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My living room has no windows, its like a cave Help!

(23 Posts)
LadyMaryofDownton Sun 05-Jul-15 13:25:14

We downsized recently into a small cottage which has an unusual layout. The living room is in the middle of the cottage and has no windows (this was done by the previous owners who reconfigured a bedroom to a living room and didn't use this middle room, we can't do this as we need both bedrooms) It does have a glass door which lets a small amount of light from the conservatory which it leads into.

As its so dark i want to brighten it up but there are so many faults with the room i don't know where to begin.

We are on a tight budget as the whole cottage needs redecorating as its so old fashioned. The wood is mahogany & there is lots of it. The floor is carpeted but its a very dark blue with a little light blue swirl (awful) and the walls are blue with a cream accent wall, the curtains where included in the sale and they are navy silk!!

We can't afford to change our sofa which is black leather and our tv units/bookshelves are beech so if you can imagine that all put together it looks like a collection from several different past lives all huddled together.

Where do i start?? I literally have no idea with this one. Id like to make the living room & conservatory feel like one room if possible even thought they are so different.

LadyMaryofDownton Sun 05-Jul-15 13:27:08

Oh i should say the curtains are hung over the door like its a window, one each side with a mahogany pole.

nikki1978 Sun 05-Jul-15 13:33:34

Paint all the wood white and the walls a nice pale colour like Dulux Egyptian Cotton, take the curtains down and use them elsewhere or sell them - I don't see why they need to be there. You should be able to find a cheap carpet if you look online for offcuts - then shop around for someone to lay it. Look for a window mirror on ebay and put it on the wall opposite the doors if possible. Something like this

Then add some coloured cushions and maybe a nice rug. Could you try and paint the beech furniture white or replace it with Ikea stuff?

PatsyNoPasta Sun 05-Jul-15 13:33:46

If the living room flows into the conservatory, use this as your living room, leaving the doors open. Paint the walls and wood white. Check under the carpet to see if you have decent floorboards.

SavoyCabbage Sun 05-Jul-15 13:36:34

The curtains might be over the door to keep a draught out of the room if it leads to a conservatory.

DelphiniumBlue Sun 05-Jul-15 13:41:16

I think that repainting the walls would be quickest and cheapest way of brightening the room - could you do it all pale cream or white? You could also paint anything wooden in the same colour. If you don't like the curtains around the door, your could just get rid, or replace them with voile. If the carpet is horrible, you could check underneath to see what the floorboards are like, then if they are OK, sand them and either varnish or paint a light colour, maybe get a cheap rug until such time as you can afford to recarpet.

The sofa is difficult, I'd suggest a thgrow, but they tend to slip off leather. Id look on free cycle to see if you can find something more suitable.

LadyMaryofDownton Sun 05-Jul-15 13:47:54

Thanks for there replies. I did consider painting the wood but my main problem is the fireplace, its floor to ceiling old fashioned carved wood with a marble inset. It can't be taken out without some serious ££'s as its connected to the gas. Do you think if i pained it it would look ok, am afraid it might look like a botch job.

The conservatory is very small and narrow i can't fit much in it, its more like a walk through but i do use it a lot during the day when i can.

No draught, i think the curtains have to go.

Iv looked on line and the cheapest wooden floor is working out around £140 luckily DH can lay it. Maybe a carpet would be cheaper. When i say tight i mean tight Max £200 and probably not all at once.

LadyMaryofDownton Sun 05-Jul-15 13:49:33

Just checked under the carpet, it just bare concrete. Free-cycle is a great idea think ill check there now.

EnriqueTheRingBearingLizard Sun 05-Jul-15 13:51:23

I second blitzing the walls and woodwork with a pale colour and keep the same colour throughout. Also to take down and reuse or sell the curtains.

Do put the mirror on the wall opposite the conservatory doors, I'd go for a rectangular one hung horizontally and an identical one at the same height on one of the adjacent walls. You could buy a plain wooden frame one and paint to your taste in silver, gold or a vibrant colour that you can accessorize to.
If you can put a sideboard, console table, bookcase or similar underneath the mirrors with a large statement lamp on top you can reflect more light around. Using lamps would be cheaper than getting wall lights put in.

When you say a tight budget I don't know how small that would be but you can search online for independent flooring warehouses and may be surprised how cheaply you could change the hated carpet. What's on the floor of the conservatory now? if you keep the flooring and colourscheme the same it should flow as one living space.

Cocolepew Sun 05-Jul-15 13:54:09

Wood effect lino might be cheaper some of it is very good.
Paint all wood white or pale grey, paint the walls a light colour, Wellbeing by Dulux is a pale green, but has decent pigment in it, it really brightens up a room and looks fresh with white woodwork.

EnriqueTheRingBearingLizard Sun 05-Jul-15 13:55:53

Just seen the update.
Freecycle, Gum Tree and ebay local on the app are all worth searching.
You can set ebay to whatever radius of your postcode you like. You may find a bargain if you collect.

If the conservatory is small and narrow perhaps you could just have one small bookcase or table in there with some kind of matching accessory to pick up on the seating space.

Do you feel like posting a photo of the fireplace for ideas?

pollyisnotputtingthekettleon Sun 05-Jul-15 13:59:34

Spray paint the fireplace. Get help if needed it comes up like new. Yes to lots of paint and mirrors. Look out for reflecting lights and anything with a bit of sparkle. New floor to match the conservatory and reflect the colour scheme in both rooms... not that they match ... blue is a depressing colour on walls.

SewingAndCakes Sun 05-Jul-15 14:03:55

Is there any way you could swap a bedroom and this room around?

Katz Sun 05-Jul-15 14:16:12

Have you got a picture of the fireplace? Can you post it, the. We can make suggestions?

I'd second light colours.

Maybe a rug rather than ripping out the carpet. We lived with a hideous swirly flowery akminster carpet for years because it ws such food quality but we could afford to replace it. We bought a big cheap ikea rug.

Katz Sun 05-Jul-15 14:18:15

Cheap cream rug ikea

steppemum Sun 05-Jul-15 14:34:39

I had a huge hideous carved black and gold mirror which my brother was chucking out. I spray painted it silver (cost £5) and hung it on the wall. It is unrecognisable and looks amazing silver.

My point being that you could do the same with the carved fireplace. Paint it, it will transform it, and lighten the whole room.
If it has marble insert, don't paint it white as the marble is very unlikely to be white. Look at the marble and work out which off white colour would work (eg hint or grey or hint of blue etc) this then becomes the base for your new colour scheme.

Italiangreyhound Sun 05-Jul-15 14:39:10

I am a bit confused, are you saying you have two bedrooms in a cottage (presumably with windows) upstairs and a downstairs living room with no windows? Or a downstairs bedroom with a window?

If you have any downstairs rooms with windows I would covert these to the living room and use your windowless room as a bedroom.

I would see what wall could be knocked down to make way to a window.

Failing all that I would install light boxes, which kind of act as fake windows. Some may even be coloured so you have the impression of a frosted glass window with light, or even sky or trees outside.

These are not cheap and cost money to use (electricity) so I would only go for this is the option to change the room is not there. A slightly pale blue light may be better than really bright light boxes. This is aside from the regular lights. If high up, so people cannot look out, it can give the impression that you are in a room with high, (maybe frosted) windows.

looks good

Google 'How to Make a Cheap Lightbox'


only do this if you feel confident to do it SAFELY

you do not need to use the boxes for what she is doing, you can wall mount for a fake window, ask a local DIY person who can do it SAFELY

you could have a better view than most of us!

I have no idea how much this costs

this is for office space but you could adapt

the fact I cannot see any prices makes me think they are costly!!

In your shoes I would check out any big companies that may be doing a refurbishment and may sell on old light box display etc.

I'd also make everything you can in the room into white colours, plus blues and greens, lots of plants to give an out door indoor feel.

Re I did consider painting the wood but my main problem is the fireplace, its floor to ceiling old fashioned carved wood with a marble inset. It can't be taken out without some serious ££'s as its connected to the gas. Do you think if i pained it it would look ok, am afraid it might look like a botch job.

My advice would be to box in the fireplace and use a hight up fake window, light box or mirrow. I am not keen on fireplaces and boxed in, painted white etc would be better. I feel the lack of window means a modern look would go better.

EG the window in this room could just be white light

lots of green and white makes me think outdoors even if indoors

and lastly

white and green, fresh and clean

Re We can't afford to change our sofa which is black leather - Could you trade your sofa for something more modern? It sounds like it would not go in a white and cool space!

TheHappinessTrap Sun 05-Jul-15 14:41:40

I would partly embrace the cave-ness. So yes to taking out the curtains and any other fakery. I'd get a pale wall colour, and invest in 5 or 6 lamps, matching or a quirky collection, that can all be turned on by one switch by the door where you enter. Low watt bulbs. Also invest in a nice ceiling light shade. So when you go in it's a lovely arrangement of surround light, but cosy rather than pretending to be what it's not.

MissFenella Sun 05-Jul-15 15:56:26

any ideas you can steal here?

LadyMaryofDownton Sun 05-Jul-15 16:11:55

Thanks everyone those are some great ideas.

Ive been out sourcing/pricing paint/floors and came to the conclusion that i can probably change the floor and paint the woodwork which will make a big difference. Also i have large wooden mirror which i can paint and rehang on the wall above the sofa.

ITALIAN thanks for those suggestions ill ask Dh about it later on, he's quite handy. Basically this room is the middle of the house with all the other rooms kind of wrapping around it, its all on one floor. It can't be used as a bedroom because its noisy and to small/odd shape with strange in and out bits with the door in the middle of one wall, which is a complete waste of space. Its just the way it was badly designed when the previous owners added bits on to the cottage.

Italiangreyhound Sun 05-Jul-15 17:06:04

with the door in the middle of one wall, which is a complete waste of space if it has more than one door could you not block that middle one and use the other? If it is in the middle of the house with no widows why would it be noisy at night?

TheWildRumpyPumpus Mon 06-Jul-15 07:37:57

Could you inset glass bricks internally between your room and others to get some light into the 'cave'?

reallybadidea Mon 06-Jul-15 08:04:03

How about one of those light tube things? They're like a tube which has a window on either end - one end fits into the roof, the other end onto the ceiling of the room. It carries natural light from the outside, so basically a way of having a window when there's no outside wall. I don't think they're massively expensive, especially if your dh could fit it himself.

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