aileensiu

Brighten up Living Room

Aileen S
14 days ago

Hello everyone,


We have a newborn arriving at the end of June and I've been deciding on how to organize the living room with the playpen and possibly toys... At the same time, I've been battling a few years now on ow to brighten up our living room. I didn't think it'd be such an overwhelming task. I'm hoping that I can kill two birds with one stone this time - reorganizing for baby's arrival and brightening up the room... I really do need help as I feel the research online that I've been doing is not helping at all and I'm probably just throwing away money for things that are not working.
The darkness looms over the living room during working hours. Since I'll be home for quite an extended period of time after birth, being in a room is all very depressing when it's dark. Turning on the lights of course is an option but I'm hoping reorganizing will help.

So far I have removed all smaller photo frames to 'declutter' to make it look bigger. There is a window in the living room but it has minimal light since it faces my neighbor's window in a shared common alleyway. The roof almost blocks all the light that can come in so I'm not even sure why there is a window as part of the building plan. In any event, I tried to place a large mirror across from the window to reflect light. Unfortunately, due to minimal light, it does not serve its purpose of reflecting light but it does reflect another window on the other side of the wall which is not bad :(

The only time the living room gets light is in the afternoon when the sun finally reaches the front door and I have a picture showing the room at that time of the day.


Is this a project where I need to restart by removing all the furniture and then putting them back one at a time?

I was looking into replacing my Ikea Ektorp sofa with the Ikea Vimle (white)
as it features a more minimalist look. After measuring and deciding, I then found out it's being discontinued and replaced with a new line in April.



Light in the picture makes it look brighter than it is.



Picture shows dark living room from both entrance and kitchen


Afternoon sun from entrance finally comes into living room.


Any help greatly appreciated

Comments (17)

  • PRO
    Sabrina Alfin Interiors

    First, get yourself a patterned rug with multiple colors in it. Given your furniture and traditional style architectural details, I'd go with a traditional Persian-style or Moroccan style version. Then use the colors in the rug for accents, e.g. throw pillow, window treatments, etc.

    Something with reds/blues or reds/oranges would go nicely with what you have, and you can buy additional pieces with those colors in mind. Look at these examples for style, not size:


    Consigned, Vintage Worn Oriental Hand-Knotted Persian Design Rug, Red, 9'9"x7'4" · More Info



    Safavieh Vintage Persian Collection VTP435 Rug, Saffron/Cream, 4' X 6' · More Info



    Consigned, Vintage Berber Moroccan Rug, 6'4 x 9'6 · More Info


    Aileen S thanked Sabrina Alfin Interiors
  • FinallyHome

    I've got to say that is one loooong dog you've got there.

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  • Theresa Janssen

    first, a question... is there another window behind the macrame wall hanging? just first trying to understand your window situation.

  • Aileen S

    I was taking a panarama shot and the dog was walking at the same time. :)


    i only have one window in the living room behind the macrame wall hanging. The window you see is actually my neighbors window.


    I was researching a little more as I originally thought may be I have too much furniture. I think it could be that I don’t have a cohesive flow. And the furnitures are probably too ‘heavy’ looking including thr two hanging lights I have.


    I don’t think I have much choice about bringing natural light into the house. ;(


  • dianabythelocks

    If you'd like some help with furniture arrangement, we need a floor plan with measurements, showing doors & windows. Using graph paper makes this easier. Thx.

    Aileen S thanked dianabythelocks
  • Aileen S

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! I started the layout in Illustrator a few days ago.. Will this help?


    Was also thinking of removing the bench that we received as a hand me down. Although I'd love to create a nook space to cozy up with a book or whatnot, I found myself always ending up on the sofa instead. With the baby coming, was thinking of saving that corner for playpen or changing table. Bassinet will most likely be placed next to the sofa for ease and access. After removing the bench, was thinking of just hanging bigger pictures and they said putting some black accent actually might help make a contrast and make the room brighter? So I was looking at wall tapestry and possibly hanging a couple of pictures of my pets that I've been meaning to print out but just don't know where to put it.


    Also was looking into removing the macramé and just hang plants but with the low light situation, I'm afraid the plants won't live. Then I thought of may be putting a light near it so that it can have a bit of light at night to sustain. Most of the pictures I've been looking online has the window as very bright so I don't know how it will really actually look.


    I'm really hoping this will be the last change I do to my living room. I've also loved a bohemian theme living room but I feel it's too dark for it? I've been here for 6 years now and haven't been happy with any of the arrangements. and my older dog is going blind very soon so the vet said it's best to not move any furniture's around once she's fully blind.....


    Probably also need to remove all the mismatch seating furniture either received as hand me down or bought as-is for the price. We used to have two main Ektorp sofa, 3 seater and love seat, but the 3 seater was ruined so we are left with just love seat. May be we should get a sectional instead? I'm assuming removing some furniture will again make it less heavy??


    I'm really hoping this will be the last change I do to my living room. I've also loved a bohemian theme living room but I feel it's too dark for it? I've been here for 6 years now and haven't been happy with any of the arrangements. and my older dog is going blind very soon so the vet said it's best to not move any furniture around once she's fully blind.....


    Again, any any help would be greatly appreciated.











  • tsjmjh

    I like the plant idea (especially if the guy comes with) but I have a black thumb - no idea what grows well in low light.


    Definitely get a large rug; the baby is going to spend lots of time in the room with you, on the floor. My daughter said the parental sanity-saving toy was the play mat. They had twins - double sanity save.


    For the first few months, you don't need toys or lots of toy storage - maybe a nice Ikea something to hold the rattles and things you'll get for gifts? As the weeks/months go by, you'll figure out what gets used and where to put it. And that it's just a mess for a while, lol. Using the space where the bench is could be a "holding" area.


    Do you have room in the adjoining kitchen for the changing table? If you plan to use a playpen, that can double as a bassinet - no need for both pieces in your living room.


    Of course, I was a new mother long ago. Times/toys have changed but I do remember being so overwhelmed that none of those magazine photos of pristine infant/toddler/child rooms with pristine floors and color coordinated clothes hanging in closets were ever going to happen in my home. Mine were lucky to get clean clothes, let alone the pink playsuit on its pink hanger.



    Aileen S thanked tsjmjh
  • dianabythelocks

    It sounds like you're willing to get a new sofa. How about other furniture in your room? What do you have & want to keep, vs. get rid of? Do you have a dining room or eat-in kitchen space? What color is your paint, and would you be willing to repaint? Do you have a budget in mind? Thx.

    Aileen S thanked dianabythelocks
  • partim

    Does your window face North or South? Are those shutters decorative or do you use them? What is on the wall to the right of the window?

    Can you take a picture of the kitchen walls that adjoin the living room, and on the other side, also the foyer/staircase walls? I'm thinking that a pass-through or internal window might be possible. Is a skylight or sun tunnel possible? https://www.houzz.co.uk/magazine/decorating-exciting-internal-windows-and-gorgeous-interior-glazing-stsetivw-vs~34767246

    Aileen S thanked partim
  • partim

    Here is an idea. The brightest part of your room is the center, yet your furniture is arranged against the walls, in the dark areas.Your traffic path goes through the lighest area yet there is no way to sit there.

    If you moved your TV to the wall, and faced the sofa to it, you'd be sitting in a sunny spot in the morning, and in the evening the sun would be coming over your shoulder. The traffic path goes across the front of the fireplace, a dark area.

    Choose a lower-back sofa so it does not block the light. The blue line is the new traffic path through the room. The gray circle is a chair angled to face the conversation area. It's a really nice sunny spot. You could either have a sofa with a footstool or chaise, or a sectional. Not too big but I drew it as a 87" sofa which should be ample.

    Aileen S thanked partim
  • Aileen S

    We used to have a rug in the living room but we have three dogs and there was one where she would like to take her afternoon break on it somehow. We removed it and then she stopped her afternoon pee breaks. Perhaps i can try it again and see if she will do it again. and since I have three dogs, the other dogs follow suit.. :(


    I don't have a dining room; only a eat in with the kitchen. I do however, have a small area in the kitchen for a changing table. and we are planning on using cloth diaper so it'll be interesting lol. Unfortunately, I don't think I have option to create a pass through wall. The only wall I was thinking of being able to knocking down or creating an opening is the one that leads into the kitchen but there's an air vent at the bottom and light switch on the other side of the wall :(

    Preferably I'd like to keep the bench as it has four big deep draws. I can probably put baby stuff in there without having them lie in open areas of the house. My original thought was using the corner space with the window for the baby area as it does have some light. I bought Ikea frames kind of matching to the bench and was going to hang two above and I also have a 2x4 foam core picture that I'd like to hang but if it doesn't match then I probably shouldn't use it...(see picture below) I was also looking at Montessori Toy Storage based on other Houzz member suggestions and placing foam mattress for the baby.


    The wall paint in the Foyer and living room is Benjamin Moore Cloud White. The paint in the kitchen is Benjamin Moore Lemon Sorbet. I don't think we will be repainting the walls.


    I'm hoping to keep the budget within a minimum of course now that we have a baby coming :). Sofa is really the big furniture I was thinking of replacing and may be the hanging lights.






    Wall that I was thinking of putting an opening through but there's a vent at the very bottom behind the recliner and there's light switch on the other side of the wall in the kitchen. I was thinking I can put the changing station in this area with a change pad over the existing ikea cart.



    the hanging light with reflection


    The bench area where I bought the Ikea frames to hang around.





    The hanging light with reflection in the ceiling



    May be I can reuse this wall tapestry for the sofa but not sure if it's too light and need a darker version.



  • partim

    The kind of opening between the rooms that I am suggesting would not involve the removal of a wall. You would need to remove one or maybe 2 studs and re-support them, like this. We did this when we installed 2 large inset medicine cabinets in a load bearing wall. It's not that complicated. If it's not a load-bearing wall then you may not even need to do this, I'm not sure. It would not affect the heating duct at the bottom, or the light switch.



    Aileen S thanked partim
  • dianabythelocks

    Try to concentrate on the furniture and placement first - put aside the pictures, wall hanging, etc. for now. You may want a rug, but you can't choose it until you know where your furniture is and then what size rug (unless you might want to decorate around the rug colors).


    I see a brown chair, and a chair that might be wicker? Is the brown chair fairly new, so that you will want to keep that color in mind when buying a sofa?


    What are the chances of moving the TV, as in partim's layout? If nil, that will affect the planning.


    How old is your dog? Have you heard of doggie diapers? This might affect your getting a rug. I've heard mothers say that a soft rug is nice for babies to lay/crawl on.


    These are items that help focus on the plan. Thx.

    Aileen S thanked dianabythelocks
  • Aileen S

    Hello.


    Thank you partim for the idea. We used to have the love seat placed as an L shape similar to how you have it. I measured our tv and it won’t fit onto the wall and I think I’d prefer to leave the TV up against the fireplace and the idea of putting an opening the wall is appealing. I guess we will need a contractor for that type of work.


    I was thinking of getting a sectional sofa similar to how we have it as the L shape but I’m afraid the dogs will ruin the cushion in no time again. the love seat cushions were flattened by the dogs always lying on top of the cushion to watch the front door. So I thought of getting a sofa with just a chaise so at least they can sleep there instead. And I was hoping it was going to make the room look slightly larger. I guess the traffic pattern would still be similar to how you had it.


    flattened by the dogs




    my oldest dog is 15 and she has diapers now and only walk around I n the kitchen when we are not home. Actually her activity is so low and quiet, sometimes forget that she’s around. :(

    The other two are 10 and they roam around a bit but majority of the time, they lounge in the foyer (perhaps waiting for us to come home) I don’t think it’s her age that triggers her break time Becuase when I removed the rug, she doesn’t do it anymore. Oddly enough I do miss the rug because they play on the rug a lot when it was there compared to now with bare hardwood.


    Thank you again on providing feedback. You are correct, need to focus on furniture placement over art decor. i think I do have a placement in mind if we were to keep everything else the same. The sofa will be a chaise and facing the tv/fireplace. may be I can try pushing the sofa forward a little away from the wall.


    the sofa wall is so long , I don’t even know what to put there. Lol.

    I

  • dianabythelocks

    If you plan on keeping the brown chair, I would probably go with a medium beige sofa. Center it in front of the fireplace/tv, with the chaise part on the kitchen side. Whether you have a bassinet or crib, it could go on the chaise end of the sofa to make it convenient to attend to the baby, at least for now. The brown chair could go to the left of the fireplace, angled toward the sofa, and the other chair could sit on the opposite side. Try arranging your furniture this way and take a couple of pictures for us for more input. (You could put your current ottoman where the chaise section would sit to give an idea of the space.)

    Aileen S thanked dianabythelocks
  • dianabythelocks

    Do you have any side tables for lamps?

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