Decorating & Furniture/wood paneling


I have an open den/dining room/kitchen. it's just one long room and it's all paneling with hardwood floors. I think the paneling is pretty, I just want to lighten these rooms up. I don't have a clue how to decorate in these rooms or what colors would blend and lighten the room. I also wonder what to do with the windows. Valances and blinds? Or would a scarf be totally wrong? The paneling is a medium tone with a copper hue to it. There is also a red brick fireplace. Thank you for any help you can give me.

Hi Wanda,

Is the paneling from ceiling to floor? You could paint the paneling and/or the fireplace in order to lighten the room up. I would stick in the neutral ranges of tan, cream, yellow or green.

The window treatments would be dependent on how much privacy and light you need. I prefer not keep the emphasis on the view and light and tend to go very simple with my window coverings. With all that wood, I do think fabric panels would soften things up a bit.

From what you've described, you could easily create a romantic cottage style - if that's your taste.

When someone is unsure of a starting point, I always advise them to buy a few decorating magazines and cut out pictures of rooms that they would want to spend time in. Are there any that be used as inspiration for your room. Look carefully at the details of the pictures you cut out. That's your starting place.

Also, Benjamin offers a tool called My color inspiration. They have coordinated colors in groups of four. Use one as your main color, another as your second and third and/or fourth as your accent color.

For smooth room-to-room transitions, be sure the colors blend well with the other colors in your home.

Best of luck,
Susan Matthews

Decorating & Furniture

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Susan Matthews


I'm here to help you create a luxe look by making the most of any room within any budget. I welcome questions about furniture placement, colors, style, accessories and more.


I am a guest host and lifestyle expert for QVC - the premier home shopping network. I'm trained in redesign which entails using what you already own to create a new look. I own Decorvention - a redesign company based in the Philadelphia area. My articles have been published in national and regional publications.

Philadelphia Style, Glamour, Success, Las Vegas Life and Style, Medical Life, Philadelphia Weddings and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

BA in Communications from Temple University and redesign certification from Temple University.

Awards and Honors
Philadelphia Press Award Marcom Award Writer's Digest Awards

Past/Present Clients
Available upon request.

©2016 All rights reserved.