Help with Living Room Furniture Design
Joanna KlinglerApril 24, 2013
Just moved. Have large open concept living room. We are buying all new furniture. Attaching pic of room and proposed design. Thoughts? Thanks for the help and feedback. Also would welcome any feedback on improving these basic built ins that the builder did.
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Congrats! If I may suggest...instead of two sofas and chaise, I would suggest two accent chairs instead of one of the sofas. For the bookcases, how about an accent paint color or fabulous design/color wallpaper for the back of the bookcase? If you aren't "book people" maybe glass shelving? Either way, lights on the top would add ambience.
3 Likes    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 9:31PM
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Experience shows that a loveseat is a very difficult piece of furniture to use well. Two chairs that match are much more versatile for layout - so I would first advise you to not buy a loveseat, but instead get two comfy matching chairs. If you do that, so that your chairs angle towards each other and across from the fireplace, then this layout could work well for you. You want this to be easy to walk into and back out of. Only other note is to advise against matching end tables or major upholstery. Since you have little ones (your pic is darling!) I want to suggest that you invest in slipcover pieces for your couch and chaise at least, because you will be able to evolve over time easier - they are available from Ballard, Ethan Allan, Pottery Barn & even IKEA in traditional and modern profiles. I love a chaise which will be gorgeous in front of the window, especially with a long white rod and flanking drapery panels set just outside the frame. With those major elements, you will be able to move things around lots of ways.

For builders built ins, paint your accent color in a muted shade on the back of the shelving. Repeat that in a throw on the neutral toned primary upholstery you buy for your sofa. For color inspiration, go to the leading websites and select a pillow or drapery in a print that you love. This print can "tell" your color story. Draw different shades of the colors in your inspiration print to select your major upholstery pieces. Post your inspiration fabric here in a link and photo and ask and we'll give advice on colors for the other elements. Have fun with it! Congratulations on your lovely new home.
3 Likes    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 10:13PM
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Darzy got there while I got kids to bed! Great minds think alike -
1 Like    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 10:17PM
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Joanna Klingler
Not sure if you get this update but thx so much. Love this website. I was thinking about an accent paint color as well for the shelving - wallpaper would be pretty too - and the glass shelves. Like idea of lights on top. Question for libradesigneye - why avoid matching end tables (and upholstery)?? Also regarding a chaise - I picked a "garbo" chaise for the window area - because of how it laid out against the windows - or would you go with a more traditional chaise (arms on either side)? Sorry - one more question for all - we did our kitchen in white (white cabinets with grey glaze, white subway tile with grey grout and gray/silver /black granite) so was thinking about pulling that into the kitchen nook (grey upholstered parson chairs with silver nailhead trim to pull in the silver from the granite ) and into the living room with grey couch. Too much? Would you stay with a more neutral and bring in silver from pillows, rug, art work, etc.??
    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 7:24AM
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I think your kitchen and dining plans sounds beautiful. Neutrals are fine. Just bring in lots of different textures and shades of gray/silver. Reflective items, etc. I like your garbo chaise. I think Joanna's thought is don't do too "matchy matchy". Complimentry fabrics and furnitiure (instead of everything matching) looks much more interesting, collected and loved instead of a "furniture showroom". Matching accent chairs looks good however for balance in the room. Your space is going to be beautiful. I think you have a designer's eye!
1 Like    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 10:47AM
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I want to see pictures of your kitchen!
    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 10:55AM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
I would place the chaise on an angle near the fireplace. If you decide to add an accent color to your gray/silver room, I love yellow with gray. Yellow on the backs of the bookshelves would add some glamour in that area.
And finally, I have to show you a silvery gray pillow that I love.
Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Back Bay Project
Decor by Jennifer Inc
Living Room and Library
Ombré Velvet Pillow, Dove Gray
    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 11:05AM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
P.S. I totally agree with Darzy and libra that a sofa and chairs is the right combo!
    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 11:06AM
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I think the kitchen nook in primarily grays are going to be wonderful, a gray sofa and garbo style chaise is lovely. Browse the living or family rooms in Houzz and save all the ones you LOVE to your ideabook - do this on instinct until you have a dozen at least. Then go back and look closely at them. You will find that very few have matching tables or upholstery - a pair of matching chairs, or occasionally matching sofas is about it. Every piece is an opportunity to bring in style and function - so when you double up you miss it - closed storage painted as an end table here offers something that wood open shelves end table there does not. Coffee table or ottoman with tray?

Only other caution is on your grays - there are grays that are true gray (but these are very few), grays that are taupe/putty/platinum, grays that are gray-green and grays that are gray blue - even gray lavender. Most gray has an undertone and you want to understand yours and stay consistent.

Your kitchen grays are likely gray blues or possibly true grays. Don't mix in the taupe grays or green grays - carry fabric swatches or even a washcloth with the right gray from your kitchen (an inexpensive "swatch" you can buy and test and carry in a bag easily) so that when you pick out fabrics, you can get something that always fits into the color scheme. As you select things, add a swatch to your collection - shades of gray that are different - charcoal here, dove there, pearl there. Different shades are both practical (darker for dining chairs, for instance, or mid-tone for sofa upholstery) and more interesting as they add layers to a room. If you do have blue grays, for instance, it might steer you away from selecting aqua tones as an accent, unless you include some great fabrics that mix true blues and aqua blues for a blue fest. If you buy a green-gray sofa, you might wonder why it looks muddy next to the other things - so layer colors and keep an eye. The true grays can work with all the other grays, but they don't all work with each other well.

Another approach to color here is to look online at a fabric store like and search by color for gray. Pick out some PRINT fabrics with gray in them that you really like, order a 1/2 yard for inspiration and post it here for more color advice.

Gray looks great with the aqua family (spa,turquoise, teal, peacock), yellow (butter,sunshine, dijon, gold), citrus greens & "grellows" (greeny yellows like chartreuse), all purple & plum tones, the pink and coral sides of the red family, can rock with burgundy wine red tones, and also can be classic with the sky blue family to cobalt to navy.

If you can find a fabric with gray and at least two other colors in it that you really love (think accent pillow, or drapery), then you will have a palette for your rooms. In the kitchen you might love red accents that morph to wine tones in the living space. Shades of colors can shift from room to room to set the right mood - kitchen might see white and bright lime green, where your living space wants to see a pale pear accent for calm.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 11:25AM
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