Need ideas for furnishing my living room

red.pajamasJune 30, 2014


I need some ideas for furnishing and decorating my living room. We are basically starting with a blank slate here.

The room is beautiful, but it has some challenges.

As you can see in the pictures, the living room is open to the foyer and the dining room. There are two story high ceilings in the living room/foyer. One wall has two story high windows, while the other is just a big empty wall. The pictures make the room look quite large, but it is surprisingly narrow in width.

We have a 9 month old and we plan to have two more children. Our plan is to change the light fixture in the dining room and make it into a play space for our kids for the next 5-10 years. This means that the living room needs to be family friendly. We want it to basically be a seating area that overlooks the play area- somewhere where the adults can be while watching the kids play. I really want it to be a warm, cozy, snuggle-up with a book kind of area.

What I want to add to the room includes:
- either a sectional or a sofa/loveseat/chair arrangement
- a fabric ottoman
- kid friendly end tables (maybe round?)
- lamps
- area rug
- some kind of art to fill the big empty wall
- maybe a plant or two
- NO tv

We need to keep in mind that we have children and dogs when choosing furniture. Also, that we put a Christmas tree up for a month out of the year- usually by the window. Paint color stays (lenox tan in living room, olive branch in dining room/ playroom).

I really need advice not just on furniture arrangement, but on ideas for colors, fabric vs leather upholstery, art, etc. Basically everything! I would say our style is transitional. We tend to play it on the safe side- not too modern.

All ideas are greatly appreciated! Thanks.

This post was edited by red.pajamas on Mon, Jun 30, 14 at 23:50

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Another view

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 11:46PM
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    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 11:47PM
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Attached dining area, which will be a playroom

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 11:48PM
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Empty wall

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 11:49PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Take a look at for some inspiration. There are really dramatic treatments where they hang drapery panels floor to ceiling. If you want cozy, you will want some fabrics and carpets around to soften the space, especially with the high ceilings. You also have to think about art...if you want to go high with it or treat the walls as if there were a 1st floor ceiling, like a waterline around the room. Also, you give us no clue as to your style, tastes, color preferences. So you really need some inspiration to head you in the right direction....

Contemporary Family Room by Chicago Interior Designers & Decorators Mary Cook

Rustic Living Room by Johns Island Architects & Building Designers Wayne Windham Architect, P.A.

Transitional Living Room by Minneapolis Interior Designers & Decorators Martha O'Hara Interiors

Traditional Family Room by Cumming Interior Designers & Decorators Window Dazzlers by Mar Innovations Inc

Find an inspiration and the design process will get to be a lot easier.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 7:34AM
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I think your foremost consideration has to be child-safe and child-proof. So, I'd recommend either leather or something like Crypton fabric for seating. Also, lots of easy storage in the play area, like bins. Maybe look into a storage unit by IKEA, e.g. the Expedit. (Google expedit and playroom). It's also great for books. And rugs for the play area (indoor/outdoor) and the main LR. Shelves/storage units need to be fastened to the wall. Outlet covers, no cords, no glass, etc.

It will depend on your kids, but for the longest time we had no plants (kids ate them or played with the soil), no drapes (they climbed up), no coffee table (sharp edges, and parachuting, chairs on table, etc.), no knickknacks, valuable vases, electronics, lamps within reach. In fact, I wouldn't get anything too valuable or anything that's dear to you, unless you can live with it breaking.

Oh, and please, let's not get into a discussion of (lack of) proper parenting. My kids turned out just fine.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 10:25AM
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Thanks for the replies. I love the curtain idea, but agree with the second poster that that may have to come later because of safety.

What are everyone's thoughts on sectional vs sofa/ loveseat and where would they be placed?

I have considered cream leather and I have considered medium browns. Opinions on colors and upholstery materials? I want mainly earth tones I think.

I appreciate the advice!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 12:51PM
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Oh and I think with art, I want to keep it as though there were a lower ceiling.

I sort of wish there was a fireplace or windows on the big wall like in the pics. That would really help!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 12:55PM
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Red Pajamas. Based on your criteria, the sofa will probably be the item that is the boundary between the kids area and the adult area. That way you have a large item that will partially block the view. A sectional seems out of the question because the flatscreen will end up on your big wall. Walking into the room into the back of the sectional in this case would not be successful. A layout like this might work for your room, though it's hard to tell from the photos if there's really enough room for facing sofas, as you'd need at least 12' from the window to the overhanging ceiling to pull this layout off.

Be careful with color selections as the room is awash in beige already.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 1:26PM
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Thank you. There won't be a tv in the room, so that isn't an issue. I am not sure if we want a boundary between kids and adults. I think we want to be open to the playroom, so maybe chair or chairs on that side- or by the window to let the light in. I like the two chairs and table.

The room is very narrow. I could do a sofa in that orientation, but it would be flush to the wall- no table and just enough room for walking space.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 1:38PM
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What are your living and dining room dimensions. If your room is very narrow, maybe put the sofa on the tall wall in the living room and ad a chair or two. One in front of the window and one across from it (on either side of the sofa).

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 5:24PM
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The dining room is 12.5 feet by 8 feet.

The living room gets tricky, because of all the corners by the window. From the edge of the dining room to the window, it is close to 15 feet. The width is almost 8 feet at the window, 9.5 feet just up from the window and 11 feet from wall to stair railing.

There needs to be enough room for a walk space along where the stair railing is, because there is a doorway in the dining room on that side.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 11:51PM
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Here is a picture of the room with some of our old furniture in it (this is all going, including the rug!) it gives you an idea of how narrow it is with a standard sofa in place!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 11:58PM
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What about a sectional with the long end along the wall, a loveseat end by the window and a chaise end by the dining room? In beige leather?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 1:57PM
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I wouldn't add more beige to the room. How about an IKEA Karlstad in white leather? It doesn't come as a corner sectional in leather, though. Although I have to say that our dark blue leather sofa was the best decision with small kids.

Come to think of it, a blue couch (or maybe dark gray) would work with your walls.

Here is a link that might be useful: sectionals in small spaces

This post was edited by nosoccermom on Thu, Jul 3, 14 at 9:26

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:17AM
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I like the color of the karlstad! I think I would o with something a little larger though. Not sure about blue/grey. That is what's in there now and I am not loving it.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 12:15AM
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The advantage of a white sofa is that you have so many options.
Also, if you want to do a sectional, you could also do a loveseat end where the DR/PL is, the longer end on the long wall and a chair in the window. I now sectionals have a bad rap here on GW, but I like them for families.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 6:00AM
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Does white leather stain/ get dirty from normal use or can you just wipe clean?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 11:02AM
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There is no window in the dining/playroom? If so, I think it would be fun to paint the back wall with chalkboard paint (any color you like - would not have to black), or use cork panels. With flat molding around it, it would look nice, and be frequently used by kids. It would also serve as a focal point. Alternatively, you could wallpaper the rear wall, or hang fabric panels as an accent.

What is the room with the mirrored sliding doors? I have never been a fan of sliding doors - I would consider replacing with a pair of regular doors. If you like the mirrored aspect, you could have mirrored inserts in a panel door. Or with kids, maybe not.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 11:18AM
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Well, I have dark blue, brown, and cream leather. The dark blue and brown hide the dirt a lot better. The cream one has been ruined by the dog clawing on it and the leather is cracking, which may be because it's less good quality and maybe also is more obvious than on the darker ones.
Either way, you need to get the fully treated, shinier leather, not the softer aniline dyed ones. My brown leather sofa is "top grain aniline dyed" and it fades, scratches, and stains more easily.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 1:11PM
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