To Paint or Not to Paint?

To Paint or Not to Paint?

Should I paint the dark woodwork in my house?

A home with dark woodwork can be very desirable. Especially in New England, dark wood creates a warm feeling, particularly during the cold winter months. However in recent years, the trend has been to paint wood paneling and molding. Some homes have gorgeous wood paneling which I believe should be preserved, however many older houses have gum wood which after many years becomes dull and discolored. My friends who are real estate agents often suggest to paint woodwork for resale as it gives a fresh look to old housing stock typically found in the northeast.

We have lived in our home for almost 25 years. In the past few years I have felt that the dark wood was limiting from a design perspective, but vacillated as whether or not to paint it. Finally I decided to take the plunge and paint. But then my dilemma was what color to paint it? Should I go with a deep, saturated color on both the walls and woodwork, a look that I love? Or since I’ve been living with the strong wood tones, should I go with a warm white on the wood and an off white for the walls? In the end I decided to go with the warm white because I was trying to accomplish the feeling of a fresh start, a new direction for the house. And isn’t nice not to have to move to feel you have a totally different house? Here’s a before pic.

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The fireplace wall, although warm and inviting, dominated the room and limited the design options. A mirror over the fireplace reflects light and brightens the space just a bit.

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Now the room has a fresh, bright feeling. The fireplace wall is still the focal point of the room, but does not dominate. A pair of antique sconces have been selected as well as new furnishings, in particular a sofa that I just love! Stay tuned for the redesign coming very soon!

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