When you purchase old houses, chances are good that you will become the new proud owner of one or two wood panelled rooms.
What's that I hear? Groaning? Grumbling?
Sorry. I already heard that from my husband when we purchased this house.
Our family room, with its built-in bookcases, brick fireplace, and all of its wood panelled glory was destined to become my husband's man cave. But my husband had visions of the room just looking like a cave, period.
I knew that with a few design and decorating tricks, this room would become the warm and cozy place where my family would congregate every night. And guess what? The dreaded room that no one wanted to spend time in is now the room where we declare squatter's rights! We love it!
Here are a few things that helped us fall in love with our wood panelled family room:
1.) Don't fill a wood panelled room with more wood!
This is not the room to display your pine hutch or your collection of cedar chests. You are already surrounded by wood. Don't become smothered by it! Keep the wood furniture to a bare minimum.
2.) Don't fight the tones in your wood! Try to complement the tones instead.
Our wood panelling has a definite warm honey undertone. We chose warm colors to accent this feature. If we had picked a cool palette of grays, we would not have been happy.
3.) Color is key!
Once we had determined the warm colors in our wood panelling, we chose upholstered pieces that played off this color. Our furniture has a decidedly autumnal feel, which seems to work in this room.
4.) Furniture scale is so important!
When we first moved in last summer, we filled the room with our overstuffed, large scaled, and pretty old furniture. The layout of this space left us feeling claustrophobic. When it was time to purchase new furniture last fall, we opted for smaller scaled pieces that provided optimal seating for movie viewing. What a difference! Room to breathe, with a much better flow in and out of this space.
5.) Add texture!
This is important in just about every room of the house, but it was essential in our wood panelled family room. We mixed pebbled leather chairs with a nubby sofa, and added a woolen ottoman. Then we layered pillows and soft blankets for even more texture. We mixed different metals, too. Brick, wood, metal, fabric. Over all, it makes the room a lot more interesting.
6.) Contrast dark and light!
If your wood panelling is dark, try adding some lighter elements for contrast. We added a lighter colored accent chair, along with the lighter colored ottoman to balance it out. We also have a light colored carpet in this room, which is great for brightening a darker room, but not so great when you have a black labrador retriever. Our Dyson does double duty in this space!
7.) Lighting is important!
In a wood panelled room, the lighting plays a key role in balancing the darker walls. Our room has two east-facing windows that provide a lot of natural light during the day. At night, when we want the room darker for optimal movie viewing, we've got it.
Now that being said, we still have eighties-style HUGE white track lights highlighting the fireplace wall. We also have some pretty old table lamps that need replacing, and a dark corner that really needs a floor lamp for the accent chair. It's not perfect, but it's getting there.
This wood panelled room is finally living up to its name: FAMILY room! It's a warm, wonderful space to watch movies, play board games, have a foosball tournament, or just read a book. In the fall and winter, our wood burning fireplace crackles with warmth while we eat big bowls of popcorn paired with mulled cider.
We love our wood panelling...in the family room.
But did I mention that we have TWO wood panelled rooms in this old colonial house?
Our first floor den is also covered in wood panelling...dark, dark, panelling. In a few days, I will show you how we learned to love this room as well. (Clue! It involved a lot of primer and paint!)