Living Room design ideas needed!

Now that I have put away the Christmas decorations I am working on a plan for our living room. I'm hoping some of my talented blog friends have some ideas for my living room.

I will be working with many things we already have, but I will certainly keep an eye out for items that will help me achieve the look I want. The mantel shelf is coming down as soon as hubby and the boys get back from a day trip to the farm. Our living room, or front room, is on the small side, roughly 11' x 14', with an odd shaped parapet wall/opening, a small front window and a large doorway opening to the dining room. I need a new wall colour, in a darker beige ? but can't go too dark or this room becomes a dungeon (I know from a previous 'brown pony' paint colour.) Most of our main floor is Stone House by Benjamin Moore. I like the drop cloth pillows, curtains and ottoman cover.

The accessories are just piled haphazardly because I was vacuuming piles of dog hair even though we just vacuumed on Wednesday, washing floors, dusting... I like a nice soothing space and I'm not too big on pattern or colour in our home. Is this just too plain though? 

I have an oval gold mirror, or a pair of tall narrow wood frame mirrors, or a pair of rectangular patterned frame mirrors to choose from if they will work in this room. I'm not sure I like the flanking the couch look of the mirrors in the photo below.

I have all 3 tables in the photo below available, but I like the white painted table in the photos above too.

 (Older photo)
I have 6 of these frames and mats available, and while I like the antique gold, I can easily paint the frames and the large gold lamp bases. I was thinking of putting the six frames above the sofa, with photos of barns 'cause that is more 'us'. Or should I do an art wall, with an assortment of frames?

The mantel shelf is not staying. It has been challenging fun to decorate it, but we will soon have a mantel over the fireplace in the family room.

The following two photos are from the designer Kelly McGuill from O so D. I love her work. I love the leather with the frames above the sofa. Lighter woods are nice too. I also like the light pillows and updated lampshades.

Image: Kelly McGuill

Although this gray would be too dark, would it be weird to jump on the gray bandwagon when the rest of our main floor is Stone House beige? I'm not a gray fan, but I love the gray and beige together here.
 Image: HGTV Dream Home 2011

If I was to use colours other than neutrals, I would use blue. I love denim and shades of blue.

Image: HGTV Dream Home08

What is staying:
leather sofa
large ottoman
one or two of the white slipcovered chairs?
white side table?
small pine hutch/bookcase?

 What is changing?
paint colour currently BM Monroe Bisque
mantel shelf going
lamp shades need to be updated I think

So, what do you think? Any ideas or inspiration photos? I appreciate all comments! 


  1. Hi and Happy New Year. My house looks so boring and lifeless now that all of the decor is down, so I am trying to figure out all the same things that you are. Did you make the ottoman cover? I love it. I wish I were more of a neutral person, but I just am not. I would love to paint everything white and be happy with it, but I know I couldn't.I love those photos you posted of the white rooms, but I know it would just be wasted paint if if did that.

  2. Love your post! I'm in the same boat. I made a slipcover for our ottoman out of drop cloth material, too. Yours is way better...love the ruffle. I'm thinking of making drapes out of drop cloth, as well. I saw them on Savy Southern Style. You have a nice warmth to the room. I think the wall of painted frames would look really good. Great inspiration rooms! Good luck and Happy New Year! xxx

  3. Isn't it funny how when the holiday decor comes down - it looks so "not fun". All the glitz & glitter, bright colors like red & greens that pop with all our neutral colors that are no longer there, is hard to get uead to again? Looking at your room though, is lovely....i am not seeing what you are seeing. only suggestion maybe is to get a larger tray for the ottoman with a pitcher of flowers maybe? Perhaps painting one wall a color something in your room that you love? I am really liking your ottoman slip cover & pillows you have & i'm all for the mixture of leather & linen!!! Exactly what i'm doing as well! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with? xoox

  4. If I were you I would maybe go up one shade of color from the Stone House Beige... say like the Spice Gold. It would add a little bit of contrast from the rest of the downstairs area and from the looks of the virtual color swatch it would not be too dark. I also like the framed picture wall that was in one of your inspiration pictures. If you want to incorporate the blue denim color you might update your lamp shades using fabric that is similar to the denim blue. I love your slipcovered ottoman and chair and would definitely keep them in the room. As far as the side tables, I too like the white table but think that the two brown tables on each side of the sofa look better. Can't wait to see what you decide to do in the room!

  5. What a great dilemma to have! Based on the inspiration photos, I think new drum lamp shades and a combination of mirrors and your frames above the sofa will give your room a more contemporary feel. A very light grey with a blue undertone might be nice. Then you could work in blue accessories...maybe denim and/or french grain sack pillows. Maybe slipcovers without ruffles. What's under the slipcovers?


  6. Happy New Year! I'll be making some changes myself. I love your idea of posting to get suggestions from fellow bloggers!

    I agree with ALVN, I think new lampshades will change the look, and maybe a scaled down coffee table - if possible. Check out Martha Stewart's "Bedford Grey" for a possible wall color. vWishing you a Happy New Year, hoping to "visit" more often in 2011!

  7. Good luck with your changes, Elizabeth. I love that first inspiration photo. You have beautiful pieces to work with. Can't wait to see what you do.

    Happy New Year!

  8. I loved Bleeker Beige! It's BM as well, you might like it!
    I see some old shutters or window above that couch :)

  9. It is that time of year where all of our homes look naked. I know that you will have your space looks gorgious in no time.

  10. Hi Elizabeth. I think your room is beautiful already. The slipcovered ottoman and the little ruffly pillows on the couch are so cute. And I love your little pine cabinet/armoire. Very pretty! I would definitely recommend going with a light grey/blue for your room. The color we have in our living room is Twilight Grey by Behr. I have had it on my walls for 2 years now, and I still love it. The only thing, though, I think I would have it lightend just a tad. I had the people at Home Depot lighten the Twilight Grey by half for our daughter's room, and I like it a little lighter. Otherwise, it is a lovely color and everything goes with it!!
    I love that inspiration photo you have of the botanical prints above the leather sofa. I think that is a great idea. And it wouldn't cost that much to do. Go for it! The only other suggestion I would have would be to add a rug to the room to anchor the space. I LOVE natural fiber rugs. They really add a lot of texture to a room and the soft color is really nice, too. Can't wait to see what you decide!!
    Your latest follower.

  11. I love your slipcovered ottomon and the pillows on the couch. Great job! Are you interested in painting the armoir? It could be painted a beautiful light blue or the gray from the inspiration photo. I would definitely keep the slipcovered chair and add a solid color pillow (I've seen some beautiful, affordable pillows on Etsy.) I also wonder if it's possible to move the slipcovered chair to that corner where the wall cutout is. I think a sisal or a jute rug would just top everything off! Good luck and I can't wait to see how it turns out. Happy Decorating!

  12. Hi Elizabeth. I've been pondering your living room over this past day or so. I think you need some pattern in the room. When I googled images with dark brown sofas they had patterned drapes (although I love yours) or patterned carpets. I also think you might try one of those informal randomly arranged picture walls above the sofa. The randomness makes it more relaxed which is what you like. I'll email you the photos that I thought were inspiring as I can't think how to get them into a comment. I think it just needs a tiny bit of tweaking to make it look fab.

  13. Elizabeth, I love what you did. I have always liked the look of dark leather with white slips. It's a sort of masculine feminine mix. Very cozy and comfy looking.

  14. Happy New Year Elizabeth! I love your space and can't wait to see what direction you decide to go. I agree with the comment above, you have a mix of masculine and feminine. The only decor I'm comfortable with is the feminine way I like to decorate so I won't offer any advice except - GOOD LUCK!

  15. I'd go the palest wisp of blue-grey on the walls then big ARTWORK (buy a canvas and let your kids paint!) to add color, then throw pillows for more color.

    You've got great bones and furniture in that room, in my humble opinion you just need a fresher wall color, and some new layers of color.

    Have fun and let us know what you do!


  16. I was going to suggest a light blue gray on the walls too! Your existing linen & leather with hints of denim would just put the WOW on an already pretty space. Keep the white table...the darker ones, although gorgeous, are too heavy for the space. What if you updated your lamp shades with a drum shade but added a denim band to the bottom? Maybe a narrow denim band trim with an even narrower vintage knit lace? I'd keep the wall above the sofa simple. I love your inspiration photos in that regard. A gallery above the sofa would be lovely and I adore the idea of barn photos if that is more you. A mirror would be nice as well. Sounds like it would reflect your dining area & really open the space up. If you accenting your dining area with the pops of linen, denim, and such, it would be grand. Actually, scrolling back up I would not add the denim & lace to a shade on those lamps. If you had simpler lamp bases, maybe. The ones who have are gorgeous though. Loving the cow print? throw on the back of the sofa & the ruffles, of course! Hope this helps, sweetie. I was just missin' ya and wanted to pop in to say hello. It's been a while, friend!


  17. ...and by light blue gray, I mean LIGHT. Faint. Barely there kinda blue gray.

  18. ...one more thing and then I'll pipe down. I just scrolled up again! Your accessories on that ottoman are great. If you don't put a mirror above the sofa, I'd put one to the right of that cupboard/shelf, above the chair to share the light coming from the window on the opposite side. Okay, I'm done.

  19. Simple ,uncluttered, clean , and neutral whith hints of color.Seems I stepped into my own home love your style and your space!


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