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advice for dark family room

debbieg's picture

Just moved into a house with a nice family room.  Then entire end wall is stacked stone.  It's a split level house, so the room sits low with windows almost at ground level.  Huge trees outside make the room dark.  We have to replace flooring and can't decide to go with carpet or wood.  Right now it has white berber.  We have two large dogs.   My husband thinks we should embrace the darkness of the room and go with a dark plank wood.  I'm afraid it will make the room too dark.  The other parts of the house have lots of light and vaulted ceiling, so this would be a cozy retreat.  I don't have much imagination.  Any advice??



(post #175854, reply #1 of 2)

Congratulations on your new home.  This caught my eye as I recently saw a redo on TV.  It was on HGTV and it was Devine Design with Candice Olsen.  They embraced the rooms darkness and turned it into a media room.  She used mid-gray carpet and lighter gray walls.  Lighting was a big part of the scheme.  She used ceiling lights, some low wall lights like you might seen in a theater, and lamps.  I think the furniture upholstery were monochromatic off-white/tan, with splashes of red.

You might consider limbing up some trees to see if you get more light from outside, but it sounds as though this room will still not receive the lovely light you enjoy in the rest of your home.  Inside, a dark floor "grounds the room" and seems to make lighter furnishings and wall color pop.  This sounds like a fun project.  It sounds like accepting this room and making the most of it might work best.  If it were my room, I'd focus on good lighting installation to get the "mood".  With the dogs, you will probably want soil hiding upholstery, but can introduce light colors in accent pieces, like a cream throw, accent pillows and cream color accessories, if that is to your taste.  A nice area rug would brighten and anchor the seating area. 

Considering the dogs and the rug issue, I can tell you that I have found that you can buy 8' x 11' bound carpet for as little as $30 at wholesale clubs, etc.  I use them and when they are "finished", I put them in the garage under where I park the car to catch winter drips from snow build up.  They are inexpensive and easily replaced.  It would cost $2+ per lineal foot to have a carpet remnant bound, which is more than these pieces cost.  With dark floors, doggie scratches might be more pronounced.  They make some vinyl plank flooring and some sheet vinyl flooring that has the appearance of wood, so that might be something to consider.

My approach would be to "live" in the room, look around while there, not rushing until you get a feel for how you want to use the room and assess what you could do to make it work for you.  I'm one of those people who doesn't even hang pictures/paintings until I've lived in the room for a while.  The right thing kind of reveals itself after a while!  Photos often reveal what we do not "see".  That might give you some ideas.  In the meantime, unless you have a decorator, looking at magazine photos and watching home decorating shows will fuel your imagination.  You'll get there!  Remember, a problem is really an opportunity in disguise.

(post #175854, reply #2 of 2)

Thanks, dt!  i have become addicted to hgtv since moving into the house, but i missed that show.  i am trying to take my time, but it's tough.  we moved in on july 1, and i still haven't hung a picture.  you have some good suggestions that i will consider.  thanks again!  (one problem i have is that we just bought dark brown leather furniture about a year ago, so i have to lighten that up somehow.)