Help! I Have A Depressing Living Room

Dear Style Studio,

My decorating dilemma is my dull dark living room that desperately needs help. The room is length is 18.5 feet long and the width is 13.5 feet.

There are three entrances into the room. Two internal (without doors) and an outside door that leads to a wrap around porch. The first entrance is at the beginning of the foyer and is four feet wide. The second is at the end of the foyer and is three feet wide. The door is standard at 36 inches. The floor is laminate oak color.

The ceiling is white paint brushed and the wall paint color is spice pumpkin. There is a three feet chair railing a round the room. There is a ceiling fan with six ceiling lights. They are located in the ceiling as follows: two on the side of the fireplace, two on the side of the wall unit and two on the side of the sofa.

The curtains rods are wooden rods -privacy is not an issue. There are three windows with two on the wall facing the front porch. Those are six feet long and three feet wide. This is where the love seat and two end tables are located (the tables are covered with brown leather).

Going clockwise, the next wall is the wall facing the first entrance. A double window is located here and it is six feet by six feet. The recliner is located in front of this window. The gas brick fireplace is also on the middle of this wall. As you can see, help is needed with decorating it. The outside door is also on this wall.

The entertainment center is located on the next wall – the center is in three parts (where I place my collection of pottery, baskets, old suitcases, jewelry boxes and other strange things).

The next wall is where the entrance at the end of the foyer (opposite the outside door) is located. This is also where the sofa is located. Next there is the first entrance from foyer.

The furniture arrangement is difficult for me and I’m unable to create a focal point in the room. The lighting is depressing due to the fact that the natural light is blocked by the porch.

Please help,




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We can help you lighten up your space! A little paint and a few new colorful elements should do the trick.

Because you have dark walls and dark furniture, any light that arrives in your living room is quickly absorbed.  We recommend painting the walls a nice light neutral color and then paint the chair railing, trim and paneling in a soft white. A couple gallons of paint will give an enormous impact in this space.

Next, we suggest to replace your rug with a more colorful option. We think our Geneve Indoor/Outdoor Rug in Terracotta is perfect! Add our Sea of Poppies Giclee over the mantel and then throw a few pillows on the sofa for a pop of color. Canvas Rust and Burlap are two fabrics that we think will add color and texture to your seating.

Janice F Collage

Your furniture might work better if you pull it in closer to the fireplace and position it on the rug. Even though your media cabinet is central in the room, there are really two focal points … the fireplace and the media cabinet. Keeping both focal points in mind will be crucial as you move pieces around.

Another consideration is recovering your chair in a different fabric for an additional color layer in the room. Remember to use good lighting when working with darker rooms.

We know that your room will soon be brilliant with light and we wish you “Happy Decorating”!

The Style Studio Team

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.