Amy’s Design Dilemma

When Amy came to us for help with her living room we jumped at the chance to inject a warm, layered and lived-in look. Here’s her letter:

Your blog is a favorite of mine. And I need your help with the living room! It’s not a huge room (14 x 14) and we don’t have much wall space (one whole wall opens up to the entry/stairs and the other opens up to the kitchen). I’m kind of confused as far as furniture placement- especially where to put the tv and sofa? I’d like the fireplace to be the focus of the room, but we don’t really like tvs over fireplaces. I’m more into warm colors and want to make it a cozy place to sit and relax, but also entertain an infant. I attempted to find paint colors on my own and am now stuck with a zillion samples and haven’t yet found “the one.” I’m also confused about paint for the hall leading up the stairs (should it be the same as the living room?). As far as my style I think I’m pretty eclectic. I normally shop at Pottery Barn, Anthropology, and Target. I also love Etsy for accessories. I’m looking for that layered look – like we’ve lived there forever. As far as our furnishings go, we purchased the rug from Pottery Barn and I’d like that to stay. The coffee table is also a keeper. Everything else in the room can be replaced. We need a sofa with slipcovers as our baby loves to spit up :)  Would appreciated help with paint colors, window treatments, furniture and accessories. Any suggestions would be great! – Amy

Here’s the plan:

And here’s the newly proposed layout:

Now for the mood board breakdown.

1. Our color palette for the space will be based on Amy’s gorgeous Pottery Barn rug. Shades of deep brown (in the furnishings) and neutral tans and creams (in the sectional and the curtains) will lay the foundation for pops of red and amber in the accessories for a warm and welcoming vibe. As for the walls, we’d love to see a warm wheaty tan tone (Benjamin Moore’s Bridgewater Tan 1096) which will instantly add richness, interest, and really make all those white moldings pop. It’ll also complement the existing hallway and stairway wall tone so it doesn’t need to be repainted. As for the furnishings, by bringing in a few larger pieces and eliminating many of the smaller items in the space (like a few lamps and plant stands around the perimeter) the room will instantly feel more inviting and layered without any sense of clutter or disorder.

2. This great oversized standing sconce will look gorgeous atop the fireplace mantel, especially thanks to the hits of amber glass in the votive holders. It even subtly evokes the feeling of fire, which is perfect for that space above the fireplace.

3. This texture-rich round mirror will look great over the TV between those two rectangular windows to soften things up and add curves to a wall that previously had only hard straight lines. We also love the natural, warm and eclectic feeling of the design (and the price is pretty great for such a generously sized showstopper).

4. We mentioned that we’d bring in hits of amber and red to tie into the rug and evoke the rich, warm, layered feeling that Amy was striving for. These velvet cushions in red and wheaty-gold are actually super easy-care (read: kid friendly) and they will add so much hue and lush warmth to both the sectional that we’ll be introducing and the existing cream armchair by the fire (which will scoot over to the corner of the rug, and fit right into the seating area with this small round table to the left of it as you face it).

5. These elegant and richly hued mosaic rings are a bit less shatter-prone than delicate glass hurricanes, and we’d love to see two of them grouped on one side of the existing media cabinet for a bit of asymmetrical interest and even more layered texture and height in the space.

6. We searched high and low for a slipcovered sectional which is perfect for Amy’s lifestyle and such a square room with two focal points (the fireplace and the TV). This new piece (in “Pearl”) will make TV viewing just as easy and cozy as fireplace viewing… so the focus is no longer only on the TV as Amy requested. And the price. Can we talk about the price for a second? Amazing! And the reviews are extremely flattering as well. Grab it while you can Amy! We also included Amy’s existing rug in the mood board so she can see how everything else will tie into her rug seamlessly for a layered and lovely effect.

7. These rich candlesticks will look dimensional and chic on the center of the kitchen table (which is very visible thanks to a generously sized doorway connecting the two rooms). Atop a cozy burlap runner they’ll bring even more of the warm neutral hues that we’ll be introducing in the living room over to the nearby eating area. And of course they can just be brought out when entertaining or for special occasions if they’re not kid-proof enough for day to day life (or Amy can snatch up similarly toned wood ones which are a bit less breakable).

8. This 100% kid-proof natural basket is perfect for the center of the existing coffee table thanks to the soft and unshatterable construction. We’d love to see it with a few of these natural orbs in it for interest (that also can’t be easily broken by a toddler-sized person).

9. This is one of those rooms where the wall color paired with the curtains will absolutely make the space. These gorgeous textured tan curtains are insanely high-quality and completely marked down (talk about an amazing deal). We’d love to see them hung just a few inches below the ceiling on all the windows in the living room as well as on the nearby window at the bottom of the stairs for even more cohesion and flow. The great thing about the subtle texture in the curtains is that they’ll bring tons of interest and movement to the room without overwhelming the space with pattern- plus they’ll complement the lovely larger-patterned ones in the nearby kitchen. Jackpot. And we still can’t get over the clearance price.

The one piece of furniture around the perimeter that we would like Amy to keep in the space is the chest in that corner area behind the sectional. The curvy existing red lamp will also work right in with our palette, and since this piece is nice and large it won’t clutter up the outskirts of the room like smaller things tend to do (ex: plant stands and floor lamps). Sometimes just letting a smaller space “breathe” is the way to blur the boundaries and make things feel a lot more open and serene.

Oh and this is just extra credit, but we thought that painting the wood banister in the hallway that leads up the stairs the same crisp white tone as the trim around the rest of the house will allow the darker furnishings in the nearby living room to shine and feel even more cohesive and luxe.

So there you have it. A living room full of warm and inviting style. We can’t wait to see what you guys think!

Update: We sadly can no longer find the time to take on client commissioned mood boards (we now whip up general inspiration boards instead) but if we ever reinstate them we’ll make a big announcement!






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