Ask Deb Nelson: Functional, comfortable space
Just completed a major renovation on our kitchen/family room and we are very pleased. Living room is now boring and old fashioned. Family room is done in Bleeker Beige and kitchen in Light Khaki (all Benjamin Moore). We live totally in the family room/kitchen area, so we are receptive to making the living room a different space, maybe a reading room, etc. and open to moving family room furniture to living room. Would like this to be sleek and clean as empty nesters and receptive to colour.
I would appreciate any thoughts or ideas you may have.
Hi Linda. Thanks for your question. Your newly-renovated kitchen and family room looks good. Since you have these new rooms completed in a neutral, brown colour scheme, I am going to suggest a similar look for your living room, to tie the whole main floor together. You typically want everything on one floor to flow together in a cohesive look.
Make your living room work for you
Since you have mentioned you are primarily living in the family room and kitchen area, I thought it would be great idea to make the living room a comfortable den/reading room. What’s nice is that you can take this extra space and decide how to make it work for you. I think a cosy reading room would be a great use of the space, given the look and size of the space.
I have found an inspiration room that has an overall look that I would recommend for your den/reading room. When I think of a reading room, I think of bookcases, and creating a comfortable place to relax with a good book. I also noticed that your family room has bookcases on one end, so I also like how this ties in with the bookcases in this area.
I suggest you start with a pair of brown bookcases on either end of the room. This allows you to build a nook for your sofa or loveseat to go in-between. I also like that the bookcases are moveable, rather than built-in, so if you get tired of this set up, you can rearrange things.
Depending on the exact size of your room, you might be able to use your existing sofa (or loveseat), and have it reupholstered in a new solid, dark colour fabric. I wouldn’t move the leather family room furniture into this room because I think this area needs to have fabric upholstery on the furnishings to keep things soft and plush. I am recommending a sofa (shown), which also comes in a smaller loveseat size, if you are thinking about investing in new furniture.
Dark colour on the focal point wall
Another important element for this room is the wall colour. If you were open to it, I would go with something like the inspiration room colour, something dark and warm, but perhaps carry on with the Bleeker beige on the other three walls in the room.
Art, lighting, ottoman
The next step is to add some really unique details and colour to complete the look. I would do a huge piece of colourful artwork over the sofa, like in the inspiration room. A large, bright piece of abstract art here would really be the focal point of the room, and would be a nice way to add a big burst of colour. I would really push the size and the scale of this piece of art to make it as big as it can be in between the two bookcases.
Then I would add two light fixtures to either side of the bookcases. You can use regular wall sconces here; look for a style that has the plugs attached, so these are also moveable and not hard-wired. The ones shown in the inspiration picture are on a swing arm, which is a great feature for reading and being able to control and adjust the light as needed.
I would use an ottoman instead of a coffee table to keep the room comfortable and to continue on with that soft, upholstered look rather than the hard edges of a table here. I would add a bold rug with some geometric pattern. This adds a modern vibe to the room and also will help to anchor the whole area.
Across from the sofa you could add a narrow table and a large mirror over that, or another piece of art. Finish off the room with a couple of extra chairs, a large basket here and there, some fun toss pillows and low end tables stacked with books or magazines.
Linda, I hope these ideas help to breathe new life into your living room, and make it a functional, comfortable space that you use as much as your renovated kitchen and family room.
Editor’s Note:The pictures shown in this column are not BEFORE and AFTER images of the same room. The Dilemma is a reader’s submitted photo and The Solution is Deb’s inspirational suggestion as to how the room might look with some updates.
Mail your 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 email to email@example.com