Layout Limitations

Layout LimitationsQuestion:

My husband and I just purchased our first home and are feeling restricted with decorating possibilites. The first picture I have attached is the front entrance/living room/dining room. As you can see the room is rather narrow and the built-in entertainment/fireplace really resticts furniture placement. The dining room consists of a tall hutch, a dining table, and sideboard piece. They all have been in my husbands family for 3 generations so they are very meaningful, but by no means have to stay here.

The built-in entertainment shelf restricts where we can place furniture. We were considering hiring a cabinet maker to build something to conceal the area underneath the television. There are wood colored faux-wood blind throughout this room.

Layout LimitationsWe are trying to turn the room right off the kitchen into a “lounge” area. When we entertain, we like to have our guests nearby when we’re in the kitchen. I recently purchased 2 Vintage Vogue Slipcovered Chairs in White Twill from Ballard Designs. They should be arriving in 2 weeks and I was going to place them in the “lounge,” but need help with what else to do!

We have even pondered the idea of making the room right off the kitchen into the dining room and converting the living/dining area into a larger sitting area. Any guidance you can give us would be so appreciated. We are struggling with this project and just want to start enjoying our new home!

Thank you so much, we look forward to hearing from y’all soon!
Katie and David


Dear Katie,

Congratulations on your new home! It is beautiful. We know how daunting pulling together a new home can be, but you certainly have started off right. We do agree with you that some custom doors on your lower entertainment area will help keep your electronic components under wraps. We suggest having the doors made to slide into pockets on either side of the opening so that no floor space is taken up when it is opened.

In looking at the living room layout, we feel that your seating is limited to the sofa. We like your idea of moving the dining room into the space off your kitchen. Guests always seem to gravitate to that area and having the table there makes sense. You can then place the Vintage Vogue Chairs where your existing dining room is and create a conversation area while providing your guests with additional seating. A Morgan End Table in Dark Mahogany placed between the chairs with a Bergamo Table Lamp on top would give you a stylish and updated look. The console table at the front of the room should be moved up against the back wall with perhaps a large print above it.

Since the table is moving to the back of the room, we suggest our 2 or 3 Seat Dorchester Bench with a few pillows tossed on top to replace it. It also provides additional seating, just pull it up to the sofa area when needed. Depending on the look you want, try hanging drapery panels close to the ceiling as this will draw your eyes upward and help with the long, narrow look of the space. If you wish to keep the color palette neutral, our Ballard Essential Panels in either Sand Twill or Khaki Twill would be a wise choice.

Moving the dining room furniture to the space off of the kitchen should work very well for you. It will define a true dining area and you can still maintain an unfussy look by choosing more relaxed accessories. You certainly can add one of our durable indoor/outdoor rugs. Our pick is the Velay Jute Rug in neutral tones. It will give you an inviting look with the durability and easy care of an outdoor rug.

Our last suggestion is to choose your accessories wisely. If you are trying to keep it simple and uncluttered, less is more. We would rather see a few well chosen pieces that you love than a myriad of less than perfect items. Once you get to the accessorizing stage, send us a picture, and we will be happy to make additional recommendations. But for now, we think you have a lot on your plate. Design really evolves from the space you are living in. Always take into account what your lifestyle is (informal, formal, etc.). When you entertain – do your guests center around the dining/kitchen table, or is it more relaxed in front of the TV watching a football game with friends? If you truly think about the way you live, you will be able to make design decisions that are comfortable and feel right for your lifestyle.

We have really enjoyed going over your Decorating Dilemma and hope that we were able to give you some suggestions that will help you achieve the look and feel that you want in your home. Please send us pictures of the completed project. We just love seeing how talented and creative our Ballard Customers are!

The Ballard Style Studio Team

Posted 8/5/09

Layout Limitations

Featured products:
1 Morgan End Table
2 Bergamo Table Lamp
3 Dorchester Bench
4 Ballard Essential Panels
5 Velay Jute Rug
6 Limited Edition Bespoke Pillow – Candelabra
7 Vintage Vogue Chair
8 Cattails, Cotton Branches and Sunflowers

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.