Mini Makeover: Linda's Grown-up Living Room
May 14, 2010
Last week I randomly chose one reader's room for a free Mini Makeover. The winner was Linda, mother of four, and she asked for help with her living room. She's planning to build an addition soon to better accommodate the kids and their stuff, and wants the first room you see upon entering the house to be more peaceful and inviting. She writes:
"I have great hopes for this room once the addition over the garage is done. My goal is to move any and all things kid-related to the bonus room, and some of the extra furniture to the basement or bonus room. I want to consider making this a sitting room instead of a TV room like it is now by moving the TV to the new bonus room or to the basement."
Here are the three photos Linda submitted with her contest entry. The living room is large, open to the front entry and a staircase, with a door at either end leading to the open kitchen/dining space. A cathedral ceiling is open to the upstairs hall. The large window faces south, bringing in some nice light and a view of the front yard.
The problems in this space can be pinned on clutter, lack of a cohesive color plan, and multiple styles that are not tied together. We'll start by improving the flow within and through the room with a new space plan.
We're going to remove a few things and rearrange what's left. (Click to enlarge the plan.)
- Keep the piano, sofa, love seat, recliner, coffee table, end table, entry bench. And the fish tank, if you want. Everything else must go.
- Move the piano to the west wall.
- Move the furniture into a seating grouping as shown near the window, so traffic can flow around it rather than through it. The love seat is positioned to buffer the room from the front door. The other pieces are angled to create a harmonious line with the angle in the flooring between the carpet and hardwood. This new arrangement makes conversation easier than having seating pieces pushed to the edges of the room.
- Keep the entry bench where it is along the stairs and move the fish tank next to it, in the corner.
- Add a console table (sometimes called a sofa table) behind the love seat to create a buffer between the front door and the seating space. This creates a convenient place to drop keys and such when you enter.
- Consider adding a very narrow, low credenza for storage along the wall opposite the window. Scour rummage sales and thrift stores for something the right size (about 12" deep by 5-6 feet wide), then paint it.
Right now, there's a lot going on with color in the room. Four walls colors (the ceiling is a wall, too, especially when it's angled), multi-colored stone, several wood tones, painted wood, white wicker, neutral upholstery and carpeting, and a lot of green in the form of plants. In your Dwelement Style Questionnaire you indicated that you want a peaceful feeling in the room. You also said you prefer warm colors.
Keeping your input in mind, and aiming to update and simplify the space given the existing elements, I recommend a palette of warm neutrals. These colors were inspired by the stone wall accent and the wood tones in the room, and will complement your neutral furniture without making it visually disappear.
All paints are specified as Pittsburgh Paints from The Voice of Color collection, available from Northwood Paint in Traverse City. Use a satin finish for the walls; it is scrubbable but has a more pleasant sheen than a semi-gloss.
Walls: Taupe Tone 426-4
Angled wall above ledge and wall at far side of stairs: Almond Roca 425-1
Ceilings: Almond Roca 425-1
Accents for furniture, fabrics, rugs, and accessories:
Olive Gray 512-5, close to the color of your existing sofa and love seat.
Feldspar 554-5, to harmonize with the blue-grays in the stone wall. Repaint the bright-blue tables in this color.
Lion's Mane 216-5, drawn from the stone wall and the woodwork. This shade is nice for accent pillows.
Other recommendations and ideas
- Clear all accessories (everything!) out of the room, then rearrange the furniture. Then slowly add accessories back in. Then remove a few. :)
- Pare down the number of pictures in the room and group them in one area, such as the stair wall. Put them all in frames that are the same color. Black works well here. No need to buy new frames, just spray-paint the existing ones with a glossy black.
- You might be tempted to fill the wall opposite the window with a lot of little things. Avoid this and opt for a very large painting or framed mirror above the storage credenza. A mirror will reflect the window light and brighten the space.
- Move some of the plants in the room to other spaces, and scatter the remaining plants. The ledge would look nice with a single trailing plant positioned at the right side.
- Consider adding a 5-by-8-foot rug to the angled seating area. Try this option from Overstock.com. (Shown in space plan.) It's a steal in wool at $191.
- Add semi-sheer, floor-length drapes to the window to give it a more finished look. Keep it casual with the Lisette Tab-Top Panel from JCPenney in Copper Spice.
- Your lamps don't need to match, but if the shades do, it gives a sense of cohesion to the space. Simple white linen drum shades are a classic choice that blends with any style.
There you have it: a new room design accomplished with very little shopping. Sometimes you don't need new stuff, you just need a new outlook! Hope you like it, Linda. Send "after" photos! —Diane
Want a Mini Makeover for your own room? Just email me! Within a week you'll have a new vision for your space, for just $95.
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