Anyway, Kitty has a beautiful house near us and she is looking to give her living room a makeover. First things first, here is how it looks now.
So because I know Kitty like a sister, I know that there is nothing going in this room that isn't reasonable and practical. I also know that we have a mutual love of water. She and her husband have a house on a river on the Virginia side of the Chesapeake Bay and it is the place they go to relax and forget about life for a while (name that tune!). She told me she wants this living room to invoke the same feeling that the river house gives her - light, bright, airy and relaxing. Knowing that, and working with the existing rug which she just purchased (number 11 below), here is what I came up with.
Here's the skinny:
1. Right now the room is two very different shades - one wall is a dark blue with white framing. The other walls are a taupe color. I suggest repainting the whole room in this shade. It's Benjamin Moore's Muslin (1037). I think this sets a very nice base color that will set off the white in the room - including the fireplace.
2. This picture is of an inspiration room from Centsationalgirl.com that captures the look and feel I am going for with the room. I found this very similar chair on Overstock on sale for $559. It is a neutral so if/when she gets tired of the blues (more on that next) she can switch the accent color without having to redo the whole room.
3. Like the KKG girl I am, I am always attracted to the colors of the sea and the sky (gag!). But this blue pillow is my idea of what the ocean looks like. Not the Jersey Shore ocean, but the ocean in the Bahamas. You know what I mean. Anyway, I found these on Etsy.
4. As you can see in the pic, there are moldings on the walls behind the fireplace. My first thought was to take these off, but actually, I decided they should stay. And they should be painted white. It adds interest to the room and keeps it looking unique.
5. Even though this room is technically a living room, it is used as their family room. Which means, it is where the big tv lives. My inclination would be to hang the tv over the fireplace, but that would make it the focal point of the room, and Kitty told me she doesn't want that. So I am suggesting purchasing an armoire like this one from Wayfair to hide the tv and all the components.
A note about Wayfair - that I learned the hard way - they keep their prices low(er) because they don't actually take the items off the truck for you. So I ordered a sofa and the truck driver said "here ya go" and opened the back of the truck. I apparently didn't read the fine print. I slipped him a $20 and he did help me get it in the front door- but beware.
I am anticipating that the one I picked out may not be wide enough for their current tv but there are plenty of options including this one which is wider and would still work with the beachy but elegant decor.
6. This is an inspiration room I found online at Sarah Richardson Design. Sarah might be one of my favorite designers. Not only is she a fellow Canadian (I know…I am one confusing mutt) but her aesthetic is just perfect. Simple and clean but not stuffy or too modern. LOVE her and love this room especially because it is of her cottage - which is very common thing to have in Canada. I have fond memories of my friends Jen and Janice and their cottages north of Toronto. This is obviously a fancier version of most but I could live in that room forever.
7. A few years ago, Kitty purchased a used piano. She isn't in love with it anymore and is thinking of replacing it. But before she does, I would try painting it to look like this one. I found this tutorial on a blog called Rage Against The Minivan which had me at hello. And by tutorial, I mean, she'll tell you why and how she had someone else paint it. Worth a shot on an old clunker no?
8. I truly believe you can never have enough throws in a room. Who doesn't love to snuggle up with one? Here's one from Pier 1 that is chenille and only $39.95!
9. Creating the feeling of a relaxed beach house does not mean having oars hanging on the wall or lobster traps as side tables. But you can throw in a few elements that remind you of the best house you've ever rented at the Shore. Here's a cool seagrass ottoman from Pottery Barn that is only $299. I could see two of these in the room making one "table" but also a comfy place to put up your feet.
Do not be afraid to NOT match. I hate matchy matchy in fact. Mix textiles and colors. A cool grey chair with brass nail heads and a seagrass ottoman may seem like strange bed fellows (which is a strange term no?) but they will look great together. Play around, see what you like and if you hate it, ship it back baby!
10. Ohhhh kay, so this represents my biggest challenge for this room. Kitty loves a swivel chair. I don't really know why - maybe it is because she needs to see what is happening everywhere at every moment or because she was born a 85 year old grandma in the making, but she will not be denied. So here is a blue swivel chair that I THINK could work in this room. No promises but I'd try it. This one is from Land of Nod and sells for $799.
11. Here is Kitty's current rug. Because the furniture pieces I am suggesting are not patterned, this rug will end up being a focal point and a good one. No need to replace this!
12. Last but not least…the sofa! Kitty wants seating for 6 in this room and to do that, and still have it be a really usable everyday space for her family of 5, I think a sectional is the best bet. I picked this picture because of the pillows and the ocean view (which I accidentally cropped out of this picture) but in reality I think something like the one below would work best. It's from Pottery Barn and it's on the expensive side at $2800 BUT when it comes to something like a sofa, DO NOT be cheap. You absolutely get what you pay for. So splurge on it - and make sure it is comfortable. It comes in 56 (count them!) colors some of which are available for quick ship (3 weeks) which would make my impatient inner self very happy.
In terms of how the room should be laid out, this is the way to go.The only change to this picture is that I would move the blue chair in the picture below to the other side of the fireplace and put the tv/armoire in its place. The trick though is to move the furniture around until you are happy with it. You just don't know until you try it. If you are in a bad mood, you could always make your husband change it again and again just for fun. (Not nice!)
Obviously, you can layer in lots of accents - candles, vases, lamps, etc. I love this slightly shabby look from House Beautiful. I am also kind of digging the upside down artichoke lamp.
So that's it! Hopefully Kitty...and you!…like it.
Need design advice? Want me to create a board for your room? Email me a picture of your room at firstname.lastname@example.org