If you have really tight, small, felt dark and dated living room, first thing to do is add more lighting and more recessed lighting, but also more natural light with the addition of new windows or french doors. We can add little more character with antique corbels on fireplace. If you realy like open spaces idea, we still need to define area here is sparated the living room from dining room or others. Give a little bit open space that creates a really good flow from the kitchen to the living room.
In the end all fixer upper living room show defined its cozy. Natural light makes it feel light and airy. All the fun character and details, should make we feel right at home.