Please help me decorate my apartment Living Room
Brenda Robinson
April 7, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I have a small living room space that I am trying to bring together to feel comfortable and like home. For some reason I just cant bring it together like I want to. Could anyone please give some ideas, mood boards, or anything. I was thinking take away the mirror above the sofa, add an area rug, and I was also considering a sectional. Any suggestions are welcome. Thank you! My budget is $700 (not including the sectional if I go that route.)
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Brenda Robinson
Also please excuse the other curtain panel that is missing the rod fell and I haven't put it back up yet.
April 7, 2013 at 10:15am   
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jmj_designs
First off I would lower the mirror it is too high, then in the back corner I would add either a tall lamp or a hanging one. The ottoman is too square, you would be better off with a rectangle and not so large, the scale over takes
the furniture.
April 7, 2013 at 10:19am     
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patriciarhall
love the colors you have in your sofa pillows. your instincts are correct about removing the mirror because it doesn't relect anything beautiful. Above your sofa, a large piece of art with those lovely sofa pillow colors would be nice. your sofa and love seat are very nice and i would put your money into art and replacing the ottoman as jij designs suggests along with a tall lamp in the corner. you might consider replacing your drapery panels with softly patterned ones with the cheery colors as well. btw, a sectional won't serve you as well as your sofa and loveseat. if anything, replace the love seat with two nice chairs for versitility.
April 7, 2013 at 10:30am     
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Brenda Robinson
Thanks jmj and patricia! I am definitely taking the mirror down and will look for art work options. I was also considering doing two round mirrors for that space. it is attached below. Do you think that would look right? I seen it on another photo here and it look great. The ottoman has to stay because I have a one year old who is very clumsy and hits his head on the table very often so we took it out and replaced with the ottoman. Jmj could you point me in the direction of some curtains you feel would be a good fit. Thanks!

Contemporary Living Room by Sausalito Architect Urrutia Design
April 7, 2013 at 10:42am   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
I do not object to your current mirror, but I do object to how it is hung. I would turn it to a vertical position and lower it so that it's about 5" above the top of the sofa. However, I do agree that a big piece of art would be more exciting than the mirror, but until you find the right piece, just turn the mirror.

I would remove the end table that is to the right of the sofa and then pull the loveseat and the sofa a foot or more away from the window so that the loveseat is not crushing the drapery panel. The lamp from the end table would go on the table that is between the sofa and loveseat. I suggest a floor lamp for the right end of the sofa.

A rug with some or a lot of turquoise in it would look great on your floor.
Solid Multicolor Indoor/Outdoor Rug
Bilbao Turquoise Rug
April 7, 2013 at 11:00am     
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jmj_designs
If you are going to replace the mirror I would go with a oval or rectangular not a square or round. As far as the curtains, it looks like there is a door in the way of having 2 panels, so I would be tempted to go with a vertical blind that has connecting fabric, that way it provides privacy when needed and can be pull open from the door as well.
April 7, 2013 at 11:29am   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
She can have her draperies stack all on the right instead of having center opening draperies. I'd much prefer draperies to vertical blinds.
April 7, 2013 at 11:40am     
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carolins
Carolyn has the same idea I had about moving the loveseat away from the window :-D

I like the teal that you've added to the sofa, and I would look for a teal lamp base or shade for the currant lamp. And I'd like to see a lamp on the other table too. But a different one, so it won't be too matchy matchy. One that is the same size as the one you have, or a bit slimmer and taller.
Art above the sofa will give the room more character than mirrors.

The small wall section next to the window lends itself to a couple framed photos/prints above each other.
April 7, 2013 at 11:52am     
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carolins
Or... leave the current lamp as is and just get another one for in the corner? Do you have another chair in the room that you can pull towards the seating area? Otherwise a nice chair, in a patterned fabric, would make the space a bit more intimate.


April 7, 2013 at 12:07pm     
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
The reason I recommended that Brenda remove the end table to the right of the sofa was to make room for moving the loveseat and the sofa away from the window by a foot or two. And in doing so, I figured that there wouldn't be space to leave the end table there. But if there is, it is certainly an attractive end table and Brenda could well be served by twin lamps if both end tables are the same height, or by two different ones if they are not.
April 7, 2013 at 12:31pm   
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anne dee


here's a pic that could help you tweak your place a bit.
2 round mirrors ( there are enough square elements)
a plant on the table where the lamp is presently
a standing lamp in the corner
Pull the furniture out from the wall
possibly add a rug as CAK design suggested
Just some ideas to mull over
April 7, 2013 at 12:39pm     
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carolins
Oops, just forgot about the end table being moved. My bad. Perhaps if it is turned 1/4, it will still fit. One can always hope :-)
April 7, 2013 at 12:41pm   
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Brenda Robinson
Thanks everyone! I love the lamp that carolines suggested! Anne dee that is the EXACT inspiration I found that i feel in love with. I was initially attempting to imitate that space however the mirrors are a litte expensive so I have to save up for that splurge. The two end tables are a matching set and the current lamp I actually hate. So it has to go as soon as I find a good replacement. I like the idea of a tall floor lamp. I will definitely pull the loveseat up away from the door/window. My dining room is connected to the living room on the other side and I have the following artwork in that space currently. I feel they are too small to go behind the sofa but someone can correct me if I am wrong. I feel like I want to bring a yellow chair into the space to tie in the yellow in the artwork in the dining and connect the two space.
April 7, 2013 at 2:14pm     
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
What size are the art pieces? I'd replace one of your pillows with a yellow one.
April 7, 2013 at 2:25pm   
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Brenda Robinson
The art pieces 16X20
April 7, 2013 at 2:33pm   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
They wouldn't be enough by themselves above the sofa. Framing them could make them about 22 x 26" each, and that's still not quite big enough.
April 7, 2013 at 2:41pm   
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anne dee
regards the mirrors not being budget friendly :) have you tried Kijiji or Craigslist? You may find something comparable and if needed you could paint the mirror frame to your preference.
April 7, 2013 at 2:53pm   
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leelee
Hi Brenda, here's a rule of thumb for hanging art or arrangements over the sofa. The bottom of the art should be 5" or 6" above the back of the sofa. It seems that most of the decorating dilemas on Houzz occur when people have sectional sofas. You are even more limited than with a sofa & loveseat. I do agree that a mirror over your sofa is too "safe" and you could make more of a decorating impact with an interesting painting. I often advise that if you want color and fun design look at vintage posters. Their style works well with many types of decor. Beyond that I think carolin and carolyn both have great ideas.
April 7, 2013 at 4:39pm     
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leelee
Oops, I added the wrong poster. La Plage de Nice and sailboat posters would look good paired above your sofa
April 7, 2013 at 4:55pm   
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carolins
Brenda, those paintings are gorgeous. Shame they will be too small for over the sofa.

You can try etsy.com for art.
April 8, 2013 at 2:07am   
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carolins
April 8, 2013 at 2:09am   
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Maison Pompeii Antiques and Interiors
Well lots of good comments. I think that the main problem with the room not being cozy is that it is too monochromatic over all. Lots of browns and beiges. even your lamps are brown. It all matches too well. I would shake it up a bit by adding color as suggested by the other commenters. I dont think a rug on top of the wall to wall is going to work. So for color in the middle of the room choose a painted table with something pretty on it. A colorful painting as suggested and an interesting lamp will help. 2 brown round mirros is not going to help I think. Patterned drapes would also be nice or atleast in a solid color that would give the room some life.
April 8, 2013 at 4:02am   
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Maison Pompeii Antiques and Interiors
just reread and since the ottoman must stay( chilod issue and I understand) then I would suggest reupholstery or atleast a colorful throw on it.
April 8, 2013 at 4:05am   
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leelee
Your room is very neat (that's a big deal on Houzz)--it just needs more personality! Rather than go out and buy cheap art, I'd rather see you save for something really special and then slowly build your room around a fabulous painting. You mentioned yellow but that wouldn't be the best color to compliment your beige sofas (you may plan to replace them?) So go to several galleries in your area. Put your name on their list for artists' showings. See what you like and what works with your style. Often, schools have fundraisers by sponsoring art shows. Go to them and talk to the artists. Learn about art, have fun and gain knowledge. Then you'll be ready to move forward.
April 8, 2013 at 5:05am     
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Brenda Robinson
Thanks everyone! I definitely need some color so I am taking all of that advise. I found some really nice artwork on etsy. Thanks carolines for suggesting that! I really like this one but the artist said she can create something custom for me if I wanted certains colors. I definitely don't want the room "matchy matchy" so I think I will try and find some nice curtains in a pattern print and a nice lamp. Another friend suggested that I throw in some different shades of the blue so it doesn't seem so matchy. Maybe like some of the shades in my artwork sample attached to this. She also said I need to choose an "accessory" finish like silver or gold. I never even thought about that. Does anyone here agree with that advice?
April 8, 2013 at 6:28am     
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Brenda Robinson
Also I am allowed to paint and I work at the apartment complex I live in so I can get it professionally done for free. If anyone thinks that is a good idea to add some flair then please suggest a color.
April 8, 2013 at 6:40am   
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carolins
Agree with leelee that yellow probably wouldn't complement your sofas. But... we can't really judge the colour of your sofas from the photos (always difficult) and it will also depend on the yellow chair. But a blue one, or a brown/patterned one will probably be a better choice. Or a dark orange one! You'd have to add a little orange somewhere else in the room to then, but it would really make a statement.

April 8, 2013 at 6:43am     
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Brenda Robinson
Yes I was thinking I could add orange. the only reason I considered yellow is because of the deep waters artwork. My sofa is a grain color. it is the lena-putty from Ashley Furniture.
April 8, 2013 at 6:46am   
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Brenda Robinson
the way they make it now it doesn't have the wood trim around it but it's the same sofa overall
April 8, 2013 at 6:47am   
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carolins
Oh, cool, while I was preparing a comment for you (took me some time) you just posted the stunning painting you found. Wow, for a person with such fantastic taste in art, you certainly have a bland room. Sorry, but it's true. I really wouldn't have guessed. All your colour and furniture choices have been pretty safe and to see such great coloured abstract art... hmm... a nice surprise :-)

I'll try to put the orange chair in your room so you can see. I'm not that crafty with photoshop, but I'm pretty sure I can do this.
April 8, 2013 at 6:48am   
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carolins
Here it is, I've also thrown in a funky (expensive, from Horchow) yellow chair, so you can see. And I had to put the orange one right at the edge, because I copied it from the photo above and well... it doesn't have legs there.
April 8, 2013 at 7:08am     
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Brenda Robinson
oh wow! I love it! I actually think the artwork makes the sofa pop! Also that striped pillow! Where is that from? There is actually a space next to the tv stand that is empty for a chair. So I could actually do 2 chairs just for extra seating if and when I had a ladies night or small gathering. So maybe a solid orange one and a patterned yellow one. would that be too much? I can now envision it with some nice light patterned curtains and a better lamo! I am thinking a lamp with a base color and a Bright White shade! Then a throw placed across the ottoman.
April 8, 2013 at 7:17am     
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carolins
The pillow is from Pottery Barn. That alone makes the room take on a bit of personality doesn't it? Love the painting above the sofa (guessed the measurements, it may be wider or smaller)
April 8, 2013 at 7:27am   
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carolins
Added the lamp;
April 8, 2013 at 7:35am     
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Brenda Robinson
YES!!!! Now this is it! Thank you soooo much! I love it! So I will definitely be going to get that chair and I will get two lamps like the blue one!! Now I just need to find some curtains! It is amazing how color can change a room! Now I'm excited! :)
April 8, 2013 at 7:50am     
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carolins
Glad you like it :-) I was getting quite excited too, especially when I put in the lamp. Again, just guessed the size, so you'll have to double check everything, but the colours work wonderfully together I think.
Yep, very happy that you're so enthusiastic. Fingers crossed it will look as good in real life ;-)
Keep us posted please? Have fun shopping :-D
April 8, 2013 at 7:54am   
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patriciarhall
carolins example art and chairs are fantastic. please consider adding a bit of pattern to your drapery panels.
April 8, 2013 at 8:36am     
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Carolyn C. Interior Decorator, Brampton, ON.
Brenda, do consider some print on your panels. You can take them up higher - 6" above the window or to the ceiling and more on the wall. Choose a print that pulls your colours from the art and pillows. I've put on a geometric just to give you a visual.
April 12, 2013 at 6:47am   
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Go Nautical Collections
You can find a lot of sailboat posters here: http://gonautical.com/nautical-posters-c-2_108.html
April 30, 2013 at 8:27am   
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