This post is part of an on-going project. We’ve collaborated with West Elm and Rejuvenation to make over our living room. If you’d like to see the entire process, all the posts are here.
I know we don’t approach the design of our home like professional interior designers. The way they can pull a room and look together has always amazed me. Their vision, plus years of experience, make it look like ice skating. So effortless, it’s often mistaken for easy.
My background is in design, but not interior design. I’m pretty keyed up to space relationships and scale. And I especially want to know how things look in a photograph because I can tell if the scale is wrong in two seconds when I put a camera on it! I’m going to share our process for picking out furniture – which might be a bit unconventional – but it’s honestly how my brain works. Picking out furniture for a room is wayyyyy different than curating a style round-up or even finding items I like on Pinterest. Let me tell you why: functionality. We need our room to function – everyone does! This is about a beautiful room, but it’s also about a room that works for us. I’m going to pack a lot of information in this post: first, the room layouts, and second, the foundation pieces.
At this moment in time, the conversations about the design of this room have been between just Will and myself. That’s it. We discuss what we need, and why it’s important to us individually. Will is focused on the bar and record area, I’m focused on seating and traffic flow. We haven’t had many discussions about the more aesthetic parts of the room. We’re a little stumped about the layout of the room. We’ve asked West Elm if we can work with a designer to answer some of our burning questions. We’ve not met the designer yet, so it will be fun to see her point of view on our space – we’ve been looking at the living room and thinking about it for years – a fresh set of eyes is always appreciated. If you are working on the design of a room in your home and are struggling, consider doing exactly the steps we are taking here. Working on it yourself, then reaching out to a professional.
A huge pro/con for this particular room is the size. It’s really big. Almost to the point of us not know what to do with it. Let’s walk through where we are today, plus our take on the new design.
When choosing furniture, we focus on key anchor pieces that set the tone for the room. We will add vintage and art to give the space a customized look. In this post, let’s focus on the foundation pieces.
1. Bruno Double Arm Floor Lamp, Rejuvenation, 2. Breda Leather Sofa, west elm collection, 3. Chelsea Display Cabinet, west elm collection, 4. Origami Leather Lounge Chair,west elm collection, 5. Printed Jacobean Tulip Pillow Cover, west elm collection, 6. Embroidered Jacobean Pillow Cover, west elm collection, 7. Edam Swivel Chair, west elm collection
1. Hex Side Table, west elm 2. Brass Hairpin Side Table, west elm collection 3. Agate Side Table, west elm 4. Gilded Brass Side Table, west elm collection 5. Disc Side Table, west elm 6. Shadow Box Side Table, west elm 7. Concrete Pedestal Side Table, wst elm 8. Hayes C-Shaped Side Table, west elm collection
1. Parisian Dining Table, Rejuvenation, 2. Lloyd Leather Dining Chair, west elm collection, 3. Highland Console, west elm collection
1. Belmont Tuxedo Settee, Rejuvenation, 2. Geo hex Side Table – Slate, west elm collection, 3. Roar + Rabbit Swivel Chair, west elm, 4. Marble + Metal Drum Coffee Table, west elm collection
Looks like the room is coming together? We want to take one more step before finalizing furniture. West Elm offers design services and since we have been struggling with the room layout, we thought it best to see what a designer would do with this space. Last week Johanna from West Elm came to Stony Ford for a visit. She was able to look at the room in person and take measurements, plus we discussed our must have items and where we were struggling. We’ll share what Johanna sends! Then the room starts coming together.
This post was sponsored by West Elm and Rejuvenation. Opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that make this content possible.
This is going to be so stunning! I love all the dark and moody colors and rich textures, and am seriously craving the Rejuvenation settee. I know you didn’t ask and I am no designer at all, but here are some thoughts on the new design:
Will you be able to see the TV over the new chairs in the main seating area? If not, you could consider replacing them with a long upholstered bench. People could also sit (or lie) on it to watch the TV if you have a movie night with guests. You could also add another chair to this seating group to the left of the coffee table — you could see the TV from there, too. Have you considered a longer rug, so if extends underneath (at least part of) the two chairs inside the columns across from the fire place? This would make them more part of the main seating group, though they would still be cozy for just two people by the fireplace (I take it these are the west elm swivel chairs?). I’m not sure of the function of the two smaller chairs next to the radiator near the record cabinet. (If it were my house, my husband would wind up stacking records on them LOL;)). If you are going to fill the niche with shelves for books, the chairs would be nice for browsing and reading. And you can pull them over to the breakfast table if you have a larger group. Ok, never mind.
In the secondary seating area (which I think is a great idea), if you pull the small sofa (and the chairs opposite it) onto the rug, it will facilitate conversation. If that rug were a bit narrower, there would be a wider space for traffic to flow between the two seating groups. Also, you could consider a sofa table (maybe with a table lamp or two?) behind the big sofa. This might create a nice view from the secondary seating area, rather than looking at the back of the sofa. Though some sofas are really pretty from the back!
Lastly, I love how the round breakfast table fits into the shape of the nook in the current plan. If you don’t want to stay with a round table, you could also do a hexagon or octagon like http://s224.photobucket.com/user/jkomenda/media/Album%203/IMG_9464.jpg.html or http://s224.photobucket.com/user/jkomenda/media/Album%203/ScreenShot2012-10-16at114115AM.png.html courtesy of littlegreennotebook.com Or is that two many hexagons with the side tables? It can be difficult to find a rug to fit an unusually shaped space, but layered antique/vintage rugs could look really cool in the nook.
Sorry if I’ve overstepped and I understand if you delete this. You guys are so talented and your house is so amazing, I can’t believe I am saying anything. I’m looking forward to seeing the completed room!
Ellen! We’ve been traveling for work and are back now. I wanted to sit down and write you a proper reply because you’ve asked some seriously great questions! And ones we’ve discussed between ourselves. To answer your questions (which are great!). Yes, the chairs in front of the TV are very low swivel chairs. I’d say about a half back, plus we’re going to try mounting the TV on the wall a bit higher. We have plans to get a new TV, one of the slim silver framed ones that will disappear a bit more. I don’t know if we’ll be able to before the holidays, but it’s on the list. The rugs are a bit of a conversation point right now. We have looked for a longer rug, but start to get into 15 foot rugs that are harder to come by. We are going to get some sheep skin throw rugs for by the fire to fill that dead space. Plus the dogs will love it. We are letting the niche go as far as functionality (in the dining room we have half height book shelves lining the room).
I love the idea of a round table in the nook but I haven’t found the right one, and when we cut the paper on the floor the table size was so small in oder to have room to walk around and pull a chair our. The nook looks bigger than wha tit is. What I like about the rectangle table, it’s really versatile. I’m a chronic furniture mover, meaning I might keep that there for a year, then want to move spots. Classic pieces like this are my favorite because I can put them anywhere. I found a rug for this space and I hope it works out ok, fingers crossed, cause I think it’s one of those ‘I’ll know it when I see it’ type things.
Thank YOU for commenting. Never worry about over stepping! Decorating our homes should be an exchange of ideas – I love it. I want to make sure we’re discussing topics like this on the blog because when we’re hanging out with our friends this is what we do. And it’s fun, right? 🙂 ~Susan