Small Living Room Decor -Should It Be Pale or Dark?

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Hi Everyone,

Thanks so much for all of your great comments for Sunday’s post. That post, if you missed it focused on a reader, Kathy and some updates for her kitchen.

 

We have one more area to go over in Kathy’s home in central Texas. Well, actually, it’s one and a half areas; the small living room and office off of it.

In addition, I am using this post to talk about some more ideas to spruce up the architecture throughout the home.

 

Kathy’s home is already lovely. But, her small living room has a few inherent issues that a lot of us have.

 

 

However, Kathy’s living room is mostly finished. So, I’m not proposing that she make any major changes at this time.

 

Still… Like in the other rooms, I thought I would have a little fun and play around with this small living room decor.

 

And, also focus on the wall color to see if it should be pale or dark.

 

Here is more information about the house that Kathy sent me in an email:

 

My husband really likes all the shiplapping we’ve done and would do it all over the house. (no worries, Laurel. We are not going to do that.)

He also wants you to know that we live on a 28 acre “farm” where we specialize in feeding the wildlife: deer, feral hogs, raccoons, possums, skunks, armadillos, and even a fox or two.  The land is hilly, dry, and rocky, a big change from the Houston area we relocated from three years ago.

 

We downsized from 3450 square feet to 1400 square feet and are still getting rid of things.

 

small living room decor - large window - looking into the office

That’s why we have too much stuff in every room.  Before we moved, my husband’s mother passed away and his father decided to move to a travel trailer on the lake. So, we inherited lots of nice vintage pieces. With some difficulty, I’ve tried incorporating them with our other furnishings.

But, that’s the reason for the hodgepodge in the bedroom, for instance.

 

small living room decor sofa - dark oriental rug

No worries. We are soon going to replace all of the ceiling fans with the white ones you suggested.

 

TV wall living room

But, it’s crazy trying to find places for everything. And, I feel guilty when I donate some of the family pieces; however, it feels good knowing that someone who really needs the furniture is putting it to good use.

 

small living room decor

The striped sofa was a purchase right after we moved here when we had no sofa or chairs from our old home that would fit our tiny living room. (12.5’x 17′)

 

art wall over sofa - china cabinet

The beige sofa replaced it. Then, we bought the china cabinet and rug right after that. The striped chair obviously goes with the old sofa. 

 

small living room decor - TV wall

We might replace it or have it recovered because it is so comfortable and it swivels. Alas, we’re not in love with the black leather Pottery Barn Manhattan recliner we bought on Craigslist. It’s not that comfortable. And, we don’t recline in it ever.

 

small living room decor - sofa - rug - white kitchen

By the way, the three white suitcases and metal flower vase in front of the china cabinet aren’t supposed to be there.  I just need to find a home for them and get them out of here. Please ignore them.

 

In regard to the bedroom decorating ideas, Kathy said this:

 

I read the comments today and decided to move the dressing table out of our room as well as the chair.  The room already looks more spacious!

I really appreciate all of this advice and hope others are getting a benefit from it too.

 

small living room decor looking into the kitchen

Thanks so much Kathy! And, to everyone who chimed in with some great advice.

 

Okay, the first thing I want to address is the architecture of the home. That’s because right now, except for the kitchen, it’s quite plain.

 

Whenever I’m designing a home, I take everything into consideration.

 

  • The style of the home
  • Size of the rooms
  • Location (city, country, lake, ocean, desert, mountains etc.)
  • Lifestyle of the owners
  • The owners tastes/likes/dislikes
  • And, from there, proceed to create a master plan.

Kathy and her husband have already made a lot of terrific changes. And, they’re open to making some others.

It’s very difficult downsizing to a home less than half the size.

 

Bedroom decorating ideas bed - chest before - vanity

A change I’d love to see is with the doors. I think it adds so much to have a paneled door.

 

But, which one?

The kitchen is now dictating the over-all style of the home.

It is a country home with new-traditional styling. And, I think this is perfect for their location and lifestyle.

I would not do more shiplap, except maybe in one of the bathrooms or some other small area.

For doors, they could choose to do the classic six panel door.

 

But, I’d love to see a Craftsman style door.

 

white-jeld-wen-prehung-doorI love this two-panel door from Jen-Weld

 

Or, maybe even the three-panel door.

 

white-jeld-wen-prehung-3-panel craftsman door

Jeld-Wen 3 panel prehung door – available at Home Depot

 

And then in this post about Cost-Saving Home Decor Tricks and When To Splurge, there’s another cool idea which involves creating a faux panel on the door. That would save a lot of money as they would not have to replace the existing doors.

 

Then, I would definitely add a crown moulding.

There are several posts here which talk about mouldings.

Here’s one of my favorite posts about interior moulding proportions.

 

white-american-pro-decor-crown-moulding 3.25" x 96"

This happens to be a synthetic moulding, also from Home Depot. But, it’s nice looking. And, a good size at 3.15″. A crown moulding is going to add the illusion of height to the ceiling. And, it’ll cover up the slightly uneven line between the top of the wall and ceiling. It’s unavoidable with a dark color.

 

But, let’s talk about Kathy’s black accent wall.

 

What do I think?

I think I love it. Except that I would take the color all the way around. My philosophy on accent walls is that they need to make architectural sense. (see 21 Interior Design Mistakes You Need to Stop Making.)

And, aside from this being the one unbroken wall, I’m not seeing that in this room. In fact, the amount of remaining wall space is when one figures in everything else, is really negligible. However, the way it looks now, the other walls feel to me like someone forgot to paint them.

 

So, which is better for a small room.

 

A light color?

Or, a dark color?

Well, I think that a small room can go either way. But, a big barn of a room usually doesn’t look good painted black. But a small living room design will look terrific in a dark color.

 

I don’t know what the color is right now. However a color like Benjamin Moore Soot might fit the bill. It is one of the Laurel Home Paint Collection colors.

 

Benjamin Moore 2129-40_Soot

Benjamin Moore Soot 2129-40 – a soft, cool black. Very beautiful for small living room design.

 

Studio McGee - office built-ins painted Benjamin Moore Soot

A handsome office by Studio McGee painted in Benjamin Moore Soot

 

Benjamin-Moore-Soot-Black-Paint-Bedroom-WallsIncredibly chic bedroom painted soot designed by Interiors by Color

 

This is why I want to paint the kitchen chairs in black.

 

Before addressing the furnishings in the room, let’s talk about the office for a sec.

 

From what I can see, the cabinetry is looking too ersatz/formal for the rest of the home.

But, there’s a good solution, I think.

I am thinking that I’d love to see a dark warm blue with a lot of gray in it.

And, one of my favorites is Gentleman’s Gray. This is another Laurel Home Paint Color.

 

Benjamin Moore gentleman
I would paint the cabinets and the wall the same color. That will make the cabinets “disappear.”

And, the color will be gorgeous off of the Soot in the living room.

 

One of 40 boards from the Laurel Home Paint and Palette Collection. This is a two part rocking paint and home furnishings guide.

 

modern-tudor-remodel-scout-and-nimble-Benjamin Moore Gentleman

Design by Scout & Nimble Beautiful room in Benjamin Moore Gentleman’s Gray

Kathy’s rug is new. However, if she were a real client and we were starting from scratch, I would recommend something a little lighter and less busy. That’s just my preference. There’s nothing wrong with this rug.

Rug_Oakmont_8x10_TerracottaHowever, I am loving this new Oakmont hand-knotted wool rug from Serena and Lily. It’s so new, they haven’t styled it yet in any rooms. But, can’t wait to see what they do with it. It’s refreshing to see them once again incorporate more colors.

Okay.

 

The next thing I’d like to address is the space planning.

 

Ahhhh… We have the front door opening up into the living room–no entry whatsoever.

In addition, I like the new cabinet.

 

Remember when I told you that Kathy had done something really great but was thinking of changing it to something else?

 

Well, what she’s done that’s great is putting a big dark cabinet against the dark wall.

She was bemoaning that it’s not standing out more. And, thinking that it should go against a paler wall.

Well, in a room this size, it should not stand out more. It’s perfect like this.

 

What is not ideal is where the china cabinet is.

 

And, I’m not wild about the TV hanging out in the entrance to the house. In addition, it’s perpendicular to the sofa. Not great. Sometimes we have to do things that are not optimal, just because there is no other viable alternative.

Here’s my idea:

 

Kathy small living room floorplan - small living room decor
What if we take out the console table and put the sofa in front of the window, facing the long uninterrupted wall.

Then, we can center the TV and cabinet on the long wall. And then, flank it with the gorgeous artwork.

After we do that, we can put the China cabinet in the entry where the TV is now. That cabinet is less deep and it will fit nicely on that wall, as well.

 

Okay, are y’all still with me?

 

I think it would also be lovely to do the sofa in a slipcovered heavy white cotton duck. But, if they don’t have the stomach for that, we’ll leave it as is.

And, different window treatments. In fact, I’m thinking that a rich teal velvet would be really cool.

 

Benjamin Moore Soot 2129-20

Signature Distance Blue Grey Blackout Velvet Curtain - small living room decorOr, these in this blue-dark gray velvet from half-price drapes

 

Ideally, I’d like to see different tables. But, that’s just me.

 

Furn_Reese_Coffee_Table_Cerused_Black

I think with the pale furniture, the smaller Reese coffee table in black would be awesome.

 

Amelie blanc bradburn home

Amelie Lamp from Bradburn Home. This is my bedroom lamp. It’s a little big for the end table below, however. I might also do some clear glass lamps. Or, a rich teal for the lamp would also be great.

 

Alfie Side Table ebony

Alfie side table in Ebony

But, something like this combination.

Bringing the room and rug back down, so you can see better how things fit together.

 

art wall over sofa - china cabinet - small living room decorOf course, the current rug can stay.

 

Rug_Oakmont_8x10_TerracottaBut, again, here’s the new Serena & Lily rug.

If you’re thinking of painting your walls dark, you might enjoy this post featuring the new black in interiors.

And some ideas if you have a dark rustic home.

Well, that was a lot. I hope that gave everyone some good food for thought if you’re needing help with small living room decor.

xo,

 

 

PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES. Lots of new sales and some early President’s Day sales, as well.

PPS: Please also consider purchasing my new 333 Hard to Find Rules & Tips You Need to Know Guide. It’s only $49.00 (for the time being) and over 200 pages filled with my best advice.!*** (please note this is a PDF file that gets downloaded to your computer.)***

 

Oh, one last thing.

 

Not only am I going to the Design Influencer’s Conference. I’m also going to be part of a mentoring round table for two mornings– March 2nd and 3rd. This is for designers only and you must sign up for it.

***You can find out more about the Design Influencer’s Conference and sign up here.***

 

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Jenn - February 22, 2020 - 1:39 PM

    Once again fabulous ideas and design. Kathy is one lucky lady to get this free professional design help for her whole house! Love this series and I hope she makes all your suggested changes and sends us the pics!ReplyCancel

  • Maureen - February 16, 2020 - 8:26 AM

    I love this series on Kathy’s house! It’s helpful to see a real home and read your suggestions. Thanks to you and Kathy. Can’t wait to see the updates! (No pressure, Kathy: )ReplyCancel

  • Valerie - February 15, 2020 - 8:19 AM

    Laurel,
    This series on Kathy’s house has to be one of your best blogs of all time! So many of us can relate to it. I especially love the furniture rearranging you suggest and painting the office a deep blue. I would need at least one space with a comfy reading chair in a lighter room, so I couldn’t do both in dark colors, but it would be dramatic in the evening with the table lamps lit.
    Kathy’s table under the window is lovely, so I hate to lose it in the redesign. It could hold the TV instead of the heavier black one. Or, it could replace the units in the office. You have shown china cabinets styled with a mix of books and china/crystal that look fabulous. With interior lights, you would see it gleaming at you from the living room. It might be tall enough to hide that bit of window that peeks over the top of the desk/hutch there now. A new smaller desk under the front window and the office might feel bigger, as well.
    Since Kathy doesn’t like the leather recliner, how about replacing it with the lighter weight armchair we see in the office?
    I do love Kathy’s glass bunching tables but think they would look better with far less on them and no footstools underneath.
    There are many clocks in this room (and the bedroom); is there a spot, perhaps the hall, where the collection could be grouped together?
    Thanks so much to Kathy for sharing her home with us. I hope she will share her thoughts and you can post her changes.ReplyCancel

  • Alice - February 14, 2020 - 10:25 AM

    I was so excited to read this post until I got to the part about it (the living room) being 213 sq ft. MY livingroom is 130 sq ft and has i door, two small windows, one 6 ft window and a 7 ft wide “door” to the next room. I guess I am doomed. Glad to see, though, that I could still use crown moulding on a 8ft ceiling (‘cuz I already DID). Keep up the great posts and maybe sometime you will get to the efficiency size.ReplyCancel

  • Jayne - February 13, 2020 - 1:10 PM

    In the bedroom, I think I would find a somewhat intricate decorative trim like a chippendale design, etc., and use a full-length mirror behind to bounce a little light around the room, provide a mirror to check out your clothes and make the room feel a little bigger.ReplyCancel

  • Pat from Wisconsin - February 13, 2020 - 12:10 PM

    We bought the same rug in a rug store but have a big living room so needed another. I found another one, 50 years old, on Ebay for less than half of what we paid for the new one, and you can’t tell the difference. Actually, people think the new one is the old one, since the fringe had worn off so we added new fringe. Anyway, I am amused that people want to put gray with that rug, since there is no gray in it. Lots of beautiful teal, peacock, cranberry, wine, ginger, but no gray! I think Laurel’s greenish blue or deep blue idea would work with the rug, though. Love your home and your furniture! You’re doing great! My thought for the kitchen is to introduce some more of the beigy tones from the floor to the table area–baskets or a runner on the table or a cushion or pillows?ReplyCancel

  • Christina - February 13, 2020 - 12:04 PM

    My husband built me a wall of built-in bookshelves and we painted it Gentleman’s Gray (nearly gave the paint mixer a heart attack when he opened the can after mixing it to find it is BLUE). But it is such a beautiful blue, it almost has a teal undertone (although it isn’t teal). It’s a rich and beautiful color.

    We painted one full wall the Gentleman’s Gray and left the other walls white. We also had a small room with low ceilings and everyone remarks that the dark built-ins make the room feel larger and taller! The power of paint!

    I love the rest of the design you did, Laurel, and agree that moving the sofa will open the room up more. I hope you will post updates!ReplyCancel

  • The Slipcover Maker - February 13, 2020 - 10:44 AM

    Laurel, I like your white canvas slipcover idea for Kathy’s sofa. A custom-made slipcover with a tailored fit in a relaxed, casual fabric is always a classic. I recommend the 12 oz white cotton duck from Sellfabric.com It’s washable, durable and long wearing.ReplyCancel

  • Susan C Davis - February 13, 2020 - 7:33 AM

    Alice, I too bought Laurel’s paint guide and find it so helpful! Funny enough, I also used Crystal Blue and Pale Sea Mist in my house. Love both and realize that without Laurel’s guide, I would not have looked at either!ReplyCancel

  • Maxine - February 13, 2020 - 1:33 AM

    Genius sofa placement, Laurel! I’m finding these posts very relevant to my own house. Thanks to you and Kathy.ReplyCancel

  • kiki - February 12, 2020 - 11:49 PM

    love this! love your blog and have learned so much. Ive been looking for end tables with color. Do you have a source for the corally colored ones in this post? Thanks so much!! love the hot sales, i always go straight to it.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 13, 2020 - 2:23 AM

      Hi Kiki,

      The table under the lamp? If that’s the one you mean, there’s a link to its source underneath it. It’s OKL and the promo code OKL20REVEAL will give you 20% off.ReplyCancel

  • Marze - February 12, 2020 - 9:17 PM

    Kathy, I was intrigued by all of the comments on your beautiful living room rug, so I went to the Karastan site, and the Kirman is under their “Original” collection. The colors are much brighter and richer when you see it in different lights. Also, the rug is shown in several rooms with dark walls. It is just lovely, and I can see why it makes you smile:)ReplyCancel

  • Tracey - February 12, 2020 - 7:34 PM

    I wanted to comment on the ceiling fans. We painted ours and they turned out pretty good. Just left them in place and primed and painted them 8 years ago. So if replacing them isn’t a high priority at this time, it might be a solution. I love reading your post and all your suggestions! Thank you for all your ideas, and to Kathy for opening up her home.ReplyCancel

  • Robin - February 12, 2020 - 5:42 PM

    I would like to add that I have the same original Karastan rug (10×14) in my living room . It was originally in my parents family room and purchased by them in 1962. The gave it to us in 1978 when we purchased our first home. I can’t say enough about it- it absolutely goes with any color, pattern etc. I currently have an olive green sofa with brick red chairs and gold and black accents in the room as well as blue and white chinoisserie. . I think I will definitely die before this rug is gone!!ReplyCancel

  • Elie - February 12, 2020 - 3:14 PM

    Hi Laurel! Stunning recommendations, especially about doors! I’ve been searching your blog high and low (Emily H blog, all blogs really lol) and didn’t find information about… choosing door styles. Options, start off points etc. Mixing modern and traditional. Doors AND moldings. Such blog post will be amazing addition to your great architecture series! I’d love this. Please, please, pretty please.ReplyCancel

  • Pam Ozment - February 12, 2020 - 2:52 PM

    Laurel I just found you, and look forward to your blogs! So excited to hear a fellow designer extol the virtues of black/dark walls. It’s sad that so many people are terrified of dark walls, especially black ones. I painted my bedroom black 20 years ago, and the painters (and my husband) were shocked and tried to change my mind, but were surprised how much they liked the result. I also have a black dining room, bath, and hallway, and kitchen cabinets. It’s the only color I never tire of, and people are always surprised at how much they like it. My go-to black is Sherwin Williams ‘Tricorn Black’. It is a soft “light” black, just a perfect color!ReplyCancel

  • Elle - February 12, 2020 - 1:40 PM

    Karastan has been making that Kirman panel wool rug since 1928 and it has always been their top seller. It has an outrageous number of colors in it, so it tends to work with almost any color scheme. It has far more colors than almost any Persian rug. (They recently made a version that was all gray/neutral tones for the current paint-it-gray era and it’s gloomy in comparison.) For some reason, this rug is hard to photograph — maybe it’s all those colors — and it looks much richer in person.ReplyCancel

  • Mary E - February 12, 2020 - 1:31 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    When I saw Kathy’s dark wall my first thought was that she should paint the whole room that color. If she did that & rearranged her furniture like you suggested, her space would be so lovely.
    I hope she keeps us posted on her updates.ReplyCancel

  • Teresa K - February 12, 2020 - 1:09 PM

    Kathy, I love your rug and would make all decisions in the living room based on that rug. Laurel’s new furniture placement is great, as well as all her other ideas, unless you have a terrific view from your sofa out that big picture window. Then I could see the view winning over furniture placement. I would consider not using any drapes (unless you need them for privacy or light control). Maybe chose teal, coral or gold for the sofa? Crown molding and a smooth ceiling would be lovely. I have a navy blue living room and love the contrast of my white trim against the navy. Happy decorating!ReplyCancel

  • Liz - February 12, 2020 - 12:11 PM

    Love the room “rearrange” Laurel. If it is wide enough I think that nice table currently under the big windows would look beautiful under the TV if it is wall mounted in the new location.ReplyCancel

  • Ann Seymour - February 12, 2020 - 11:38 AM

    While I love the dark paint colors that can make a room dramatic, cozy and stunning, I now use them carefully. Once I painted my very large dining/living room a dark hunter green. I also had a beautiful dark blue french wallpaper in my kitchen. And as beautiful as they were I found them hard to live with on a day to day basis. I need bright and lively in those places I spend most of my time. In my current house, I painted a guest room a rich brown with a brass bed and it looks amazing. But again, it’s not a room I spend a lot of time in. Just a thought for those like me that need bright spaces for our psyche, be careful when picking a dark color to live day to day with.ReplyCancel

  • Gail Caryn - February 12, 2020 - 11:27 AM

    I have yet to chime in about Kathy’s house but have enjoyed all of the ideas and the comments. Kathy, thank you for letting us in. One thing I find that really truncates 8 foot walls is when you have a dark colour up to a white ceiling with no crown. Either add crown or paint the ceiling the same colour as the walls. If adding crown, a light gray or looks better with a dark shade than white. The stippling on the ceiling should go. It’s not that painful of a job. Just wet it down with a misting bottle with water and scrape it off. It’s messy though and you must test for asbestos first! If there is asbestos, have drywallers come in and put drywall over it.
    I love the rearrange Laurel. The cabinet feels too large when it’s squeezed in beside the sofa.
    Happy redecorating Kathy and thanks again for opening your lovely home.ReplyCancel

  • Rosemary - February 12, 2020 - 10:51 AM

    Remove the ‘80s looking popcorn ceilings, they date the entire house.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 12, 2020 - 1:57 PM

      You know, I didn’t notice the popcorn for some reason. But, you’re right, of course. If it’s subtle popcorn, the ceiling might be able to be skim coated. But, that’ll also be very messy. I would say that quarter inch sheetrock is the way to go.ReplyCancel

  • Heidi - February 12, 2020 - 10:30 AM

    I love the proposed changes, using Kathy’s existing items. I understand Kathy’s dilemma inheriting furniture/feeling guilty when it can’t work/stay, but she has managed to make her home feel warm and cozy regardless. As to updating flat doors, I was pleasantly surprised when I used a trim kit from Home Depot on mine-it makes me happy every time I walk in my room! Huge difference for little effort and $. I also have that same Karastan rug, and it is so versatile; you can pull many different colors from it to use in your decor. I’ve enjoyed seeing Kathy’s home and the ideas you’ve had for it, Laurel!ReplyCancel

  • susie - February 12, 2020 - 9:28 AM

    all the walls in my condo are white. But I love the whole “dark wall” thing. I’ve seen fantastic rooms with dark blue or dark green walls, but it seems like everything in the room then needs to be light-colored or shiny (like metals silver or gold).ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 12, 2020 - 1:55 PM

      Hi Susie,

      No, I don’t think that everything needs to be light or shiny. But, there should always be some white and black. And, color too. I just did a quote for a real estate blog post. I said that neutral colors will always be in style. And, ugh. They put in a horribly blah beige at its worst bedroom. Any color will look bad if it’s not done correctly. I maintain that pretty much all rooms need some black and white. And gold or other metals are always a great accent.

      These posts each took quite a while to put together. And, each one, I could’ve spent another ten hours tweaking. In real life, when putting rooms together for clients, the process took days and sometimes weeks to come up with the final plan.ReplyCancel

  • GGG - February 12, 2020 - 8:56 AM

    I also wondered about the color of the trim and doors if you have very dark walls. A couple of the photos of grey/black rooms above show molding painted the same color as the walls. Then what about the doors? Black trim and doors and walls sounds like a lot of dark color, so I might lean toward white trim and doors, but with wider trim. What would look best?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 12, 2020 - 1:51 PM

      I think because there’s still lots of white in this room that white trim and doors is the way to go. But, I think that the office could be all one color. Love the white crockery on top of the cabinet.ReplyCancel

  • Margaret Vant Erve - February 12, 2020 - 8:18 AM

    HI Laurel,

    All great ideas Laurel. I like the layout . I do like the idea of the black wall but wonder about the narrow trim. I am not a fan of dark coloured walls with narrow white trim. Would Kathy consider changing out the trim in the living room. She could still pick a simple, I moulded style , Sometimes with skinny trim like this, I’ve paintedt it the same colour of the walls so it just disappears. This works especially in a small room with lots of entrances and doors. I don’t mind the new sofa but it would be nice to change the upholstery on the striped one and since they don’t like the black chair, replace it with something smaller and lighter. I also think if the walls go dark all round, it would be nice to chose switch out the striped and Center accent cushion to something a little more lively. I agree that the rug is busy and quite dark. Love the one from Serena and Lily. Good luck Kathy.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 12, 2020 - 1:49 PM

      Excellent points Margaret. I agree that ideally the door and window casing as well as the baseboards could be more substantial. And, yes, it’s a great look to paint walls and trim the same color. And, even the ceiling too. However, I think a white or pale blue-green gray ceiling might be better for the living room. The office could go with a deep color all the way around, I think.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - February 12, 2020 - 8:06 AM

    Thanks, Briggitav, for the kind words! We had this same rug in our last home, too. When we moved, the buyers wanted to purchase it and the other living room furniture. We missed it so much that I was determined to find another for this home. Scored it on Craigslist for less than than one-tenth of the retail price! Turns out it was newer and in much better shape than the old one! We love all the colors in it, especially the coral and teal and gold! It is dark, but it’s so soft and plush, and it makes me happy looking at it! I do love the rug Laurel suggests, too. It’s really lovely!ReplyCancel

  • Claudia - February 12, 2020 - 7:43 AM

    Loving these posts on Kathy’s home! I have a pre-war historical register co-op apartment in Fairfield County, Connecticut with small rooms. The post with Kathy’s living room was very interesting to me because my living room has some of the same issues but I am lucky enough to have great architectural interest with period moldings, etc. I inherited the same Karastan Kirman rug, which also lays on a dark hardwood floor in a similar size and front door entry room. It is not a rug I would have bought if I had thousands to spend on my choice, but it is a beautiful, quality piece. I agree that it is brighter than the post photos indicate, but it is on the busy side! I painted my walls and trim in flat and semi-gloss BM Linen White, and the ceiling in BM Palladian Blue which pulls out the lighter blue shades in the rug. My couch is cream linen (Crypton fabric) and I recently bought the Reese small coffee table in the light cerused oak when it went on sale. All of this has been influenced by knowledge gained over my years of reading Laurel’s fantastic, amazing blog.

    The main thing I want to add, is that I moved into this place in the past year. It was a big downsize after living 30 years in a previous home. I had to ruthlessly edit my possessions. It was very, very hard, but also liberating and helped me to have an interior I love, and to appreciate having some negative/empty space in my interior decor. Especially for a fresh, updated look in smaller rooms.

    I know if Kathy adds some moldings to her lovely home and new doors with nice hardware it will make things sing and be money well spent! I hope we will see the after pictures if she follows Laurel’s suggestions.ReplyCancel

  • Alice - February 12, 2020 - 7:27 AM

    Thanks for this series of posts. It is so relatable to me. We have bought a new home which is a downsize too. Having to decide what pieces to keep and what can I bear to part with as most is from my grandmother’s home.
    As a side note I painted several rooms using your color guide and they are fantastic. I spent upteen hours going back and forth and buying sample cans. Used Pale Sea Mist in the south facing living room and love it. I used the Crystal Blue in the north facing master and bath and smile every time I walk into the room. Now am painting a dark bedroom (one small east facing window) with Rainforest Dew. I used it as a choice for the living room but wanted the greener color there but loved the Rainforest dew so I’ve now got both. The entire house was a typical neutral gray which I like but I couldn’t take every room being that color, too depressing for me. Don’t worry, none of these painted rooms are close to one another.
    I have learned so much from you and your recommendations. Buying your guides have been a good choice. Thanks for all the time you put into your posts.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 12, 2020 - 1:44 PM

      Hi Alice,

      Thanks so much for the wonderful testimonial. I’m very proud of all of my products. However, the paint guide was the most difficult to put together. In the middle of it, I thought I must be out of my mind. lol The idea is to create a base from which to work from. Of course, always, always test colors for your unique space.ReplyCancel

  • Nanci - February 12, 2020 - 7:05 AM

    I really like the ideas you proposed for rearranging the furniture. It makes so much sense and will keep her long wall from being so heavily weighted with the couch and cabinet. It’s hard to know scale, but I wonder if a larger TV would be better if it’s moved to the long wall. With so much dark furniture would you suggest painting the TV cabinet a lighter color? Perhaps a pale gray Like Annie Sloan’s Paris Gray and light antiquing? I think it would look nicer against the black wall. Really like the idea of painting all the walls dark so it’s dramatic and cozy.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 12, 2020 - 1:41 PM

      Hi Nanci,

      The photos are a bit dark. I think the wood tone is actually refreshing. And, I think keeping the entire TV area dark to blend in with the wall would make the art stand out and make the TV disappear. Normally, I wouldn’t face a TV towards the entrance, but over-all, if everything fits nicely, I think this is a better use of the space. My plan is close to reality.

      I’m not sure as to the placement of the window. But, if using blackout panels, that can be fudged so that the sofa appears to be centered on the window.ReplyCancel

  • Kim Doyle - February 12, 2020 - 6:23 AM

    Kathy, I am very impressed with what you have already done with your house; that being said, I am so jealous that you have Laurel’s input on not one but 3 rooms in your house. Laurel, I love the new layout that you proposed. It is so cool to take the same stuff more or less and move it around, and suddenly everything is better! Also love the architectural changes and wrapping the soot color all the way around – I have never been brave enough for that but love the look. One thing that surprised me was your recommendation to do a dark colored office off of a dark colored living room. I have not seen this before. Thanks for this and the other two posts – very helpful.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - February 12, 2020 - 1:38 PM

      Hi Kim,

      I have told the story of a home I visited about 20 years ago. Except for the white kitchen, the entire home was decorated in dark blue, black and brown. (floors, some furniture pieces). And, let me tell you, it was beyond stunning.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth Ward - February 12, 2020 - 6:21 AM

    Thanks very much to Kathy for sharing her house, and to you, Laurel, for working with it. It is so good to see a house that I can relate to and has similar issues to what my friends and I have. In my neighborhood in Montreal, this would actually be considered a pretty big living room! Also, after inheriting objects from three separate family members, I can relate to the struggle of integrating things into the house and also having to make tough decisions on which things to donate. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • BrigittaV - February 12, 2020 - 4:57 AM

    I love the rug Kathy has in her living room. My mother had that same one in her living room, which she got in the 70’s. The pictures do not do it justice. In real life it has many colors, and looks a bit brighter, but also more burnished. Growing up with that rug in the living room, I never got tired of looking at it. The one my mother had was a Karastan, and there is a reason why Karastan still offers that same exact patterned rug for all these past decades. (You can still find it on the Karastan website.) I think Kathy’s rug will stand the test of time. It will always look good no matter what else she does with that room.ReplyCancel

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