Tips to Brighten My Living Room?

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Q: I am in the beginning stages of a living room makeover. The primary goal is to brighten the space. It's been too neutral for too long, and although I like the soothing green paint on the walls, I am afraid it makes the room too dark and "lodgey" feeling. Given all the very dark woodwork, would it help to paint the walls white? 

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Or would a bold, bright color make the space seem brighter? I hung a couple yards of fabric over one window to experiment with covering up the trim. Would curtains make it brighter? Would a smaller, brighter rug help?

I am open to any kind of suggestion for making this space brighter, sunnier and more cheerful.

I can remove the bookcases and carpet but the couches need to stay. I am hoping to find an interesting accent chair somewhere, and might paint a coffee table a bright color as well if I can find one.

Thanks for the help, friends!

Sent by JJ

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.