Please help with weird living room built in & color ideas
March 1, 2013 in Design Dilemma
PLEASE help!!!!!! I'm absolutely clueless what to do with my home....It has great details like the door and base board trim and lots of shelf cut outs near the ceiling (what are those called?!) but I can't figure out paint colors, nor what to do with an entire extra room, nor how to make a weird living room built in work - actually, I'm just clueless about the entire situation.

I feel like I need to paint the brown trim & baseboards, but I can't even seem to commit to that decision b/c I don't know what to do with anything else. I've attached pictures, but the furniture in these pictures is not ours, these were taken prior to purchasing the house & moving in. I guess the only important detail is we have brown leather sofas that we'll be keeping. You can tell that almost all rooms are visible when you walk in the front door, so whatever colors I go with have to sort of flow and blend through out.

As far as the living room built in, the large hole in the middle in is for an older model TV, which we don't have. We currently have a flat screen mounted above that square hole (the same as in these pics). The black areas are speaker mesh covering large speakers, which we don't use (they came w/ the house). The brown wooden doors conceal equipment (DVR, XBOX, ETC) on one side and space for dvd storage on the other side.

In addition to figuring out the above issue, I really need paint inspiration, I'm open to almost anything. Should the built in area be a different color than the rest of the wall? Should I remove (or paint) the brown doors? I'm trying to figure out what colors I want to paint the whole house since I'm not crazy about the gold-ish neutral. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

One pic is close up of the built in the other is from across the room. Incidentally, I have no clue what to do with that strange room with the half wall in the second picture since we don't need a formal dining room - I'm thinking maybe a library type space, but it's pretty small. Again, the furniture in the pictures is not ours, so no need to go with that style. I love the look of Anthropologie home style, but it's way out of my price range. I've always gone with deep reds and dark greens, but I'm hoping to shake things up a bit.

I'm open to any and all suggestions, really....paint color, decor, anything other than major construction or new flooring (other than rugs) b/c that's not in the plan or budget at the moment.

Pic 1: living room w/ weird built in
Pic 2: different view of built in/living room, including another space I'm confused about
Pic 3: Standing by the built in looking back towards to half-wall space and kitchen (kitchen is behind the window like opening in the wall)
Pic 4: Another built in shot.

If more pictures would help, just let me know

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What about Soft Mint green, as go nice all lovely dark wood and white doors freshen up and brighten room to.
0 Likes   March 1, 2013 at 12:01PM
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Oh wow, I see what you mean. It's a bit higgledy-piggledy, here, there, nowhere. Hmm. The floors are interesting too Tiles mixed with hardwood? But we'll leave that for now. It might actually look better once this furniture is out and your furniture is in.

First: does the built-in have to stay?
Second: Will the top floor fall down if you remove the half wall?

The space actually is quite large. It's hard to see if it is a light space. Do the double doors lead to the outside? Can you make photos without this furniture in?
I forgot to look, but have you made ideabooks here on houzz? Because that would be helpful for all of us, including you, to see what kind of style and colours you like.
0 Likes   March 1, 2013 at 12:08PM
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I'm not so concerned about the built-in as I am about the other cut-outs, half walls and the two "sticks" that look to be holding up the ceiling in the office corner which I think was designed as a dining room. I would consider opening up or closing off all of that, closing the "window" into the other room and the peek-a-boo opening at the top of the wall opposite the dining space, which I'd turn into a library and reading area. Consider installing a gel or alcohol burning insert in the middle recess of your built-in. If the speakers work with your TV, just see about changing the black screen for something lighter. What is your favorite color? Will a light shade of it work with your sofa color? That might be the way to go with paint.

1 Like   March 1, 2013 at 12:09PM
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I don't think painting out the baseboards and other wood-tones is the key.
The paint color definitely needs to change. It is too peachy to my eye. I would go with a true neutral color for the walls or something that is slightly on the cool side. Since it looks like you don't get a ton of light in there, a lighter, cleaner color will help make the room feel lighter, brighter, and fresher.

Maybe Moonlight White by Benjamin Moore (BM)


BM Cloud Nine

In the built-ins, are the black panels speaker fabric or something? I'm tempted to say either just get a whole new built-in system on that wall or drywall over the whole thing and buy a TV stand/entertainment unit. You're not going to be able to use the built-in as it was intended because the television nook is simply not the right dimensions for current TVs. I find having the television up as high as you have it now very undesirable, and it just doesn't look good.

The doors on either side of the tv nook just don't do anything for the space. It is all choppy.

An appropriately-sized rug in a colorful pattern that plays nicely with your brown couch is something to look into. It will warm up the space and make it feel cozier. It will also provide visual interest and give you inspiration to work off of for decorating the rest of the space. The rug should be large enough that all furniture in the conversation cluster have at least their front legs on it.

When you choose accessories, choose only pieces that you love that are large scale and fit the style and colors in the room. A bunch of little things usually do not add up to something great when it comes to accessorizing in living spaces -- unless you truly know what you're doing.

Window treatments: I say, go with the same treatment on all windows. I am a big fan of getting floor-length panels that are either a similar color to the wall or are a true accent color that is found in your new rug. Hang them on the outer edges on either side of each window on a fabulous rod. Don't hesitate to do this to the french doors.

If you need to control light, consider adding grass shades (provide great texture and pick up the brown) or nice fabric roman shades to the inner portion of each window.

I agree with much of what decoenthusiaste wrote. The space is very chopped up. I would do what you can to mitigate the choppiness. It will be easier to decorate that way.
1 Like   March 1, 2013 at 12:20PM
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Suppose the pillars need to stay, consider if it's possible to remove the half wall and make the pillars bigger. To give you some ideas about pillars being beautiful:

White Rock Staging
Janell Beals
Barrie Residence
1 Like   March 1, 2013 at 12:25PM
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I agree with AMN on the built-ins. Scrap those. Perhaps they can be broken out, (yet another) interesting nook in the wall to maybe put your television in.
As for a rug, one would wish the wood floors were where the tiles are, but sadly... I suggest you get a piece of carpet that is large enough to cover the wood parts of the floor. The borders of the carpet will need some sort of edging, but it will also probably be cheaper than such a large rug.

Paint colours: hard to say without seeing them in the space itself (light does so much to colours), but I've heard good things about Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray

Combined with white it will most likely give a nice fresh look to your room. I'll make you a moodboard (love doing that) and post it later.
0 Likes   March 1, 2013 at 12:38PM
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HI - I think the first thing for you to do is get a building contractor in to see what walls can be removed or not . This room is so stuck in the 80's style and color . If you can remove the little wall bits around the former dining area and so on then that does mean you will have to redo the ceiling or add shallow beams to hide parts of the ceiling that gets marked by removing these features. As far as the TV wall - I would remove the whole shelf system . That would be the best way instead of trying to fix what's there now. It doesn't fit with todays styles. Area rugs can hide the floors until you can do all the new flooring. Good things happen in time and remodeling takes time and money . Do what you can when funds allow . For me I could see the whole space being opened up including the kitchen .That is more to the way we live now and it would look wonderful and BIG. Until you start you could just prim paint out that color out so it doesn't cloud your ideas and it will make it feel new to you.
1 Like   March 1, 2013 at 12:52PM
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Anina Lavina
Hi there! I think the previous owner created open plan living by removing a lot of internal walls. The posts are holding up the ceiling and whatever is above it. The floor is showing where the rooms used to be. The room is big now, but all over the place. On the top of that there is a lot of clutter, making it even more confusing. Too many small objects placed all over the place. You can improve it simply by removing those little ornamental objects, (If you want to display them, group them together, forming a big shape maybe...Decorate with a few nice big pieces, that are strategically placed.
The built in nook for the tv was ok, I like the long horizontal line of the top shelve, because that one is the only relaxing line in the whole room. I would keep it, but reconfigurate it underneath to suit your need. ( A bigger opening for a bigger tv). I would take out the speakers and make the tv section wider, the speaker section smaller. Put shelves in that nook. Change it to provide more storage. It will save you buying a lot of furniture. This way the tv will be at the right height, and it would not dominate the room. You can paint it all the same colour too, or "tone on tone".
0 Likes   March 1, 2013 at 2:25PM
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For starters, I think you should decide how you want to feel when you enter your home: warm, energetic, soothing, calm, etc. Then you decide on paint. You don't have to paint the entire house the same color (I definitely wouldn't) different colors would also 'break up' the rooms. Yet , you're correct that it would have to flow. As far as the doors and trim, decide on what you'd like. My opinion is the doors and the trim should be the same. So either paint the trim white, or get different doors to match the brown wood trim (I'd go for the white trim with the white doors but again, it's what your taste is).
Next, see what your style is. Modern, Traditional, casual, etc. and go from there. I think the built in's are awesome. There's so much you can do with that. Remove the doors and place baskets on every other shelf, paint the back of the built in's a different color than the wall (please), and place pics and other decorative items. You'll get it. Just focus on one room at a time.
Good Luck!
0 Likes   March 1, 2013 at 2:53PM
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Anina Lavina
Maybe it is a good idea to change the tv unit like this...
0 Likes   March 1, 2013 at 6:19PM
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Is there any chance at all that the built-in unit is covering up a fireplace?
0 Likes   March 1, 2013 at 6:50PM
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