312forest

How to coordinate furniture with oriental rug- please help!

312forest
October 2, 2019

The upholstered furniture in my living room is worn out. I love the chairs and plan to recover them but am at a loss in deciding colors/patterns for the fabric. The rug is staying and I plan to get a new sofa (maybe leather).
The problem is that the rug has many colors and patterns. When I look at Houzz pictures, I see that people typically use solid color, generally white furniture with oriental rugs. I am not a ‘white furniture’ kind of person… I like color... but need help so we don’t end up with an overly busy room that clashes with itself!
Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

Comments (59)

  • 312forest

    That creates some very strange empty areas...

  • 312forest

    @cawaps, do you think this pattern would be too much?

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  • 312forest

    Interesting idea, decoenthusiaste! How many chairs could I put in the room before it looked weird? I’m thinking I want to be able to seat at least 6 in the room. Current arrangement seats 7, or even 8 with the piano bench... and we have used all of those at times, though not frequently.

  • RTHawk

    Some leather sofa choices



  • PRO
    BeverlyFLADeziner

    Since the rug is too small for the room, you might want to consider a new rug as an option.






  • Brown Dog

    You have a couple great windows and an exterior French door but your room still looks dark. I would go for bright coloured chintz for your upholstered pieces. I agree with removing the piano and putting sofa on the piano wall. Perhaps remove one chair also. Once you move furniture around, try the rug again. If rug doesn't work, move it to another room. You have nice hardwood so room will still look great without the rug.

  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC

    You need to get a good furniture arrangement in place before considering fabric for chairs, etc. I recommend moving the furniture to some of the suggested plans to see what you like.

  • decoenthusiaste

    You could put an upholstered bench under the window left of the FP, and a pair of hassocks could flank the chest under the larger window to seat more folks. It is usually best to limit chairs in these groupings around a center item to four. If you can move the sofa to an adjoining room and try it this week, you'll know very quickly how well you like it and whether you want to buy a bench and hassocks to add another four "seats."

  • partim

    With your current arrangement, doesn't the door bump the chair?

    This leaves you with a clear traffic path around the conversation area, and focuses the room on the fireplace. You'd need to remove the cabinet.

    I'd go with a solid navy for the chairs, maybe in a textured velvety fabric.

  • Manon Floreat

    What a great room! And neat furnishings, also. I've got another furniture arrangement to consider, below.


    As to upholstery, I'd recover that sweet little vintage pair in a solid navy - mohair would be the bees knees! The lone coral colored chair - I'd be tempted to reupholster in a fun print - such as a modern cheetah featuring red. I think a whiskey leather sofa would work really nice. If there's room, maybe a bench along the stair wall.


    Here's a collage that attempts to illustrate the idea. Best wishes!





  • 312forest

    The door shown on the right is almost never used... so we don’t need to prioritize access to it. The area beside the stairs is the only way to get from the front door/foyer to the rest of the house. Manon Floreat, I really like the colors you suggest. I do have the channel back chair also... any ideas for that? The current print is obviously not right. Another commenter suggested that the room is dark, which is true due to treecover and a side porch. Would the navy chairs be too dark for the room?

  • Manon Floreat

    You could reverse the colors I showed: A cheery red for the pair (for brightness), a fun pattern - maybe a toile - for the coral chair and perhaps a solid indigo or navy for the channel back chair. I like solid colors for upholstery with tufting and channels.


    Something like this, maybe?






  • Manon Floreat

    PS - I do like this color red:




  • 312forest

    So if I do the matching chairs in blue navy, the couch in whiskey brown leather, and the coral chair in the red animal print... should I recover the channel back chair in red also? (Is the pattern on the red fabric sample in the pictureI to pronounced to go on the channel back chair?) I will also recover a foot stool... assume that should match either the red or blue chairs?

  • Manon Floreat

    Yes, I think I would go for a solid red on the channel back chair - but, remember I tend to favor solids for upholstery that have pronounced treatments, such as channels. With channels, the pattern of the fabric gets interrupted and to my eye the detail of the channeling gets lost. For me, the channeling is a nice feature and I want to be able to enjoy the clean tailoring fully. I also tend to prefer patterns on upholstery items that serve more as occasional or accent seating.


    With how you have your furniture arranged, I think the color placement would work well that way. Take a look:



    (I don't know about the foot stool - where is it placed? And is it a match to any of the chairs you have in the room?)





  • Manon Floreat

    I have to go to bed now - but I'll check back tomorrow!

  • 312forest

    Thanks for your explanation about the channel-back chair logic. That makes sense! On your last picture, you brought the blue chairs away from the wall. I’m going to try that today.

    I hadn’t put a footstool in the living room in my pictures, but have 2 stashed in another room just waiting for a home. You included one on your first collage which inspired me to think about bringing one back into the living room. With the blue chairs pulled forward, it may not fit, though.

  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC

    I hope you don't mind be trying this one more time. Design is more about math and planning than most people realize. What colors and fabrics to use is actually an important aspect of, but just one part of designing. In addition, reupholstering a piece that you will not be using is obviously, a waste of your $. I like saving people $ where I can.


    The most important part and first step, is to get a good floor plan in place. Your room currently has too many pieces of furniture. (You mentioned that sometimes you do have 7 or 8 people, but not frequently. At those times, you can pull in more furniture).


    Currently, the fireplace feels like an afterthought, 2 doorways are partially blocked and the foot traffic pattern in through the furniture arrangement. The red and floral chairs feel awkwardly sort of out of the main grouping. None of these makes for a good arrangement and when furniture is not arranged to flow well, it doesn't look good either.


    Think of it like a dress: if the dress is ugly or misfit, no amount of jewelry will correct it.


    Wishing you the best with this charming room that could be very elegant.



  • auntthelma

    I love the stairs!

    I also love a piano in the living room. I wouldn’t move it. But the chest that is in front of the window seems, to me, to be hiding the window and a little heavy for that spot.

  • 312forest

    Hmmm... good input on the chest. I agree that it would be better to have something smaller there, but do use that storage space for linens! (Not many closets in my 95-year old house). I will have to keep my eye open for an alternative piece of furniture.

  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC

    With a different furniture arrangement, the chest may be able to stay there. Are you able to move furniture yourself? If so, could you try some of the arrangements?

  • 312forest

    CDR - thanks for the ideas. I am moving furniture around to see how various configurations work, as you suggest. The fireplace, while not an afterthought, is not the only focal point for the room. As some have noted, we have great windows overlooking a rare urban park. I don’t want that view to be forsaken n favor of the fireplace. I

  • 312forest

    The printed chair especially is a bit separated from the conversation grouping, largely because of all the weirdness introduced by the angled fireplace and resulting rug placement.

  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC

    Here are my next favorite arrangement (with info about the urban park)


    1) Leave sofa where it is

    2) Remove the table that is behind the sofa.

    3) Place 2 chairs along the chest window.

    4) Move chest to left of fireplace

    5) Remove pink and floral chair.


    If you don't use the French door often,


    1) Leave sofa where it is

    2) Remove the table that i behind the sofa.

    3) Straighten 2 dark chairs.

    4) Remove pink and floral chair.

  • cawaps

    I tried to post these yesterday but the post seems to have gone to post limbo.


    I have trouble looking at an upholstery swatch and visualizing how it will look on a chair or sofa, much less how it will work in the room. To deal with that, I've become a fan of visualization tools. Some furniture manufacturers that do custom upholstery can virtually apply the fabric to a chair. I used one of those to look at a selection of fabrics (they didn't have anything quite like the one you posted) and then inserted the image of the chair in your LR pic. This should give you an idea how different styles, pattern sizes, and colors look with your rug. I mostly looked at reds since that was the direction you were looking, but included a couple blues too.











  • 312forest

    Moving the blue chairs in and the chest and red chair to the right as suggested by Manon Floreat made an amazing difference! I tried removing the 2 chairs suggested by CDR, but the room felt empty, and I think we would regularly need to move furniture in to support more than 4 people. Straightening the chairs makes a big difference too... I like the floor plan suggested by Manon Floreat, with the chairs angled toward each other (per Manon) and parallel to each other (per CDR). Nice that such a simple move can alter the feeling of the room from more formal (parallel) to more familiar (angled)!
    I picked up some sumptuous blue velvet fabric for the paired chairs, red woven fabric for the channel back chair (channels will now be obvious!) and the red/gold fabric (from prev picture) for the Martha Washington chair. Thinking I will do the footstools in the polka dot fabric shown below...

    I’m so thankful for all of your suggestions and super excited about seeing the final product in a couple of weeks! I still need to get a sofa and pick out pillow fabric, but that should be easier.
    I will post pictures when I get everything back!

  • kodiac23

    Great choices on the above fabrics! Agree that blues and reds would look beautiful

  • 312forest

    Manon Floreat, can you tell e where you got that sofa image in your collage? I like the slender arms, non-tufted back, and legs... most leather sofas seem to be either very contemporary or super heavy looking and low to the floor.

  • PRO
    JudyG Designs



    Posting this for a possibility or arranging furniture and making rug work. ( I am not suggesting two sofas back to back.)

    Turn the rug perpindicular to the fireplace. Add sofa of your choice, sized down from the one you have now. Two chairs flanking fireplace. For your rug, choose a glass coffee table so you see the center of the rug and not hide it away from view.

    Sofa to match with the medallion in the middle of rug...not sure whether my monitor is showing me true colors.

    Paint your 1930’s style chair frames the white of your wood work. Add a simple fabric in navy and white:









  • partim

    Since you're having your chairs recovered, you might get some inspiration from this website. www.wildchairy.com

  • Manon Floreat

    Hahaha - You've been busy 312forest! Nice fabric selections. For the Martha Washington chair, I'd like to see a bolder print. Something to add a friendly dash of pizzazz. The one you've shown, while a fab color, I'm afraid the pattern is so subtle it will read as a solid from afar. I know this isn't your chair and you may not like the pattern, but I think it's pretty representative of the idea. Something to consider.





    I really like Judy's suggestion for a glass coffee table. I love them on Oriental rugs - and for rooms that don't have an abundance of natural light.


    I found the sofa at Hancock and Moore. They're pretty much the gold standard for leather furniture in the US. They're pricey, but made to last and last and last. I believe Duane Collie of The Keeping Room, who posted above, carries the brand. Maybe he can chime in on this particular model. It's the studio sofa and one of my favorites. Super classy!


    The Studio Sofa




  • Manon Floreat

    Oops - forgot the dotted foot stool fabric. I think it will work nicely.




  • Manon Floreat

    Ooooh, partim - Wild Chairy is a feast for the eyes. Thanks for sharing!

  • 312forest

    Manon, I am having some second thoughts about the blue velvet... thinking I would like something slightly less solid on the blue chairs. The blue polka dot looks pretty solid blue from a distance. I am going to take your advice and put the red/gold on the channel back chair... the sample looks amazing (see below). Do you think I can have the red (with gold) chair and a blue (with bronze) flank the fireplace? My concern is whether the gold and bronze will clash. I’ve included a closeup photo of the two fabrics below. (The blue is on order, so I can’t get a bigger sample for a proper look.)

  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC

    My opinion is there is too much furniture in the space. Good luck! I hope the space ends up being everything you wanted it to be.

  • 312forest

    Or I could take a cue from Wild Chairy and put the dots on the chair body and plain velvet on the seat cushion...

  • 312forest

    Thanks, CDR. The room will be cozy and well used. I did try your suggested configuration, but the room felt too empty and we would have to be dragging in furniture from other rooms to seat visitors too often. Thanks again for your input!

  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC

    Hope you enjoy! A nice home.

  • 312forest

    So back to the fabric stores I went again today. I think I’ve got everything I need once the blue dot fabric comes in next week. I will do both (entire) chairs in the blue dot fabric and use the plain blue velvet for lumbar pillows. I will use gold silk for the red channel back pillow. The advisors at both stores approved the fabric shown on the Martha Washington chair in the picture below. I’ve also included a photo of the entire palate (chairs and pillows)... going to skip the foot stools this go around... just can’t make any more decisions at the moment!

  • Manon Floreat

    Ooooh, I really like that multi-dot fabric for the Martha Washington chair! Unexpected and dare I say, a little flirty?


    I understand your misgivings about the solid navy velvet for the pair. That means it's not "the one" - so give it no more thought. It is so tempting to "Wild Chairy" the pair, but it gives me pause. Of all your chairs, I think the Martha Washington would be the best nominee for the treatment.


    My suggestion is to recover the channel back chair in the solid red first. We know the current fabric isn't right. Even though you've noted the upholstery on your other pieces is worn, at least we know they have the general colors that we want to see. The navy pair even has the small scale print. So, my feeling is that recovering the channel back will give us a good idea of how everything will play together - before we dive into reupholstering the other pieces, whose colors are really very similar to where we're headed. (I know that was a poorly constructed sentence and I hope you get my meaning.)


    With that said, should the solid red channel back work (which, I know it will), here's my annotated suggestion :





    And a collage:






  • 312forest

    Oh, dear... I already bought all the cut fabric, assuming that the red/gold velvet was perfect on the channel back chair. Also, my upholstery guys are coming next week and I don’t want to have to get back at the end of their 6-month queue to do additional work. So the plan right now is to go forward as follows, unless someone tells me I will be disappointed with the results or suggests minor tweaks:

    Channel back chair: Red/gold velvet with a gold silk lumbar pillow - self piped

    Blue chair pair: Blue dot fabric with solid blue velvet lumbar pillows - knife edged

    Martha Washington chair: fun dot fabric with red lumbar pillows edged with red piping

    Couch pillows for the (to be purchased) leather couch:
    2-20” in fun dot fabric, piped in red
    2-20” blue velvet pillows self piped
    1 lumbar pillow in red/gold fabric with red panels at sides as shown in Manon’s collage above.
    I will use either the fun dot pillows or the blue velvet pillows on the couch at a time... getting everything made now, while I have the fabric and labor available. That way I can swap pillows as my mood dictates.

  • Manon Floreat

    Don't fret, 312forest! It's going to be great! You are in the room and can see how the colors work together in real life. The rest of us are relying on our monitors and colors aren't always accurate on them. You know what you like, so if the combo pleases you, that's all there is to it! Plus, you seem to have a good eye.


    One minor tweak (or addition, rather): while you're at it, get a couple of red pillows made for the sofa. It'll expand your swapping options. Of course, you can also do store bought later on. Also want to mention that down pillows won't slide around as much on leather as poly fill. So, get down inserts if you can.


    Can I just say I am really looking forward to the reveal??? I'll check back in a few weeks.

  • katinparadise

    following

  • Gcubed

    Following to see final reveal. All the fabrics look great.

  • Chris Howard

    If you want to accent a wall, choose one of the bold colors in the rug and paint one wall that color, in glossy paint.

  • Audrey

    following

  • Liz H

    This is becoming pretty much my favorite thread of the past six months. I think it makes a big difference to the quality of the project when the client has excellent taste and isn’t overwhelmed by all the opinions coming her way. This is going to be a very comfortable, soul-enhancing (not kidding!) space.

  • cpartist

    I think your furniture and the direction you're going in is terrific. I love your furniture.

    However I agree that your layout as is is off because it's blocking your traffic flow to the outside door and taking away from the focal point of your fireplace.

    I agree the furniture needs to be oriented towards the fireplace (meaning angled) and you do need a larger rug. The rug is too small.

  • 312forest

    Thanks cpartist. A few of important things that may not be obvious from my photos: (1) that outside door is almost never used... like basically only to take the Christmas tree out of the living room in January; (2) the fireplace is nice, but the view of the urban park out of the double front windows is actually a more compelling focal point for the room; (3) the couch in its current orientation creates a straight passageway (along the stair ‘wall’) from our front door to the rest of the downstairs rooms, & angling creates a very weird space behind it. I agree that the rug could be larger, but not very much larger given the room’s angles... and I like the current rug!

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