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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Need help with living room

everlineFebruary 24, 2013
I'm trying to figure out what to do with the living room. We just bought our first apartment and moved in with our previous furniture. It's exciting and also somehow intimidating to think about what decoration we would like and how to get there.

We would like a bright and comfy living room. I think that before we buy new furniture such as big rug, coffee table, cushions, curtains and arts, we need to figure out the color scheme first.. The issue is I don't like the current colors but I can't seem to find what colors would work instead.

I attached some pictures of the living room as it currently is with a dark green couch set (3 seater, loveseat and recliner) and dark red fireplace wall. The walls are currently beige, the ceiling is plain concrete. The pictures are pretty dark but it reflects close to truly how it feels in the living room, whether it's sunny outside or night.

We are open to paint. We bought the couch set last year and are price conscious so we would prefer to keep it fully or partially.. we may potentially consider getting something else if we can't find a good set up that would work with them though. I'm sure there is great potential in this room but we're kinda lost! Thanks for any inputs you may have
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Your starting place should be a rug or piece of art with colors that you want to base the entire space on. Find something you are crazy about, so you won't have second thoughts and use the colors in it for your palette.
    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 10:25AM
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Barbara Griffith Designs
What a great space..it feels like NYC Tribeca look. Do not just "choose" a color scheme. Look for a very large patterned, colorful rug to anchor the space..look at all styles and colors until you find one you like. There will only be a few rugs you will like..but thousands of paint colors. From the rug choose your color palette. Simple drapery..maybe a trellis design or a solid, that hangs high and off the windows when open. Build a larger thicker mantle that goes around the fireplace..maybe one that looks like a thick old beam. The angled beams on the wall, I would paint a flat black..to highlight the "industrialness" of the space. Large colorful pillows..no 2 alike. Colorful artwork..maybe very large photos framed simply. Wall color you will know when you are done with fabrics & rug. Do not do an "accent" wall. If rooms are very open to each other paint them the same color or a different shade of the same color. Tables something like these... http://www.homedecorators.com/P/Sylvan_Coffee_Table/950/ Large lamps..table & floor.
    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 10:36AM
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HomeCheckDallas / Finderz Keeperz
Two questions -- Is privacy an issue or are you high enough off the street that it's not a concern? and is the balcony a space that you will actually step out onto and use a lot? If you can answer those questions, I have some thoughts on furniture arrangement and on color scheme
    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 11:02AM
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Thank you so much for the response! That got me thinking a lot. Maybe you're right I should start finding a great art or rug to start off instead of the other way around. If I had to keep dark green couch, what colors would it go well with though? Are there typical pairing colors or big nonos?

Barbara - thanks for all the inspiration. When you say no accent wall, do you think that the fireplace wall should be the same color as the other walls?

HomeCheckDallas - we are on the 4th floor so privacy is not bad. People from other units at higher floors can see through the window which is behind the couch though. The balcony was a primary criteria when we bought the place. When weather and temperatures allow, we'll use it for planting flowers, having meals there and doing bbqs.
    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 11:32AM
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Barbara Griffith Designs
I would paint the fireplace wall the same as the others..the space will feel bigger. Add a really large piece of art above the mantle. There are no set rules on what colors go with what. I would say that because the furniture is dark..I would look for a rug that would look overall lighter..but with real pops of color.
    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 11:56AM
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HomeCheckDallas / Finderz Keeperz
Thanks for answering my questions. Okay, for what it's worth, here's what I would do: Pull the sofa out from that architecturally-great wall 3-4 feet, bringing its back about even with the end of the sliding door and center it on the fireplace. (I would actually like to see the sofa and loveseat trade positions, but the room may not have the width to allow you to do that. If you measure and it would work, that would be better, and would also create a little more room for your dinette table by the window.) Place a lamp table to serve both sofa and loveseat.

Next, see if there is some way to wall mount your TV above the firebox. It should be possible, and if you have to run some sort of moulding around the fireplace to hide the wiring, it would be more architecturally interesting. Then, you could move the existing TV stand to the right of the fireplace and still use it for A/V equipment with a great, colorful big piece of art above, or it could disappear. I would try the bookcase either to the left of the fireplace or on the wall to the left of the sliding door. The recliner could be placed in the area to the left of the fireplace, maybe with a floor lamp as a reading spot. At some point in the future, a lounge chair with an ottoman might be nice, because the ottoman can also double as extra seating.

A substantial coffee table, perhaps something funky, or even a glass-topped barrel or architectural fragment, or antique round table cut down and painted white or ivory would complete the look. I would probably try to find either a black/white or brown/ivory graphic design or zebra-print rug to anchor the seating arrangement. Or even a big cowhide. I would move the rattan chair to another room. You will probably need some sort of table on the window end of the sofa as well. Perhaps a trunk or good-sized storage cube. Or a table with a shelf to corral magazines and other "stuff." In this corner, you could maybe swag a lamp to hang over that table -- maybe one of those metal upside-down buckets with a single big bulb.

Colors -- If you like simple color schemes with a dash of bold color and pattern, I would suggest you shop for an Ikat print that catches your fancy -- something that will go with your green sofa and loveseat. Use the fabric background as as your wall color, painting all surfaces the same. Use the same print for a cornice board above the window, and for a simple panel which you could push to the left side of the sliding glass door. I would hang the panel on rings from a simple black metal rod, and let the rod extend all the way to the corner, so that when the panel is pushed back, the glass is completely clear. If you sew, you could make these yourself, as well as a couple of large throw pillows for the sofa.

Find someone to install window blinds that can either pull up from the bottom or down from the top -- they are wonderful for regulating light and assuring privacy when needed without making you feel claustrophobic. The light-filtering translucent honeycomb shades are great.

Then pick bright pottery or glass accents; add books and family photos and it's done. Enjoy your life in your new place.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 1:17PM
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Thanks for all the ideas! What would you put behind the sofa if it was pulled toward the balcony window (if anything)?
    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 5:33PM
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HomeCheckDallas / Finderz Keeperz
I, personally, wouldn't put anything behind it. But if you wanted to, a narrow console table just slightly lower than the back of the sofa would work as a place for books or pottery, or a landing spot for drinks -- not as a catchall for lots of stuff. Just getting the seating area closer to the fireplace and TV makes it more functional, creates a cozier conversation area and, even though it seems counterintuitive, enlarges the room. Also, if it turns out there is walk space behind the sofa, it could help the traffic flow. I can't tell from the photo exactly which side of the sliding door is the operative side.
    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 6:39AM
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Interiors International, Inc.
I would break up the 3 piece set. It looks to much like a showroom. By mixing in different chairs instead of the recliner will make a better impression. The recliner could be used in another room.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 6:44AM
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Excellent advise, homecheckdallas! Don't forget to add greenery to the space and do not use fluorescent light bulbs. When choosing colors, use one color (or shades of it) predominately. In this case, your neutral wall color. Next, use a secondary color about 50%. In this case, your green couch. Then, add 25% of an accent color. If you used all colors evenly, your room will feel overwhelming.
    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 6:58AM
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Jayme H.
Ideas for incorporating colors
    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 7:18AM
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So many great great advice, that's definitely helping us a ton. We're still processing however regarding the structure of the room I think we'll try to pull the sofa forward and see how it looks (The balcony windows open from the left side). Right now we do feel really far from the TV when we're on the sofa, same when we have friends over, so this would help. I think we would keep the TV on the stand instead of mounting it above the fireplace to keep it at eye level and avoid to do holes in the wall. As suggested paint the fireplace wall the same color as the other walls in the room, get a bigger and maybe more contemporary mantle and have a very large piece of art there.

I actually found online a picture of another apartment in the building that has the same living room structure and size, and that pulled the sofa forward with a thin desk in the space created behind it. See attached. Per the picture, if we do this we will definitely have to get rid of one of the sofa I think due to space constraints. It also shows how painting the diagonal beam in black would look, as Barbara was suggesting.

In this picture, the owner painted the walls in blue and painted the area between the walls and the ceiling (also along the corner of the room) in cream. Do you think we should also paint this area another color as the walls, maybe white?

Also, what would you think about painting the ceiling in white... We're not big fan of the concrete feel in the ceiling (the bedrooms have the plain concrete ceilings as well), although we understand that it's part of the loft/industrial style of the apartment, and that if we paint it in white it would be tough to remove later and could potentially decrease the value of the apartment.
    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:11PM
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Barbara Griffith Designs
I would leave the ceiling for now. I would also paint all the walls in this area the same color..it can get choppy and smaller when different parts are different colors. Choose your paint color..don't forget to get samples and paint poster boards for testing..not on the walls, I would not choose anything too dark, but after that decide how you feel about the ceiling. BUT choose your rug first..then any other fabrics, pillows, drapery panels off the sides of the windows/doors.
    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:14PM
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Blinds Direct Canada
I would recommend Ripplefold Sheers/drapery. Its not super expensive and it looks great on large windows.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 12:25PM
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Thanks! We've been looking for a large intensively the past few days. Hopefully we'll find one that strikes us soon and then everything can unfold..

I agree Ripplefold sheers look absolutely beautiful! We were thinking to use that for the bedrooms and may get tempted for the living room too.
    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 8:35PM
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I think I agree with the assessment of placing the TV above the fireplace. It would be a closer viewing distance for the viewer, the only problem I see is where to put all of your AV equipment, wires, speakers, blu-ray and other consoles you may have? I think your solution to that would be to use TVCoverUps. Framed artwork or panel provides the focal point of the room, until it swings upward to reveal the hidden TV. It comes in automatic and manual lifts and allows for TV tilting hardware(which would allow you to lower to the more ideal viewing angle). It can be built to store all the AV equipment, wires, speakers, and other consoles we just talked about and eliminate the furniture once used to store it. Each unit is custom to the viewer and space, so it is always best to give us a call.
    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 10:41AM
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