Design Crew

Posted on Sat, 20 Aug 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! Polly emailed with this week’s dilemma.

Attached are pics of my living room.  If possible I would like to keep the tv against the same wall b/c it is now installed on that wall.  I also tried the couch under the window but found that it made the room feel smaller and darker – I need as much natural light as possible.  All the furniture can go, except the tv and (new) cabinet. Also attached are some pics of pieces we like. Any suggestions for wall decor? How about start-burst mirrors or a large mirror on the wall that faces the window? And maybe a group of b&w photos on the small piece of wall the faces the entrance – by the corner that we are thinking of putting a chair? area rug? styles of furniture that would work with the media cabinet? We prefer light colours. How would a greyish couch look with the cream walls? Any suggestions would totally be appreciated.


There are some good suggestions there. It looks like the room is longer than it is wide, if so a mirror, a large rectangle, at the opposite end will help lighten and alter the proportions. I would also change the curtains to Roman shades, in a print or solid color, the shades will give more feeling of space. For pictures and art for the walls, if you don't have a selection, think about framing up black and white pictures of your loved ones, of yourselves when you were children, lots of fun there when you start playing with that. Your furniture ideas are good, large comfy sofa, L-shaped are great. Plus an accent chair. A new TV stand will be a real important addition, it needs to be low and as wide or wider than the TV.

If you want to bring in color, the end wall opposite the window could be painted a light reflective yellow, it brightens up and warms up a room.

Would love to see the results,

All the best, Kelly

I think colonial style would match your media cabinet, that should be the inspiration piece for this room. I'm thinking of whites, dark wood (that you already own) and geometrical parterns.
Why don't you reupholster the existing furniture white? I can hardly see the sofa, but it seems to be the right shape for the space. Just take the skirts out of the sofa and chairs. Take the table out of the window and place it in the opposite wall with one of the chair in the corner and a pice of art above (I personally don't like mirrors facing windows) Place the other chair below the window.
If you want a mirror, place it above the sofa, but I feel like you have enough light in that room.
Pick an area rug in natural tones (browns and beiges) and replace that lamp for a bigger one (perhaps something with a glass base?)
Hope this helps!

Polly says:

It's a small rectangular room, 9.8 x 10.75 feet. What is best for this room, a small sectional or a couch? Any suggestion for upholstery fabrics ? Would silvery grey/blue work with the cashew coloured walls?
Thank you for all the comments. Sorry for all the questions – I'm such a 'design dummy'.

Adam says:

Hi Polly,

I've located some images here:

which you might find useful. Currently everything in the room (walls, floors, blinds and furniture) are very similar in tone. While you've said you prefer lighter colours, it would probably be worthwhile introducing some darker or lighter tones for contrast. You would introduce a slightly darker taupe colour behind the couch and contrast it with some light/white vintage frames (mixing it up with mirrors if you like). Introducing pattern and texture will also help jazz up a space (it'll let you experiment without breaking the bank).

daniela says:

Hi! You have a great space here! How about instead of using a couch, you use one of those backless couches (that kind of look like beds) with lots of throw pillows? that way you can keep it all light and white and accent with colored pillows, it would also allow art behind the couch if you want it, and the modern design of the couch would make the space look airy…. Good luck!

Anne says:

The floors are lovely, the window is not too small, so your room has a lot of potential. I think you need to make the room feel lighter and at the same time a little more vibrant, as it is all rather beige and dull at the moment with rather big and heavy furniture.
First, I would choose blinds or very light, probably warm white curtains in slightly see through fabric – or remove them completely if you don't need them – just add a plant or a vase or something. This would give more light to the room.

Second, a mirror at the short wall opposite the window would enlarge the room, but personally I am not crazy about mirrors in living rooms as people can't help themselves and just have to look all the time. The alternative is to hang an artwork there, preferably something of landscape format with a white base and some vibrant colours – but not too busy, and do remember to hang the artwork so low that you can look straight at it while standing, no higher.
Third, with lighter curtains/blinds, I still think you could put the sofa on the short wall, preferably with a light occasional table instead of the footstool – this means moving the TV to the opposite wall.
Fourth, if you are ready to replace furniture, I would get rid of the armchairs and get something lighter – preferably with thin wooden or metal legs which require minimal space and are easy to move around, maybe in slightly different texture and preferably a light or bright coloured fabric upholstery. If you are ready for more replacements, swap the sofa with something that is a bit lighter, again with thin feet of wood or metal such that it gives the maximum feeling of space. The sofas shown above are a little too heavy to really open up the room and make it feel airy and as spacious as can be.

Good luck, just try a little at a time and try to lighten up the colour palate and leave the beige and rust dark browns, such light-absorbing colours, alone a little. Add something whiter and something brighter. And of yes, hang more artwork, especially around the tv. See great examples of artwork around tvs on this blog.

gurgur says:

imho get rid of that ugly tv set. it's far to large and dark for this small room. start to read books or hide it in an armoire 🙂 or get a beamer… i like the sandy colors!

Russell Ferrier says:

Just supposing that those walls are dry wall (hardie-board) then rip a hole big enough in the wall, and embed that ghastly TV in it. At least then it'll be flush with the wall. Heat will rise naturally between the joists so not to worry. Perhaps you can cover it too with a nice rug or painting on a hinged frame that allows you to cover it up when it's off. (It'll also fool the burglars!) Place it higher on the wall and then put a nice cabinet along the wall below it with your nick nacks on it ! Voila.

Polly says:

Russell Ferrier – would love to embed the tv into the wall but it's a rental unit and that's not an option.
Gurgur – we do read books, tons of them – we keep them in the office. You haven't seen a picture of that room 😉

Thanks for all your suggestions and taking the time to respond. I enjoyed reading all of them and will follow quite a few. Will try to send "after" pictures.

Mr Rui says:

Making use of diagonals can work in small rooms and of your own ideas, can work best.
The sectional can be similar to another idea, that of placing the ottoman under the window, wich would move the table away and deep in front of it. With each one seat and side tables, on each near the window corners, it's done. The 3place would then turn to the t.v. corner as well, but in angle. Like in many rooms, it was either the t.v. or the seat that had to turn. Maybe the space left by the rear is unappealing or uncommun, from the door way, I'd still try using diagonals.

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