Downsizing Living Space from Tara E.

My husband and I just downsized to a condo. We have only purchased a sectional, rug and ottoman so far and I’m having trouble with the finishing touches . Please note that the sectional delivered was the wrong one, we ordered a sofa/sofa sectional and they sent a loveseat/sofa, which is too small for the area, it has been reordered. The living space is very open with tall ceilings. The color scheme I have is tans and a greenish blue color so far. The walls are painted Wyndham Cream and actually turned out a little more yellow than I wanted. I need help with wall decorations, accessories, window treatment and tables. I really like the shabby chic style that is very comfy, nothing too formal. I love the products you carry, so any suggestions would be welcome!


Foyer – I have an old church bench and mirror above. I love the church bench and would like to paint the ends of it. I’m not crazy about the mirror above it and don’t know what to do with the blank wall to the left. These 2 walls are at about a 45 degree angle so it’s tricky as I think they should compliment each other.

The “too small” sectional, the new one will completely cover the window. I love the fabric/look of the new sectional, the ottoman and rug but don’t know what to do for a window treatment. It just needs to be decorative and not for privacy. We are on the 3rd floor with a beautiful view of trees. I ordered the ottoman from Ballards and the fabric is Trilby Basketweave Seafoam. I will NOT be using those side tables and need suggestions for replacements.

We had the TV mounted above the fireplace. We will be replacing the tile around fireplace – not sure what to put on the mantle.

We will be replacing the counter top on the buffet. I’m not sure if or what I should put on top of cabinets


Our dining room – I am going to paint the furniture an off white with an accent color on the inside of the corner cabinets. I will leave the top of the table wood, but stain it darker. I will get the seats recovered and would like to have it done with the nailhead look. As you can see, I ordered one of your light fixtures, which I love! I don’t know what to do with the wall to the right of the corner cabinet. It’s about 7 feet wide and just seems so blank! Also, what should be put on top of the corner cabinets – they look so bare. I would also like to get some type of area rug for under the table.


I like the table in the foyer there, but will add some different accent pieces – any suggestions?
Thanks for any suggestions you have!

Tara E.



Dear Tara,

Congratulations on your new home! We have a few ideas that may help, so let’s get started. First of all, you have very high ceilings, so we have two very important tips for you. 1.) Think grand scale. Choose large pieces or items, when hung together, read as a large piece to the eye. 2.) Look for ways to draw the eyes up.

That being said, let’s start in the dining room. Adding height to the walls with large-scale objects will really make the space live large. Anything you put on the walls in this space should be hung higher than the corner cabinets, so it brings your eyes up. Take a look at our Sacha Mirror. In the sample photo online (and in the latest catalog), we hung four together, so it’s one large square. You could also do that with a pair of Grand Palais Rectangle Mirrors. Or, stack three large mirrors on top of each other or side by side, like the Cosette, Genova or Garden District Mirrors. Any of those options would look great on that wall.

On the wall on the right, create a grid with our large Vintage Cloisonne Prints, which match your color scheme. Again, hang the top row higher than the cabinets (and at the same height as the mirror) so you’re adding height to the space.

Also, a rug would help ground the space. Our affordable indoor/outdoor rugs are super low-maintenance, plus we have several designs with a spa blue color scheme, like the Saybrook and Geneve. Or, go completely neutral with our Seagrass Rug with brown border.

We suggest moving that landscape print to the blank wall adjacent to the mirror and church bench. It would fill that space quite nicely. Above the church bench, choose something large scale and round to break up the squared off lines in this space as well as complement the landscape print. A couple of suggestions are the Portofino Mirror or Chateau Betton Clock.

In the living room, a pair of neutral panels would really help soften up the room. To draw the eyes upward, hang your drapes 4 to 6 inches above the window frame. Also, add 3 to 6 inches beyond the window frame on each side so you can let as much light in as possible.

We’re not sure how much space for side tables you’ll have once you get your larger sectional sofa. Try a pair of petite round tables, like a Garden Seat, Benedetta Side Table or Olivia Round Side Table. Or, if you do want something larger on the right side, take a look at our Morgan End Table.

As for that space above your cabinets, add a few items that add interest and height, like baskets or tall vases.

Final_TouchesWe hope our suggestions help! Happy decorating!

The Style Studio Team

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.