Hard To Layout Living Room

Carrie P Collage

Decorating Dilemmas is a weekly column in which our stylists answer your design questions, so you can tackle your home decorating project with complete confidence.

Dear How to Decorate,

I recently moved into a new home (from a small city apartment) and I am struggling with how to decorate the living room. It’s my favorite room in the house – with river views, a fireplace, leaded glass doors/windows and lots of light – so I want to get it right.

I love Ballard and would be so grateful for your help! Can you please share ideas for the layout, key pieces and fabrics?

The walls are a light blue/grey (Behr – Urban Mist) with bright white trim. I’ve attached pictures of some of my must-keep inspiration pieces – lots of blue and cream to work with.

We are looking to buy new furniture. I love the Griffith sofa (and chairs) with pewter nailheads, but am open to any and all suggestions.

Thanks in advance!


Carrie P Collage


From the description of your new living room, we think it would be a favorite room of ours as well. The inspiration pieces are key in providing direction for the styling of your space.

Carrie P Layout

With the length of your room, the layout we created will work beautifully with two conversation areas. The first area takes in the river view with a Griffin sofa covered in Trilby Basketweave Natural facing the window. We added throw pillows in brilliant colors of Velvet Indigo and Teal.

On either side are our Thurston Chairs covered Indochine Ikat Denim along with our Metallic Garden Seat. We added the Elsie Coffee Table in front of the sofa for a finishing touch.

Carrie P Collage

Between the two French doors, our San Marino Secretary in distressed gray over white will give the wall an anchor point. Add in our Louis Side chair covered in Cheetah Gray for an unexpected surprise. Consider adding mirrors to capture and reflect the natural light that floods the room.

Carrie P Collage 3

Our new Wood Columns are perfect pieces to showcase the corners near the French doors. The Ananda Serving Table, against the opposite wall, provides a fabulous serving piece for cocktail parties. Tucking Courbe Ottomans under this table is a great way to store extra seating for the occasional extra guest.

In front of your fireplace, we recommend repeating the Griffin Sofa but this time add a pair of our Larkin Chairs covered in Velvet Teal. Consider backing both sofas with the Morgan Low Bookcase for a small library that is easy to access.

Carrie P Collage 2

Pull up a pair of the smaller Olivia Mirrored Side Tables and a floor lamp for reading. On the wall near the fireplace, we suggest using another Casa Florentina piece … the large Josephina Bookcase with doors in Distressed Blue. This piece carries a voice large enough to stand alone in such a grand space.

Remember to add plenty of lighting and beautiful drapery panels to frame the stunning views! Choosing unique accessories will refine the space and complete the room.

Happy Decorating!

The How to Decorate Team

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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.


  1. Reply


    June 26, 2020

    Dear decorator, I need your advice on how I can decorate my longggggg open living room. I have this beautiful marbled top bar with 2 stool that i would like to maybe put it in there somewhere. I would like a tv but i have windows covering on all walls except of course in fron of the entres door. I would probably put a big mirror there with thise nice side tables?? Help
    Thank u so much

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      June 29, 2020

      Hi Nora,
      We have a team of free interior designers who would love to help you figure out your decorating dilemma. Simply upload images of your room and your question here.

  2. Reply


    May 24, 2013

    Thank you so much for the ideas! I love the idea of two conversation areas, and the pieces you’ve selected.