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Need help and ideas for my living room.
anthuria
January 11, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I loved this room the first time I saw it, but after six months here I am tearing my hair out. I wanted to live with it a while before we decorated, but now I just can't see a way to go. The room has a lovely mountain view but there is a door or window in every wall, the ceiling seems pretty low, there are no ceiling lights at all and the fireplace is all the way over at one end. I am sure there is a solution to this, but I'm not seeing it.

The room is 17' 4" by 15' 10" I've uploaded a floor plan and some pictures of the room. The deck can be seen through the full length glass doors, there is a view of the mountains to the North through the other set of windows.

I am stuck as to how to arrange the furniture or which colors to choose. The deck outside is quite large and has a lovely view of the garden below, so my first thought was some sort of indoor conservatory idea, but right now everything is covered in snow so I am wondering if that would look silly. We have antique maps on the walls.

We do most everything in the room, eat, write, watch TV. Any help would be appreciated.
PS the fireplace is a pennisula shared with the kitchen. It is just to the right of the door to the deck.
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Interiors International, Inc.
Float a square searing area evenly in the room. Or it could be pushed north (on the drawing) but put a sofa table behind the sofa that will be against the wall.
January 11, 2013 at 2:12PM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
I started working on a furniture layout for your floor plan but stopped when I re-read the part about the fireplace. Why is it not on the plan. I don't understand how big it is or how it impacts the room.
January 11, 2013 at 6:34PM     
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englishaccent
I'm with Carolyn, I think I have an idea of where the fireplace is and then, poof, it's gone. Can you give us one more picture with the fireplace in it so we can get a handle on this? I love doing floor plans so I am happy to help.
January 11, 2013 at 7:12PM   
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anthuria
I'm sorry! Here's a floorplan showing where the fireplace is. It's a pennisular unit around 2 feet wide and separates the room from the kitchen. I've also added arrows showing directions, in case that's of interest. The wide windows face North, the full length window and door out to the deck face East.

I've also added a picture showing the fireplace - the surround is not the same color (the picture is from the web) but it's the same unit. Our fireplace is the same mid brown/ginger wood color as the floor.

Thanks for taking an interest, I am happy to answer any other questions you have!
January 12, 2013 at 8:33AM     
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Thanks, anthuria, for the extra info and photo. They're a big help. Below if a possible furniture arrangement for you. The ottoman by the fireplace is handy at parties and to warm up in front of the fireplace. It can also be moved over in front of the built-in bookshelves/cabinet that would house the TV.
January 12, 2013 at 9:45AM     
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englishaccent
I changed things up a bit on this floor plan. I noticed radiators on the french door wall so I switched the built-in for the TV(C). According to the scale, the sizes on the love seat and sofa (A and B) will fit. The club chairs are swivel chairs(D). One would enough but I think two will fit fine.
January 12, 2013 at 10:25AM     
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The Drapery Company
englishaccent, I agree with your floor plan too. You could move the TV unit over a bit and make it a corner unit, that way the sofa is directly in front of the TV (my husband's input). To the right of the Corner TV unit put a desk and chair for writing/laptop. But you might need a desk that allows the chair to go under completely to keep out of the way. Desk could also be a built in and part of TV unit. I suggest a floor lamp to the left of the A sofa (pottery Barn has some great ones, and Home goods has too) for height in the room, add a window treatment- Valance to the window over the sofa. Take a look at designityourselfvalances.com.
January 12, 2013 at 10:57AM     
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explorer8888
My first instinct would be to paint the walls and woodwork the same neutral color so that you have a better feel of blending the inside and outside.
January 12, 2013 at 11:08AM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Good observation, english, on the radiators. I missed that. I took another stab at the furniture arrangement. I've never been fond of loveseats, preferring chairs instead.
January 12, 2013 at 11:14AM     
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englishaccent
I forgot to add that the sofa and love seat could be a sectional instead.
January 12, 2013 at 11:20AM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
You know what I find interesting about loveseats? I know that many people buy them so they must like them. But if you look at the design magazines, I don't think you ever see a picture of a loveseat with a sofa. Pairs of sofas, yet. Settees, yes. Sofa and loveseat, no. I'm going to go carefully through the next few magazines I receive and check!
January 12, 2013 at 3:19PM     
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decoenthusiaste
I don't have a program to do all the lovely floorplans but I have a suggestion. Put a small chaise sectional in the walled corner (bedroom side) round coffee table in front. Put the TV on the wall to the right of the doors to the deck. Mount it on the wall or use a small credenza to set it on. Use two swivel chairs and a side table in front of the large window.I'd try a large area rug that allows for all the front feet of the seating pieces to be on it. You didn't say what your style or color preferences are so here are a few thoughts for you...
Hyde Sectional Sofa
Barrel-Shaped Swivel Chair
Rebecca Leather Swivel Chair
Cody Swivel Chair
Jolie Swivel Chair, Vance Bermuda
January 12, 2013 at 4:25PM     
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kimdee24
Carolyn, you're right! They always pair the sofa and loveseat together in the furniture store, so I guess that's why we think we need both.
January 12, 2013 at 4:31PM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
They also charge less for the loveseat than two chairs, but it doesn't work nearly as well. Spread the word, houzzers, sofa and two chairs. Down with the loveseat!!
January 12, 2013 at 5:21PM     
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englishaccent
Carolyn, you don't see love seats be us Designers love two chairs because that is another item we get to pick a great fabric for! It just so happens a lot of individuals purchase a set so some times we make floor plans with them in mind. I like two love seats in front of a fireplace though. It's all good but two separate chairs are better. The 2nd cushion of the love seat is usually the last one sat in too. It is too close to others comfort zones. Now my favorite seating item is a great chaise lounge. But that's another whole story. :)
January 12, 2013 at 6:15PM     
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
English, I know that people buy them as a set and I think it's up to some of us houzzers to point out that it's not the best combination of furnishings for their new, possibly first, home. I hope you'll join that bandwagon!
January 12, 2013 at 6:21PM     
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decoenthusiaste
Down with sets of anything - smacks of big box store sales staff decor incompetence! Sorry if anyone is a fan of or works for any of them.
January 12, 2013 at 6:41PM     
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JAN MOYER
LOL..... aurrgghhh loveseats &^%$###....read my post on todays "how to lay out living room" ideabook.
January 13, 2013 at 4:25AM   
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sakcwild
Jan, how do we find your article? Not so hot at navigating this wonderful site...am sure there is much here I don't know about. Thanks bunches!
January 13, 2013 at 5:18AM   
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JAN MOYER
sackcwild
It was just a comment on todays idea book re living rooms with a few tips to consider on seating!
click away!

January 13, 2013 at 6:05AM     
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beesknees2260
Is this part of kitchen? Dining area? I almost would go with big table and chairs. Maybe some upholstered chairs/ bench at table. You mentioned conservatory look and maps. Shelving over radiator under window. Table with settee? I visited home recently with almost same room. They had large farmhouse table with chairs and we all gathered around the table and it was comfortable room not wasted space.
January 13, 2013 at 9:06AM   
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ideahuntress
Hi

I love your room but I can see how it is problematic with all the windows and doors . I was reading through the suggestions and am unsure as to whether you already have the sofa and loveseat or are just thinking of buying them ? My suggestions are assuming you don't have them as of yet .

I would put an L-shaped sofa on the long wall (17ft) with the L running along the 6ft kitchen divinding wall. I would put 2 swivel chairs in the middle of the room with a rug and coffee table and the tv on the 8ft wall probably wall mounted with swivel capabilities . You could also do with 2 pouffes (not sure of the american term for these or if its the same ) they can be used for low level seating or leg-rests . I would put these running perpendicular to the kitchen opening but obviously not close to it . So including the sofa you would end up with a large square shaped seating area. (sorry I haven't a plan as don't know how to do one here)

I would also consider a built in cabinet running under the tv for the length of your radiator. Holes could be drilled into the top along the back of the cabinet to allow heat to escape much like a radiator cabinet. This would give the room a modern look - think the ikea look.

I would also put a corner chair beside the fireplace and in the corner by the tv (if not doing the built in cabinet) . These can act as decorative pieces as well as extra seating when needed .

Its maybe a bit of an "out there" suggestion but would you consider an acrylic console table in front of the picture window. You would not be blocking the view and you would still have usable surface space . You could even match it with an acrylic coffee table to tie it into the scheme .

As for colours I wouldn't go too neutral. You can use colours from nature but they don't have to be bland. You could go raspberry, deep taupe and accent colours such as orange . I was thinking a blue scheme too for you which would be nice during the winter months with the snow but your wood floor doesn't look either quite dark enough or light enough for this choice.

Ok this suggestion seems to have gone on longer than I expected so will leave it there. Actually one more thing - lots of low level lighting with one or two task lighting. Have fun whatever you decide :)
January 13, 2013 at 9:08AM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Actually, if you put the built-in on the wall where I drew it in my first drawing that shows the angled sofa, it would work well if you wall mounted the built-in about 15" above the floor. That should be enough clearance for the radiators, I think, tho I'm no heating expert.
January 13, 2013 at 9:55AM     
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anthuria
Carolyn - that sounds good to me, I really liked your original plan. What we have now is similar to the plan from Englishaccent - we have an old sofa and loveseat, which yes, we bought as a set. we found that the layout doesn't work for us because there is always someone in the way when we want to go out to the deck, which happens a lot more often than you might think. as the deck is a sort of secondary front door. (it's a unique house) Also it was very cold for those on the sofa with their back to the window. I can see that using chairs rather than sofas is quite liberating.

I enjoyed the suggestion from beesknees, this room is off the kitchen, but it is our main living room., so that idea is not for us.

I plan to buy furniture which is very neutral, probably black or brown leather as that seems 'right' to me with antique maps. I note your idea with the sofa table behind the loveseat, that gives us somewhere to put a lamp and with no overhead lighting at all, I think we need as many lamps as we can get.

Now I am beginning to see a room come together, so I have a couple more questions.

What can I do with the 'mantle' over my penninsular fireplace? I've never come across one before. We hung a map on the wall behind it, it's OK, but I was hoping for more than just 'OK' from this room.

What sort of colors would you suggest? We are on a mountainside and have a good view. In summer everything is very green, but for the last month or so (and the next) everything has been covered in snow. A warm scheme seems necessary right now! I agree with ideahuntress, the floor seems to limit our choices. I have very little experience with area rugs, I've always lived in carpeted homes before this.

The adjacent kitchen is decorated in deep green, a benjamin moore color called 'Gloucester Sage' and we have botanic prints and antique maps in gold frames for the walls. The floor is wood, mid brown and, as I said before I thought an 'outside inside' idea might be good, but I am very open to other suggestions.

Thanks for pointing me to the valance company, I feel the windows need some sort of covering, but why just a valance rather than drapes or blinds?

Thanks to everyone who has added suggestions, I really appreciate your interest.
January 13, 2013 at 10:37AM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
I very much like the Mitchell Gold leather sofa below, though I also would like it in black. What is nice about it is the simple classic lines and narrow arms. We're mostly rid of the big armed sofas these days, but I know there are probably a few still around.

After finding your sofa, you'll need a pair of chairs and the green velvet one below looks like it would work well with your kitchen color nearby. While searching for a dark green rug for you, the rug below popped up and I quite liked it. It made me think of your comment about a conservatory look.

I'd love to see you paint your walls a nice light pumpkin such as Sherwin-Williams Chivalry Copper. It would look wonderful with white trim, or you could be brave and paint your trim the dark green color of your kitchen, nicely tying the rooms together.

Let's see a photo of that fireplace so that we can all think about what to put on top of it. Is it flat all across the top and if so, what are the dimensions. One thought I had was a framed map print on a short easel. But I don't know if there's actually a wall behind it.Dexter Leather Collection Sofa, No Buttons The Kennedy Chair Merletto Rug
January 13, 2013 at 12:00PM   
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anthuria
I like the chivalry copper it's an interesting, warm color. Would you leave the windows as they are, or paint woodwork?
I'll upload a picture of the fireplace as soon as I find my camera.
January 13, 2013 at 1:53PM   
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Kathryn Peltier Design
I might be repeating someone else's suggestion but here is mine: Float a sectional - one like decoenthusiaste posted, but flipped - across the 17'-8" middle section of the room, lining the back up with the window approx (sorry, I'm eyeballing this). This gives you main focus out the side windows, out to the deck and to the fireplace. It also gives you good communication with the kitchen. Add one or two swivel chairs so that your focus can be the seating group, the fireplace or the TV.

The TV could go on the wall to the left of the deck doors, but another kind of WOW location might be to suspend it - and make it swivel into the kitchen - over the FP. Just an idea (this would also free up that wall for a large map). Add built-ins along the back bedroom wall, as others have suggested. I can't find a photo of exacty what I have in mind, but something similar to this, but with a panel behind (so that the back, whichever way it's facing, is finished)
Venice Canals

As far as a color palette goes, if you are planning on neutral furniture, then I would put some color on the walls. A darker neutral in the same intensity as your kitchen green and would work with whatever upholstery you end up with. It would be warm for winter but neutral enough for summer. I'm thinking of kind of a sand or wheat color (but substantial color - not just a light tint) This would also really let your maps stand out. Since you like the botanical idea, but not with snow on the ground, how about keeping all the major pieces neutral and adding your summer/winter colors through accessories.An alternative would be to pick up the green of the kitchen in the sectional. You could still keep the botanical idea - just switch it to evergreens in the winter ;-) I personally think a light color sectional - lighter than the wall - would be nice with the swivel chairs in a geometric pattern (a trellis pattern would be pretty). I would add a very textured rug, maybe a shag.
I would do a much more graphic print, but this kind of gives a monochromatic idea:
Jennifer Brouwer Design Inc
Lovely Living Room
Camilla Molders Design
January 13, 2013 at 2:08PM   
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Kathryn Peltier Design
Something like this could work, where the TV swivels inside of an open pattern screen (the screen could be any design)
Plaza

This is more what I had in mind, but picture the solid parts as a screen.
North End Townhouse Guest Room
January 13, 2013 at 2:18PM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Anthuria, if you paint your trim, I would paint every bit of it. In most of the house it would be white, but you could use the dark green in this room.
January 13, 2013 at 3:13PM   
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thiskidd
Here are some layout options, but they are not to scale. Just ideas of furniture arrangement, that I dropped over your floor plan image. Sorry it maybe a rough image. My image didn't load, I'll try again.
January 13, 2013 at 7:46PM   
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thiskidd
2nd Try to Load Image.
I'd suggest placing the TV on the wall with the slider, and the couch facing the TV, this allows visibility to the window views too (left). By adding an area rug you can create it into its own seating area in front of the TV, then add 2nd seating area by use of a game table and two comfy chairs in the corner for other family activity. Also, a stack of floor pillows near the fireplace to allow for close enjoyment of the fire. And an addition of a credenza, sideboard, or armoire to use as a food, drink, snack service area, and additional storage. Placement of corner bookcase by the game table also makes for a reading area and an optional bookcase in the corner or wall between the TV and Windows.

Hope all these ideas people are submitting help! Best of luck!
January 13, 2013 at 8:06PM   
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A Crew of Two
I wish i could draw the floor plan, hopefully you will understand all this. First, anchor the room with an area rug- buy what you love and then choose furniture pieces based on the rug. I like the idea of a natural fiber rug in a dark copper color. It will anchor your furniture. Place your sofa facing the patio doors (I love the idea of leather)- floating in the middle of the room with a sofa table behind it. Upholstered benches are awesome- they are easy to move, do not block your view and can serve as seating, ottomans or a table just by placing a wooden 'box' on them. Use the upholstered bench for your coffee table. I would also keep the furniture on a smaller scale, nothing overstuffed and with low backs and chairs with no arms. This will help keep the space open feeling. Seating with legs and no 'skirts' will make it so the radiators are not as big of an issue either. To take advantage of the view the TV should go to the left of the deck door, this also makes way for you to turn the seating towards the fireplace. I like the idea of a stand with an open shelf bottom for books, etc. and it will not block the radiator. You say you like to write- so a desk in the corner, facing toward the deck would be wonderful. I would paint the walls a warm, earthy color- Benjamin Moore Cork is a favorite. The wood tone trim is in keeping with the outdoors and if you paint it in that room you would have to do the kitchen as well. Pick furniture with warm wood tones, but not too matchy. You mention mountains- I like fabrics with textures, nubby and twisted. I would choose tones of tans, browns, grays with splashes of greens and blues. Mimic the outdoors. The room will feel calm. Good luck!
January 13, 2013 at 8:17PM   
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thiskidd
Great minds think a like! :)
January 13, 2013 at 8:22PM   
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A Crew of Two
lol....I saw your post right after I had submitted mine...;) I should have gone back and read what was written again.
January 13, 2013 at 8:32PM   
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jccbaker
Instead of putting a table behind the couch, put a desk. I also have a long living room with lots of windows, doors, sliding glass doors, stairwell. From the back of the room to the front, I have: desk chair, desk, loveseat (which I like because it's great for slouching on to read), rug, open area, tv. On the side walls I have a sofa and shelves on one side and recliner and another sofa on the other. I like being able to sit at the desk and do things while husband watches tv and I can still be sociable with him.
January 13, 2013 at 8:42PM     
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Cheery Curtains
Drapes from ceiling to floor will make the room look "taller" than it really is.

I suggest you to hang curtains in sort of light-colored and not noisy designs. Cheery Curtains have lots of nice curtain designs you may like. For more curtain designs, welcome to my Houzz page!
January 13, 2013 at 8:51PM     
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South Bay Stone
Do you have kids? How many people in your house?
January 14, 2013 at 9:25AM   
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lookaround
Creation By Casey .
I think I would remove the small door with the curtains, unless it is a necessity. And replace the baseboard heater with the new and more effcient wall mounted units. That will give you a lot more wall
space and make it a lot easier to arrange your furniture.
January 14, 2013 at 10:22AM   
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anthuria
All these suggestions are fantastic, and I am so grateful for the input. I'm having difficulty loading the picture of the fireplace but will sort that out.
To answer the questions:
There are four of us. The youngest is 15, plus we have two dogs.
Yes, we had thought of getting rid of the curtained door, but at the moment it is the only real access to the bedroom,, so it stays.
I'd love to do full length drapes but the door to the deck open inwards, and I thought that would cause a problem.
Adding a desk seems like a good idea as my 15 year old is home schooled and does a lot of her work in that room, though I can see us arguing over who gets to use it!
I find the door to the deck is annoying. it looks really wide, but only half of it (3ft) swings open. Does anyone make folding doors in glass? It would be great to be able to really open the space to the deck in the summer. The deck has a lovely view.

Once again, thanks to everyone for their input.
January 14, 2013 at 11:20AM   
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jezziejane
I think that thiskidd's floor plan idea is a great one for the space, particularly the use of the rug to section a tv/sitting space vs. game space. To snowball from there, because you have your daughter but have concerns over desk use, you could replace the game table with a large (space sensitive) table or desk with a finished back, with the goal of allowing two people to work on it, on opposite sides on opposite ends. The table could run parallel to the wall or sit at a diagonal to allow for a window view from both seats. On this idea, a corner TV stand or wall-mount with swivel capabilities would provide a nice symmetry with the opposite corner's bookshelf.
About the folding glass doors, I think that sounds like an ideal solution. No promises, but I would bet these exist. I would ask at Lowes or Home Depot for advice on that, because such a great space shouldn't be limited due to stupid doors! :)
Best of luck. I know it's troublesome, but with the right furniture, that room will look fantastic!
January 14, 2013 at 1:01PM   
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Teri Ahlm
I love your room! It reminds me of mine, which is a mess right now but I'm happy to share pics of what I did! Please keep in mind that I am by no means a professional decorator...
January 14, 2013 at 1:04PM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Anthuria, a company called Fleetwood is well known for their folding glass patio doors. Though if you did that to your whole wall, you'd really have a problem with your furniture arrangement!
January 14, 2013 at 1:10PM   
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Kathryn Peltier Design
http://www.nanawall.com/ This is a good resource for folding glass doors. The other option would be french doors, but the door swing would have to be accomodated on both sides. The only other option would be to enlarge the opening and do 2 sliding and 2 stationary glass panels (the doors would open from the center and slide over to cover the stationary panels).
January 14, 2013 at 1:20PM     
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anthuria
Thanks for all the help and inspiration and useful inspiration. Carolyn, no I'm not planning to open the whole wall, it's just that it seems sort of a waste not being able to open the full six foot width.
I'm attaching a picture of the fireplace, because I said I would. I've always had some sort of ornamentation on my fireplace, candlesticks, vases, something, but this one really has me stumped. Any suggestions would be welcome. I love all the colors that have been suggested for the room, and will be trying them out as soon as I can brave the snow to go and get samples.
January 16, 2013 at 8:10AM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Items that could go on fireplace ledge:
1. Large handmade ceramic bowl into which you can throw the mail.
2. Large lantern.
3. A sculpture such as the wood one shown below.
4. An antique trunk.
5. An old saddle. Kaska Large Pistachio and Grey Bowl by Leili Design
Large X Design Lantern Deborah Butterfield - Horse Antique Steamer Trunk
January 16, 2013 at 9:27AM   
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anthuria
Thanks. I really like the lantern idea, it fits with my outside inside notion, but the bowl sounds really practical. Thanks again!
January 16, 2013 at 10:54AM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
You are most welcome, Anthuria. We'd love to see some after photos when you're ready to share them.
January 16, 2013 at 3:00PM   
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Linda Anthony
is there any way you could remove one or more doors to open up the room AND makes more room for furnishings? lots of good suggestions here...

I too have a family room with five doors and windows on two other walls. Back/outside door, living room opening, basement door, entry hall door (fortunately swings into entry hall), kitchen door opening. There is one more outside door, but I put a huge Hosier in front of it!
January 26, 2013 at 2:13PM   
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anthuria
It's nearly a year since I asked this question and at last the room is coming together. We went for a deep red on the walls, a warm coppery tone which might have been too much, but is mostly covered by bookcases.
The furniture is patterned,a wheat color with the deep red of the walls through it, and the drapes a plain neutral described as champagne.
Here's a picture. We are still looking for the right rug and coffee tables just don't seem to work for us. The tv is on the wall opposite the bookcases.
We are pleased with way things worked out so far, all except for the end tables I bought which are far too short, so many many thanks to everyone who helped put this together for us.
October 17, 2013 at 6:08AM     
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A Crew of Two
What about a cotton striped rug- of course this is a little less formal, but could ground the room nicely. If you go traditional I think the background needs to be darker. Woven Yacht Stripe Brick Stripe Rug Tweed Stripe Rug Erin Stripe Rug, 5' x 8' Kaleen Helena Aphrodite 8' x 10' Red Rug
October 17, 2013 at 6:33AM      Thanked by anthuria
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
It's good to hear from you Anthuria. You did overdo it a bit on the wall color so I'd stay light on a rug or use no rug. For your coffee table, since your sofa and loveseat have a solid look, I suggest you choose a table with legs, not a chest type coffee table which would look too heavy next to your sofa and loveseat. It appears that you have too much furniture in the room. Is there anything that could be moved elsewhere?

I realize it would be a huge job to move those bookcases in order to repaint the wall behind them, but if you could paint 2 or 3 of the other walls a wheat tone like your sofa, then that would help lighten the room. And if you have the energy to move the bookcases to paint behind them, too, all the better.
October 17, 2013 at 6:59AM   
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