Adding layers and pizzazz

GinaXOXOFebruary 5, 2013

I have the floors done, the walls painted, the floors have been sanded and stained, the fireplace is done, and I have my couch and chairs are in place. I am not sure of what to do to complete the look. My style is minamilist. I lean toward eclectic. I like classic and modern. I have had gold, ornate, and angels for the last 12 years and I want something entirely different. Most of that is purged and I am starting over.

I like neutrals.

I want to take our family pictures and have the put on canvas. I don't know where to put them, how big, and if it should be black and white, or not.

I am stuck with the area rug because that sweet little dog had an accident on it before I had a chance to return it. Luckily, I don't dislike it. There is a chance they will take it back and if they do, I will let you know. Otherwise I have to work with it.

Can you help me find a direction?

And, today is my birthday! That is why there are flowers on that stool. The stools are for extra seating the will go on each side of the fireplace. We are using them as side tables until we find what we want to place there.

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Here is the fireplace and some of the windows. I really want to do something simple on the windows. Please remember I have had the big, full, and fluffy window treatments and I want the opposite. I just want to put shades on the bottom two windows. I am leaning toward the solar shades that block the sun but are able to see through. Privacy isn't a problem. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:23PM
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I need to do something with this built in. I have a desk in the open kitchen and we are putting a bar in the basement. I thought about putting art, or a picture on the top half and a cabinet for storage below.

Also, I am not sure how to center pictures on the wall behind the couch. Do I center it with the wall? Or do I put it behind the couch? I don't have anything yet. What size should I look for?

Also, should I get a sofa table? Is black ok?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:28PM
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This is a challenge. If I use an imaginary water line I do nothing. But there is a lot of space here. I don't want to over-do it. I want a warm feeling without adding too much stuff.

I need bar stools and still have found a comfortable set. I need six. I would have never thought it would be that hard. What color should they be? The color of the sofas? The color of the chairs? Black?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:34PM
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The staircase. Maybe I will leave this bare for now.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:35PM
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You are missing lamps...Put the table and flowers between the two chairs...the other little table, (on the other side of the chair) put it on the window side of your couch. How about a large bookcase on the wall behind your couch? If not, just some large art work. Floor lamps are minimalist and provide light in a room. I think roman shades on your lower windows would look nice.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:43PM
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Grandma, I can't figure out how to put a lamp on the side table when the furniture isn't against the wall. What do I do with the cords? I was thinking about putting this lamp in the corner on the same side you mentioned putting book shelves. Speaking of that, can you show me a picture of what you are thinking?

Tell me more about roman shades. I was thinking about roman shades because of the echoing issue I am having. Would you do a pattern? A solid? Would you have the same shade in the rooms that are open to this room? That is an issue I am having. I know some solar shades are fabric and I am still leaning toward them.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:12PM
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builders who build these big rooms with no floor plugs should be shot.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:20PM
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Haha, springroz, I wondered if that was the solution. On the flip side our friends have a lake home and my husband thinks their floor plugs are unsafe. Maybe that is because of all of the water due to it being a lake home? At any rate, I wondered about the same thing.

I should also mention that we have recessed led lighting and don't ** need ** anymore lighting. But, I am use to chair side lamps and used them a lot before moving.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:47PM
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You need color. There's too much grey (and I love grey). I don't like the couch cushions. Everything is too much the same. I would add some color to the couch. Paintings or photos with color. You could go soft, pastel or bright.

Center the painting to the couch. You could put a large floor plant in the corner or an interesting floor lamp.

You could put a group of photos or paintings on the staircase wall.

I can't tell your wall color. On my monitor your walls change from tan to peach. I'm assuming they are all painted the same.

I'd really like to see pictures, mirrors, etc on the walls.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:58PM
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Well I really love the room, it looks serene and restful to me. I love all the colors. It does need a few finishing touches... I would consider shutters or wide slat wood blinds for the windows, I have dealt with 2-story windows before and there are times when horizontal blinds are just so welcome to reduce glare and sun without blocking the view. We tried solar shades first, they didn't really do a lot to reduce the glare and heat at all. Cellular shades are also an option you can get them motorized to eliminate cords (same with the horizontal blinds!) and to control the upper level. Cellulars virtually disappear when up, and you can choose transparency level.

For the art behind the sofa I would center it on the wall, especially since the sofa is not pushed back against the wall.

Where the stairs are, consider a large potted plant (tree form) in front of the empty triangular wall space. A pachira for example would love all that light and look nice there (easy care too) or a large palm.

A few lamps will make the room more inviting too.

For the cubby, are you going to build shelves in? If not, a decorative table of some kind to showcase a few art pieces?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:06PM
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Check out this room on houzz. It's similar to yours but the furniture is arranged differently. Would this arrangement work for you? I'm not a big fan of TVs over the fireplace, so I would try to change that. A good carpenter could transform that built-in nook into a media area.

The room in the link is also very neutral, but it has added texture with tables and lamps and large-patterned pillows. Although the sad and happy pillows on the chairs drive me crazy! :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Houzz room

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:54PM
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Jane, is is Sherwin Williams Tony Taupe. I don't know if I want to add color. I was thinking about using the colors in the fireplace. The couch is the light stone color and recliners are the mortor and darker stone colors. The granite in the kitchen has the same colors. Is that too dull? It is the look that i like but i know i need to step out of my comfort zone sometimes. What do you think of the floor lamp I posted? I am not sold on it but it is interesting.

Tinan, thank you! Serene and restful is what I am looking for. I have seen it described as walking in and saying aaahhhh on this forum. I have looked up pachiras and they look perfect to me. I don't want anything high maintenance. I also found some cellular shades that I like. I am glad you told me your experience with solar shades--cellular shades might work for me. I think I will try to match the wall color so they just blend in.

Has anyone had experience with cellular shades? Will they help with echoing at all?

Geokid, YES, that arrangement in houzz would work for me. I was torn between a sectional and the furniture I have. What I like about this furniture is that I can rearrange it like the picture, or have the two couches like the picture but put the chairs where facing the vertical couch, and the way I have it now. There is something about rearranging furniture and feeling like I have something new. I will probably rotate the furniture every 3 months. I like geometric patterns. I have this picture in my idea book and never noticed the sad and happy faces. I had to really look to see what you are talking about. (; the room in minimalist and neutral. You picked up exactly on the look I want. Now I have to figure out how to pull it off. The room says aaaaahhhh, IMO.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cellular shades

This post was edited by GinaXOXO on Tue, Feb 5, 13 at 23:16

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:59PM
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Gina, I only have a second to respond, but wanted you to know I looked. I'll post my responses as soon as I'm home (tomorrow night or Thursday afternoon)


    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:07PM
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Yes, the cellular shades will help with an echo. This is my third house using duette shades from Hunter Douglas and I would highly recommend them. Yes, they can be more expensive than other brands, but I think their quality is much better too.

I would not match them to the wall color, because if you ever change the decor in the room then the shades will be wasted. I've always had white trim and matched my shades to the trim, so they "disappear" when open. With your house I would probably do an ecru/cream color that would look good with any future decor changes.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:14PM
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How about bamboo roman shades on the windows? We just put some up that I love. Since they aren't lined they filter the light.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:18PM
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Chispa, I found them and love them! I think HD duett shades are perfect. That is good advice about choosing color. Where did you buy yours?

Terriks, I haven't heard of bamboo roman shades before. I searched a little bit and found these, also by hunter Douglas. Is this what you were thinking? My trim is pretty dark so it might be hard to match. Also, I am not sure if they will help with echoing. I might need to visit a store with a HD display.

Hi Bridget! Thanks for poppin in.

I am excited about all of the advice I am getting. It helps so much. I can't wait to show you all when it is finished.

I am going to find a link of how I would like to have my family pictures displayed. I would like your thoughts.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bamboo shades

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:01AM
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Black and white photos on canvas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Large picture on canvas

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:09AM
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Here's a pic of my old ficus growing in my North window (bright, but no sun). The ceiling was about 15 ft so you can see how tall it got. I put it out each summer and cut it back before it came in.

This shot is of my past house. We moved a few years ago. The walls are painted BM Smokey Taupe which was a sort of greige.

My husband is a photographer and the walls were filled with large black and white photos of our family. They were beautiful. Our MB was RH Silver Sage and again we had BW photos. If you have shots of snowfalls, they look great against grey/beige walls. All our photos were large.

When we put our house on the market, our Realtor insisted we remove all the BW photos from the living areas. We left them up in the bedroom and hall ways. I thought it was a mistake, but we did sell the house! The room in the photo was staged by the Realor.

Here's the ficus. They don't require much care at all, just some water when you think of it.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:29AM
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Gina, You used to be able to price shop HD blinds on the internet, but the overpriced shops/dealers complained and HD is pretty strict with their sales territories, so the best way is to visit several HD shops in your area and get the best pricing ... negotiate for the best deal. The price is not fixed and each shop can decide how much markup they have.

If you live in NJ I can give you the name of a great HD shop. We don't live in that area any more, but since my parents have been buying from them for a long time, we are all grandfathered in and can order through them. Their prices were so much better than the shop near me in CA.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:34AM
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Here is a room that I am very drawn to. Not really for the individual items (although everything is amazing) but for the feel. It has that aaaaahhhhh in spades.

When I look at the items there isn't much I really want. But, I love the elegance and simplicity. I think it is minimalist but inviting.

There isn't a lot of color in the whole house. It isn't for everyone and it will probably be hard to pull off. Is it boring?

Here is a link that might be useful: I love this room

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:35AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Your room looks perfect for Christopher Lowell's 7 layers of looks like you've finished a couple of the layers and just need to finish the rest. I'm posting a link below.

One of the things about that last room inspiration room you posted is the multiple sources of light which add warmth and texture to the space, so you do need lamp lighting in the space and uplighting. If necessary, call an electrician and have some floor plugs put in under where you know a sofa will be parked.

In a room this size, and especially if you want to go minimalistic, scale becomes all important. You have that huge shelf above the fireplace that is visible from the stairs, so you need one giant piece of sculpture to put there that will give you something to look at from the stairs as well as fill in the higher space.

On the wall behind the sofa, I'd put a piece of can do either a table that is open underneath...a good place to store square ottomans for extra seating, or like a buffet that can be higher and provide some storage. Put lamps on top, another large piece of or vase or something and then you can arrange your picture grouping on the wall above that and they will be lit by the lamps. I would make them plain flat black frames with ivory mats and it would be great if the pics were done in sepia tones to go with your room colors.

I agree with geokid...the room she suggested looks more relaxed than yours. The strict symmetry is very formal while your big chairs look more informal. If you make an L out of the sofas with a square table in between with a lamp and then put the two single chairs opposite, it will ease it up. Also a round coffee table would be welcome as right now the room feels very square...round will add more relaxation to the space.

Here is a link that might be useful: 7 layers of design

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:16AM
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Annie, that is so helpful! I think I need that book. I haven't looked at that link as much as I would like. I will need more time than I have this morning.

I found this console table and ottomans and wondered if this is what you meant to do behind the couch. I have my 2 son's senior pictures on canvas and framed in black. I took their picture together on vacation so I could do a grouping of 3 above the table.

I think I want a curvier table. But I want black.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:13AM
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Cellular shades are wonderful for light control, but I don't believe they are going to help with the echo. Nothing is going to make a significant difference in the sound level except layers of carpeting, drapes and strategically-placed sound-absorbing panels, all of which are not part of your plan.

In addition to the Duets, you might consider long stationary panels on the windows, almost ceiling to floor. You could still keep the monochromatic feel to the room by using maybe a bold gray and white stripe fabric. It would bring some texture into the room. Someone on this forum did that a couple years ago in a plaid, and they are quite striking.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:17AM
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Jane, what a beautiful view! I love the ficus. I do have some snow pictures of my family in Colorado that I wanted to put up. Do I use sepia for that also, Annie? Thank you.

Thank you, Chispa. I am leaning toward the cellular shades.

Here is a lamp that I really like. I could get a pair for my console table.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:22AM
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Darn gray wings, I was afraid of that. I don't really want to add the panels but I might have to. I am considering putting sound foam above the cabinets in the kitchen. No one would see them and they might help. After doing a little research I think rock board might be the best material for this.

The echoing comes from this room so I am not sure if putting the soundproofing in the kitchen will help. It can't hurt, right?

What I plan on doing it finishing the space and adding the panels if there is still a echoing problem.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:34AM
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Annie, yes, you put into words exactly what I was feeling: the room feels too angular and formal. It's hard to get that Ahhhhh feeling. Rearranging the furniture as you suggested will help loosen it up. And a round coffee table will soften it too.

Gina, I really like that lamp and two of those would look very nice on a long table or buffet behind the sofa on the wall also like Annie suggested. The picture you posted with the table and ottomans under and three prints is what I was picturing. That was my first thought for that wall.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:59AM
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We turned the rug tonight. I can't put the legs on the rug until tomorrow. But, I will pull the couches in until the front of the couches are even top with the hearth.

The round stools will still go in front of the windows. I will still need side tables. And maybe an ottoman. I still want a console table or buffet behind the couch by the wall with black and white photos like we talked about..

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:18PM
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Here is a picture to try to give you an idea of scale.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:21PM
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I love it turned this way!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:15PM
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You don't have a sectional, but there are enough similarities between this room and yours to post it. I like how they have two coffee tables that are similar but of different sizes. This room has curtains and some greenery (which softens things and brings in color) but a very muted color palette like yours. I also like the sofa table with the big vase. You could use sculpture or vases to add texture instead of lamps if you don't need the lighting.

The large pattern in the rug is also perfect for the space. Not sure how you can achieve that though if you can't return that rug. Maybe layer rugs? You could get inexpensive smaller rugs that could be changed out with the season or when you want a change. Just an idea. I've never layered rugs so I don't know how that would work.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:44PM
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Having just sold a loft condo with 18' ceilings in the entire living/dining area and hardwood I can offer some input on the echo issue!

The cellular blinds DID help reduce echo - when they were down of course. I would definitely try to match your wall color, they will blend in and disappear when up that way. The windows are a large area of hard surface and do contribute to echo significantly.

We used a shag rug, thought that would help a lot but made no noticeable difference. ANy rug at all helps, but when we switched the sisal rug for shag we thought it would make a difference and it did not.

Get acoustic foam and place it in areas that can't be seen - even behind the canvas of a piece of art, behind the TV, etc. We bought a large box of Auralex brand on Amazon and found creative places to hide it. Putting it in corners and across from noise sources helps the most.

Putting things in corners and along walls will help too, the plants, any additional upholstered furniture, etc.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:47PM
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Thank you, Bridget.

Geokid, I think the two coffee tables will work. I think now **something** is necessary, whereas, the consensus before was that it was better with nothing. You hit me right again with the picture you posted. I love it. I haven't seen this one before.

I had a plant delivered to me today. I wished I could have returned it and traded it for one of the trees mentioned above--a ficus or pachira. If only that weren't extremely rude.

Titan, thank you so much fot addressing the echoing. I had about 4 different ideas for sound foam in my amazon cart and I have been indecisive. I guess there is the possibility that it will not be a problem once I get the rooms put together, but, to be honest I am not holding out hope for that. Anyway, is this the product?

Here is a link that might be useful: Amazon box of acoustic foam

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:05PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Much better, but I'm still troubled by the strict symmetry. I would leave the sofa on the right and put the 2nd sofa facing the fireplace and then the 2 chairs with their back to the kitchen area....if that's the way you'd come into the arrangement most often.

The sectional posted above reminds me of's nice once your in there, but not fun getting there. It tends to look unwelcoming to me as it is "walled off" on 3 sides. I like a conversational cluster that has a way in....

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 7:52AM
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I love symmetry for the large pieces, then asymmetry for smaller pieces and art work. BUT... I love Annie's idea, too. Her arrangement would make better use of the open space to the kitchen (since the chairs are angled) Wouldn't be hard to rearrange it and shoot a pic from above for us all to see? (*wink*)
I have cellular shades as well, but as you've seen in my other thread, I didn't cover the arches. I matched the blinds to my trim (white) because I like the way light is diffused through white, and I wasn't interested in darkening the room. As for echo, they helped tremendously. If you're doing drapes, I'd cover the bottom two windows and leave the uppers open, only because of the window over the fireplace.
If you pull the couches as far forward as you're intending, I think the stools will appear to be "end tables" if they're under the windows. Either leave the couches further back (which allows for two round tables instead of a coffee table, which I LOVE), or put the stools somewhere else. Depending on the round tables, they might tuck under? Bonus: 2 footstools AND 2 "coffee tables."
I want to seem some plants in there. Taller trees and smaller potted plants.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:34AM
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The pic is from Crate and Barrel. It's one of the example pics for that sectional. I forget which one. I have this picture saved because I'm trying to convince DH we need to get a few more pieces for our sectional to create this in our media room.

I also agree with Annie (your New York comparison is funny!). I like this arrangement for a media room, but for a large living room I think Annie's suggestion would work better for this space. Do you have the chairs there because that's where you sit to watch TV?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:00AM
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If you look at the photo posted that has the sectional, you'll notice that there are pops off a creamy off white in the pillows, Himilayan fur would be beautiful, and vase. You need some of that color in the room. I, too, love a monochromatic room so you're almost there. I love the idea of sepia toned photos, they'll add to the warmth.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:02AM
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