{ Discover the Designer in You }
Design Dialogue – September 19, 2013

Design Dialogue – September 19, 2013

Hello, everyone!  It’s time for your chance at FREE interior design advice…  let’s talk fall projects!  School is back in session around the country, giving you a bit more time to focus on home improvement projects before winter.  Looking for advice on exterior home finishes or interior design?  Welcome to the weekly Design Dialogue!  

Every Thursday, I offer you a chance to ask design questions and get some answers.  Whether you need advice on a paint color, help with a room layout or suggestions for window treatments, this is a great place to get some free design advice – just in time for those weekend projects.  Free design advice!  Or, if you want to chat about design trends, the newest colors on the market or that great piece of furniture you saw last week, this is the place.  If you spot any great deals on home decor, feel free to share them here, as well.

So, let’s get started!  Leave your questions and thoughts in the comments below.  I’ll be checking in throughout the day to offer advice and answer questions; you are also invited to answer questions posed by your fellow readers.  Let’s get this conversation started!New Kitchen



I received the following questions from Sana in Alberta, Canada, after a recent Design Dialogue post.  Since she couldn’t post her photos, and her questions cannot be answered without photos, I asked her to email them to me…and, she did!  I’m posting her questions here, along with the photos, and my answers to her.  I wanted to share with all of you, in case you are having some of the same issues in your own homes.  I hope you- and Sana – find this helpful!

“My question to you then is, I need help, as I do not know how to set up our living room.  As you will note from the attached pictures, the room itself is pretty big, but it has this awkward configuration (please note how he carpet meets the wood at an angle) which messes up the size, if you will.

living room

I love the formal living room furniture and look and just yesterday, we bought gorgeous brass studded leather sofa and loveseat (Stetson set by Broyhill) [see photo]

broyhill leather sofa


1- Does that even work?  Or would you suggest a different material/look?  It works!  It adds a bit of formality to the space, and the traditional look coordinates well with the elements already in the room.

2- What colors (leather or other fabrics) would go with the carpet and wood colors in the room?  So far, you have LOTS of neutral going on, with rich, deep wood tones.  Depending on your exact carpet color, you may want to bring in a mix of earthy greens and rich, deep golds to accentuate those deep wood hues.  Alternatively, you could go to the other side of the color scale, and think about bringing in some blue…maybe a turquoise or a robin’s egg hue to contrast with the rich browns in the room.  Either way, when choosing future fabrics, think PATTERN!  Everything is solid right now, and you need variation in pattern and texture to make it an interesting room.

3- Would the leather look overwhelm a room of this size?  No – you have a fairly open floorplan, and it will be fine, provided you keep some contrast in the room (don’t make everything dark) and add portable lighting to bring drama and function…lamps!

living room

4- How should the furniture be laid out so that it gives the illusion of a space? With the window and fireplace the way they are, here is what I was thinking: (and these are just ideas bouncing around my head, so feel free to squash, I mean, constructively criticize them 🙂

– The longer sofa/couch opposite the fireplace with the two seater in front of the window Yes – this could work.  However, you may want to consider the two chairs on the window wall, since they will keep the window more “open” feeling.  Instead of being blocked by a large seating piece, it will seem more accessible and lighter with 2 chairs in front of the window.  That would mean you put the loveseat on the wall opposite the window.  Perhaps even one chair would be enough – maybe with an ottoman?  You want to make sure the room isn’t so full of furniture that you cannot get in and out of it easily!

– The wall opposite the window could have either a long, low table (3.5′-4′ from the floor) with shadow boxes or a larger picture/frame above it to create interest OR two chairs with a table in the middle (sort of a side sitting area)  Yes – this can also work!  Also, I wouldn’t worry too much about the transition from the wood to the carpet.  It does cut into your furniture grouping somewhat, but I wouldn’t let it define the entire space.  From what I can tell from the photos, it looks like the sofa and loveseat can still be on the carpet fully…don’t worry if your sofa needs to move toward the window wall to keep it on the carpet.  It can be off-center from the fireplace slightly and still be a balanced space…as long as you have furniture on the wall opposite the window in order to balance it all out!  I hope that makes sense…

– If the wall opposite the window becomes a smaller sittng area, then a the long table behind the longer couch with vases etc, so that there is some “separation” between the living room and kitchen/dining room. Also an option!  Just be sure that you have a wide path for traveling between the table and the furniture in the kitchen.  You don’t want that well-traveled area to feel tight and crowded. 

5- What type of accents and colors would you suggest would go well?   Again, you can consider bringing in cool colors like turquoise or robin’s egg blue – even gray – or warmer colors like earthy green, rich gold.

6- Window dressing… should it be full wall of curtains, or just across the length of the window, colors?  For this window, I would recommend 2 drapery panels, floor length and installed about halfway between the top of the window trim and the ceiling.  The panels should be installed to either side of the window, to create the illusion of a larger (wider) window than you have, and to maximize your light and view.  The following sketch, created by Camille Moore, illustrates this effect beautifully:

where to hang drapery rod

As far as colors and patterns for your window treatments, I would use them to tie your color scheme together.  So, they should be a pattern that includes some or all of the other colors in the room.  A large, bold pattern would be lovely, whether you prefer a damask scroll or a vivid floral, or even a stripe – any of those could work.

I am so lost, thank you so much in advance for all your help and advice and have yourself a great day!”

living room windows

I hope these tips will help you create the living room you are hoping for.  Good luck!

Pin It

Leave a reply

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code

Secured for spam by MLW and Associates, LLP's Super CAPTCHASecured by Super-CAPTCHA Developed by Goldsboro Web Development..