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Help with Dark Wood Paneling

My husband and I are about to move into a rental home. there is dark wood panelling in the living room and the den. I am trying to think of ideas to really brighten up the place adn bring it into the 21st Century without having to do any permanent work to it. This is a rental property so it has to be reversible. This is the only thing I hate about the home. Please any advice would be much appreciated. Amy from Florida

My answer to you Amy is lighting. If you can’t paint or change drapery etc, how about putting some freestanding uplighter lamps into the house. They will reflect light off the ceiling and back down into the room. Try placing table lamps in the corners of the room, this will make the space look larger and try a light colored rug on the floor. Some artwork on the walls with predominately white or cream backgrounds would detract your eye from what the dark timber paneling on the walls. Basically try and create another focal point away from the walls. You can do all of this without changing any of the house, you can take the rug, pictures and lamps with you when you leave. I hope some of these ideas work for you. Lee Brown


Americana Babys Nursery

I had a question from Mary Harrington about decorating her Grandbaby’s nursery in an Americana theme.

Hi Lee, I’m decorating my Grandbaby’s nursery in Americana theme. The walls are a cream color on top, divided by a white chair rail (to match the baseboards) and a wallpaper border of American stars. I also plan to stamp navy, red or both stars above the window and closet doors. I made a navy blue with cream stars crib dust ruffle and curtain valance. On the bottom of the chair rail I have dragged a navy blue color. I would like advice on what to put on the walls, pictures, shelves etc? The room is about 12′ x 9′ the two short walls have windows on one side and closet doors on the other. Help? From Mary

My reply was:

It sounds like you are having a lovely tome Mary! It often gets difficult when you have put so much time and effort into a job and spent a great deal of time in the space that completing it with the finishing touches can be elusive.

What about getting some simple canvases from a painting supplier or your local art supplier. The ones that are stretched over rails (or use MDF Board and paint it white first). Then paint red and white stripes on them, do three and have them going one vertical two horizontal for example. You could always use the fabric that you have made the valance and crib dust ruffle and select another colorway, perhaps red and cream and stretch that over a simple timber frame and staple the fabric at the back of the frame, then attach a string to hang it from. This adds texture ad helps with the noise absorption when the baby arrives!

Shelves are a necessity as everyone buys you little nick knacks for the baby and they are quite dangerous for them until they get older. Being able to view them and be out of reach is ideal. I think that the red (as you haven’t used a lot of that so far) would add another dimension. have you thought about this fantastic idea, simple balsa wood stars (or stuffed fabric stars) hanging from the ceiling, lets face it babies spend most of their early time looking at the ceiling! I hope this has given you some more inspiration, it sounds like a fabulous project, keep up the good work.
For more inspitration visit Baby’s Nursery Makeover and Changing wall colors in a nursery