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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Not sure what to do next to get a cohesive look.

ebetsyJanuary 31, 2013
We recently had a family photo taken...and repainted our living room to update the look with the photo. We live in Phoenix and want to have an eclectic look of Western/Arizona antique and traditional style. The entry way wall has the color scheme and basic look I like. I just don't know how to carry it out to the rest of the room. I'm thinking of putting a white or cream colored cover on the couch and chairs since they are Ikea and easy to change. Any suggestions about what might be good to make the whole room more put together would be greatly appreciated.
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covers on the couch and chairs will work,they dont have to be white or cream, a block of color would make it look more put together,i like the challenge you gave for an Western/Arizona look,i am not american so will have a look at what an Arizona look is,really like the grouping of all your family photoos
and i think one of the walls could carry of a color just to give more interest to the whole room,and another rug under the diningtable to soften the look....
1 Like    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 11:15AM
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Go ahead and paint the living room in the same color you like from the entry. Try a bit of color in the slipcovers you use - not just cream but maybe of taupe or beige or a typical color of the southwest. Your photo/art groupings are good. One caveat; they will look better if the only take up 75% of the width of the piece of furniture they are with. When they begin to sprawl outside that footprint they lose cohesiveness. This means you'll want to reduce the size of some of them. Is there any particular reason why the round table is not centered with the bay window? I would remove the table cloth when not using the table and put a great looking centerpiece on it. Since your wall decor relies on many pieces, you need to reduce the number of pieces of other stuff in the room or it becomes too busy. I think the table by the floor lamp is a good example of where to start removing the excess.I suggest you purchase a much larger colorful rug that both sofas can sit on. Do you want window treatments? That would be a good investment.
3 Likes    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 11:18AM
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I think you could use a larger coffee table for between the couches and a table lamp on the table on the other side of the floor lamp to balance it out. I would pull the table out from the back of the sofa if possible to have more clearance and as decoenthusiaste noted, add a centerpiece. For more cohesion, I would bring the same color into the entire room if adjoining and perhaps fewer pieces with more impact as well.
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 11:27AM
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here is what the european take is on " arizona-style ",lots of beautifull antique furniture and antique photoos are a feature,so are colored walls, also red and leather come up often,so maybe you can make the sofacovers red,take away the tablecloth,and buy and old leather chair,you seem to have the look almost there,i would change some of the photoframes to driftwood,for the westerninfluence and bring in a slighlt bigger coffeetable,something more robuust...
1 Like    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 11:47AM
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Great ideas! Thank you. I agree about the need for more color in the room. I have taken table cloth off and moved it under the front windows (looks like a bay but is just a flat wall). I'll move the little desk in the entry to a bedroom and replace it with something larger, old bench or sofa table, to help balance the large art grouping. (Will that help balance the wall?) And yes I would like to do something on the windows but not sure what. They currently have wood blinds but seem very plain considering the kind of furniture in the room. What do you suggest? I added a picture of an old desk in the room which I'm not sure should be painted. It just seems like I have so much dark wood. And again my bad habit of using a lot of photos. Any suggestions for this? Family photos are important to me but I need help making it simpler.
    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 12:08PM
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Becca Darling
In the entryway, think the desk and chair, even with the additional floor items, are too small and lightweight to carry the weight of what is above. I have used entryway for desk and chair and liked it! If you keep the 2 pieces there, paint the wall with a pop of color, maybe one of the orange-sand colors of Arizona. Perhaps desk/chair will be more one with it and balance easier to achieve. Reduce the amount of items over the desk/chair. Then bring bits of the wall color over to the couch area with pillows, etc. Need a good size picture behind couch to focus and tell us style/color palate. Currently looks more Victorian than Arizona.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 12:18PM
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If you hang your picture frames on the wall with the bottom edges of the bottom row in a straight line it won't look so chaotic or cluttered. Then, the top row bouncing high and low like it does will be fine. The strong straight base line gives it visual stability.

A good way to figure out a large group is to make paper shapes the same sizes as your pictures. You can arrange and rearrange on the wall until you like the way it looks by using blue painter's tape ( it comes off without a mark). When you get the papers the way you like it, drive nail/ picture hanger through the papers. Leave them there and hang pictures on nails. Then, rip the paper out from behind. If you take the paper away sooner, you won't remember which nail is for what.

Hope that helps a bit.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 12:34PM
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is it OK to paint a portion of the wall and not the remainder continuing after the intersecting hall? I have what some people call a "bowling alley" hallway. It begins at the front door, continues through the living space, kitchen space, family room and then leads out the back door. It's one long wall all the way down except for the break at the front adjoining hall and two doorways. (almost like a shot gun set up).
    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 12:39PM
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If you have lots of photos, perhaps there is a corridor, hallway or stairway where you could do a large gallery of photos. Like the table pulled away from the couch, maybe pulled a bit away from the window. Think with your windows, given that the windows aren't evenly spaced between each other, something like a roman shade might be something to consider. As thedarlingsbecca noted, your furnishings are more Victorian than Arizona. Maybe you could bring that Arizona feel into the room more with colors. As noted by carole - you could slipcover your sofa in any solid color, not just white, so perhaps a terra cotta or a deep teal for instance.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 12:46PM
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Becca Darling
Forget painting the wall over desk! Didn't know wall continued. What about a "frame" on wall, paint inside, put some of the items inside the space?
1 Like    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 12:49PM
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thank you for the update,you have such beautifull furniture,you can make the room warmer with soft furnishings and i have to say:!!!!!!!it is not a bad habit to have family photoos!!!!but maybe you keep ALL the pictures all the years,if that is the case try thinning them out,have a baby and a current foto of the person,and maybe you can put all your pict. on a digital pictureframe and leave it on slideshow,you can still see them anytime,but they will take up less room,still,i think it does look lovely as it is.
    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 12:55PM
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What an awesome idea! Thank you! I'm really struggling with the photos everywhere else....I guess I need more ideas about what to put on the walls if I take them all down. I really need to keep up the new family photos above the couch -- they were a gift from my children.....so have to work with that. :)
    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 12:57PM
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Staged for Perfection
I think you have too many little things in the room. Cluster pictures over the furniture pieces but do not extend it further. Hang tons of those little pictures in a hallway, up a stairway or on some walls that would otherwise not be used. Your coffee table is way too small. Try a larger table (maybe an oval). You need a few larger decorative pieces to anchor the entryway. (Large pots etc) Love the photo's Carole posted. You could cove the sofas in an actual color. How about a navy or a dark taupe?
    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 12:58PM
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Try that old desk in the entry under your grouping with the lamp. If you don't eat at the round table, would you consider having it cut down to coffee table height?
1 Like    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 1:00PM
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keep those and the ones over the desk you might want to regroup or mix it up some so that everyone has their place,you will still have 2 areas with pict and then look at the room again for a few days with most of the pictures gone and the new covers (color or not?) also the furniture you have already moved,it takes time to know what feels good for you,and it would be a shame to rush into painting and buying things that you might regret in a few weeks
    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 1:13PM
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0k...so far these are the ideas I've gathered from everyone: I'll get a larger more rustic coffee table, table lamp for small table near couch, par down entry way wall art and possibly frame in the art to match the size of desk/chair, put colored covers on couch and chairs (I like the idea of teal), roman shades for windows.
I have questions about this:
Should the couch have table and matching lamp on the other side as well to balance it instead of a floor lamp on one side?
Should I change the photo arrangement over the couch?
Should I paint the larger desk (not the one in the entry way)
Lastly I have 4 antique dinning chairs that I'm going to recover. (in photo) Any fabric ideas...colors, patterns?
    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 1:14PM
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One more tidbit...I like a more eclectic mix which has been hard to achieve with all the victorian furniture (all the pieces were my mother's, sentimental value attached). I can't cut the table down for this reason, but I'm interested in having some change in things I need (lamps, rugs, side tables, wall decor, table decor) that will mellow the strong victorian feel in the room. I'm a creature of habit so it's difficult for me to know what it is that I should look for. Pictures of things that might work would be fantastic if anyone has time. Thank you so much for your input.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 1:30PM
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as long as there is light on both sides of the couch,it is not neccesay to match!!
foto couch;
i would just change the frames and take away the roses,put in place some pictures that you want to keep from the desk,and group art pictures together in the entry way
paint the desk?
why??all the woods look nice together
would still like to see color like a red or orange as thedarlingsbecca and stageforperfection
also mentioned together with a rug in a solid color

am curious to see what you and the others think,but here are my colors for you..
1 Like    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Becca Darling
Would the china cabinet fit in the entryway? It has more "weight" to it than the little desk and chair. The darker color wood adds to it. Would prob. need to remove the little items on the lower part of wall objects in entryway. Different idea: With a Victorian look, I like ovals. If you leave the china cabinet where it is, why not use the oval picture as the Center and put the smaller ones in an oval around it? I've done it with circular plates and liked the effect.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 7:11PM
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Becca Darling
Hope I'm not blabbing 2 much! I think it is hard to blend Victorian & Southwestern styles. The latter often has a simplicity to it that makes it look modern in a sense, even when the objects are antique. I can't see it with dainty china cups, polished wood and lots of family photos. They spell English Country to me, which fits with the antiques gathered over time and comfort over decor fads.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 7:21PM
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Consider changing out or painting all the picture frames a consistent color to make them more cohesive.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 7:40PM
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Thank you for providing more ideas.
To thedarlingsbecca: You are right about the mix of the old West with what I have currently being difficult to work together. My natural attraction in interiors is vintage, cottage style, and more feminine. I think I was trying for a fresh, new look outside my usual style. It is much easier for me to go with a more definite style as you suggested. (Again thank you for your honesty) I would be interested in what your vision is for the room.
    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 8:03PM
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Budget Blinds
I like your furnishings and the things you've collected. I think you could really pull this room together with color and wainscoting. Happy decorating from http://www.budgetblinds.com
1 Like    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 10:19PM
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I agree with the darlingsbecca - with this furniture, I think you have to work with what will work with it. I could see getting a larger coffee table with perhaps simpler lines, but not modern or rustic. The furniture you have is more ornate and detailed, and you should look for pieces that work with that - more delicate lines, nothing too big or bulky or too light in color. I think where you can make changes is in color, accessories and decor that would make a big difference. Given that the furniture is dark, I would go for lighter colors with more of a southwestern feel. For instance, I would do the couch and the two chairs in two different solid colors. If you like the teal, I would go for a medium shade teal, nothing too dark, on the couch. Really like the rugs that Carole showed. The second rug, perhaps in a lighter color and similar pattern would look great. You could then take that lighter coral color and use it to cover the two chairs. For the lamps, you don't need the same on both sides, just a lamp on the table on the other side of the floor lamp to balance it out. You could think about changing the lampshades to something more modern, say a drum shaped shade. For the roman shades on the windows, if decide to go with that, perhaps in a coral color, not too dark. For the chairs, perhaps a patterned teal fabric. For the table, perhaps something fun like a beautiful fabric checked pattern tablecloth in a teal or coral or something like that to lighten the area and make it less formal. I wouldn't paint any of your furniture. I would consider moving some of your family photos to a different form or space and replace it with larger art. And getting larger pieces of decor rather than smaller would make the room look more spacious as well.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 8:11AM
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It's so great to be receiving these great ideas. I'm looking at a site called Comfort Works that makes covers for the Ektorp sofa. One of the fabrics is velvet in the Ash color which I like especially with the teal and gold accents. I don't see a teal fabric choice in a solid color. Would this work instead? I'm giving up the idea of going Western since it is so contrary to the furniture I have and to be honest I've always been more attracted to softer looks. Comfort Works also has green, sand, orange, and brown tones. Would one of these other color tones be better?
    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 9:51AM
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Becca Darling
My in progress living room - not sure if photo will show.
    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 12:30PM
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Becca Darling
About photo - soft gray walls have worked well for me. Focal point is couch / picture. Pic. was stretched, textured canvas from Home Goods, I had framed at Joann Crafts. Has all the colors to be used in room. Bay window has rose pattern lace panels. They will have in front of ea. a cream, lined fabric - model drapes bought years ago at Ethan Allen close-out. Cut into panels. The corbels are a washed gold/silver. Plates are Old English Castles pattern - match lazy Susan on coffee table. That was from church sale, no revolving part for it. Bought cheap wood one, no lip, so Susan dishes are stuck w Velcro. Can take dishes on and off to wash. Patten picks up rose of couch. Two Louis XVI ? Chairs were hand-be-downs. I like the cream-gray of the legs. Olive picked up from pict. in pillows. I love 1910 era artwork copies with English Country- look. Google Mary Evans Library or On-line Prints. Type 1910 Paris Garden Party. Pick a picture and take colors from it. Good size pic.! English look perfect for photos, but on a table or piano, usually not walls. My best to you!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 1:10PM
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Get the slipcovers at Ikea and get one of their colorful kilim rugs. Paint the walls a southwestern color that will be in the rug. Throw Ikat pillows on the sofa. I suggest putting away the smalls, like the tea set and anything that speaks to Victorian, and replace with pottery pieces. Putting away doesn't mean getting rid of…just storing for now. In a few years you may be yearning for the Victorian look and you will have it in your basement. Been there, done that…several times :>)
West Hills Victorian · More Info
3 Likes    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 1:40PM
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Kim Parrott
I agree, too many pictures scattered. Consider creating a large wall if you have one. As a rule, I try not the duplicate design concept in my home. Some posted haging plates earlier and maybe even hanging baskets that have the AZ flare. Definitely pop in your AZ colors, terra, blues, etc. Consider looking for some AZ throws or maybe event some material to display. You are well on your way. BTW the pot is too small for the small pot. Again a terra cotta pot would be good.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 1:41PM
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