Gotta keep the wood

musicteacherMay 15, 2011

My house has nicely done wood panelling (picture frame) which my husband loves and does not want me to paint. Thinks it would be criminal to destroy it. It is pretty wood, but the living room, with 4 wood walls, a black grand piano, dark red couches, is (would you believe) dark and depressing. Right now it has dark carpet and we are planning to replace the floors, but I am stumped. We have two young 60 pound dogs who would scratch wood floors, so hubby wants laminate, I too want a hard floor, but lean towards a lighter carpet, or even tile to brighten things up a bit. I know decorators would tell me to paint the panelling, but I want to stay married. LOL

We recently tiled the kitchen with large travertine look tiles which lightened things up a lot. I am afraid that tile in the living would look cold and commercial, but so practical with the canines. I can find NO articles on decorating with panelling, they all just tell you how to paint it. What would you do?

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I'd probably prioritize staying married too :-)

Dark rooms can look good. I think the secret is lighting: natural and artificial, for the times of day they matter. If you want to stay with the darkness, maybe some study of lighting or consultation with a lighting designer would be beneficial. That, and using the right tones for the space - warm vs cool, etc.

That said, lightening up the floor is maybe a good idea - floors make a lot of difference to a room. Tile would be a very European look - could avoid looking clinical if you use a matte, rustic style in a warm tone that harmonizes with your panelling. A pale carpet could look very nice, especially in a pretty colour (as opposed to pale and dull), and you know, if it's one room, you might be able to do it with a carpet remnant at pretty low cost - and redo it every few years as the dogs get the better of it.

If you're considering tile, it's kind of irreversible... I do mock-ups when I can to make big decisions (some people photoshop. It sounds really hokey, but if you have something like a bedsheet in the shades you might use, lay it on the floor and study the effect.

What colour is your ceiling?

For articles on decorating with panelling, you might look for Bungalow magazine and other Arts and Crafts sources.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 6:45PM
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I like the idea of lighter tile, but it can be hard to walk on after awhile. Carpeting also would work. I think it would be easier to replace or recover the furniture to bring in a lighter look.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 2:14PM
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Hello musicteacher and congratulations on the new kitchen tile. If the living room is adjoining to the kitchen, continuing the tile would make the rooms look larger. This would help counter the "smallness" and "darkness" of the wood and furnishings. Clean-up and upkeep would be easier for you on a daily basis.

Since you have young dogs, could you compromise and get some light colored slipcovers for the couches? There are some great economical covers that are not fitted and are easy maintenance (machine washable). This would add some lightness to the living room and save the sofas. (You can compromise with hubby � take off the slipcovers before the company comes!) A light "warm " shade or print/ pattern would help take away some of the "coldness" of the tile.

Additional lighting is a great idea and using window treatments that are not "heavy" will help counter the strength of the wood paneling. Consider sheer curtains or light shutters.

Plants may or may not be an option with large dogs. Several plants in scale with the room will project a comfortable feeling.

Best wishes and please tell us how things turn out!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 12:58PM
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Fori is not pleased

You should of course check out the decorating forum!

Don't forget rugs. They'll make tile more livable or wood less prone to dog damage and they can be rolled up and taken away to be cleaned. I think a lighter slate tile could be very nice--rustic without being cabin-ish. Or maybe spend a little extra, destroy some of the paneling (save it for spare parts wink wink), and install some huge picture windows. Wood is even prettier in the sunlight.

And...I haven't tried this but you might be able to trim your dogs' nails with a Dremel tool so that they aren't a concern. There are some pretty good guides online if you dare!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 5:19PM
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We lived with 4+ Rottweilers for 20 years with oak floors. Our home was contemporary and all the rooms opened to each other. My dogs would chase each other throughout the house and it would sound like elephants charging in the house. They did not damage the floors. There were scratches here and there, but our children and plants did more damage to the floors than the dogs.

We lived in the house for 40 years and had the floors refinished twice. We did have area rugs, mostly orientals which also held up well.

I would go with wood floors which are easy to clean and hold up very well. We just sold our house and the floors looked beautiful.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 12:48AM
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