A paneled den needn't be dark Design: Rug, upholstered pieces, family pictures and paintings bring a note of gaiety to an otherwise somber room.


July 14, 1996|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

What can I do to prevent a beautifully paneled den from looking dark and dour? Wooden floors and walls, along with the semicircular tops of the windows, are elements I definitely don't want to downplay. How can I treat them to give a brighter appearance to a room that my family uses as a quiet space?

To introduce a note of gaiety, go get a colorful rug. Whether it's to be contemporary or traditionally Turkish in its design depends entirely on your own taste. The rug's lively colors can then be emphasized by means of a few brightly contrasting accents.

Chairs, sofas and any other seating pieces should be covered with light fabrics, although the addition of red, gold or green -- in the form of pillows and welts -- would certainly be welcome.

The somber mien of the paneled walls can be perked up a bit by decorating them with a few family photos and luminous paintings. I appreciate wood paneling too, but I don't regard it as a sacred surfacing. In fact, it sometimes looks even better when serving as the background for framed works of art.

Metal accessories such as polished brass lamps will give the room some needed sparkle. And don't forget to make the lighting work to your advantage. Comfortable and interesting-looking rooms are usually lighted by wall-mounted as well as ceiling-suspended fixtures.

Take all these steps and you won't have to dress your windows very much. One simple option is to install a wooden pole inside the frame below the window curve and to then hang a pair of curtains from it by means of brass or wooden rings. That will produce a softening effect while also providing privacy.

If you want more control over the sound and light entering the space, consider something like the Hunter Douglas "Duette" honeycomb shade featured in the photo. It features a permanent fan-like arched top that would presumably be just right for the sort of windows you describe. The bottom portion of the shade, meanwhile, operates from top to bottom, allowing light and warmth to enter and darkness and cold to be shut out.

In your situation, I'd recommend a light-colored shade that would blend easily with the neutrals in the room.

Pub Date: 7/14/96

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