I’m back again with another decorating dilemma and I am going to count on all of YOU to help me out with this one. Janet’s living room is large and open and has a lot of angles and she’d like to cozy it up without changing out all the furniture.
Janet’s own words about what she would like to change in her space:
Suggestions to update the color palette, wall color, accessories, wall décor. lighting…the list goes on and on. Basically, I loved our other home and not this one. It is too modern/linear for my tastes. If I could make it look more farmhouse or casual traditional, that would be great.
The focus is on the grounds and views outside the French doors, so that is why there are no window treatments. However, as I mentioned it does get hot in the summer as it faces west (great for watching the sunset), so perhaps some sort of light control might be nice. But then how would I work that in with the huge plate glass window over the fireplace that would also need to be addressed.
So, let’s get busy and see what we can come up to help Janet with her room.
She’s got traditional furniture which looks very nice and that is not going anywhere, so keep that in mind.
With golden yellow on the walls, it works, but I could also see if with a lighter palette, something in the cream family, like my Moderate White or Natural Choice by Sherwin Williams. It would be a pretty backdrop to all the dark woods and she could bring in any colors with that. I’m sort of in love with lighter walls these days. That creamy backdrop is so soothing.
With gold on the sofa and a blue chair, I could definitely see adding a pretty area rug on top of that pretty wood floor. Area rugs warm up a space so much and this one really calls for an area rug. Janet has some nice wood pieces, so those could all stay and the focal point for updates could be rugs, throw pillows, lamps and artwork. That would go a long way towards giving Janet’s room a fresher look.
Check out these soaring wood ceilings, this sort of has a coastal feel, which would be great in here.
Dining room, living room combo is very big and I can see why furniture placement would be a problem.
I’m not going to give a lot of suggestions on moving furniture around, but I really think the addition of rugs, pillows, artwork and some updated lamps could really bring this room a fresh new outlook. Here’s the Olioboard I came up with, for a few new ideas:
I thought adding some navy and white in with the gold sofa and blue chair would be a great way to give it a little more modern feel. Janet mentioned casual traditional and this would fit the bill. See how updating the pillows and artwork would change the look of the space? Adding a touch of red in with the blues and golds would be a nice accent too. There are so many modern and updated fabrics that could be added with her existing gold sofa, so I do think this would be easy to update.
So, what do YOU think? All of you can chime in and give Janet ideas too! Have fun!
I can see how difficult it is to decorate this room. It is so cavernous that everything has to be on a large scale. Everyone seems to agree on the rugs, so I won’t add to that recommendation. I am not normally a fan of curtains, but in this case, I think they would soften the room, add a layer of interest, and improve the acoustics. I would recommend very full curtains hung very high at each door (not the window). They don’t have to cover the glass so they won’t obstruct the view. Pillows won’t hurt but they probably won’t make much of an impact in a room this large. I would float as much of the furniture as possible. Some things, like the TV armoire, have to be placed against a wall but pulling the furniture into tighter groupings and grounding the groupings with rugs will create more intimate conversational areas. I would create one main seating area with the sofa and a couple of chairs and then create a smaller reading area or perhaps a gaming area with the table and chairs that are next to the TV. You may want to substitute some of the daintier tables with one bulkier piece – possibly a second hand piece that you could paint white with an antique glaze.
I wouldn’t paint the walls because the gold picks up the yellow undertones of the wood floor, but I would think about painting the wooden ceiling white. Lanterns or other ceiling fixtures would fill up some of the dead space close to the ceiling but they would need to be very large which may make them price-prohibitive. The last thing that I would think about is enclosing the staircase. It would cut down on some of the open area and it looks like it would be fairly easy to do.
Hope this gives you some more ideas. Good luck and I hope that we will be able to see pictures of the end result.
Sometimes you have to look at the style of the room that is at hand and decorate it to that end even though you do not prefer the style.
We just moved into a house that was built in the ’60’s. It is a ranch style home….not what I particularly prefer but…..
I decided to go traditional because the room lent itself to that style.
The walls were brown, so I left them brown. I was pleasantly surprised when it was all decorated with some things from GoodWill. I like it!
So, when you mentioned that this room lends itself to coastal living, then maybe that is the way you should go. It is kinda like bringing the best out of room for which it was meant to be. I would say, “Get radical!”
Cyndia Montgomery says
Wow, there’s a LOT going on in these areas! Too much furniture, and too much brown for starters. First though, is the paint color. With a western exposure, the last thing you need is a sunny color on the wall. It makes me feel too warm just thinking about it. To counteract all that heat, paint the walls a soft blue gray, maybe a sea glass color. Very calm, watery color.
Next, get rid of all the accessories in the room. The lamps look dated and too small. Bring in fewer items with more impact. I like the rug you showed, or even an antique rug bringing in grays, golds, and blues. No red. Too hot. Now the windows. Figure out what works best to conceal those windows around the fireplace. The window over the fireplace is bad enough, but the side ones simply make no sense. Find a good carpenter to build in removable (although I wouldn’t remove them) panels to inset in those window spaces. Or remove those windows entirely and close those spaces in; depends on your budget. Then hang art in front of the panel above the fireplace. Whatever you cover the windows with needs to be fairly unobtrusive; you don’t want to draw attention to those areas. Now the French doors. Looks like a lot of them, so I’d add simple bamboo blinds, possibly with a privacy liner to help reduce any heat.
Now furniture placement. Turn the sofa so it faces the television, and place the two chairs across from it if they’re not too tall. If they are, reverse the arrangement. At least one piece of furniture in the dining room and two pieces in the living room should be painted. Bring in a brass floor lamp with a drum shade. I’m n
Cyndia Montgomery says
Oops, hit enter too fast!
I’m not crazy about the little sitting area between the living and dining areas, but it might work better without that small chair, and use a large lamp there.
You want a minimum of three lamps in the room. Good artwork is a must. And pick a coordinating (not matching) rug for under the dining table. You could use a more contemporary one in one area; a more traditional in another. Since the dining set is so dark, I’d use lighter tones there.
As for the staircase, if appropriate artwork is used throughout the room to draw attention to areas you want it drawn to, you won’t even notice the stairway.
I see so much possibility in this room that I am itching to get ahold of it!
It’s ready to be scratched so come on over and we will have a pool party when everything is finished, lol
Cyndia Montgomery says
Ok, I’m going back and looking more at the pics. I notice that there is no furniture placed in front of any of the French doors. I’m sure they are not all used, and this would be a great way to spread the furniture around the room more.
Also, I noticed that the chest with mirror is sitting toward the right end of that staircase wall. It needs to be brought to center as much as possible (fudge it if need be) and bring that other small chair to the other side of it.
Also, earlier when I said two chairs across from the sofa; bring the two lower backed chairs into that space, moving the blue leather (recliners?) to that area where the chair and ottoman are now, adding a table and lamp and artwork to create a little reading area away from the rest. And get a larger bright brass coffee table with a glass top. The rug will show through nicely.
On a non-design note, if she doesn’t want to add window treatments, but wants some temp control, I’d recommend residential window film. -It doesn’t literally turn your windows darker, but it’s a film that professionals apply to your windows and it can reduce heat by rejecting solar energy (I think somewhere in the ballpark of 70-80%), as well as most infrared and UV rays (which protects furniture). It can also hold in about 8% of heat in the winter. -Just a thought!
I would put the side table between the couch and the chair..instead of the 2 chairs. It looks empty there. Maybe a plant between the chairs..or a magazine rack? Put something warmer in the center of the glass coffee table…a tray..some books..etc. Definitely put some creamy blinds on all the windows..with the ones on the doors being smaller slats. Then, decorate the mantel with pics on easels, vases, clock, things of various heights that are not mounted on a wall, so that the blinds can be opened or closed.
Actually, I LOVE the idea of a more white/neutral decor in this space. And I think doing it with a “coastal” theme using blue as an accent would work in the blue wing backs. I’d slip cover the sofa in white or off-white, and maybe swap out some wood or a chair for some wicker. I’d add some rustic elements as accessories, shells, etc. White shutters, or wood blinds (you can get privacy backing if you want, and can also get them opening from the top as well as the bottom). Rugs could be light neutral color, or seagrass, or even casual blue/white. I’ve seen pictures like this, but can’t put my fingers on them right now…
Donna Duffy says
That house really is not farmhouse material. Its beautiful. Like others, rugs warm space and I know she doesn’t want to change out furniture but a sectional couch looking towards fireplace would warm the space. How about room divider near the dinning room to separate it. And a stain glass window over fireplace would be great. I just love the openness of the house and the floors are gorgeous. Beautiful house, for me too many antique furniture.
Lisa J. says
First, I would find out if she is leaning more towards the “farmhouse” look or the traditional casual kinda like the Olio board. Those will steer you in different directions. With the beamed ceiling, she could definitely pull off the first or the “beachy” look you suggested. It’s what she wants that will steer what direction the decorating goes in. She definitely needs rugs to define both the living and dining areas, throw pillows, accessories to bring in new colors, and window treatments. That much sun exposure is not good for her furniture finishes or fabrics as well.
Lisa J. says
I wanted to add, if she chooses “farmhouse,” she’s looking at more money changing out furniture or recycling/upcycling some of the things she has. It would be more financially prudent to stay with the “traditional casual” style in my opinion since the current furniture if not going anywhere. I just don’t think most of it would work with the less formal “farmhouse” style.
I’m a bit late getting around to looking over this room. I think a little moving around of the furniture might help. I’m thinking that as large as the room is, and with as much seating as she has, perhaps she could make two seating (aka conversation) areas. To do this, I suggest moving the small secretary to where the small sitting area near the dining area is now. The photos are great, but it’s still difficult to get a feel for scale from a picture, so this may or may not work.
Like everyone else has suggested, an area rug (or two) and large-scale artwork are a must. A creamy off-white or lightly tinted paint would be nice, too. I am not a fan of golds/yellows, but that’s just me. 🙂
In looking at scale, some of the small tables and lamps feel too small to me. I know she wants to keep the furniture, but I think this room calls for some size and ‘weight.’
For the window over the fireplace, there are remote-controlled options, such as blinds or – ugh – cellular shades. I’m a fan of leaving windows untreated whenever possible, but that just doesn’t always work.
I just have to say that ceiling is amazing!
Elaine in Laguna says
Late to the party…Same suggestions as others but would like to add that you could reduce the number of dining room chairs to open that up visually and bring the chairs back in when you have company. Love the board created for you and would lean toward coastal rather than farmhouse. I’d add area rugs, plants, trees, large lamps and dump the faux flowers. This is actually a beautiful space that I think you’ll fall in love with after its makeover. Hope you’ll share the after! Have fun working through this!
I’m late to the party but I have something to say!! Seeing how you like your traditional look, I think that has to be honored. I think a midtone blue walls would be heavenly with your furniture. It would also compliment your ceiling! Of course you need to get rugs, and with a mixture of blue, red with gold you would be set! You need a large one in front of your fireplace and under your table. Also I wonder if your entertainment center would fit between the fireplace and doors. If so, you could move your sofa to sit beside your fireplace instead of facing it, this way you could see both tv and fireplace. I would like to see your gold chair and ottoman in your main seating area as well. Don’t dare be swayed to paint any of your furniture with chalk paint! It’s already beautiful and still will be beautiful after that trend is over. White drapes with a touch of gold would certainly soften everything and since it is such a large area it would make it feel more cohesive and cozy.
It looks like there is too much furniture in this space despite the fact of how big it is. I agree that the sofa back should be towards the dining room – sofa would run perpendicular to the fireplace. Then place the matching gold chair/ottoman next to the fireplace where that brown chair is now. Two blue wing chairs side by side facing the fireplae. Eliminate that table & chairs right next to the French doors and put the brown chair in another room. Is that a piano in the dining room area?? If so, put that where the gold lounge chair & French chair are now. I think the room is too yellow; a whiter, creamier color on the walls would work well in this space with all the wood tones – I’d save the pops of color for accessories. Paint the lampbases turquoise and add in a turquoise throw…….the other accents should have rust red (not burgundy) in them. Hang 2-3 (depending on size) stain glass panes over fireplace window. Bamboo roman shades should go on all the French doors to help filter light some – tint the windows to help with heat control. Farmhouse is all about weathering and most of the pieces are traditional and show no signs of age – not that you should go beat up your furniture, but place accents on them that are weathered and show some age. I would do large artwork in this space because of it’s size, but you could do a gallery wall with frames & plates on the wall where the gold lounge chair is now. Toile throw pillows would bring that farmhouse casual in, an aged area rug, candlesticks on the fireplace mantel……..you could really change the feel just by changing the accessories.