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.
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 Moore.com 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,