Modernizing a small living room

by Becky
(Charlotte, NC)

My husband and I bought an antique house a couple of years ago (built in 1920).

My living room is relatively small, but with a very high ceiling - the former owners raised the ceiling to follow the roofline. So the walls are all about 15 feet tall, and then the ceiling slopes to about 20 feet in the center of the room.

I have ugly beige carpet, merlot colored silk drapes, a dark brown leather sofa, navy blue cushions on the rocker, and several antique wooden chairs in either black or dark brown with dark blue and wine colored pillows tossed in several places.

There is also an antique secretary and a china cabinet in golden oak shades. The flat screen TV sits above the fireplace, which is mostly a golden wood color with dark green marble tiles around the insert.

The ceiling is popcorn, which I hate! The walls are painted white, which I also hate!

I want to paint the walls, but I can't decide what color (I'm thinking a sage color). My instinct is to go medium-dark but I don't want to close in the room.

Should I paint all the way to where the walls meet the ceiling? I don't want to try to "modernize" the old-fashioned feel of the house - help!

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Apr 27, 2009
How to get your room in proportion...
by: Charlotte

Hi Becky

Your room sounds lovely! I know all about having a small room and a period house, although unfortunately my ceilings aren't quite as tall as that.

Some of the pages on my period properties pages could give you some ideas.

You can also check out the section on room proportions for some tips about dealing with small rooms, and high ceilings - an intriguing combination!

That sage green sounds a lovely color for a period property (one of my own favorite colors actually, although we don't have it anywhere at the moment). Try to chose a 'heritage' paint to get the best color. There are special heritage companies, and most commercial paint brands will do a heritage range.

I advise trying some out from a tester pot. Remember, that especially in small rooms, colors can often appear much darker once the room is painted than on a small test area - so if in doubt, go a little paler than the color you think.

One trick you could try is to fit a picture rail, a short distance from your ceiling. You could paint the sage green up to this picture rail, then either paint a darker color over the top (up to where the walls meet the ceiling - then the ceiling preferably in white) or (my preferred option) paint the area above this, and the ceiling in white. This will have the effect of increasing your ceiling area (making the room feel larger) and cut the height of the walls, making them seem shorter - and the room more in proportion.

All your antique and period furniture should look great, and the colors sound like they will all blend together nicely, for a 'antique' and comfortable feel.

Good luck with your decorating project. I hope it goes well.

I'd love to see photos when you finish :o)

Best wishes

Charlotte x

May 02, 2009
by: Jenny Gordon

Sage sounds like it would look really nice with the rest of the colors in the room!

Would it help make the room look bigger to do a runner?

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