kelkes

What living room furniture should I replace?

Keli O
August 18, 2019
last modified: August 18, 2019



My living room needs a refresh, and I can’t decide what to keep and what to get rid of. I have a few pieces I like, especially the antique church pew.



I was thinking about replacing the black leather sofa with a white slip-covered one to lighten things up.



Also considering reupholstering the wing chair, or trying a slip cover. The upholstery is in great condition, it's just not really my style. This is my favorite chair to sit in.



What about the IKEA shelves? They are very functional but are not high-quality material. If I did replace them, what would go there? I store all the kids school papers in the cabinets.



I have a chair I was thinking about swapping in for the rocker that’s nice and low, but more of a mid century style with rattan that I would reupholster.



I definitely want to replace the floor lamp. Any suggestions on style? The room has a lot of different styles going on, which I like, but can be tricky.



Please be honest and let me know what you love and hate about this room so I can decide what to keep and what to replace. Thank you!!

Comments (104)

  • Keli O

    flo thank you for the sketch. Sofa is 81” and pew is 61” so the L layout only fits if the pew and sofa overlap which I don‘t like

  • tartanmeup

    Ok, that's what I wondered about, Keli. The possible overlap. In that case, I think I'd rethink everything in the room and pin down the functional essentials. (What's working and what's not? What's prompting this refresh? What's the end goal?) How much seating do I need? Would the idea of all chairs work? Or could the sofa simply be smaller? If the pew doesn't fit, can it go in another room? What type of storage or 'command center' do I need at the entry? I'm intrigued by the idea of storage flanking the fireplace but would that be a practical spot for me?

    Keli O thanked tartanmeup
  • Laura Villar

    following

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  • PRO
    Flo Mangan

    There is no room beside the fireplace unless those two chairs are removed. Can’t do both.

    Keli O thanked Flo Mangan
  • Keli O

    I’m leaning toward going back to the original configuration and start by replacing the shelves and floor lamp. Then I’ll decide about the sofa and chairs. Thank you all so much for your help so far! So many amazing creative ideas I wouldn‘t have considered!!

  • PRO
    Sunshine Builders Inc.

    Hi Keli, I would get rid of the large sofa and keep the church pew . I would also keep the wing chair and reupholster it with a lighter color fabric.

    Getting a smaller sofa with a white or off-white sleep cover is a great idea.

    If you are looking to make your living look bigger, keep the area carpet, pull the furniture off the wall and hang floor to ceiling curtains. Good luck.

    Keli O thanked Sunshine Builders Inc.
  • PRO
    Flo Mangan

    The sofa is staying Sunshine, so that was stated early on. Keli O - I think you are on track. Take a step at a time. You have enough input to make the changes that you like, and leave it at that. I hope you took my input as intended which was to help you avoid buying cabinets that simply will not fit in your room. Wishing you the best.

    Keli O thanked Flo Mangan
  • hollybar

    Something to consider for later....any new sofa should have slimmer arms. Meaning that a new sofa could be both shorter than 81" and have more room for seating. Easy to measure the interior seat space of your sofa and compare it with the sitting space of any future contenders.


    Hope you keep posting as this space evolves. I appreciate your aesthetic. Reminds me.....

    For MJ · More Info

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  • Keli O

    MJ and sunshine thanks for the sofa tips. That may be the next item to replace. I will definitely continue to share updates.

  • Keli O

    Flo, you have been so helpful. Thank you so much for all your time and carefully considered advice!

  • PRO
    Flo Mangan

    You are very welcome! My pleasure. I love your sense of style. Don't let us ruin you! haha!

    Keli O thanked Flo Mangan
  • licksch

    Keli, I agree. I really like the configuration with the couch where it was, with the small side table (temporarily, to be replaced at some point) along the wall instead of the bookcase. Putting in the rattan chair instead of the rocker and pulling out the wing back.

    That arrangement has got a nice cosy look, with minimal work and change.

    I have to say I’m not at all crazy about the church pew behind the couch and the couch cutting across the room.

    It divides up what’s already a fairly small space, too much. And the pew is not a good “behind the couch” piece of furniture IMO. Wrong scale.

    Keli O thanked licksch
  • Keli O



    Here’s a progress photo. I am loving the accent cabinet that replaced the shelves, but unfortunately it’s broken and needs to be returned. It’s supposed to have legs but I didn’t put them on since it will be returned. Hopefully they will have the same one available! The only other change is I hung some curtains I had in storage, put some throw pillows out also from storage, and swapped the paintings by the window. I’m not sure yet what I’ll do next, but I love the direction it’s headed! Thank you all so much for all of your advice!!






  • tartanmeup

    The cabinet looks more at home there than the shelves did. Great progress! Thanks for sharing.

    Keli O thanked tartanmeup
  • salonva

    Yes it looks so nice= like it belongs!

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  • decoenthusiaste

    I find that cabinet too large (almost as big as the sofa) and the color is very dull. I would return it and get the money back. Keep shopping.

    Keli O thanked decoenthusiaste
  • groveraxle

    I agree that a different chest would work better there. Something smaller and bolder:

    Bloomsbury Market Tejal Console Accent Cabinet & Reviews | Wayfair · More Info

    Maybe a thrift store or craigslist find that you paint yourself.

    Keli O thanked groveraxle
  • Keli O

    I agree smaller would look better, but the large size is really practical. I thought the teal color was nice though. Is there another color you think would be better @groveraxle and @decoenthusiaste?

  • Keli O

    This was another one I liked, but it wont hold as much stuff




  • PRO
    Lydia Derhake, LLC

    "My living room needs a refresh, and I can’t decide what to keep and what to get rid of. I have a few pieces I like, especially the antique church pew."


    Why does it need a refresh? I'm not being pedantic, I'm really asking. Is it because it's old? If that were the case, the pew would be the first thing to go, so it probably isn't that. Are you dissatisfied with something in the room? Are you using it to its best function?


    "Please be honest and let me know what you love and hate about this room so I can decide what to keep and what to replace. Thank you!!"


    Pardon my bluntness, but this is just silly. You should be telling us what you love and hate about the room so we can help you decide what to keep and get rid of. If you love it, you should keep it, no matter what anyone else thinks. If you hate it, there is no reason to keep it, no matter what anyone else thinks. (If they love it, they can pay the shipping so you can send it to them.)


    Don't keep anything because you think it might be "worth some money." If it doesn't add value to your life, it is without value. If you hate the yellow, get rid of it. If you secretly love it because it's quirky, keep it.


    If you love the chair because it is the most comfortable one to sit in but don't like the fabric, pay the money to have it upholstered, or learn how to do it yourself. (It isn't difficult, just time consuming.) Buying another chair will just provide a different looking chair that you don't like to sit in as much.


    This may be more philosophy than you were hoping for in a Houzz post, but we rely too heavily on others to tell us what our opinions should be and wind up missing happiness. Good luck!

  • calidesign

    Your new cabinet is fine. It is fully functional, and relates to the softer colors in your rug. Not every piece in a room needs to be a stand out star.

  • decoenthusiaste

    I think you could get the same amount of storage out of two chests flanking the FP, and you would not be losing a lot of floor space that could be used for something else. The recesses flanking the FP are more or less useless unless you find the perfect piece to fit them. The right piece will also allow you to put a pair of lamps there, making for more floor space instead of taking it up with a floor lamp. You might find a nice pair of accent chests second hand and then paint and stencil them for a great pop of interest there. Here are two ideas for stenciling...



    Keli O thanked decoenthusiaste
  • groveraxle

    Except that it's too large, this is obviously the cabinet you need.

    Boho Style Buffet Sideboard TV Console Entryway Furniture | Etsy · More Info

    This one could work, though I think a low cabinet would be better:


    Teal Carved Wood Peacock Storage Cabinet | World Market · More Info


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  • tqtqtbw

    If you are feeling creative, you could get something at a good price that fits and paint it yourself.

    Keli O thanked tqtqtbw
  • Elisabeth Green

    I love the teal color, it is fun! following.

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  • mrichter54

    It seems like there is room for chests flanking the fireplace, and with more storage in a side/entry table, would that be enough? A smaller sofa could yield the same seating area if you choose one with narrow arms. It would likely give you an extra foot of space. At least you said in your original post you were considering replacing the sofa. Love your church pew, wing chair and rocker!



    Keli O thanked mrichter54
  • decoenthusiaste

    Did you ever try the pew left of the door? Would be convenient to stop and remove shoes to put in baskets on the floor underneath it. I still think the most appealing to me would be a 4-chair grouping. The sofa just seems off in this room to me. It is not hitting any BOHO notes, IMO.

    Keli O thanked decoenthusiaste
  • Keli O

    We tried many alternate arrangements, but kept coming back to this as the coziest and best use of space for how we use the room. I know that from a design perspective, there is much that is not ideal. I do really like the new storage cabinet, and I think it’s a big improvement from the IKEA shelves. Next, I am leaning towards a new sofa.

  • partim

    When you look for a new sofa, look for "apartment" or "urban" or "condo" styles that don't have such a wide arm. Also look for one with long unskirted legs. It will give you a lighter look without sacrificing comfort or seating space.

    Keli O thanked partim
  • Keli O

    I’ve had my eye on this one from potterybarn


    I do love the non skirted look, but I’m not going to do a light color unless it’s a slipcover. Since the room is low on light, I thought a light sofa would brighten things up


    what do do you think?



  • Keli O

    Or this one, also Potterybarn. It’s a little closer to the length of my current one, but I love the clean lines


  • PRO
    Flo Mangan

    I would consider something with slightly lower arms especially if you nap or recline on this sofa.

    Keli O thanked Flo Mangan
  • partim

    That is a great idea Flo.

  • partim

    I would reconsider the light color sofa. When you add light colors to a room, the wall is where there is the most impact because it has a Light Reflective Value number you can look up for each paint .

    In a sofa, you're getting relatively little square feet in the room, compared to painting the walls. So it's not effective in brightening. And on top of that you pay the cost in maintenance on the sofa fabric, either by washing (which is not a small job) or eventual replacement. Whereas a lighter colored wall is no more work than a medium/dark one.

    If you're not ready to paint just yet and your room still looks a little dim, add a light or two wherever you can, for now.

    Whatever color you choose for your sofa, the wood on it should be the same color as the bench. The bench and rocking chair would look great in with custom sized seating and back cushions in a similar color to the sofa, maybe in a different fabric.

    Your room lacks a "wow" art experience, which is a pity since you have great art. I recommend the most impactful piece over the fireplace. The mirror can find a use elsewhere - it reflects a cluttered view and makes the room feel cluttered, which it really isn't.




    Keli O thanked partim
  • groveraxle

    Here is the York sofa in your room. I also color-corrected and suspect this is closer to the true color of your walls.

    I like the low cabinet better than the shelves, but I still think it's a little mousy for the space.

    Keli O thanked groveraxle
  • partim

    I wonder what the true yellow color is. My son had a hallway and stairwell painted Tuscan finish yellow, and it was very very bright.

  • Keli O

    Thanks for the mock up @groveraxle! I like the look of that sofa there.

  • Keli O

    The yellow is actually pretty vibrant.

    I adjusted the color in this picture to look more like it does in real life. The entire first floor of my house is either bright yellow, bright red, or bright orange. Wayfair is going to replace cabinet with one that’s not broken, so it should have legs and knobs on it soon.

  • Keli O

    @partim there are a few options for what I could put over the fireplace. My favorite piece currently in the room is this one

    It’s a bit taller than the mirror but not as wide.



    This is the other option, that is currently in an adjacent room :



    This one is as wide as the mirror and taller so it would fill up much of the space above the fireplace.

    What do you think?

    Also, you now have me thinking about what the mirror would reflect if I were to swap it out for either painting.

    This is the view it would reflect in the living room


    And this is the view it would reflect in the adjacent room:




  • licksch

    This is an ikea sofa...very reasonably priced, all removable washable covers, reviews say fabric is designed to conceal dirt. It’s a nice texture too.

    Keli O thanked licksch
  • partim

    I would put the smaller of the 2 large art pieces over the fireplace, i.e. the one that is currently over the bench. I'd put the mirror so it reflects the window (side of house).

    Keli O thanked partim
  • Keli O




    progress update

  • suezbell

    What does the back of your blue cabinet look like? Could you turn it at a right angle to the wall -- facing the entry -- and use it as if a pony wall between entry and living area -- enabling you to move your sofa farther away from the fireplace and put the back of furnishing toward the back of the cabinet?


    Or, have you ever tried using your bench there in that entry space?

  • Keli O

    Yeah I’ve tried that, and it feels too cramped. Keeping it open like this seems to work better

  • Alice Edwards

    Stay with it Keli O, i had some of same issues wanting to make my living room more of what makes me happy and keeping a lot of what I love but using the furniture in a better way. These current and other willing and so very talented people helped me to the utmost, to say the least. I love what has happened to my new living room, still need to make some suggested changes to curtains and accessories, but so more than happy with the outcome. Could not have ever ever been able to make the changes myself, cannot say enough about HOUZZ helpers and patients they had with me. Yea, lol, i was moving and changing and re-arranging night and day, even stood on my head and jumped through a hoop but it was necessary and so worth it, ok I put in my 2 cents....looking good

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  • George Withmore

    The combination of so many different styles in the same space turns out to be kind of eclectic, and yet original. At least, the color palette is consistent. I agree with almost all the plans you mentioned that you have for each of the pieces, although it's not the type of layout that I would particularly have in my living room, but, if you agree and like it, that is just the most important thing of everything. As I see that you have many wooden elements and most of them are old-fashioned and traditional, you could consider an Arco lamp replica, since I see that you like to add diverse and long-standing elements. The Arco lamp is one of the most emblematic models of the Mid-Century Modern style, it's the floor lamp that I have in my living room, although in fact, it's a replica that I bought in Barcelona Designs, and it's very faithful to the original. I hope my advice is helpful.

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