Mini Makeover: How can I make my living room look more put-together?
Mar 15, 2010
I'm proud to announce an exciting new service from Dwelement: Mini Makeovers! For $95 per room, get space planning advice and several tips for further improving your space, along with a color palette you can apply to the whole room. This is a room design plan "lite" and is delivered here on the blog within 10 days of receipt of payment and photos. This service is for whole-room design problems that can be summed up in a few sentences and 3-4 photographs.
To kick off this new addition to my repertoire, I'm tackling Tracy's Massachusetts living room. Tracy writes:
Can you give me some ideas for my living room? I like a clean look. Simple, classic pieces with pops of color (a neutral base so that I can change the colors with the seasons). Red has been the accent color (in pillows) for a while, but I'd like something different. I'd love a space that looks put-together. Right now, I feel like there are some pretty good pieces—but something is missing! I look forward to any and all of your ideas! Thank you.
Let's take a look at this not-quite-there-yet space:
Tracy, you're right. You have some good things to work with. To start, I think a big improvement will happen not from buying new things, but from rearranging what you have. The space between your pieces is too wide to be comfortable, and it's interrupting the traffic flow through the room. So let's address that floorplan and give you a more comfy seating area.
Leave the armoire where it is. Everything else has to move a bit:
- Move the loveseat at a right angle to the sofa and center the whole arrangement, not just the sofa, on the window.
- Shift the rug so that the front legs of the seating pieces are on it.
- Bring the coffee table close enough to be used by people sitting on either the sofa or loveseat. An 18-inch walkway is standard.
- The small chair should move along with one of the floor lamps to the corner by the smaller doorway. Add a small round ottoman in a punchy color and a soft fabric. Try this affordable option in spring green. The shape, color, and tufted texture will nicely offset the sharp shapes in the chair.
- The other floor lamp goes in the corner where the sofa and loveseat meet.
- Place the two X-base tables next to each other behind the loveseat to create a console table effect. This also softens the look of the room from the main entrance.
You have a lot of dark pieces. This is giving the room a very heavy feel. Lighten it up by adding lighter warm tones as accents, like celadon, coral, golden wheat, and ecru in pillows, throws, accessories, textiles.
Your wall color is quite nice, but maybe a tad neutral given all of your neutral furniture. If you want a change, be wary of choosing something that's too similar to the color of the floor. I would suggest a golden green like Wheat Grass by Sherwin-Williams (SW6408). Paint two shades lighter on the ceiling for a really cozy effect: Ionic Ivory (SW6406).
Other recommendations and ideas
- Your plants add nice texture and color. Keep them and group them together to the left of the armoire.
- The whole room would benefit from more texture. Introduce some natural materials like sisal, raffia, grasscloth. Your coffee table would look great with a pale, textural runner on it to break up some of that black.
- Shop for new lamp shades. Identical shades will lend balance to the room. Look for drum shades or conical shades, but avoid the curvy shape you have on one of the lamps now. Go for a textured fabric. Plain white is too stark for this room. Reuse the existing lamp shades elsewhere in your house, or donate them.
- Consider hanging a pair of matching mirrors on either side of the armoire to help it feel more settled into that wall. Look for tall, narrow mirrors with interesting, wide frames. This hand-painted version would add an artful touch to the room. Do not place any objects on top of the armoire, which would increase its height and create an awkward shape.
- The wall opposite the window will now be begging for art. Consider a gallery-style arrangement of many pieces you love. You can mix paintings with photos for an eclectic look, or choose a theme like BW photos for a more modern look. Another option is to hang one very large piece. Always buy what you love when it comes to art. It should look at home with the color palette but there is no need to match. Look for something with warm tones and a subject you really love looking at.
There you have it, a new room with very little shopping. Sometimes you don't need new stuff, you just need a new outlook! Hope you like it, Tracy. Send me after photos! (Get $25 off a future service when you do!) —Diane
Want a Mini Makeover for your own room? Soon you can order it straight from the website's Order an eDecor Plan page. For now, just email me! Within a week you'll have a new vision for your space.
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