Update on Living Room Layout!

We're renovating, exploring style and design with a dash of cocktail making and cooking thrown in. 

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If you’ve been following our living room make over with West Elm and Rejuvenation you know one of the biggest challenges we faced is determining where furniture will go in such a large living room. We’ve waxed on about mastering small space living in NYC, but now that we actually have space, we don’t know what to do! This post wasn’t planned as part of the living room make over, but I thought it was important to share the experience with you. We always want to be transparent about how we make it from point A to point B when we work on a space in our home.

We decided to consult with a professional. Furniture is expensive and we didn’t want to order the wrong item or misjudge the scale of something. A large component of interior design is understanding scale and traffic flow. We’ve never considered going down this path before but when I looked into the West Elm Design Services, I realized you could customize the experience to what you need. They have services for helping you design your home from in-store consultations, or a senior designer coming to your house and discussing the room with you. While we are pretty design savvy from an aesthetic point of view, we were really unsure of furniture placement. After this project, I have a deeply found respect for people who this comes to naturally! Also, if you need help installing a light or wall mounting a TV, you can sign up for professional installation services. It’s kinda great if you aren’t handy.

Our plan

Here’s a recap of the room plan we did weeks ago. We did this before talking to Johanna. Mainly because I think it’s good if the home owner takes a stab at it. Johanna didn’t look at our plan, totally uninfluenced!


Johanna’s plan

House of Brinson Living Room Layout

First off, I like that we are on the same page about many things. I was kinda surprised by that! This gives me confidence not only that we were on the right path, but the direction we were heading compliments the room from an objective point of view.

What’s different?

These plans look a little different because they were done in different programs. I have a graphic design background so mine is in Illustrator (not recommended!) and Johanna used a professional program they use for the design services in the store.

A. Large cabinet placement: We placed the large cabinet on the other side of the pocket door. I don’t know why, we just did!

B. Chairs behind the couch area: This ‘behind the couch’ area has been killing us. It’s so strange! Johanna placed the cabinet and then chair in front of it. When I first saw the layout, I was thinking, will that fit. Yes! It will she’s totally right. It is a really wide area for conversation. By adding the cabinet in the behind the chairs, it makes the conversation area much more intimate – you don’t want to be shouting at the person sitting across from you.

C. Reading nook: Johanna included a reading nook in this very strange space that is the what we call the breakfast nook area. I love it and what a difference a chair and side table in the corner will make. I live for these little spaces and I’m so glad she thought to include one.


What did we learn?

I didn’t think this would have as large of impact on me as it did. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I was kinda afraid/excited to see how I would be influenced. After talking to Johanna for 5 minutes I knew she ‘got it’. After seeing her room layout, it gave me the courage to place the furniture order! I also learned to look at some issues that Johanna’s plan brought to my attention. Items like the width of the conversation area behind the sofa, and the empty space that will now be the reading nook. This house has lots of room for intimate small spaces, and I was looking at the big picture that I forgot about that!

My advice would be if you are stuck, want another opinion or are looking for some design inspiration it’s totally worth it. Before you consult with a designer, consider the following items:

– Know what kind of ‘feel’ you want in your space. By this I mean formal, casual, etc. It helps when you are making decisions about furniture and art. Share details of your lifestyle – wise design can cater to kids and pets, making your day-to-day less stressful.

– If you are asking for design advice, have inspiration to share. Maybe you have a Pinterest board or images from books or magazines.

– Be open minded. Go in with your own ideas but be able to consider a different point of view.

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