Redecorating long dark rectangular living room

ksm1976April 11, 2014
I have a long rectangular living room which I feel is quite dark and I'm just about to embark on a full makeover. I want my new room to look elegant, light and airy but homely. Thinking of going for kind of an antique white and cream/mushroom colour scheme walls, wall paper & new cream couches. I Intend to bring in some warmth and get rid of all the straight lines eg old fire, frameless mirror & glass table nest so oak tv unit, small oak bookcase and oak side table plus oak fire surround and a dummy fire place with logs with that wall papered in a flock type white/off white wallpaper. What's folks so far, am I making any obvious errors? Also any thoughts on my current couch positioning as I'd keep it the same but should I move the 3 seater off the wall and should I add a coffee table in the middle of the couches & new fire place? Any advice around layout and how to make it look more homely would be great! Thanks!
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PRO
CDR Design
Hi. You have a good vision. You are correct that the first thing you need to do is determine furniture placement.

Challenge: You want the fireplace to be a focal point. But, how do you do that without the tv also competing. Options:

1) Place tv over fireplace. I rarely recommend this, but in this case, it is an option. (see photo below)
2) Place to to right of fp (not angled). Build in bookcases around fireplace for a finished look (like photos below, but tv would be to the right---assuming the French Doors are your main entrance to the room?)
3) Place tv across from fp and seating perpendicular to fp. (see photo below)

Which do you like? You can use your existing furniture as mock-ups.

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    Bookmark   Thanked by ksm1976    April 11, 2014 at 4:49AM
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Meet Me at the Wrecking Ball
Is it possible to open those French doors and keep them open? Do you really need more than one couch? Go for a sofa with low arms, which will keep things light and remove bulk, and consider adding a small-scale upholstered chair angled toward the TV instead. I see the TV above the FP too. Light gray is such a fantastic color for the walls--everything pops against it--maybe that's why it's so often the color of choice in art museums! Good luck.
    Bookmark   Thanked by ksm1976    April 11, 2014 at 5:03AM
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chemayne
I agree with CDR Design that the tv needs to go above the the FP. In doing so, you could add a chair in its place with a side table and lamp. Or a reading chair and a floor lamp.
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Table lamps are just too short. Some ideas:
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Beautiful curtains - don't tie them up.
    Bookmark   Thanked by ksm1976    April 11, 2014 at 5:13AM
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CDR Design
Hi. I have not made any specific furniture recommendations, as you are correctly getting the furniture placement down first.

Could you please try the various choices I gave above, retake photos and post. This will give all of us a chance to see what will work best.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 5:17AM
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ksm1976
I do like the idea of putting my tv above the fireplace but my husband isn't a fan of that look. I prefer the pic with the 2 opposing couches beside the fireplace. Couple of points I should make though, we use the 3 seater to lie down and watch tv together so 2x 2 seaters wouldn't suit us and because the option of the tv above the fireplace isn't there that complicates things somewhat. I do like the idea of the tv being opposite the fireplace assuming I've understood you correctly CRD Design? The trouble is, will it look silly with a 3 and a 2 seater opposite each other? (My OCDis on high alert!) I can certainly try moving the tv unit so it's straight against the wall next to the fireplace but functionality wise the viewing angle for the tv won't be very good. As for my double doors, they can be kept open, they lead through to the dining room but I guess the main entrance is from the hall, that's where people coming into the house would come from. What are your thoughts on moving my 3 seater off the wall a bit and perhaps adding an oak coffee table and large rug? I'm frustrated by the tv issue as I know it'll be competing with the fireplace but with your suggestions and my comments I'm struggling to find a solution.
    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 5:45AM
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Rina
Hi. A few thoughts ...

You should bring both couches forward, I think, to make a cosier area around the fireplace and to free the access to the glass door. It may not be a practical problem in terms of access to the room as it is but it disturbs the eye to see a door blocked off. I don't think your little rug in front of the fireplace is doing much for you, and doubt that you'll need a rug at all, but yes to a coffee table in front of the couches -- a fairly large square one, I think. Have you considered new curtains? I think a light fabric -- aqua perhaps -- would help to lighten up the room. Playing below with what I hope approximates your colours.

http://www.curtains-2go.co.uk/curtains/6600/melbury-aqua.htm
http://fineartamerica.com/featured/lavender-fields-terry-chacon.html
    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 6:08AM
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CDR Design
Tell me if this is correct:

-you like the idea best of couches flanking the fp/tv opposite
-you are planning on buying new furniture
-you lie down to watch tv.

What do you think of a couple of chaises flanking the fp with arms on the fp end? It would keep the room very open. Like photo, but 2 chaises.

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    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 6:14AM
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CDR Design
If you like this idea, please move the current couches as mock up. Thanks.
    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 6:15AM
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CDR Design
Angling the chaises by the fireplace is also an option.

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    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 7:07AM
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CDR Design
When you redesign your fireplace, consider repeating the architectural arch in the French Doors.

On the window end, consider a double-arched boxed valance.

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    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 7:31AM
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ksm1976
Hi rina, my current decor is all going, couches,rug,mirror,tables,cheap tv unit, I'm looking for ideas for when I redecorate. The rug currently is only there as we ripped out a fireplace so it left a hole in the carpet. When we moved in 6 yrs ago there was a fire in it which not only didn't work but was old fashioned. CDR, I need help to move the sofas, so will post more pics once I've moved trouble is, if I sit the couches around the fireplace the 3 seater won't fit due to the tv unit unless you also want me to move that and try it on the wall opposite the fp? In terms of the chaise, I really want to work with a 3 & 2 seater not a fan of the chaise but do like it added on to a sofa. Yes ALL the furniture is going, even the carpet but going for the same kind of colour, it's just done that's all. I think the couches opposite the fp will only work if I mount the tv but I don't see my hubby budging as I've been trying to change his mind but have been unsuccessful!!
    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 7:32AM
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CDR Design
Hi. Just looking at the space, there is no reason you could not buy 2 3-seater couches. Also, there are many options for chaises, including those that are almost all couch, but just open on the end. Or you can buy sofas like your existing ones with low arms.

Questions:

Can you give us dimensions of the room?
Can you eliminate the hearth that goes all the way across the room, leaving a hearth only on the fireplace.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 7:41AM
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CDR Design
sort of how yours would look

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    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 8:17AM
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Rina
Hi again KSM -- yes, I didn't mean bringing those two specific couches forward; more any couches you happened to have there. Big big smile about covering the hole in the carpet.
Sounds like my kind of house. Oh dear, a wall collapsed. Ah well, put up some sticks and a creeper. (I lie, of course.)

CDR is doing great work here -- I doubt you need me. I've just skimmed the comments as I'm dashing in and out right now, but I like the idea of two three-seaters facing each other on each side of the fireplace and the TV on the opposite wall. However, one thing to consider is whether, at the height you want it to be, it might reflect the light from the fireplace when you're using that? That would be very irritating. If you put it to the right of the fireplace, on that wall, would you consider a sectional? They're not my favourite thing but you can find some that are very elegant. I don't have a retail source for this one but I found it on this website:

http://www.decoist.com/2012-10-30/10-small-urban-apartment-decorating-ideas/

You could place it so that there is a fair amount of space behind the right-hand side, so you could have a small console behind it on which to put pretty things.
    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 9:11AM
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ksm1976
Rina I really appreciate any comments/advice yours included! Really good point about the tv reflection and you're right, just now the tv is in front of the window whereas if input it against the suggested wall there will defo be a reflection! Sounds like I'm pretty much back to the drawing board! Will give the sectional soda some thought thanks it's a good idea and one I'd never think of.!
    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 10:53AM
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Rina
That's great. I don't live in Sectional Land, but every so often I see a room with one and think wow, that's really gorgeous. Trouble is, that our architectural styles were developed before the advent of TV, so that wretched object is very often the sticking point in any room. But all can be conquered. Just believe.
    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 11:04AM
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CDR Design
ksm, I am not a huge fan of tv's over fireplaces, but I don't object to it, especially in a room like this one with challenges.

Problem with tv over fireplace is the height. If you always lie down to watch the tv, then it might not be a problem, as you would be looking up.

No matter where you put a tv in your room, the reflection could potentially be a problem at any point in the day. But, that can be solved with the right window blinds. So, I would not let that determine my decision.

I will say that the tv in the corner, as you have it now, does not look good, angled like that, because it is encroaching on the window.
    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 12:46PM
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Can you tell us a little more about traffic in the room. You said that the French Doors are not used that much, but that the door at the other end is used?
    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 12:48PM
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CDR Design
If you have a lower, light-colored sectional, you could consider placing the tv to the left of the fireplace either straight or in the corner. I would remove the French Doors or leave them open. But, furniture would be to the people's backs as they entered the room.

I really think your best bet is tv opposite fireplace, with a couple of couches like these.

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    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 3:02PM
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ksm1976
The French doors are used they're just not the main entry to the room from the hallway. Trouble is, my husband isn't a fan of the tv above the fireplace especially as we're now thinking of getting a really powerful gas fire instead of a dummy fire place. Don't really know where else we'd put the tv? World a corner tv unit work better in that corner?
    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 9:42AM
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CDR Design
You could buy a sectional and put the tv in the French Door corner. But, you could have to remove doors or have them swing into the other room.
    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 9:50AM
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ksm1976
The French doors do swing into the other room. Again, looked at the sectional idea but he's not a fan! Really don't know a way round this one re the tv!
    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 9:58AM
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CDR Design
I really think it would look very nice to have 2 couches flanking the fireplace and the tv on the opposite wall. I do not think glare would be a problem.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by ksm1976    April 16, 2014 at 10:21AM
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ksm1976
Right here goes, moved the furniture about, is this better??
    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 2:32AM
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ksm1976
Or another option??
    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 2:43AM
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CDR Design
Hi. What do you like better?

Option A

+

The room looks balanced
Front door area is open.
You do not have to walk in the conversation area to get to the French Doors from front door.
(I would mount the tv on the wall and buy a slimline console)

OPtion B

+

Front door area is open.

-
You have to walk through the conversation area to get to French Doors
2 couches do not seem connected. Seem shoved to the sides of room
TV looks very large for the corner.
TV is the first thing you see when you enter and competes with fireplace

Option C (Option B,but with sectional)

+
You don't have to walk through conversation area

-

Back of sectional is right there when you walk in front door
TV is first thing you see when you walk in
Leg of sectional facing fp is an odd view for the tv
1 Like    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 4:39AM
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ksm1976
I think I like option 1 best. I agree that option 2 looks somewhat disjointed. This is he fireplace and couches we're considering. Do u think, going with option 1 that we'd need to go for 2x 2 seaters rather than a 3 & a 2 or wld a 3 & a 2 wld still work if the 2 was centred on the 3?
    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 5:15AM
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ksm1976
Actually thinking about getting rid of the tv and getting a 40" (instead of our current 50) but getting one of those really slim LED tvs so it's not taking over the living room? Given the money we're intending on spending, another £500 won't break the bank?
    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 5:20AM
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CDR Design
I think you need balance in the room and I would go with the same length for both couches. They seem to have high arms. I think to make the room feel more open and to be able to lie in them, I would get lower arms like you have now.
    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 5:25AM
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