to your new hubby for being open to changes! I like the ceiling esp. if they conform to your environment. Don't try to make it look like suburbia! What are the other ceilings like? If the same, keep 'em. Rather than paint the paneling, how about replacing with drywall? You have such great light, how about a vibrant wall color that isn't the same tone as the woodwork. Use the fireplace surround to add needed texture - perhaps more reflective - mixture of glass/stone surround? (Check out veneer panels . . . so cool.) Or with wood walls gone, might be a great way to add course texture like stone. Let that be your accent for the area. (I know brushed brass is coming back but I'd still replace the frame on the fp-smile.) Look for elements you can carry over throughout the house maybe. And you could replace some of the wood balusters with wrought iron keeping the wood at every fifth (or other materials you favor). Keep ideas and then change one major thing before moving on cuz changing the walls, for e.g., could make such an impact that it alters your decision making on the fireplace. Have fun!

  • Linda H Linda H on Mar 11, 2014
    I love the wood beams and rails, but yes, the walls and fireplace could be lightened up as the beams and rails. I love wood, if it is good quality. Brighter colors in furnishings would definitely help and lighting fixtures. I would get sheets on sale in colors I liked and would drape them over the furniture and even hang from the walls to see how the colors would go. And you can never have too many windows or lights. Colors that would reflect light instead of absorbing it work great too.

  • Megan Smith Megan Smith on Mar 11, 2014
    Great beginning. If you use the fireplace lot,I wouldn't paint hard to keep clean.reface with tile or stone. Take out the the entry replace railing with open shelves too make a useful"mudroom"entrance. Lighten the paneling with paint or stain/wash. Might be nice to keep the lower portion wood with chairwell which would create wainscotting

  • Charlotte Teene Charlotte Teene on Mar 11, 2014
    Love the ceiling, I would leave that alone, painting the paneled walls a soft light, but warm, color maybe a cream or light gray even would brighten it up. I would hold off on painting the brick for a bit, you really can't go back once you do that...Clean it instead. (you would have to clean it to paint it anyway...) Get rid of the railings that are dividing up the rooms. I would also take down the wood slat blinds and clean those windows! Let in all that natural light! Different dining table light and less living room furniture. Maybe some warm hardwood flooring? Take this a little bit at a time. Once you start maybe he will have some great ideas! and then you two can make it a home for both of you and he won't feel like you have "taken over".

  • Linda H Linda H on Mar 11, 2014
    Hanging plants from the beams would also make it more cozy.

  • Julie J C Julie J C on Mar 11, 2014
    Since everything is in pristine shape, I was just going to say "Color."

  • Shay Shay on Mar 11, 2014
    What a beautiful home! To make it more aesthetically pleasing, I would put up white bead board walls and paint the fireplace a light gray. Also replace the gold facial unit of the fireplace with a black piece to look like this photo :) By having the fireplace as your focal point in the room, it will draw your attention in that direction, You can add lots of color with other home decor items. Spruce it up with sheer curtains that are solid in color, add colorful throw pillows to the couch and chairs. Replace the ceiling fan with one that has white blades. Glass vases with colorful flowers add "pop" as well! Good luck - and have fun decorating!

  • Diana Mackie Diana Mackie on Mar 11, 2014
    This is so cute, I can't wait to see how you progress! Post lots of updates!!

  • Suzanne Camp Suzanne Camp on Mar 11, 2014
    Paint, paint, paint, paint!!!!!Paint the fireplace and it is not hard to keep clean like one person said. Paint the walls and paint the furniture. Most men like wood unpainted. I battled with my husband over that at a previous house we owned, but when he was out of town I glazed a small section of the wall behind a piece of furniture where the wood grain still showed through. Then he could visualize it and gave me the go ahead. We both loved the room lighter once it was done.

  • Bonnie Powers Stopa Bonnie Powers Stopa on Mar 11, 2014
    What a beautiful big room with tons of potential!! You definitely need light paint to brighten up the space and add life to the room. I'd start with white ceilings and then chose a nice light color for the walls. I'd reface the fireplace to make it more modern. I highly suggest NOT to use white for the fireplace due to the soot factor. If you decide to turn the fireplace into a gas unit, that would be a different story and white would be fine in that case. Please keep us all updated on your progress! :)

  • SandyG SandyG on Mar 11, 2014
    Great bones, desperately needs light. I would lose the bannister and rail and possibly do some sheet rock and paint. I see you have a step-down between rooms and do need some type of intro into step down. Brass fireplace surround is dated, replace or possibly paint black with heat proof paint. Make a box mantle to place over existing mantle, painted white or black gloss. For myself, I would paint ceiling, but like said before, some men have problems painting over wood. Make or buy dining room chair covers for back of dining chairs, bring in some flowers/greenery and some throw cushions on couch. Have fun and make sure to send pics.

  • Patricia Gill Patricia Gill on Mar 11, 2014
    GreT opportunities! Nice bones. I'd start with replacing the light fixtures and dining room set, for sure.

  • Jackie Prim Jackie Prim on Mar 11, 2014
    Paint the wood cave. Paint the fireplace I used Valspar high gloss white. Use a light pallet for the walls also. Take down the railings, dont forget the ceiling. Nothing nice about it at all. Maybe someday you can have wood floors installed. Enjoy yourself and take a lot of pic's

  • Faye Johnson Faye Johnson on Mar 11, 2014
    I would not white wash the brick fireplace yet. That would be harder to undo than the walls. Is the floor brick or floor covering? Area rugs can do wonders for floors no matter what they are. Decide on a color scheme for living area should be first decision if that is your main concern with company coming in or spending most of your home time there. Where is main entrance to home. Assuming kitchen is next to dining area.

  • Cathy B Cathy B on Mar 11, 2014
    Four cheap fast fixes....paint fireplace cover with black appliance paint(it can withstand heat) 2. Replace blinds 3. Get an updated chandelier. 4. Colorful pillows for the couch. I would hesitate to paint all that wood until you live there a little bit and get the feel for what you beloved is really feeling .

  • Teri S Teri S on Mar 11, 2014
    Did you know you can paint over the brass fire screen? We painted ours a flat black and love it! Unless those posts are load bearing I would take out at least the railings at the entry. We had a sand colored "shaggy" brick fireplace and my husband stuccoed it and did an Italian marble over it... and it is great. But for the start, paint the paneling or like the others said you could sheet rock over it.... a pale gold or cream would liven up the area too, but I would leave the ceiling like it is.... maybe a poly over it to make it barely shine. Are those light streams from the ceiling? Is there sunlights there? You have great bones to start with!!

  • Cheryl @ Artzzle Cheryl @ Artzzle on Mar 11, 2014
    Carrie: You have spaces and light here that many would envy! Can you wait a while before you start painting everything. Once you paint over, there's no going back. Do a bit more daydreaming and contemplating first. You are traditional, and it IS a farmhouse. Your guy liked it and you have things you're okay with. Hold off and try a few FREE things first. Mainly, rearrange. Your fireplace wall is THE WALL in there. Try centering the TV on the panelled wall so that 2nd window is unblocked. Will give you balance and make your FP wall the main accent. Pull the couch out into the room a bit, so your window wall is free and more open. Easy experiments like that will help you FEEL the room more, and then you can progress to fabric that will help you determine what to paint and what colors to paint it. Great spaces.

  • WENDY WENDY on Mar 11, 2014
    Carrie don't get over zealious with the paint. Cheryl is right many of us envy the space and light. First and foremost in todays world Thank your lucky stars for the roof over your head. I am one that really envies the lighting and space that you have. It is rustic but very beautiful.. :)

  • Cheryl @ Artzzle Cheryl @ Artzzle on Mar 11, 2014
    It's great that you already have a contractor that you trust. See if he has any thoughts on your spaces. Remember to consider the FUTURE as well as present. If you and your Mr. are considering more remodeling . . . say in the kitchen that opens off there, take that into consideration before you do anything now. Step out your plans so that things don't have to be redone when new projects are started. Which woods do you favor more, the ceiling or the walls? The wall coverings look like real wood, not just the thin fake panels. Maybe debate the walls longer. Lighter ceilings always raise a room and brighten it, and this wood there doesn't look quite as quality as your walls. One idea would be to paint the ceilings but leave the cross-beams wood. That would be a BIG difference right there. Next try some drape panels on the fireplace wall windows, something real kicky, just to get you started and to cozy up things a bit. You wouldn't have to drape the entire wall of windows. The blinds are fine, but you could just do cornices across the top, and/or single panels between each window for more color. They wouldn't have to be the same material as your fireplace windows, but possibly something in a plain but similar colors. JUST PLAY a while. Experiment until you have more of an idea of what you like. Just like a story, a home developes over time. It doesn't have to be done instantly. HAVE FUN . . . both of you together!

  • Debra Debra on Mar 11, 2014
    I agree with not so much paint accessorize with color and then decide about paint

  • Sally holway Sally holway on Mar 11, 2014
    I agree with those who advise taking it slow and easy with the paint. I love the "log cabin" look with georgeous colorful chintz, huge goldleaf mirrors, great rugs and wonderful art all over the place. Please do keep us posted!

  • Linda Testa Linda Testa on Mar 11, 2014
    I think it's beautiful.

  • Jeanette Jeanette on Mar 11, 2014
    Congratulations newlywed! It appears dark b/c there is so much of the same color. You could make 3 separate areas out of the one in the living room area. Lighting is the most important element in any room. It sets the mood you are wanting to create by the color of light you choose. Choose a theme and play with it through out the whole area ... add different hues of your fav colors as accent. You could add track lighting to spotlight the fireplace, a favorite picture, portrait, item or quilt on the walls. (by adding emphasis light to the fireplace, it changes the color and mood). Place the arm chairs in front of the fireplace at angles so that you can see each (important) other while watching the fire. Replace the fire grill with your favorite wrought iron gate. Add a background to the "M" to make it larger and lean it on the mantel to emphasize it. Add cozy pillows on the hearth with with a couple of fav large color items on the lower seating and take away all small chochskies. Choose a favorite color and white wash (does not have to be white) it onto the walls. This will be "instant gratitude" and help you feel better. White wash will allow the grain of the wood to be enhanced allowing the texture to add element and interest. Lighter color than the one you choose for the walls can be painted on the ceiling which continues to lighten the room (keeping the wood). Move the furniture away from the walls! That will make a huge difference! Replace the TV with a flat screen and place it on the wall or in a room of it's own and make it it's own element (theater feel) by taking the furniture away from the walls and placing it in a comfortable viewing position (keeping in mind a pleasant conversational area also) in front of the TV. Place the round table next to the windows for a pleasant conversational area while viewing the outdoors. (Suggestion: add taller legs to the table to add height with tall chairs around it. This gives more interest to the room. This could be your breakfast nook, game playing station etc.) Paint the table and chairs if desired - you do want to keep some warm color to keep a balance.If you want to keep the chandelier, paint it - change it around to make it look different. If desired, take away the old and add different glass coverings for the bulbs.Add a shoe rack by the front door to organize and contain shoes. Make a nice looking chest with a lid ... umbrella holder next to the wall. Add plants for an organic element to soften the hard lines. Help muffle sound by adding valances to the windows and fabric to the table, pillows on the hard chairs and a throw.Hope this helps to get you started! Happy trails my friend!

  • Marilyn Marilyn on Mar 11, 2014
    You need lots and lots of light colored paint! Paint everything!!

  • Judie Judie on Mar 11, 2014
    I love the gun safe in the dining room, just like a man. :) I agree do a little at a time with the paint. So much can be done with the smaller things first. Change out he dining room light, update the ceiling fan..things like that. Change the color of your upper walls. What ever you decide to do with the ceiling will make a big difference with how much light you will have in the rooms. Good luck and keep up up dated.It has great bones and I am sure the longer you live there the easier it will be to know what you want. Good luck.

  • Julie Julie on Mar 11, 2014
    I would first paint the ceiling and railing white. That is going to open up the room tremendously! I would also replace the glass shades on the ceiling fan with something a bit more simple and paint the brass with either brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze spray paint. It will look like a new ceiling fan and you can use the money you saved to buy a new dining room light. My next suggestion would be to paint the walls a khaki color or something neutral. You can add lots of color in the accessories you add to the room. Another easy change is to paint the brass fireplace surround with either a heat-resistant flat black paint or brushed nickel. Just take it a step at a time and see what changes you would like to make as you go along. Your choices might change once you start and see how things look. Good luck and congratulations on your marriage! May you enjoy many happy years in your beautiful home!

  • Betty Griffin Betty Griffin on Mar 11, 2014
    Too dark for me. Paint the paneling.

  • Susie Bennett Susie Bennett on Mar 11, 2014
    paint, paint and more paint! I would pick a neutral color you like and use varying shades of it...grays, for example. I would also take the railings down. look at yardsales, flea markets, etc and find some unusual pieces you can use for coffee table etc. then also look for rugs. you can find good ones that are less expensive if you use indoor/outdoor and they take the wear and tear. good luck!

  • Dana Corby Dana Corby on Mar 11, 2014
    Oh. My. Gahod! This is not just a bachel9r pad -- it's a dungeon! I'd leave the fireplace & hearth alone until you can afford to either clad or replace them. Once the rest of the room is brighter you may find they're not as oppressive. The fireplace screen can be easily & cheaply updated with a good cleaning and several coats of black high-temp paint. Don't paint the ceiling paneling, as it appears to be good quality and may come back into style one day. Instead, cover it with 1/4-inch drywall and paint that. If the wainscoting on the walls is applied over the existing drywall, remove it; if not, remove all the raised parts and panel over with the rest of the walls. Paint the window wells and casings white for more light. I'd get rid of the silly railings entirely, which will open up the room a lot. If the posts aren't structural, remove them, too. If they're helping to hold up the roof, box them in with 6" planks with simple footings & capitals, painted white, for a classic look. That faux-wild-west chandelier is dated and doesn't cast much light. If possible, replace it, but if that's not possible right now, you can cheaply update it by painting it and throwing away the shades. If it were my place I might go for red, as a pop of color in a mostly-neutral scheme. Don't even think about recovering the furniture until the remodel is done; once everything else is lightened up that gray may look lovely. But if you decide to do it, reupholstering or slip-covering is not all that hard. And though it's hard to tell from these pictures, you may want to go with sheers under light-colored drapes instead of these blinds. Best of luck!

  • Carrie Carrie on Mar 11, 2014
    I am so glad I decided to post and ask for help. I am getting excited about the ideas you all have given me! Just wait until I decide to tackle the kitchen! Its also a great space with lots of room and potential! I know that turning a house into a home is a lifelong process and we are excited to get started!

      Carrie, that is a great space! Take your time--look at lots of magazines, pinterest, etc. and pull out pics that are to your taste. Decide on the look that you want--if you like the ceilings keep 'em. You can paint them later but you cannot unpaint them. if you like the "cabin" look, you could paint the walls as they are and you will still have a rustic look. if you don't like the rustic, make the walls the same as the dining area (plaster or texture?) As for myself, I would definitely paint that brick on the fireplace! If you don't like rustic, find some more classic columns to replace the rails. REALLy, find your own taste because as you see, we all have different ideas! @Carrie

  • Kristin Wessels Kristin Wessels on Mar 11, 2014
    Where does your new husband stand on completely remodeling his old bachelor cave? Surely you can add things and make changes that would merge you as a couple, instead of painting over his old life. I have to say I love it as it is as rustic is a style I prefer, and I would look only to update the lighting and wall hangings. If you are wanting to "let there be light" and it suits your spouse, I have seen some European farmhouses with white ceilings and natural beams. You have a beautiful home. Congratulations on your new marriage!

    • Carrie Carrie on Mar 11, 2014
      @Kristin Wessels He only had the house for a year before we met. I love our house do like a lot of the features as well. I just want to update and make it more reflective of us. I mean he never even hung a picture on the wall! haha . I am incorporating all of the things he has made for the home. He made coffee and end tables out of horseshoes and several other things including a horseshoe bed! (He's a pretty good craftsman and welder.) thanks!

  • Maureen estell Maureen estell on Mar 11, 2014
    Before I started painting everything in the home, ((because there are some very nice pieces) Id pick up a copy of Country Living magazine and draw some inspiration from it, visit some antique type stores too. Proceed slowly!! Instead of changing the home Id enhance whats already there. First Id take off the fireplace screen and either find a large antique kettle, or put a bunch of candles in its place. Take off the blinds, and replace the windows with lace or ruffle type curtains, throw some color co-ordinated pillows around. (Accessorizing with only light or bright colors). Move the tv to the wood wall (on the right of the pic) then let the chairs flank the tv, perhaps put that 'M' decoration on the same wall. Eventually I might paint the railing spindals white, and/or drape a quilt.

  • Maureen estell Maureen estell on Mar 11, 2014
    In the dining room Id move the china cabinet to where the gun safe is now, but angle it into the corner. Remove all dark rugs to lighter/brighter ones and get a circular rug for that huge entrance way. Paint the dining room wall the same color as your accessories. This should brighten the rooms up without putting him in shock.

  • Kayo Frazier Kayo Frazier on Mar 11, 2014
    Carrie... Ok, Looking at your pics I can see the western influence & that is probably what attracted your husband to it in the first place. Keeping that in mind, all my suggestions are meant to edit & highlight some key pieces of the western, and allow it to meld w/ your more traditional style. Starting @ the ceiling & beams...I would keep them & not change a thing about them. I would choose 2-3 sections of wood paneling thru out the room to keep as is, then either bead board or drywall the remaining walls & then paint all the walls a creamy white. For the wooden posts & railings..I would replace the posts w/ thick squared posts.Then I would replace railings on the dining room side w/ 2 shelf bookcases that would face the fireplace. That will do 2 things separate the dining room from the living room w/o losing the open concept feel of the room. Also, since the dining room is one step up from the living room it will alert family & friends to the step up into the dining room. Plus the bookshelves will give you storage for books & knick knacks. I would move the gun safe to another part of the house if possible. I would move the china hutch to the space the gun safe was & kitty corner it. This will leave space all the way around the dining table. I would move the desk from the dining room to the wall in front of the front door. I would move the TV & center it across from the couch. I would move the small round table to the space where the TV used to be. The ottoman can go on the end of the couch to extend seating & storage of the ottoman. The 2 wing back chairs can be side by side w/ maybe a small table in between to put drinks. Now on to the fireplace...I would paint it the same color as the walls & replace the mantel w/ a wider & bulkier rustic mantel. I would paint the brass black. By the way I have never seen air vents in a chimney before...That is strange. Last thing I would change is the wooden shades for a pop of color in sheers. Sheers will keep the privacy, but let in a lot of light. Hope this helps...Have fun & enjoy making your house a home!

  • Holly Annette Holly Annette on Mar 11, 2014
    Bring in some color! new rugs and throw pillows. Also agree with paint suggestion. The brick fireplace could be painted and become a focal point.

  • Linda B Linda B on Mar 11, 2014
    Agree with the paint paint paint. I have solid pine paneling that looks wonderful painted. Even the rough stuff will be stunning. Also the fireplace....My brick fireplace has been bright white for decades and I was never sorry that I did it. Some colorful cushions on the hearth, white around the windows, will make you happy everytime you walk into the rooms.

  • Becky D Becky D on Mar 11, 2014
    I see some painting in your future, some soft light colored window treatments, nice cozy couch, etc. I agree it is a great space to work with and you want to be happy with your choices as a couple. One room at a time so you are not overwhelmed and I'm sure it will be "home" in no time and absolutely beautiful.

  • The Master Mudder The Master Mudder on Mar 11, 2014
    The natural wood look is nice and warm,cozy, If you can add lighting accents do it. It will add to the appearance. Once you paint it's gone. It don't come back.

  • Eileen M Eileen M on Mar 11, 2014
    Oh I love the brick floors!! To start, I'd do like everyone says and paint the ceiling white leaving the beams stained. I'd paint the wood walls white as well. I'd have the contractor change the rails to built in 1/2 height bookcases. I'd do built in window seats on either side of the fireplace. I'd lighten the color of the brick on the fireplace, but not paint them white. If you go to pinterest or google you can find methods of faux painting the brick to change the tone. Once you get the wood walls painted, you'll really be able to see the beauty in the space and choose window treatments to suit your taste. I think your furniture is lovely and will work well once you lighten and brighten! Oh, and wayfair sells really inexpensive wicker shades that would work perfectly on that window fan!. I'd love a project like yours to tackle!!

  • Sandy Eck Sandy Eck on Mar 11, 2014
    I would have a fit if anyone was to paint that wood. Get some lighter furniture , put up some light airy curtains. Cant see very well from my phone. I still havent gotten to the point where I can paint real wood lol. Good luck and be sure to send pics plz.

  • A.E. Zaring A.E. Zaring on Mar 11, 2014
    I would leave the railings and paint them a lighter color~then get some beaded curtains and hang in the upper openings~I would only get valences for the windows that reflect the colors you paint the walls~I would paint the mantle a lighter color but not touch the ceiling~If the floors can be painted I would do that too, but not right away~

  • Janieac Janieac on Mar 11, 2014
    I would start out white washing the walls and ceiling...Leaving the beams at first and decide when the rest is done if you want to leave those or not...White wash you will still have the beautiful wood graining showing thru...after you bring in the lightness it will be much easier to decide if you want to change anything else up...Take your time...Rome wasn't built in a day...

    • Polly Zieper Polly Zieper on Mar 12, 2014
      @Janieac I completely agree, I'd lighten the ceiling, but not the beams. They'll stand out if they aren't the same color as the ceiling. People are paying for ceiling beams these days:)

  • Joanne Menke Joanne Menke on Mar 11, 2014
    Paint that brass fire screen black to up date it.

  • Francesca Coutsodontis Francesca Coutsodontis on Mar 11, 2014
    I agree with paint, paint ,paint! Pick your colors carefully. Warm light tones. I would also paint fireplace wall of red brick white to update it and get a thicker mantle. That one is small and not in proportion. Get a pretty framed mirror for over mantle. Furniture and rug in dining room appear small. Paint first and then think of a bright fun rugs and pictures in there. New ceiling fans, end tables, pictures, pillows, throws in living room. Move furniture around. Couch should not be up against railing. Maybe move couch out into room and put a console table or large piece you have with lamp on it in there. Take time and play around with furniture. I like the idea of whitewashing everything too.. Paint kitchen cabinets a fun color to brighten that up as well. Have fun with it and post pics. When you are done. Most of all don't stress it. It will amaze you what you can do when you think and focus. Also helps to look at magazines. Good luck!

  • Francesca Coutsodontis Francesca Coutsodontis on Mar 11, 2014
    Move safe and put china cabinet there.possibly caddie corner?? Make a seating arrangement in living room with chairs and coffee table. Also try to incorporate round table with pics in there. Couch ottoman can be moved and picture on walls too.

  • Cindy Laskevich Cindy Laskevich on Mar 11, 2014
    It really it a cool house, but at the entry it looks like a restaurant. If the posts are not structural, I would get rid of them and the railings. I love all the windows and the light they give. Painting the ceiling will lighten up the space. New light fixtures. If you want to leave the wood, add color wherever you can...valances, big area rugs. Try "Property Brothers" on HGTV. They upgrade outdated properties on every show...I know they've updated fireplaces and "dark" features many times. Don't forget to post your "after" pictures!!

  • Cynthia Cynthia on Mar 12, 2014
    Way to dark

  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Mar 12, 2014
    You need to introduce light colors, maybe something from the rug in the dining room to tie the two rooms together. Good luck. Please post pictures.

  • Anna Marie Gustafson Anna Marie Gustafson on Mar 12, 2014
    Floral chintz living room furniture, paint walls soft sage green-if you like all that sunlight, sheer drapes and if not, tie back cotton to match some color in the chintz furniture and swap the window treatments that are there now for cream colored vinyl blinds. Add a few floor lamps with material covered shades...and area rugs to match furniture...keep the brick flooring! Could paint the fireplace for unity, to match walls as well...go for the bed and breakfast Victorian/French Country look lol...if you can talk your beloved into this look...I would also create a wall in place of the railing and posts...with a wide doorway of course...

  • Sally Lauren Sally Lauren on Mar 12, 2014
    It's so dark and gloomy! I moved into a house -purchased from an elderly woman that dated back to the 70's?... it was like a dungon! Dark wood -ugly faded wallpaper everywhere with 'un-matching' carpeting [stripes n flowers with different color schemes] heavy draperies and large cornices that blocked the windows - mustard yellow and avocado green in the kitchen and everywhere! I painted all dark wood white - lost the window shrouds and the wallpaper -ugly carpeting gone- new white appliances - cabinets painted white etc...I now have a light -bright and airy home!

  • Buster Evans Buster Evans on Mar 12, 2014
    Well..... Have a discussion with hubby about what he would do or like done... I personally like the Natural look of the wood and brick the ceiling beams everything!! So before I would cover it with paint (which is a big step hard to reverse if you dont like it later) I would begin by adding wall hangings such as quilts with colors, Pictures, rugs country themed items like birdhouses, things that match the present decor yet don't remove it completely.. You'll be surprised how much things can change and look different by adding YOUR possession and decorative ideas without loosing the character of the current decor... There is probably a reason he liked the house as it is, the rustic look... Blending your things into the current look would be much easier for you than to start CHANGING EVERYTHING (especially permanently).. Its a merging of lives now, not a hostile take over (LOL) So consider what you can do to add your touches to make it a home for BOTH of you rather than HIS place without erasing HIM or you fading into the woodwork.. Display your china in the china cabinet, If you are a plant person the windows seem to allow enough light to add plants in front of them which is always a good addition to the look and the air quality as well. Re-arrange the furniture the living room looks like its still designed for one person to receive guest.. a single couch rather than 2 chairs here and there and a love seat represents 2 rather than 1... the current chairs could be moved into other rooms or rearranged around the living room for when guest come over.. center the tv on the wall to the right of where it is now away from the glare of the window above it... Main thing i see here is just to meld your lives and possessions together.. That would be much easier on the new marriage than either of you losing your individual identity.

  • Irish53 Irish53 on Mar 12, 2014
    Color lots of color.i would start with an update on the dining room set. The brick floor is nice.

  • Mary Thorne Mary Thorne on Mar 12, 2014
    s a really pretty house. Paint, including the fireplace, get rid of the brass, bright color accents: pillows on the sofas, cushions on the chairs.

  • Donna Gill Donna Gill on Mar 12, 2014
    Absolutely paint the paneling. Please remove those rails that look like fences. If the columns are structural than keep them, I would also probably paint the fireplace but wait until the wood is done. With the wood painted, it might be okay, but with the brick floor, probably not. Spray the brass fireplace things (incongruous) an oil-rubbed bronze. Get some area rugs (NOT braided - too predictable) and a mix of furniture styles. It would be very easy to let this place get too country kitschy, so make sure you have contemporary elements, along with interesting vintage and antiques.

  • Terri Kotula Terri Kotula on Mar 12, 2014
    The wainscoting paneling in the dining room has got to go! Dry wall the dining room and paint a warm color (check out Benjamin Moore color pallet) replace the fireplace "hardware" and screen with a Vermont Castings cast iron set. If it's not in you budget to replace the out-dated brick on the fireplace with stone, paint the brick. Remove the brick on the floor and replace with either, tile or carpet. Have track lighting installed instead of the outdated ceiling fan. Use area rugs in the seat areas (except for the dining room) Your paint color pallet and rugs and accessories are up to you....decide what your taste is.....IF you did not want to removed he brick (which is faux brick) have it painted. (There is paint you can use on the floor to cover tile or brick.)

  • Carol Petto Carol Petto on Mar 12, 2014
    This reminds me of a lake cottage, Do not paint the walls, You could easily change the window treatment, large area rugs to cover the floor will separate out the areas, Don't paint the fireplace, do change out the surround. Go with a theme, nautical would be a good one here. The important thing here is do it together, and have fun, it takes time to make any house a home. Good luck!

  • Polly Zieper Polly Zieper on Mar 12, 2014
    The railing( and the fireplace mantel) have to be stained or painted a lighter color.And I'd replace the country/western light fixture with something lighter in color and more modern. Lowe's and Home Depot have some reasonably-priced light fixtures with or without ceiling fans. I bought the cheapest fixtures there for my foyer, front porch/walkway bathrooms and kitchen. They weren't expensive, but they sure improved the looks of my house!

  • Polly Zieper Polly Zieper on Mar 12, 2014
    Most importantly-POST PHOTOS WHEN YOU ARE DONE!:)We'd love to see what you decide to do!

  • Cindiwithaneye Cindiwithaneye on Mar 12, 2014
    Paint, paint, paint . . . but, not the wood ceilings. I would use a soft (not bright) white throughout. Then introduce a bright color accent with your accessories and decor.

  • Rae Rae on Mar 12, 2014
    I would paint the paneling cream to brighten it up , also paint the fireplace and add a mante also colorful large area rugs. colorful pillows on the couch

  • Kathryn Fogarty Kathryn Fogarty on Mar 12, 2014
    that house has got country written all over it beautiful wood . change the window coverings white lace, light colors in furnishing will balance really well don't paint anything

  • Lilli H Lilli H on Mar 12, 2014
    Paint!! Way too dark. Paint the fireplace.

  • Melinda Morgan Melinda Morgan on Mar 12, 2014
    I love everything except the inside railings.I love the country charm and find it warm and inviting

  • Paula Snodgrass Paula Snodgrass on Mar 12, 2014
    I would really consider white washing the ceiling, leaving the beams alone. Also I would be looking at painting the floor brick a warmer lighter color. Budget friendliest way follows: Most definitely paint the fireplace screen black. Move the safe out of the dining area put the china cabinet in the corner or on that smaller wall where safe was. Consider updating the dining furniture by at the minimum adding color to seats, either cushions or paint. If you go the paint route be sure to table top's under side support rails. If the safe has no other home, consider painting it with a stencil and adding pictures to either side of where the china cabinet is. Center the couch with the windows and off the wall. Add some colorful plaid or striped valances, roll up the blinds at least half way during the day. Colorful floral, solid and striped pillows to brighten the furniture in the same palette of the valances. Add a couple of narrow side/end tables to dress up on each side of the couch. Or a couch table behind the couch, to dress up with accents. Obviously the TV has very few options due to its size and this room has been set up for optimum viewing pleasure, but why is it on a stand that it does not need. It would be much better on the floor, which it was designed for, in that corner. Plus it will eliminate some of the sun's reflections. .Update the light fixture on the ceiling fan. Angle those two chairs, round table may be too tall to set behind but between. Have fun and talk it over with the hubby!

  • Jeanette P. Jeanette P. on Mar 12, 2014
    I think your home has some great bones but, I do agree that it's a little dark. I think you should mutually decide on some colors and furniture choices. The fireplace definitely needs a makeover, perhaps a new mantle and surround.

  • Cher D Cher D on Mar 12, 2014
    if the ceiling was painted white it would bring it up.... i as a woman love the wood walls.. but not the ceiling to much wood.....and if your chandelier in the dining room was changed to something a little more up to date it would make that room look better.. add some colorful throw pillows around then paint the fireplace and or add some tile to the fireplace.. if he does not want the fireplace painted paint the mantel it will brighten it

  • Jean Adams Jean Adams on Mar 12, 2014
    Anything white. The furniture is fine. Get rid of all those window decorations, put up white muslin drapes hung all the way to the ceiling. You could probably make them. Think about taking down the paneling and replacing with sheet rock. The rails are a problem because the sunken den is a fall hazard. The safe needs to go some where else.

  • Michelle Wigman Nason Michelle Wigman Nason on Mar 12, 2014
    I would paint the brick and give it slight distressed feel, I saw it done on an episode of property brothers and it looked fantastic. Change the fireplace insert, it is a bit dated and needs to be see thru and more inviting. Also I would remove the post beams (not the ceiling beams those are great) and railings between the spaces to open it up and make it feel more spacious. And finally just because I love paint I would lighten up the walls with a very warm light paint color, not necessarily white but maybe something with a pinkish tone to it to tie into the brick flooring. But before you do anything, sit down with hubby and discuss style differences Its always good to have his input. And I would paint the ceiling/beams too.

  • Judy Martin Judy Martin on Mar 12, 2014
    do not put Paint on any thing!! put some white/light curtains on windows all rooms. change up rugs to light tan ...also go with some light furniture ,keep dinning set thro ( nice) you could use nice table cover in light /or country print/ use light pillows > remove all window covering ,light color shades on Lamps also add more lights hanging or celling fixters ,the railing can be closed in with light boards....fireplace remove the stuff and add a long Large mirrow& white candles lamps or hubbys Gun over fireplace w / lamps.. also you might use some white bleached logs on each side of fireplace, keep wheel light over table to .hope your getting Idea now & please take photos >>> I love your home !!

  • Kate Coupland Musacchio Kate Coupland Musacchio on Mar 12, 2014
    The house is monotone, yet it has lots of great country accents. I think you will be able to get some ideas once you drywall and paint the wood walls. You will also be able to get an idea of where to go and what to do next. I agree with @Buster Evans that once you paint there is no going back. The fencing area leaves a lot of possibilities. I;ve seen beautiful built in bookshelves that divide rooms at the same height and have dry walled columns with the open air look. It separates the kitchen and living area, and gives great opportunity for decoration and is a great place to put side dishes for special meals like Thanksgiving and brunches. On top of the bookshelf you could have some of your nicer Wedding gifts like a fiesta wear pitcher or special picture of the two of you. The kitchen side would be the back and completely dry walled. On the book shelf side you could put books, your collectables or prepare for the future. (It's the perfect place for baby toys and back packs when the kids are in school.). I love the floor for a farm house. It looks like it will be easy to clean and keep clean. A huge mirror is a quick fix for the fireplace and will lighten the room. I love the kitchen table it has so much charm.

  • Little Bitz Inc Little Bitz Inc on Mar 12, 2014
    I have many ideas and thoughts to make this house your home. Especially taking full advantage of the elongated family room and dining room. I own a business that does exactly this. Feel free to email me and we can set a time to chat. My email is

  • Kris Kowalski Kris Kowalski on Mar 12, 2014
    Boy this is tough. I'd hate to paint that beautiful wood, but there's just so much of it. Perhaps start with a little at a time. Is there one part that really annoys you the most? Do that, then stop for a couple of weeks and think before moving on.

  • Tasha M Tasha M on Mar 12, 2014
    I would paint the wood on the ceiling white, but leaving the beams as-is (or staining them darker). You can lighten up the fireplace brick by painting it or sponging a lighter color on it (there are several examples of this in blogland). Also, you can paint the paneling on the wall a lighter color, such as a light blue, light grey, or off-white. Those three options will brighten up the space considerably. For inspiration, you can check out the Young House Love blog and The Lettered House blog (they have both taken outdated spaces and transformed them into beautiful homes). Post pictures when you are done, whatever you do! :)

  • Debbie Debbie on Mar 12, 2014
    Good luck to you on whatever you choose to do. I love your floors. Bright colored, floral rug in areas perfect to blend with those floors. I love your ceiling, updating your light fixtures alone would change out a great deal. I love the railings, serving as a division but yet leaving it open, I would not touch those if I didn't have to. Window dressings, you may want to consider wide horizontal blinds ( white ) and light airy curtains to floor so your windows are letting in your light but you can block out heat of summer with blinds when you want to. Fireplace insert, mantel and brick I would completely change it up. I don't normally like a painted fireplace but I think it would be alright on this one. It kind of battles the beautiful floors. I would consider lighter weight furniture in the living room, the other is a heavy view. You have been given a beautiful home to live in, good luck with it and congratulations on your new marriage!!

  • Marcia Day Marcia Day on Mar 12, 2014
    I actually like the home the way it is. You could add feminine touches. I hate to see a brick fireplace painted, unless it has smoke damage to it. You could also paint the wood walls, but again, I hate to see that painted also.

  • Elaine Elaine on Mar 12, 2014
    I only agree with the comments that like it the way it is. Do not go with any of the other suggestions. If you want to save money in the long run and avoid a disaster, hire an interior designer who will work with the existing design which, in my opinion, is timeless and who can probably bring it into the 21st century.

  • Julie Julie on Mar 12, 2014
    Before you start painting, do a Google search for "painting wood ceilings and paneling". It will give you an idea of what your room might look like and help you decide how you would like to proceed. Also do a search for painting or refacing fireplaces. Your new hubby might not be happy about painting the wood and this way you both can feel good about any changes you make. I would move the safe out of the room first! Post pics after you decide what to do!

  • Carol Carol on Mar 12, 2014
    I agree with whitewashing the ceilings, but leave the beams dark. Also, take out the railing dividers. Add white or very light curtains or vertical blinds at the windows. Add a lot of color to your accessories.

  • Cyndi Moore Tippett Cyndi Moore Tippett on Mar 12, 2014
    I LOVE your new place. Please live in it at least six months before you do any "major" projects like paint, etc. I would start slow by adding window treatments, rugs and furniture in lighter more cheery colors. You could paint the sheetrock walls a pretty color from your window treatment or rug choice. Another piece of advice....clean the walls, you might be surprised how much better they look. Think about painting your mantle a medium red, it would add a touch of color. I painted mine and I loved it.

  • Shari Veater Shari Veater on Mar 12, 2014
    You have a GREAT house! You could decorate in a hunting lodge style or go with a beach style because of the wood. I would live with it for awhile before deciding to paint over the wood. Many times just a few "key" accents changes the look...good luck :)

  • Doris Kramer Doris Kramer on Mar 12, 2014
    Paint the brick fireplace. Then color wash the walls allowing the wood to come through but lightening the up. One the room is brighter you will be able to blend your accessories easier. Keep them rustic vintage if you can.

    • Carol Carol on Mar 12, 2014
      Better to resurface to with dry wall and tile or granite/quartz surround. Painted brick will always look like painter brick. The rough brick will take a lot of paint, and once painted, it can not be removed.

  • Lela Lela on Mar 12, 2014
    Keep the floor - It's beautiful ! Here's what I would do :: Dry brush the fireplace, using a gray-ish blue & a beige combo. Update the lighting, add some window treatments that pick up the colors in the fireplace brick. Add some colorfull scatter rugs & a change the pictures to add lightness & color to the walls.......... then step back for a while. Don't do it all at once. In a month or so, you see what/if you need to do more... Post some after pictures. Good Luck !

  • Joyce Gilkey Joyce Gilkey on Mar 12, 2014
    The wall behind the dining table looks so much bigger because it is a light color. Open up the room more with the ceiling painted between the beams that light color and add some area rugs with a country look. Then rest with that for awhile and see what else you would like to change.

  • Carol Carol on Mar 12, 2014
    Try to check how the paneling and ceiling wood are attached. If glued, just ain't it. If nailed see if there is wall board under it. If no wall board, paint it. Do not paint the fireplace unless you truly hate it. Enlarge your pictures and use a sheet of clear plastic to try out paint colors. Easier to remove clear plastic from a picture than paint on paneling. I think there are programs that allow you to up load pictures and then make changes like paint and window treatments. I would change out the wood tone blinds with curtains and shades to start. Maybe also drapes. I love the dining room with the half paneling, and although I love yellow, maybe a light cream, white, Pale green would be softer than the yellow. I would try non-permenant fixes to start, like the window treatments. If you decide to change the fireplace, you can try large quartz or granite panned or build out the wall and dry wall it. I would try the overlay pictures or computer programs to decide what direction you want to go.

  • Maria DiTondo Maria DiTondo on Mar 12, 2014
    I would leave it, just lighten it up with curtains, new light fixtures, colorful rugs and decorations, lots of feminine touches would make a big difference. Then after a little while if you still hated it, I would at least whitewash the walls, or maybe put stone or something over the fireplace, I'd also get rid of the dark furniture, too much wood,I'd paint the wood dining furniture, put in some nice flowery sofas, needs something softer, change the fireplace surround to something more modern, still its a great space, enjoy it however you choose :-)

  • Jan Prince Jan Prince on Mar 12, 2014
    ask him what he likes and wants to change.I also moved into my husband's house but he doesn't want to change much.paint works some furniture.hubs always complains about money!don't make it too girly right off.might have to move slow on some changes.start on 1 room and make it better, then he'll be more inclined to change others

  • Cindy L Cindy L on Mar 12, 2014
    that home is gorgeous and people pay big bucks for that look, I would LOVE that look in my home. Just add your touches, perhaps change up for some feminine fabrics on the upholstery, (not to foo foo though) Rugs are a great way to accesorize and bring in a less manly feel. Think lodge look, ski resort, go online and look the decor of them and see what you can use in your house that will make it feel like you have your mark on it.

  • Kat Kat on Mar 12, 2014
    I'd leave the fireplace as is. I'd paint the ceiling white so it doesn't look so closed in. The wood paneling? I hate paneling. I'd rip it down and paint. That's a huge, messy job but, like I said, I HATE paneling.

    • See 1 previous
    • Janet Janet on Mar 14, 2014
      I agree, take down or paint that panel wall. It makes a room feel dark and depressing. Paint it a color that goes with rustic and maybe leave the posts natural. Add an area rug with some color and pattern. and sheer curtains.

  • Carol Carol on Mar 12, 2014
    I love the safe, but maybe the dinning room is not the place for it or turn it into a TV cabinet. I would also extend the porch walls and cover it in dry wall, but leave big openings for dinning room and living room.

  • Celsey Weiss Celsey Weiss on Mar 12, 2014
    I think you just need to updated some of the accessories in the room, such as: the fan in the tv room, get a different stand for the tv, get a large statement piece (clock?) for one of the walls to break it up some, maybe paint the table to get rid of all the wood, etc. However, i love the wood beams - dying for those in my place.

  • Opal Opal on Mar 12, 2014
    These rooms have a lot of charm. If you break up the wood and add stronger colors it would do a lot to add contrast. I think rearranging the furniture, adding colored textiles and updating the lighting & fan are the top priority. In the living room, I would place the sofa unit either out and centered about 3'ish or facing the fireplace, then the chairs & table combo facing the tv or the fireplace. I would place the tv up against the wall opposite the windows and centered with the sofa/chairs. Plants or something taller under the windows with shear curtains and the same for the bench area. Add colored textiles (pillows, blankets) on the sofa in the same colors as the rug in the dining room and/or add another smaller rug like the one in the dining room layered over the white rug and add table or floor lamps. Replace or paint the ceiling fan black for contrast. In the dining room, again I would replace or paint the light black. If you replace it, I would consider stained glass for color. A table cloth on the table would separate some of the wood for more contrast between the cabinet and the table making both stand out. Can't wait to see what you do.

  • Katie Katie on Mar 12, 2014
    I think the first step is for you and your beloved to figure out what your combined style is. You said you are more traditional but that could mean different things. I would suggest pulling pictures out of magazines and the internet and coming up with the bunch of examples of things you really like and then incorporate the "flavour" of those images in your own way. This house has great bones. Take your time and have fun! There seems to be a lot of windows, a great floor and a ceiling that you could do quite a bit with. I can't wait to see the "after" photos!

  • Barbara Turner Barbara Turner on Mar 12, 2014
    Go with your gut. Go slow! Do it as a team, it was his domain. But he's got a wife now. He wants to please you hopefully. I'd honestly start with replacing those horrible fans/lights. I'd honestly try to keep as much rustic as I could. After you get the fans replaced, go from the style of the fans. But keep it SIMPLE. Above all. The house has really good styling and bones. Looks like it's in really solid shape. Then I might look honestly taking the window treatments down and installing Plantation Shutters. Those are nice looking window seating areas. DO NOT mess with the room dividers. They're classic the way they are. Are either of you into horses? There are lots of different ways to add the horse motif into a place like this! Mess with those and you'll ruin the flavor of the place. I wouldn't mess with the tiled floor for a while either. Maybe do that last after getting a new few pieces of furniture. But again GO SLOW. Make a change, live with it, collect the mag. pictures you really like and adapt. Have fun! Keep us posted! Can't wait to see the results before - during - after.

  • Loretta Loretta on Mar 12, 2014
    IIt looks like a nice place. I think they are right about going slow. Start first with rearranging the furniture. Try putting the sofa at the edge of the rug across from the fireplace. Then move the two chairs and table to the left side at the edge of the rug. That would be cosying it up some. Turn the TV a little bit more facing the sofa. Add a topper curtain over the windows and some colorful throw pillows and a throw that match. A tall plant would look good next to the wall on left side too. He should be happy with that for awhile. Try to ease the safe into a bedroom or somewhere when possible. Then the hutch would look better on the left side wall and a picture arrangement on that big wall with a couple sconces. Post another picture with what you do so we can see.

  • Kris Kowalski Kris Kowalski on Mar 13, 2014
    If you do decide to do away with the paneling, I wouldn't rip it down. You can paint and it will look beautiful. Ripping it down will be $$ and so time consuming. Just a quick story for you, I grew up in a farmhouse that had wood paneling. Found out it was from trees grown on our farm. So make sure there isn't a really nice story like that with yours. Sanding and restaining is nice too if you want to take that on.

  • Barbara Turner Barbara Turner on Mar 13, 2014
    Just as a P.S. - my childhood home had pine paneling in our dining room which we painted after Daddy took that wall dividing the dining room from the kitchen out and painted it soft mint green which we kept til Mom and I moved after he passed. Just remember that if you do paint it, you'll need to lightly sand the smooth finish off so that the paint will adhere and whatever type of paint you choose make sure you prime first or it may not stick. Good luck. Can't wait to see the results!

  • Sparkles Sparkles on Mar 14, 2014
    go here and pick a rug style you like. Then pick colors from the rug for the drapes and throw pillows. Instead of painting the whole fireplace, try randomly painting a few of the bricks, using colors from the rug. Get 2 nice chairs to flank the this arrangement other living room ideas

  • Susan M Susan M on Mar 14, 2014
    Paint the ceiling and the paneling. We bought a home a little over a year ago, IT was a built in the late 80s and had a lot of paneling. We had the upper half of the walls sprayed with at texture and the lower half painted. Looks great, prevents taking the paneling down and saves money and time. WE had the texturing done and did the painting ourselves