When Courtney and Ben came to us for help with their new living room, we couldn’t wait to get started. Here’s their letter:
We desperately need your help in our new living room, but we’d also appreciate some tips for the adjoined dining room, especially in terms of paint color & artwork. Oh, and all the furniture in the pics is courtesy of the stagers hired by the previous owners, so we’re starting from scratch! The faux-finish on the fireplace has to go (it’s some sort of paint treatment on a thin piece of metal). I’d say we’re drawn to rooms that look modern and casual. Clean lines appeal to us and Ben has taken some great photos from our vacations so I’d love to see a room that can incorporate some of his shots and the treasures that we’ve picked up. We will not have a TV in the living room but would like plenty of seating. We’d love a new wall color but the walls are coved so whatever we paint the walls has to go on the ceiling as well, right? This isn’t the case in the dining area (there’s molding in there) so maybe we should do a lighter color in the living room and then do a darker shade from the same paint chip in the dining room? We’d like the space to be gender neutral and I tend to like rust orange, reddish, and more earthy tones. We really look forward to your advice. I’ll make sure to send in after photos! – Courtney (& Ben)
There’s nothing like a previously staged room to set the scene for a major makeover. Now that all the rented furniture has been cleared out, here’s the plan:
And now for the mood board breakdown.
1. Our color palette will be warm and inviting with deep chocolates and natural tans along with some spicy hits of red and deep rust-colored accents. For the coved walls and ceiling in the living room, we’d love to see a creamy wheat color with a hint of a rusty undertone (Benjamin Moore’s Blanched Almond 1060) while the walls in the adjoining dining room get slightly richer and deeper wheat tone (BM’s Brunswick Beige 1061). We also think the piece of faux-finished metal in front of the fireplace could be painted a solid creamy color (BM’s Mohair 1058) or even removed and replaced with some luxe creamy down the line. Who knows, there might even be some perfectly good creamy tan tile under there anyway!
2. Placing two clean-lined (just $99 each) on either side of the fireplace will add balance to the room and emphasize that wall as a focal point that can even be enjoyed all the way from the dining room. The rich espresso finish will tie in perfectly with our other furniture choices and we have a plan for accessorizing the space under the console table as well as the space on top. Stay tuned…
3. This fireplace is screaming for a round mirror, so we dug one up with a bit of interest and detail. This gorgeous is only $59. That’s kind of insane. Lucky Courtney! And in the event that it’s a bit too gilded looking in person, painting it a deep chocolate color (with chic semi-gloss paint) will instantly transform it into a showstopper (try Benjamin Moore’s North Creek Brown 1001 for a deep rich tone that’s sure to wow).
4. We love this trio of iridescent , and think they’ll look stunning anywhere from the coffee table to the consoles and even in the center of the new dining table (to carry the color into that room for a cohesive and open feeling). They’ll look great paired with all of Courtney and Ben’s travel treasures. Better get two sets to spread around now that I think about it…
5. The stagers were really onto something with the seating arrangement. By placing two chairs in the bay window, they can be angled slightly to follow the shape of the room, and a sofa placed across from them makes for an intimate and super functional seating arrangement. We’d love to see two of these fabulous printed in the place of the overstuffed existing chairs for an even more open and expansive feeling (slipper chairs are also easier to slip in and our of, and can even be shared by two people in a pinch thanks to their lack of arms). The viney brown and cream fabric slays us. Oh and did we mention that they’re just $159 each with free shipping? Can’t beat that deal with a stick. We actually own two similar Target slipper chairs (Dolce Lounge chairs) and they’re broken in and totally comfy after about two-three weeks of sitting in ’em.
6. Thanks to Ben’s photography, I only had to hunt down frames for this room, so the sunset photo above is just a place holder for Ben’s fabulous vacation pictures (which can be blown up at a copy store to fit the scale of the room. These are fabulous, inexpensive and easy to hang. They come in a deep wood tone to work with our palette and one will look great on either side of the fireplace hung above each console table. We’d also love to see two hung next to each other in the dining room in place of the large rectangular piece that was hung there by the stagers. By carrying the same frames and similar vacation artwork into both spaces, each room will feel personalized and cohesive. Now Courtney and Ben just have to pick their four favorite pictures (anything with orange, red or brown undertones will work especially well, but black and white photos would also be fetching).
It’s worth noting that the stagers seemed to intentionally hang all three frames on the fireplace wall at the same baseline, which makes the frame on the right side seem super high since it’s so far from the console table. By replacing the art above the fireplace with a round mirror and hanging the rectangular frames a bit lower above each console table (since there’s no real reason to keep everything on the same line) the space will appear more dimensional and the art will feel more approachable and easily within everyone’s line of sight.
7. We’re totally smitten with the that we found to define the seating area. It’s a handmade wool rug with stunning hand-stitched starbursts that will add style and interest to the whole room. We went for a 5 x 8 rug in this space since there’s only a sofa and two chairs (most sectionals and loveseat/couch combos call for an 8 x 10). This size will tie everything together once the front legs of the sofa and the front legs of the chairs are placed atop the rug with the new coffee table in the middle of the arrangement to ground the whole seating area.
8. Here’s the clean-lined . It’s a rich deep brown color with a luxe glass top- and although it looks like a pricey West Elm piece it’s actually from Ikea!
9. We couldn’t love more. The enveloping mocha color paired with the sophisticated and crisp lines of the piece make it an instant classic (and the dark color makes it especially party-friendly). Just look at those tufted buttons on the seat back cushions! Two of these will complete the look in a snap (a gorgeous sofa like this doesn’t need to be buried in tons of pillows- so adding just two will keep it crisp and inviting).
10. These great 17″ will fill out the space below each console (we’d love to see one on each side with some books or other objects on them if it tickles Courtney and Ben’s fancy). They’ll not only add texture and fill things out, but they’ll also add some great concealed storage for everything from board games to magazines. And opting for the bigger ones (17.5″ as opposed to 15″) will only leave a few inches on either side of them which will look airy and intentional.
11. These breezy and serene are another way to soften the living room and visually connect it to the dining room while adding height and soft drama in one fell swoop. We love to see a curtain panel between each window as well as on either side of the whole window bank so they basically obscure the wall and create what looks like one large picture window. Since the walls are angled around the windows, Courtney and Ben will have to get a rod for each plane (three rods total, one for the angle on the left, one for the straight part above each window in the middle and one for the angle on the right side). Hopefully those rods can be mounted under the molding that’s already been hung (it looks like there used to be curtains there and the molding was built around them- so if Courtney and Ben are really lucky there may already be some curtain rods under there). And hanging a matching pair of curtains in the dining room will really make both spaces feel polished and complete.
12. This fabulous comes in a set of two for just $99 and we’d love to see one centered on each of the console tables for a balanced look (and reading light no matter which side of the room you’re sitting on).
So there you have it. A warm and welcoming living room and adjoined dining space for entertaining and relaxing. We can’t wait to hear you what you guys think!
Update: We sadly can no longer find the time to take on client commissioned mood boards (we now whip up general inspiration boards instead) but if we ever reinstate them we’ll make a big announcement!