dsimber

Help! I’m about to throw out the baby with the proverbial bath water!

dsimber
November 14, 2019
last modified: November 14, 2019

For years, I wanted this!


Family Room · More Info


Instead, I ended up with this:


Apartment · More Info


I sold my house. There went my warm hardwood floors and white woodwork. I compromised on a sofa that would be more user-friendly for my family when they visit. The black leather chairs looked great with my white fireplace; in this apartment, they must sit side-by-side, and they look too stark to me. In trying to balance the black, I fear I’ve added too much..


Apartment · More Info


The area rug is New Zealand wool and was chosen to blend in with the color of the floor tile because nothing was available in a size that extended under the sofa as much as I would have liked. The rug does have subtle texture, pattern and some color variation with touches of black.

Below is the floor plan, except in reverse:


Apartment · More Info


See the colored lines in the floor plan below for an approximate layout of my furniture:



New purchases include most of what you see below: lamps for additional lighting; counter stools at the island that runs parallel to the back of the sofa; gray leather chairs that are knockoffs of Bellini’s original cab chairs at the dining table; two small square ottomans that can be pulled over for use with the chairs [and the need to purchase two more, or a coffee table, to form a square “ottoman" in the middle of the room; the tv base but in black-stained ash; the nickel and glass accents table and magazine holder; the gold-leafed and marble side table...everything except the coffee table in the lower right corner of the board.]



Most recently, I’ve been playing with these vignettes--still not right--on the sideboard:


Apartment · More Info



Apartment · More Info


I’m planning to add off-white drapery panels on the two sets of three sets of windows in the living area, but not on the French doors in the kitchen and dining areas. Considered a sheep skin rug, throw, or pillows to bring out the white (or off-white.) Yet I’ve stopped. Am I throwing good money after bad? Do I just need to start over with that white sofa from my inspiration folder?

Where do I go from here???!!! It is soooooo far from my original vision. This isn’t working for me. No matter what color of pillows and throws I’ve tried.

Comments (45)

  • dsimber

    Adding to my post...

    This is another photo from my inspiration folder. It is probably a happy medium between the picture I posted at the top of this dilemma and the one that is at the bottom of this post. I’m speaking now of colors more than style.

    Mill Valley, CA · More Info


    The one below does not include white. It feels so cozy and warm to me. If I were to reupholster my two small, square ottomans (currently off-white) with a leather that is similar to the ottoman below, would that help pull the color through my open plan? It would pick up on the cherry case goods (which I’ve had for 10+ years) and it would pick up on the wood blinds (furnished and cannot be removed according to contract in this apartment complex.) I know from the changing seasons that rust accents actually de-emphasize the blinds, much to my surprise. However, I still have an off-white floor that must be incorporated.


    Living Room · More Info


    I fear it is unlikely that I can get this warm look, especially due to the color of the floor tile...and now the area rug...the paint on the walls and trim!...and even the sofa.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER

    Would be very helpful if you put DIMENSIONS to the floor plan. Where are all the windows we see in the room and NOT on the plan?

    dsimber thanked JAN MOYER
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  • Laura Villar

    following

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    IMO if you wanted white why did you not go white leather there sure were no ugly wood blinds in the top pic . Hang your art take some of the pillows off the sofa I think if you simplify a bit it will feel better . Since you like graphic ar use a rug with more black in it in a graphic design that rug has nothing to tie in the chairs. Get some drapes on the windows or at least some decent blinds

    dsimber thanked Patricia Colwell Consulting
  • shirlpp

    Can you move the tv to the wall where artwork is located. I'm thinking you need to start with a different furniture layout.

  • laurelcollins

    I actually like the room you created! I think it is warm and functional, and the black chairs work with the neutral tones of the couch and rug. I’ve had a white couch before, and it got trashed. You did a smart thing getting the gray one that is more family friendly!

    Maybe what’s throwing you is the color of the wood blinds? If they were white it might seem more like that first inspiration picture.

    dsimber thanked laurelcollins
  • laurelcollins

    Also, maybe switch the black TV stand with a nice wood toned one would tie in more with your bottom pictures. You can have warm and cozy without having to have wood floors!

    dsimber thanked laurelcollins
  • Sonja Suitor

    I think the spaces would look more spacious if the sofa and chairs were switched. The sofa just seems to block the flow in a small space. Altho I love wooden shades, I’m wondering if the space would retain it’s airiness better with relaxed roman shades in a white or cream linen; adding panels to the wooden may overfill the space (or may be beautiful depending on your taste). Perhaps you’ve corrected this but the lights are positioned very well but seem too small. Bigger shades in the same styles would continue to give you that white accent. The table lamp is too low. You have a beautiful space and a nice start to a lovely new home. Enjoy!

    dsimber thanked Sonja Suitor
  • dsimber

    Additional info included in my responses to the above comments:

    1. Dimensions of the living area depend on where I float the sofa. Roughly, it is 12’ x 14.”

    2. Windows and French doors are now marked in yellow on the floor plan that was online. The double-hung windows are only in the seating area, and are on adjoining south and west walls, while French doors are only in the kitchen to the right and the dining area to the left. [At last, I discovered out how to flip the floor plan. My shapes are close to the scale of the furniture and its placement.]


    2. The contract states that the wood blinds cannot be removed, I suppose for continuity from the outside. And yes, they throw me off more than anything! The addition of drapery panels is allowed. Off-white linen?

    3. I understand about the TV. It is placed two it can be viewed from the sofa, chairs, and the kitchen area when family and friends come for streaming movies and watching games. I’ve tried every possible furniture arrangement, and had two designers in to help; both arrived at the same conclusion I did. The chairs were too tall in the middle of the room; they totally blocked the view of anything else. They can be moved to form an L-shape with the sofa or with each other. The room is tight, so there’s not a lot of space.

    4. Can I make my taupe sofa work for now by adding accessories that command attention through texture, as in the photo below? Would I get the same effect with a faux fur throw, which might be easier to drape on my sofa style? The sofa in this pic is gray, but mine is definitely taupe. If anything, it has a little golden color in it. That might explain why it worked with warmer walls in my house.



    5. As for the TV console decision, I based that on the pieces of dark cherry throughout the space, as well as one black piece, and I felt I could not add a third color of wood. I can now see that it is too much solid black, but it was custom-ordered so it is mine. I’m hoping the right artwork in that corner will draw the eye upward...away from the black console. Maybe a neon arrow!!! No.

    6. I agree that an area rug with more black would help pull everything together. Due to visiting grand-dogs, I wanted a flat woven rug with no loops for pulling; quality wool with no backing for the best cleanability; and a background color that would flow with the floor so the fact that it is not as wide as I wanted is less obvious. But it doesn’t add enough black. Would it be possible to layer something as in this pic from Houzz, below? [This photo gave me the idea for a “large square ottoman” made up of a coffee table and two small ottomans. Alternatively, it could be four of the ottomans bunched together and accessorized.]


    family room ideas · More Info


    7. The floor lamp, which I love, does indeed need to be larger (although there is very little room between the chair and the wall.)

    Lessons learned:

    1) don’t expect furniture from one home to work in the next, and

    2) hire the right designer as early as possible! I have wasted years of time and a lot of money, without the desired results. I like each piece individually, but I can’t even tell which works in this space and which doesn’t.

    Is there a way to save this furniture with the right accessories??? I desperately need help to make as much as possible work a whole lot better than it is. Please keep working with me! I need fresh eyes and ideas to get back to at least one of those inspiration photos, if possible. If not, then I need to figure out how to complete the project. Did I say that I’m stuck?

  • HU-161159613

    Could you add some cream textured drapes to offset the blinds. My friend made some with painter cloths and they were super easy and looked really nice. She had stained plantation shutters and the drapes lightened up the look. It looked totally different. Your space looks really nice!

    dsimber thanked HU-161159613
  • dsimber

    to HU-161159613

    Thank you for sharing your friend’s success with lightening up her room.


    Might someone with the skills and an app be willing to add a very neat stack of off-white drapes on each side of the two sets of windows in the seating area? (I removed a lamp and artwork in case this would make it easier.)


    Here’s a photo that includes both sets of windows.



  • groveraxle

    Start by pulling your rug 1/3 of the way under the sofa. Try one chair at 90° to the sofa, the other on the corner angled toward the sofa.


    You need a taller lamp. Yes to creamy curtains. You need a portrait format frame where the Ansel Adams is.

  • groveraxle

    Bolder stuff and less of it.


    dsimber thanked groveraxle
  • lookatthedetails

    Whoa Jan Moyer! Feedback can be given without being rude. She's not whining, just asking for help and ideas. Tone it down.

    dsimber thanked lookatthedetails
  • PRO
    JAN MOYER

    I realize she is. But, DIMENSIONS are critical to planning. Sort of never works. Sorry.........but the inches matter. I admit I get annoyed when the thread grows, the "solutions" pour forth, and they still are missing. But. you will be correct when you note it hasn't been 24 hours . Fifty lashes with a wet noodle for me. I probably looked too often....a break from a really IMPOSSIBLE floor plan on a remodel. Insert BIG crying emoi. lol. Yes, I whined. All day.

  • dsimber

    Thank you, groveraxle, for adding the panels and other ideas! Your addition of an arch lamp helps me see how the space can be better filled with big items. I already have an arch lamp over the dining table (because this rented apartment doesn’t have a fixture there.) That makes me wonder about how to make a second one work. Might you and/or others “try out” a few more options in that corner...so I can see the difference? Thank you for helping focus on the big changes first before adding in smaller items like task lighting.

  • dsimber

    I used this photo to help me with the tv corner, but I only like that corner of the pic; the rest of the room is too MCM for me. I like the asymmetry of the two prints above to fill that space with interest and draw the eye upward, away from the tv. But if I add drapery panels, I probably cannot add a print on the right side, as was done here. And it’s the combination of the two prints that drew my eye.

    Apartment · More Info


  • dsimber

    This is the photo I used to help me decide on a rug color and size.

    Apartment · More Info


    The diagrams below were helpful as I worked within the confines of the three walls of my living area.

    Please note that my area rug is 7’11” x 9’9” which is closer in size to the one in middle diagram.

    Apartment · More Info


  • katinparadise

    following

  • 7854so

    Why can’t you replace the blinds?

  • dsimber

    I suppose for consistency in appearance from the exterior. We are only allowed to add window treatments.

  • dsimber

    katinparadise: I remember you helped me in the past! A number of purchases and more than a year later, I’m still not liking this room. I need to let go of the inspiration photo and work with what I have. Thank you for being here! Please weigh in again as I try out ideas shared here.

  • dsimber

    no longer relevant/removed to shorten my thread

  • dsimber

    no longer relevant/removed to shorten my thread

  • suezbell

    What you have doesn't look bad at all. It doesn't have the modern/cooler vibe of the first pic but you cannot get a modern gray room by adding the warmth of the wood blinds look. If, however, you feel you have too much black, consider painting the metal white or pale gray for a much cooler vibe.

    Black goes with anything much better than "cream" or off white will go with your gray. The "cream" or off white curtains/drapes likely will just look dirty. If you're going to add window treatment's to your windows, add white shears to them all and choose the sheers that hide your rod in a top "hem". Would not add drapes or curtains to only part of the windows, leaving the others "naked" with only blinds -- leave just the blinds on all of the windows rather than doing that. Painting metal black is a good way to make it more likely to meld with any color scheme.

    You might look for a taller lamp than the one that is in your second pic (original post).

    A narrower table or floor lamp/table combo unit between your dark chairs could enable you to put them closer together by a few inches and move the rug those few inches farther beneath the sofa and/or move the sofa more over the rug rather than buying a new rug..

    You might consider raising the tv several inches and setting it on a white corner wall unit or one painted the color of your walls.

    http://gbrewing.com/

    If a new tv console is not in your budget, consider just a corner shelf painted the color of your walls. You could set a basket or magazine stand or statue or storage ottoman (with wheels) or other treasure or useful item beneath it.

    https://www.wayfair.com/Ebern-Designs--French-Floating-Corner-TV-Stand-for-TVs-up-to-50-inches-XHX11919-L6-K~W001857555.html?refid=GX347210720314-W001857555_1374433159&device=c&ptid=780208297809&network=g&targetid=pla-780208297809&channel=GooglePLA&ireid=85269170&fdid=1817&PiID%5B%5D=1374433159&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIk8-XuNTv5QIVg5yzCh0ssAv9EAQYASABEgLfzPD_BwE

    You could add a glass top to the cabinet you have and set it across from the sofa with a couple of live potted plants atop it.

    Let us know how your project turns out.

    dsimber thanked suezbell
  • PRO
    Michelle Scott for Ethan Allen - Laguna Niguel, CA

    What color are the Ferri ottomans that you have ordered? I like the idea of bringing in the caramel or saddle color - to relate to the wood blinds that have to stay - that will help them look more purposeful and less like something you are fighting with.


    Edited to say - I just looked at the original photo of your place, and I see that you already have your ottomans - i just put together a quick visual to show 4 ottomans - two existing and two in the caramel leather, "checkerboarded".


    dsimber thanked Michelle Scott for Ethan Allen - Laguna Niguel, CA
  • dsimber

    Suezbell, you have lots of ideas; I like some, and I want to understand the others. So please stay with me.

    Especially online, photos are not very true to color, and I’m not sure we all see colors the same, anyway. I don’t see any gray in my fave photo. In my current seating area, there is a little charcoal gray in the tweed of the sofa, but the overall color is definitely taupe.

    I agree that the blinds don’t work with taupe or gray--yet someone decided on this wall color with these blinds for over 100 units! The complex was just opening when I sold my house, and the impression from the model unit I chose was that my furniture would work here. How did I not see the color of the blinds? Maybe they hadn’t been installed at the time?

  • tangerinedoor

    I'm having trouble figuring this out.... The pieces in your living room don't seem to bear any similarity—in style, color, or overall look—to the fantasy photo. So, I'm confused about what you want to have happen: turning your current "look" into the same sort of thing as your model, or skipping the model altogether?


    By not having "any similiarity" I mean that the top photo is all straight lines, minimalist, and no embellishment. The only pieces that are curvy (and even those are minimalist) are accessories. Your furniture all has curves and detail, and is definitely not minimalist, stark, or monumental. This extends to all the pieces that have any upholstery (the corners are rounded), the curves in the sofa (Victorian style is the exact opposite of minimalist) as well as your beautiful sideboard.


    There is nothing "neutral" in your inspiration photo, but everything is "neutral" in your living room.


    If you want the model look, you'd have to scrap all the furniture you own and start over.


    So, what exactly are you trying to make happen?


    PS: Why do the blinds have to be down? Just reel them up, add curtains with a pelmet and forget they're there.

    dsimber thanked tangerinedoor
  • groveraxle

    Both your inspiration photos are totally minimalist. The brown blinds are a real obstacle to that look and the chairs are not quite contemporary. Larger lamps, larger and bolder and fewer items of decor will help. I would have chosen a white or wood media console that didn't stand out so much.



    dsimber thanked groveraxle
  • tangerinedoor

    The second and third inspiration photos are vastly different from the first and each other. One goes more crafstman style, the other more eclectic.

    So, I think you have some serious inspiration choices to make.

    The tables with upholstered tops don't belong in any version, and the sofa is dragging you down IMO.

    dsimber thanked tangerinedoor
  • tangerinedoor

    IMO your room is begging for some color and pattern.

    Eclectic photos from Houzz (click on the photo links to see more of the room):


    Historic Grapevine Ranch · More Info



    Gregory Road · More Info



    Charlton Ave Residence · More Info


    dsimber thanked tangerinedoor
  • dsimber

    [Scroll down to see a photo of the sofa added on Nov. 22.] Other info I first posted here is no longer relevant; I removed it to shorten my thread. Hopefully, that makes it easier for all to see my most recent thoughts and efforts based on ideas shared by all of you!

  • skunst2017

    If you can't loose the wooden blinds ..CAN you paint the inside white ???

  • ulisdone

    On my screen your nice furnishing are OVERWHELMED by what appears to be olive green walls. These walls cast a monochrome of green on everything. You say your sofa is grey ; I see green.

    If you can’t paint the walls, add a goodly number of white/ off white drapery panels to cover the walls.

    Also, you need some larger scaled lamps, or a floor standing something to reach into the top third of the space’s height.

    groveraxle’s mockup has some of these new elements.

    Maybe go to one of the big box stores that have cheap polyester rugs ( many look like wool) that could bring in some pattern and a bit of color (blue?). Light weight and easily returnable.

    dsimber thanked ulisdone
  • tangerinedoor

    The floor lamp design is a feature of the first "idea photo" from Houzz I showed upthread. So is your rug.

    Really, browse through Houzz and get photos that you like and that show similar pieces to what you have. IMO this is the only way for folks to see what you want.


    The photos you're offering are CLEARLY NOT what you really want....your heart doesn't take you there when you shop for furnishings.


    Also, I wouldn't recommend buying anything, swapping anything, or deciding what to "keep or change" until the style thing is very much sorted out. Getting new pieces is putting the cart before the horse...it's what led you far from your "inspiration photo" in the first place. Yep, find your style first.


    Hint: "eclectic" often has a few classic pieces in it; classic is just not the whole room. All 3 rooms I selected above have several classic items. This makes them definitely "contemporary" rather than "period".


    Try finding photos that have the wood blinds....

    dsimber thanked tangerinedoor
  • dsimber

    Clarifying the colors in this living area...in response to ulisdone...

    The sofa fabric, seen here with other swatches, is tweed. It has some charcoal gray in it, but it definitely reads taupe. The taupe leather swatch is what I had considered for an ottoman at the time I was purchasing the black chairs. According to the designer who was helping me, these all work together. I think what I see is a yellow or gold undertone.


    Apartment · More Info


    Michelle Scott: I just looked back and realized I missed your post with a mock-up of ottomans. Thank you for that! I purchased the two ottomans during a floor sale, so I saved enough that I would be able to replace the linen fabric with leather when I decide on a color. That allowed me to try out the off-white. If I don’t use them in this room, they will be a nice addition at the end of a bed, and we can pull them into the family room when needed for my sons’ feet!

  • ulisdone

    Looking closely at your colors, albeit on my screen, they may be all taupes but they appear to be different colors: sofa brown/ red taupe, rug a yellow, walls green beige “taupe”, blinds and craftsman console orange, etc. I think this is why the room is not harmonious. Find a neutral color to paint the walls.

  • groveraxle

    This is not the minimalist look, but might more closely meld with what you already have.


    dsimber thanked groveraxle
  • dsimber

    grover: Thanks for helping me see different ideas. A large round ottoman is aesthetically pleasing, while four small ottomans provide more flexibility. If I haven’t said it already, the form vs. function question is what led me to choose a sofa and chairs that were not in my inspiration photos. I didn’t follow my heart.


    You kindly added drapery panels to my photograph. I can see a tripod floor lamp working in this space, thanks to you. What I can’t see is whether that--or something similar--would work with the table lamps I chose. I’ll be back.

  • dsimber

    ulisdone: Accurate color is difficult to capture. Light changes everything, and the light in this room changes all day long. I can see in the photo that the undertones don’t look the same. However, they appear to be the same throughout the day.


  • dsimber

    Reflecting on some of the ideas that have been shared, I made some changes without the view of the tv in mind. (On the few occasions when family comes for movies or a game, we’ll just move the chairs.) My efforts are to get the bones right, then add any tables or console and drapery panels..


    new layout 11-22-19 · More Info



    new layout 11-22-19 · More Info



    new layout 11-22-19 · More Info



    new layout 11-22-19 · More Info


    I moved the area rug so it is equidistant from the three walls; this now allows for the front third of the sofa as well as the chairs to sit on it. I rearranged chairs with a different table between them and added a table lamp. The placement of the chairs is pleasing, and I like the scale of this table better. If I were to rearrange anything, I would move the sofa off the rug again to open up the space. [See upthread for the diagrams for area rug placement.]

    I also replaced off-white pillows and throws with taupe, rust, and red (all pulled from a patterned pillow.) The color of the blinds seems less noticeable, as I had remembered from fall decorating last year. Drapery panels would still be a good idea to break up all those blinds. I would very much appreciate feedback on these changes before proceeding with anything else. Please let me know what you think.

  • dsimber

    I followed the advice of tangerine, and spent a whole lot of hours looking at Houzz photos. That helped immensely, so I thank you!

    Okay. confession time. I started a much smaller dilemma within this project so I could try to make ONE decision. As it turned out tedbixby shared a couple photos from my idea book for all those Houzzers who want to see the whole room. Thank you for the many contributions that led me to make the most recent changes in arrangement and color scheme. You helped me to put the baby [inspiration photo] to bed for now and use what was looking and feeling like cold bathwater :-( That is, the items I’ve purchased in the past couple of years. Some say it’s related, but not as much as I’d hoped. The upshot is that I’m starting to like this! I should have trusted my instincts last fall and kept those accent colors year ‘round. But this is all good.


    If you want to continue to give feedback, please find me at Wanted! Good eye for corner art! Mockup skills a bonus! Just know that I move at a turtle’s pace. When I don’t, I make mistakes. With so much help in considering what I like and don’t like, I will complete this room...as complete as any room ever gets.

  • skunst2017

    If don't understand why your wooden blinds are down ALL the time . Is the law of the condo that you keep it closed up all day ? If not cant you just keep them up and cover with a modern white drape ? Are you allowed to paint the wooden blinds on your side ? I would explore this to keep it more modern . ( you can always promise to paint it brown when you move out . ) I mean from the inside of your house ...all you would see is white blinds ...which would be more modern and give more of your preferred look ....????!!!

  • dsimber

    The blinds are down to control the light. South and west windows. I close them completely in order to take photos; otherwise there is too much light for my phone camera and the photos would be too dark.

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268