powered by
Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma


Ree ReeJanuary 16, 2013
I just re-designed a fireplace surround, had floating shelves built in the alcoves on each side of the fireplace and had a window seat constructed in my study. This is not my main living room, but a room that has hardly been used because I decorated it with furniture I have been meaning to sell or dontate from years past. I am very excited for this room because I think if decorated tastefully, it could be the prettiest room in my house! These are the things that I really need help with as I see it:

1) Furniture Layout - Ideally I would like to have four comfortable and stylish upholstered chairs sorrounding an ottoman or round cocktail table. I also would like a small desk (parsons?) with a chair somewhere in the room.

2) Colors, Patterns and Fabric - I need to have a seat cushion made for the window seat. I envision maybe a ticking with complimentary pattern throw pillows on the window seats and on the chairs but I am not tied to that at all. I love geometric designs without being overly modern. I also like Imperial Trellis, Riad (Windsor Smith), Diamond Pattern from Serena and Lily and stripes. I like texture with varied patterns and scales.

3) Lighting - What sconces do you see on each side of the fireplace? I did not know if lanterns were too ordinary these days. I will also need other lighting in the room as there is overhead light in the room. I suppose will need a floor lamp or side table with lamp lighting or both.

4) What should I choose for a paint color? My entire downstairs in Titanium by Ben Moore. It is a grey blue color. As you can see from the photos, I have wood floors that are stained ebony. Should I paint the back wall of the shelves a different color than the walls? I also thought about maybe grasscloth wallpaper for the back wall (I love grasscloth although it is very expensive).

5) Rug - I would love a stripe, herringbone or chevron pattern, but not sure if it would be too much. I do not want to overwelm the room with pattern or color.

I live near the beach, so I would like to keep that casual vibe I have throughout the rest of my house. I have white slipcovered furniture in my living room and dining room, lots of beadboard and a very open floor plan.

Please let me know what additional information you need (dimensions? photos of the rest of my house?). I really have a hard time making decisions with decorating and want to have an organized game plan (for once) instead of doing things piecemeal and in the end, not being happy with the outcome. Thank you so much for taking the time to help me. I am looking forward to your thoughts and advice!
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
I would continue with the white furniture. Maybe put your parson's table desk where the armoire is. Can you move the armoire to another room? You could paint the backs of the alcoves two shades darker than your walls are now. I think the idea of four chairs and a round ottoman is perfect for the size of your room. Red ticking would be nice on the bench as would black or navy blue. I would use lots of white on the bookshelves for contrast if you paint the wall a darker color.
3 Likes    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 2:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Refrigerators for small kitchens
    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 3:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Trina Ambrose
I think you have the bare bones of a really great room - I love what you have done with your shelves and I like the idea of grass cloth behind them. A plain sisal rug would give you a nice casual look against your dark timber boards and would allow you to introduce a pattern in your upholstery fabric. A fine two sweater sofa upholstered in a linen teamed with two occasional chairs (again nothing too bulky or heavy) upholstered in for example, the Riad fabric. This fabric could them be used again in the window seat cushions and accent cushions on the sofa.
Alternatively, a very subtle patterned rug could be used without overpowering your room. You would then have the opportunity to introduce an accent colour in a plain upholstery fabric, but only in either your sofa or your chairs, not both. Accents of the pattern can be used on your cushions and maybe the fabric on your desk chair. The trellis pattern on the back of a chippendale side chair (used as your desk chair) is a great way of texturally complementing the same trellis pattern in your rug or fabric. I would place your desk either to the left just inside the entry to your room, or if you prefer gazing out into the landscape as you work, then in front of the window opposite the entry. I would continue to use your titanium wall colour, as i think continuity throughout your house is important.
These are just a few ideas that come to mind, I hope they are helpful. Cheers from Australia.

Loring Sofas · More Info
yellow chair · More Info
Oscar Sofa · More Info
Chloe Chair · More Info
The Kim Chair · More Info
Jute Chenille Herringbone Rug, Natural Slate · More Info
1 Like    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 4:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
This is a pretty room, I hope you post pictures of the finished product.
    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 5:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Nancy Andrews
Although I am somewhat puzzled by the window view of massive snow and ice, you state you are in a coastal area so let the decor reflect your location...golden sand, yellow sun, blue/white skies, deep blue/green sea. Maybe shell shaped or other sea decor sconces. A large metal sculpture over the fireplace would be cute. I would remove some of the lower shelves (depends on width), & insert the parsons desk with a mirrored back to reflect light behind upper shelving . It appears you have gorgeous glossy trim so match your shelving in the same finish as well as the new mantel. How about a pale sandy tan for your walls which will keep it neutral? I see wide overstuffed arm chairs. Your chairs should be solid (maybe even leather for texture) as they are the most prominent item in the room, arranged perhaps in a semi- circle around a large patterned ottoman facing the fireplace. Place a nice, large serving tray for snacks on the ottoman. Drape a colorful blanket, each in a different color, for comfort over each chair. The window seat cushion could be in a blue and white ticking with alternate blue, green and white pillows. Joss and Main carry some interesting lamps online. Splurge on your rug and get a nice one that is plush and soft underfoot because this sounds like it should be your barefoot room. Just go with what you really like and collect color chips and fabric samples to play with before making your decision. You are the only person that you have to please! Happy decorating!
    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 6:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Manon Floreat
I think this a very nice room, too. And you sound like you are well on your way with some really good ideas.

I would consider two chairs and a half angled towards the fireplace with a large round ottoman for them to share. It doesn't look large enough for four big ones (?) A parson's desk would be a good size for this room. I'd also consider a ghost chair for it to keep a feeling of openness. I love your grass cloth idea for behind the shelves. I would repeat a similar texture on the floor with sisal or jute. You could even have a tone on tone stripe - it wouldn't read as bold as contrasting colors.

Here's a collage I put together with the size of chairs I was thinking of as well as some patterned fabrics that work well together. I hope you post pics of your progress. Have fun!
1 Like    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 7:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Just search the box above for four chairs under Photos and you'll get lots of inspiration. I do think the back of your new shelving system should be painted an accent color. Not sure where you want to go with this. The idea of ticking and seeing the beadboard under the window seat makes me think you'd like country but not sure. Here's a sconce I like but it might be less casual than your taste.
Tracy Murdock · More Info

Living Room · More Info

Robert Abbey Lucy Wall Sconce · More Info
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 8:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
I think that the woodwork that has been recently added in the trim around the fireplace and mantel, the shelves and the windowseat should be painted and perhaps in a gloss white to match the molding in the rest of the room. I like the idea of bringing the blue gray paint color into the room to connect to the rest of the house. If you are keeping the armoire in the room, I would consider painting it as such a disparity between the floor color and the armoire wood. Perhaps in a white and maybe even with the panels in the color of the fireplace surround. I think a desk would work on the other side, with shelving up above to balance out the heavy piece on the other side if keeping the armoire. Given space constraints, would consider going with a setee facing the fireplace and chairs on either side, to have the fireplace as a focal point and to have the room a little more open. I like Objekt's example of the jute chenille herringbone rug, which I don't think would overpower the room. A lovely room and looks like a beautiful view too.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 9:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ree Ree

Thank you so much for your help. Your comments articulated many of the ideas going on in my head! I hope I can make it look as beautiful as you make it sound. I'll keep you posted!
    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 3:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ree Ree
hi Nancy!

Thank you so much for all of your valuable decorating ideas! All the furniture in the room is being sold (including the armoire) so I have a blank slate. We just got about 3 inches of snow yesterday morning. I live on the northshore, about 15 miles from Boston in a very historic and adorable coastal town. Thanks again and I will keep you posted.
    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 3:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ree Ree
Thank you so much for your help. I like your idea of painting behind the shelves two shades darker than the room! Wish me luck, I'll need it.
    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 3:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ree Ree
How incredibly awesome are you! I don't know how you put your suggestions together so quickly but it all looks beautiful! I like those chairs, where are they from? Believe it or not, II already own two ghost chairs that don't have the right place. Also, like the tone on tone idea, which never occurred to me. I will let you know how things progress. Went out this morning to get wallpaper books to see if the grasscloth idea behind the floating shelves will work. Thanks again for all of your help.
    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 6:20AM
Sign Up to comment
Related Discussions
Need Help With New Apartment
I really need decorating help with my new apartment....
Need help for coffee table decor and kitchen table decor
Just wondering about some ideas of what I should put...
What color should I use to bring life to my formal living and dining r
Acme Chantelle collection that I fell in love with...
More Discussions
Any good idea
Just finished , any more things to be add ??
Help! Living Room Needs Serious Help
I love our house but I'm not very good at furniture/color...
Elaine Suarez
Should I replace my 40 year old cast cast iron tub, while remodeling?
Our old tub is in pretty good shape. But, seems like...
Painted or stained kitchen cabinets?
My husband and I are planning to build and we are trying...
Modern House with Red Barrel Roof? How to...
Hello, Thank you for your advise. How can I make...
The content on this page is provided by Houzz and is subject to the Houzz terms of use, copyright and privacy policy.
Copyright claims: contact the Houzz designated agent.