Design Crew

Posted on Sat, 16 Jul 2011 by midcenturyjo

Got a problem? Need some help? Just standing there shaking your head? Don’t know what to do? You’re not alone. Send us a link to photos of your design quandary and let the Desire to Inspire design crew help you …. that’s you lot… the readers!

Peach from the Philippines (check out her blog Grace in Full Measure) emailed…

I read your recent blog entry about seeking help for design dilemmas thru your blog. I hope you can help me out with my living room. My living room space is cavernous and the ceiling is high. My very limited furnitures look way too tiny in the space and there’s so much unused areas. I don’t want to fill it up with too much stuff but I do want to make it look homey and cozy, Pottery Barn style 🙂 Suggestions are very much appreciated.

Here is the sort of look that Peach is hoping for.

I think the pictures are a good place to start Peach. Move the furniture away from the walls and….. OK now it’s your turn DTI readers to come up with more suggestions.

Andrea says:

Here are a few things I thought you could do…
Get a big rug and a HUGE piece of artwork to hang on the big wall.
Try a larger coffee table – something rustic that has visual weight.
A big and tall potted plant would be beautiful by the window.
I also agree with pulling the furniture out to the centre of the room. You could even take the two small chairs and have them directly facing the couch, which would make it roomier and make space to walk through either doors.
Then just add smaller accessories!
It's a beautiful room and you have a lovely couch!

Mr. Silly says:

Considering this is Philippines (warm and humid, good amount of rain but equal sunlight all year) i think a satin bone-white on the wall could make the space a lot lighter to start with. That would allow you to re-use your current sofa set if that's the intent.

Perhaps flip the arrangement of the 3 seater sofa to face the wall/back to the big glass sliding door, and place a low wooden table/bench for your TV/entetainment unit (notice you don't have one in the picture so not sure if you going to put one in, or not) and perhaps a tall glass cylinder vase with some plants such as bamboo, or orchids (both easy locally source) to provide some colours.

Fill the now big wall behind the TV (if plan to put one there) with lots of small, medium and huge photo frames, paintings/ artworks etc to create a backdrop. That should help create a more personal and cozy focus point to the space.

Was thinking about a carpet to help define the area a little bit better as suggested but again with the climate, not too sure myself if that's too much. But perhaps some bamboo/tatami-like flooring sheet, about double the size of the coffee table in both direction could work…

Some light white sash curtain for both set of glass sliding doors, a corner table (preferable wooden or rotan-made) in between, a little bits here and there and that should make a different…

Hope that helps 🙂

I think SueE’s suggestion that texture is the key is very good. I would also add that they (Pottery Barn) creates cozy spaces by adding different levels and planes. If you look at the first Pottery Barn photo, you will notice that the sofa cushion, the curled armchair seat and the coffee table top are all at slightly different heights. Pottery Barn then introduces another plane at a much different height with the addition of the round end table with a top that is higher than the sofa arm. Your couch and chairs are the same design and thus the cushions are the same height and your end and coffee table tops are close to this height as well. My suggestion is that your next piece have a different plane, for example, a sofa table. It will help to creat that cozy eclectic look.

Thanks so much for all the suggestions! We have so far pulled the furniture away from the wall and created some sort of an island. It really helped a lot because the space has been maximized. On my wishlist/shopping list – trio of abstract artworks or one huge one, a bigger coffee table (definitely!), lamp, textured things, etc. Mr Silly, you're right it's hot and humid out here for the most part of the year. The room in fact started out as a white blank space but my gosh, it reflected so much of the heat all around the room that it was unbearable to hang out in there! We had it repainted tan and it considerably cooled down the room. Thanks again guys!

Rosie says:

Wow, that's such a great big space. I think with the high ceilings you could use something(s) hanging from the ceiling. One of the photos here shows lanterns which I love but you since the room is so spare and I was going to suggest adding a few pieces of art (since you like spare I'd go for simply but large pieces) you could add a mobile either as a center piece over the sitting are or off toward a corner. Also a rug would really help make the room "homey-er". And while it looks like there's probably lots of natural light during the day, theses photos look very dim -how about some more lighting? A floor lamp? Also, once you shift the furniture away from the walls try spreading it out just a little more. And finally: I love plants indoors and you have enough space to add a few large ones like small potted palms or something similar in size.

Thanks Rosie! You're right, the living room looks a little somber at night. At the very least, I should get more lamps. I totally agree with the indoor plants and I have purchased a few large terracotta pots for them. Still need to decide on what to put in them. I should list that down as my project for the weekend. Thanks again!

Andrea says:

I was thinking you could put one of those long narrow side tables along the wall behind the couch, hang a painting above it, put some lovely pieces, maybe a plant on the table and a small table lamp to one side, and yes – push all the furniture more into the middle of the room with a large rug connecting them all.

Using the pictures you have found for cues, some baskets would work, some throw rugs, different shaped cushions as well as the lovely ones you have, definately some plants – even some really big ones if the ceilings are high, big round leaved plants like monsteria. Both of those pictures you chose use a combination of whites, creams, dark timber and woven baskets, and a range of blues. They both have light natural fabric floor coverings …so natural materials all the way.

I think the caramel walls will soften up when you hang some paintings or a large mirror, maybe some white/cream curtains, and maybe a standing lamp similar to the one in the picture.

The floor is fantastic! love travertine – is it travertine?

But it all depends on budget – the cheapest way to make a big change is pull the furniture from the wall, buy some big plants, maybe a nice throw rug and some baskets. Even hanging a nice weaving. or printed fabric on a rail works well.

oh, and last but not least – if your ceiling fans are high, and you like the idea of the planters chairs, and a tropical colonial thing – a big colonial style ceiling fan – would help with the heat too!.

Hi Andrea! The flooring is made of local (Philippine) marble. Come to think of it, it is quite similar to travertine. I totally agree with the long console table behind the sofa. Nice spot to put photos and little decors. We've so far pulled the furniture away from the wall and that alone made a huge difference! The three-seater now faces the pool so it's pretty relaxing to sit there. Other than that, we have not acquired other stuff. We've just moved in actually and we're still in the process of renovating other areas. Slowly but surely 🙂 Thanks a lot for the in puts! Much appreciated 🙂

Mr Rui says:

one square table centered to the windowless wall, the wider items on the right, the square items as a corner on the left, a bay all together and a hybrid from the inspirational pics
thank you for the exercise

mei says:

another one!try moving the big sofa one place to the right (in front of the window) and the other two in front, puting the living room area parallel to the big wall. the way they are in the first picture you sent of Pottery Barn. Put a rug ". and a nice big bookshelve

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