Lightening up a dark office with cherry wood paneling

Decorating Dilemmas is a weekly column in which our stylists answer your design questions, so you can tackle your home decorating project with complete confidence.

Dear How to Decorate,

I recently bought a new house and love everything except the study. It is 10×12 and has a small window, so not a lot of natural light. One side is covered with a dark cherry wood shelf and the other side is a built in closet and dark cherry wood panel. The ceiling has the same wood panel. The wood is nice but it feels like one big dark wooden box. And ironically my desk is also dark cherry wood. I desperately need some help to figure out what to do to brighten it up so I can actually enjoy time spent there!

I am thinking maybe painting the whole thing white including the shelf, wood panel wall, ceiling and ceiling light, but not sure which shade of white I should use and if that’s a good idea. The green carpet probably needs to go as well. Any ideas/suggestions will be greatly appreciated!





Dear Yvonne,

We’d love to help you turn your study into something that you will love! We love the cherry wood, but can see how you feel the room is too dark. Maybe we can take advantage of the wood’s beauty while brightening up the room!

We love Benjamin Moore’s Simply White, their color of the year, and Quiet Moments. You can completely paint everything Simply White and expose the wood floors, use both the colors in combination on the ceiling and walls, or just leave the ceiling Cherry Wood exposed and paint the walls. All of these would be great options!

Center your desk in the room on one of our soft colored rugs, like the Devlin Tufted Rug. It’s a beautiful aqua shade. A stylish and comfortable desk chair will make you love your office. The Elle Tufted Desk Chair in our Spa Linen behind the desk and then paired with the Leyland Armless Chair upholstered in Suzanne Kasler’s Sky & Blanc Stripe, will brighten up the corner of the room. We also placed our Felix Nesting Tables next to the Leyland chair. They have a pretty, silver finish that will work nicely with the other pieces in your room.

You can create a nice reading spot with our Sofia Settee in natural flax linen and place the Antoinette Bench, in cream, under your window. We love this bench as it can double as sort of a table/shelf as well as another seating location.

The final touch would be the lighting in the room. Let’s change out that dark ceiling fan with our Orb Chandelier in silver. It will be the center piece of the room. On the desk use the Putnam Task Lamp in antique silver and the Mercury Stacked Ball Lamp on a side table.

We can place many of our beautiful pieces of art around the room. The Portal Art is a lovely canvas that can fit in one of the natural frames on you walls. We also love the idea of using Suzanne Kasler’s Lamp Slips throughout your bookshelves to help break up the dark wood with crisp white silhouettes.

We think you will happy with your new brighter space,
Happy Decorating,
The Design Team

Lightening up a dark office with cherry wood paneling

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