Ask Deb Nelson: To the next level
Q. Hi Deb, We are stumped by our living room. My husband has just built a wall of bookcases for the TV and lots of storage. We are also thinking about putting cabinet doors on the bottom of the unit. We are debating whether the sofa should be where it is now, or should we get two new smaller sofas or loveseats that face each other? The other option we are considering is a small sectional sofa. What do you think would work best? It’s a small living room and we would like to maximize seating and storage for a young family with lots of stuff. Also we are thinking of painting the trim around the window in white. Any thoughts for us? Thanks!
A. Hi Joanne
Thank you for your question. Your living room looks good and I see a few areas you can improve. I love the wall of shelving, I am a big fan of white built-ins and I think adding the doors across the bottom will be a great addition. The extra bit of closed-door storage always comes in handy and is a great mix with all the open shelves above.
As for the layout, I think you have the right furniture placement since the room isn’t that large. And if you were to turn the sofa to face the TV, I feel like you will be blocking the whole room. I also think that two smaller sofas facing each other, would be too much furniture in the room, and wouldn’t give you any feeling of open floor space. Right now, with the sofa against the window, it does allow you to have a more open area and that makes the room feel more spacious. I like the chair tucked in the corner, and you could even add another smaller, unique chair to the opposite corner, maybe something like a reproduction Wishbone chair in walnut.
I also like that your sofa and chair are slip covered. This gives you many options for changing it out down the road, and it’s great to take off and wash as needed. It gives you lots of versatility down the road and I like the chair and sofa in the same fabric.
I would love to see the room get pulled together with a bit more of a cohesive style, something like an eclectic mix of items, patterns and colours could really bring the room together. I can see right now you have a beige carpet under the taupe sofa, and I think if you change this rug to something with bright colours and pattern, the room would really come alive. I am suggesting a colourful kilim or Persian rug to add a bold look to the room. I’m always keen on these rugs, and because all of the colour and pattern they are great at hiding spills and stains.
To add to the eclectic mix, I would consider a similar coffee table, maybe something that’s just a bit bigger. I’d recommend an antique or vintage trunk as a coffee table would provide you with storage and would add to the character. The key to this piece would be the size and scale, you really need a fairly tall trunk to go there and not something too low to the ground. The more aged and antique the better, so if you enjoy antique hunting you could have fun shopping around for this item.
Also as part of this look to the room, I would add a woven textured shade at the window. As you can see in the inspiration picture, this type of window treatment has a casual but earthy vibe that will also work well with the other new touches I am suggesting. I would personally paint out the window trim in white because I think it will make it tie in better with the room, just keep in mind if you paint that trim you should paint all the trim in the room in white to match.
In the space beside the sofa (below where you have a mirror), and add a little end table with a large table lamp. If you can find something with a dark lampshade, I think that would be the touch of black you need in the room.
The last item would be to add in some new pillows on the sofa, a few in solid colours that match the rug (like a dark chocolate brown or navy) and then a couple pillows in a great pattern that pick up on the same look as the rug.
Joanne, I think your room is close to being complete, a few more additions and changes will really take it to another level. The mix of new and old pieces will add a great eclectic vibe to your living room.
Herald Homes design expert Deb Nelson is here to help solve your design dilemmas. If you have a design question for Deb, you can send it via regular mail or by email. Please include the following information with your submission: Your name and city; a clear and concise question; high resolution photos and room dimensions. Questions will be answered in the order they are received. Mail questions and pictures to: Ask Deb Nelson c/o Herald Homes, The Chronicle Herald, 2717 Joseph Howe Drive, P.O. Box 610 Halifax, N.S. B3J 2T2. Or, send via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Answers will appear every Friday in Herald Homes.