One of my oldest and best friends recently enlisted me to help redo her living room. Needless to say, I was THRILLED. They own a really cute house near the city. It was built in 1969 and has been updated with some really cool features including a killer kitchen and awesome spa bathroom. The living room is a really unique space and honestly, quite a design challenge. There is a load-bearing pole right next to the front door which I had to work around. The room is also separated into 2 different spaces. There’s the main living area, and then there is a large-ish alcove area. Below are some before shots of the room:
My original idea was to block off the alcove area using the pole as the beginning of the wall. However, after taking some measurements and walking through the space, I realized this just wasn’t going to be an option. You can see that to create some separation in the area, they set their TV up at the front of the alcove with two bookcases flanking it. This did bring their TV closer to the couches, but it literally made the space behind the TV unusable. The only way to get back there was to physically push a bookcase out of the way.
Besides the general layout of the room, my friend also wanted to freshen up the decor in the space. The first thing I knew had to go were the couches and recliner. As my friend can attest, I thoroughly loathe recliners. The couches also reclined which made the seating situation doubly bad in my eyes. Also, their sweet kitty had done a number on them with her claws. It was time for the couches to move on. My friend really had her heart set on a sectional, so that’s what we set our sights on. She really digs light, cool colors and was wanting to go for a coastal vintagy theme. I kept envisioning a light tan canvas material, something squishy and comfy but that had a tougher fabric for kitty. We eventually found a winner from Macy’s which they were able to score on sale (pictures to come in a following blog post!).
The great thing about my friends is that they already had a lot of really cool stuff. Through the years, they had accumulated a lot of different knick knacks and art. Most of the work I did the first day was just from ‘shopping’ in their house. You can see in the below photos, I had a lot of stuff to choose from.
The first day, we mainly focused on reorganizing the items they had, removing pieces that didn’t fit in with our design plan, and refocusing the room with a better layout. After consulting with my godmother who is a professional designer, I decided that really the only way I could make this work was the push the TV all the way back to the back wall and bring the furniture forward. This would make the unusable space usable again and also make the space feel much more open and airy. This was the first change we made when I got there and boy did it make a difference! I chose to say bye-bye to the blue curtains on the windows in exchange for something white to brighten up the room (my friend conveniently already had some white curtains in her closet! Score!). She wasn’t happy with her current rug so I decided to remove it completely from the room. I switched it out with the rug in their dining area as it was really too large for the space it was living. While ‘shopping’ in her house, I found an absolutely GORGEOUS painting done by her mother of a seascape. It was framed in a chippy white frame which was perfect for our coastal vintage theme. I also found a killer geometric aztec rug hiding behind a bookcase. It doesn’t get much better than that. We made a quick trip to Target and picked up a few things. However, like I said, we really didn’t need too much. We already had a lot to work with. I removed most of the art on the walls, laid everything out, and basically started from scratch. The only thing I left up were the shelves above the couch as per her husband, “they were a bitch to hang,”. I was envisioning a gallery wall behind the couch and figured I could work the shelving into my design plan. I also moved the bookcases that were flanking the TV to different areas of the room. I rearranged the knick knacks on the bookcases and on the shelves above the couch as well. Below are the ‘afters’ of the first day. Keep in mind, all of this was only step 1 of the redesign.
Ignore all the stuff in the floor, these were taken at about 10pm as I was walking out the door 🙂 I was quite pleased with stage 1. The room felt SO much more opened up and everything had a much nicer flow.
Stay tuned for stage 2: COUCHES!