Tuesday, February 4, 2014

design dilemma...opinions please

You guys are always the best at chiming in! 
I'm helping a friend with a few updates to her living room, and thought it would
 be fun to get your opinions since the space is a bit awkward. Before deciding on
 new furniture we're working on the most functional and aesthetically pleasing arrangement. 

Here is her long and narrow (11' x 20') living room.


Opposite end of the room

I suggested moving the sofa between the windows and using a large mirror above it to
 give the illusion of a wider room. Replacing her valances with panels on the outside of
 each window. And the seating arrangement (minus the benches) in the inspiration photo below.


Sally Wheat

This side is a bigger dilemma. 
This is the wall opposite the window above. The fireplace isn't centered, in fact it is at
the far end of the wall. She'd like some type of buffet, preferably with storage, but is open. 


I suggested another oversize mirror (again giving the impression of a wider room) above a
 narrower console with an open bottom for a lighter feel. Painting the chairs is an option, too.

house of turquoise 

While studying her photo above I'm wondering if maybe a built-in bookcase would work
 on that entire wall - in place of the buffet??? Hmmm....

Ok, give us your best ideas!


36 comments:

Lizelle said...

Build-in bookcases was my first thought when I saw the photo!! :)

Debbie J. said...

Me too. Great minds think alike. I know whatever you do will be beautiful.

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Cathy Wall said...

I LOVE the idea of a built-in or maybe an Ikea Billy hack on that wall. It would make the fireplace seem not so disjointed in the room. I would also consider painting the brick so that everything blends together seamlessly (guessing you have already suggested that!) Great furniture arrangement and ideas for the wall and windows, I know this space is going to rock when you are done with it!

My Notting Hill said...

Love the idea of built-in w/doors on the bottom half. I'm not a fan of mirrors that face each other across a room but that's just me. It looks like a charming house that allows them to look down into the living room.Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Julia Konya said...

Built-in bookcase was my first thought. I'd love that. Maybe with doors on the bottom and shelving above it. And sometimes I like it when there is mirrored backing the the shelves. But not the 80s look ;) Candice Olson has done this a few times and it looked gorgeous.

Kris @ Driven by Décor said...

Your inspiration photos are amazing! I actually love the idea of the buffet because it looks like a pretty small space and it seems like a big tall bookcase along with the large fireplace might be a little overpowering. I would go with art above the buffet instead of a mirror - like My Notting Hill, I've got a thing about having mirrors on two different sides of a room. I hope you show us the "after" pics!

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

Love the idea of a built-in! It would look great next to that pretty brick fireplace! Can't wait to see what you do Pam!

NN Bartley said...

Like everyone else (almost) I looked at that photo and thought built in bookshelf. And feel free to put some chairs in front of it for seating.
The sofa between the windows isn't doing it for me yet...but maybe after you gussy it up. Also, mirror over the sofa will reflect what? The soon to be installed bookshelf? But a mirror on the bookshelf wall will reflect the outdoors? I know which wall I would want the mirror on.
Looks like a darling house. Can't wait to see what magic you come up with.

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

i think your ideas are spot on- once curtains and art/mirror are hung the sofa will be perfect there. and i think i love the bookcase idea because the fireplace wouldn't stick out- it would be even with the bookcase which would be AMAZING.

Simply LKJ said...

I was thinking built in bookcase as well (I even thought of having one under the staircase as well). Regarding mirrors, I too wonder what they are reflecting.

Bervgirl said...

Love the inspiration pictures for the space. You have such great vision, I know it will be fabulous when you are finished! Have you seen Layla's built in that she's doing to disguise a bump out in the wall? It would be cool to create a wall that looked like one big built in, especially if she is ok with painting the brick! Fun stuff!

therelishedroost said...

I am so glad you are going to place mirror vertically over sofa it will give ceiling height and look great, I would put a big fabulous piece of art across over storage buffet flanked with sconces or gallery light if you dont do bookshelves to reflect into mirror over sofa. I think you will do a fabulous job no matter what you decide!!

Alpha & Omega Design Team said...

Great ideas Pam! I instantly knew that sofa needed to be turned longways in that shape of room. I agree with right where you put it. Loved the drapery panel suggestion on each end of the window. I recently did a small bedroom like that with the bed in the center of the windows...turned out just right. I think, just MY opinion of course, that even though built-in bookcases might be a great choice on the other side, your client mentioned a buffet....does she want/need the surface of that for serving if entertaining in there? Just a 'thought' since that is what she thought of...if so, then I like your idea of the narrower depth and the 'lighter' feel at the bottom. Oh, and painted chairs beside that....YES! I would put artwork over the buffet instead of another mirror in the room and to balance the scale of that wall with the fireplace. I know whatever YOU come up with for your client, she will be immensely pleased! Your ideas are always FABULOUS! Can't wait to see what you do in here!

Amy Moe said...

Looking at her Living room- I think it needs a pop of white- which will also brighten up the room and make it look larger, and while your add it- paint the brick white too. Add a built-in book shelf is a great idea. Then add pops of color in the curtains & furniture... If she likes the idea, you could paint the dresser that she has in there and then add two lamps on top and place it somewhere else if you add the built-ins. I like the mirror idea above the sofa. And looking at the rug- it's time to up-date, or just take it out until she can find one she likes. What a fun project. You will do such a great job because you are so talented. I have enjoyed looking at your ideas and inspirations.

Jennifer @ Dimples and Tangles said...

I have always loved Wendy's set up with two sofas (or loveseats if it's too narrow) facing each other
http://shabbynest.blogspot.com/2012/04/living-room-spruce-up-reveal.html
but also love your inspiration photo! Also, I think the idea of built-ins is brilliant and would really help tie-in and balance that fireplace, especially if the shelves and brick were all painted out to match!

Kristin@bliss-athome.com said...

We have a long narrow living room too. I like your inspiration photos. I think a wall of bookcases in a room that narrow would be great for storage but it might make it feel even smaller. But, I could be totally wrong here. I think adding the symmetry in the awkward space will help a lot. Interested to see what you do :) xo Kristin

Stacey {steward of design} said...

I would vote for the bookcase. Great inspiration photo for the sofa placement! I'm sure you're going to make it look great!

Laurie Davis said...

Thank goodness she has you!! I love your ideas already! I would take that curtain rod almost to the ceiling and add chunky moldings to her windows, it will make the windows look larger. That room has beautiful base moldings but I would add crown too.Can't wait to see what you gals are going to do!

Simply Modern Home said...

I think a larger piece of art work and, possibly, a couple of sconces could look great. Or maybe a buffet that's a bit longer and could accommodate a couple of lamps. I think the idea would be to fill the wall better without making it feel overwhelming. can't wait to see what you do!

Melissa at the Hive said...

I definitely think a built in so she could have a serving area for drinks, food. I would paint the fireplace the same color as the wall since it's off center and maybe you don't want it to be the focal point. Paint all the wood trim banisters a dark color like urbane bronze. Build some kind of little shelving area under the stairs where that desk is.

Marie Kirkwood said...

As I was reading your post - I thought that sofa needs to be between the windows - next photo it is! Then I thought she needs a built in to the right of the fireplace to add a central focal point on that wall opposite the sofa and next I read you're thinking that too! I would add moldings to the top and bottom consistent with the rest of the room and to finish off the built in (Ikea Billy hack would work too). I like your idea of outside panels on the windows to replace the valances and I'd add something more to balance this wall with the opposite wall - moldings or chunky rods. Behind the sofa you need something large to cover that wall trim and balance against the built in on the opposite wall. But I'm not a fan of a mirror reflecting the bookcase either. Maybe a large landscape or airy watercolour to add balance but not bulk.
After all this I'm wondering if beefing up these 2 opposite walls will make the room seem more narrow and tunnel like?
And what about the wall opposite the stairs where the couch used to be? Any plans for that or is the easy chair and ottoman filling in that space enough?
Can't wait to see the finished room!

Marie Kirkwood said...

ps. I'd leave the fireplace as is. I think the room needs some colour but I suggest the built in be white with paint or texture behind the shelves rather than all white. And no top molding since there isn't any in the rest of the room.
And if she is going to keep the green couch I'd lighten the wall colour a bit.

J said...

Would she consider painting the brick white? I like the idea of a bookcase, because I love books, but I also do not like it, because it will narrow the room and add visual clutter. I think your original idea of a narrower console would be more appealing. What about a lucite console? I like the idea of one big mirror in the room, and one big piece of art on the opposite wall.

Libby said...

I'm not so sure about a built in bookcase… the room is narrow, and how deep could it be, logically, to not make the room feel cramped? I like the buffet/sideboard idea, but definitely think you need some very interesting arrangement over said buffet. A series of mirrors? A real pop of color painting?
And, I agree with one other commenter that the rug needs updating. It also is making the room look and feel very cut up; maybe it's the size, but maybe the color and texture?
New side curtains will help immensely!

Lauren Lifeimagined said...

Love the inspiration photos, I have the one of the sofa between windows on my vision board now. I would suggest built in bookcase with closed lower cabinets and open shelves on top. The whole piece painted white and not very deep ( just a couple inches deeper than the fireplace). Also keep the shelving pretty spaced apart to allow for some art and plants ( will look lovely reflected in the new mirror over the sofa).
Can't wait to see what you decide!
Lifeimagined.org

Lauren Lifeimagined said...

Also, love the fireplace as is. Agree that the wall color needs lightening and a warmer shade (sand) will really modernize the space.
www.lifeimagined.org

Dragonflies and Thistles said...

I would paint the railing and banisters, possibly leave the posts white and stain/paint everything else dark. I'd reapolster the furniture, especially the chair and automan in a color she really likes. I like the color of the room itself but to me it needs more colors, possibly pillows in teal or yellow? The wall over the sofa between the two windows needs either that mirror from the fireplace or a large or several paintings or photo's. What style does she want to change to or like? The furniture needs to be re-arranged to show off the fireplace, which is in a weird position. She needs drapes on the windows, possibly white sheers with a heavier printed fabric just on one side of each window. Personally I'd get rid of the rugs and get one large one. Possibly add some shelving to the wall where the ladder is and making that area a mini library with seating. The room might also benefit from crown molding. I'd add a mantle to the fireplace. I'd slide the existing buffet or sideboard she has under the stairs and move the small desk to another room. Possibly wallpaper or a stencil on that little wall, maybe even going up the stairs. Stripes? or a geometric shape would be nice - you could even do that in the same color just a mat or glossier finish for a more subtle look. I like the idea of a much large console or some sort of storage next to the fireplace on that wall. To keep the wood from all being mish mashed you need to repeat the same tone 3 times around. A really interesting room.

Wendy said...

A painting technique that might help balance the room - choose a lighter color for the long walls, and the next shade darker on the sample strip for the short walls - it will help bring those far walls "in" and the long walls out which creates the illusion of a less than rectangular room! And I like the built in feature wall. I think 2 mirrors on opposing walls might be a bit too much light bouncing but that just my opinion of course. I cannot wait to see what you do as I have a long rectangular, off center fireplace, living room as well! Love your blog <3

Pamela Bolton said...

The idea of built-ins would be lovely if the cabinets extended no further than the brick on the fireplace. I suggest that the cabinets be painted out to match the stairs and the walls a pale cream/soft white. Maybe back the shelves with a coordinating fabric. Possibly move the credenza and chairs to the far end of the lr and paint the chairs for a pop. I having only seen opposing mirrors in a much wider or longer room.

cindy @ a curious gardener said...

Hi Pam,
I think a built in bookcase would balance the fireplace and not make the room feel narrower because it would jut out from the wall the same distance as the fireplace. I would paint the walls, the brick and the dominant railings a creamy warm white. Also I would hang natural wood blinds that compliment the hardwood with the curtain panels and hang them at the top of the wall to create height. Like the mirror idea if the reflection is pretty. Here is a pretty image I saw on Pinterest http://www.countryliving.com/homes/fireplace-designs-2008#slide-24

PS, I finally posted on the blog!

cindy @ a curious gardener said...

Would also have built ins made for under the steps!

Kimberly Lemmon said...

Well dang - lots of opinions. I absolutely would do built in bookshelves and then have you style them like a boss. Cute place!!

Jill Flory of Sew a Fine Seam said...

Build in the bookshelves and then paint the wall, bookshelves and fireplace brick all the same color to bring it all together.

Vel Criste said...

I think you nailed it already Pam! I love the idea of a built in though on that fireplace wall, and the mirrors for sure will add depth to the whole space! Good luck!

Carrie @ Cosy Carolina Interiors said...

I love how you used your inspiration pics to show us what you are thinking. Both are stunning! And I know you'll knock this out of the park! :)

Jan said...

I like Pamela Bolton's idea of painting the long and short walls two complementary colors to "shorten" up the room dimensions. Like the idea of a "built-in" look to the wider side of the fireplace, Julia mentioned it way up above, with closed storage below and open shelving units above. I'd go with the same color as the rest of the woodwork in the room. I think the wall color needs to go lighter and perhaps a kind of tromp d'oile (I know I've got it spelled wrong) effect by bringing the wall color up on to the ceiling and then trimming out the ceiling where the paint ends, paint the rest of the ceiling to match the woodwork, to give the illusion of taller walls. Agree with the poster who suggested a large painting above the sofa rather than a large mirror. A mirror would work better, I think, on the wall where the sofa is now, bouncing lots of light around the room and making it look like there is another room beyond if it is big enough. Behind the chair on the wall where the sofa is currently, I'd add a narrow desk and lamps (floor or desk) with a small chair behind that could be brought out if extra seating is needed, or same idea except a console table with two small poufs or ottomans underneath to supply extra seating in a pinch. On the small wall on the side of the fireplace I would turn that into a small gallery wall. Add some tall green plants, remove the red (I would paint the brick), and introduce pops of color in art work and throw pillows. White (washable) slipcovered or very light linen (washable) colored slipcovered sofa and chairs, a natural textured sisal or similar woven rug in a light color (lighter than the floor) or a flat weave with a subtle pattern, nothing that competes in color with art or pillows. Now, if only I could do the same thing for myself, LOL!

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