Decorating Dilemma: Christine’s Open Floor Plan

Decorating an open floor plan

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,

My kitchen and dining area open into the family room. I’m not sure what type of seating to do! Do I use a sofa and love seat or a sofa and three chairs to define the space as the family room? Since all three rooms are open to each other, choosing a paint color has been hard — it really has to be all the same color!

We are purchasing all new furniture for the dining area and family room, but we will also need to coordinate draperies, rugs, and wall decor.



view towards kitchen

dining table space

large leather sofa

other leather sofa

view of kitchen and sitting


Different colors and textures can help define each living area, while staying in the same tones will help with a more seamless flow from one space to another.

We chose the Chianni Trestle Table in Belgian Oak to anchor your dining space.  You’ll also notice the Diamond Sisal Rug has a 2 tone contrast that will work well with most any color story for your home.

Lighting is a great way to update a larger space while keeping scale in mind. The Eldridge Rectangular Chandelier brings a simple line to your room that will balance the space. Why not incorporate two Sonoma Bookcases on the longest wall in your dining space? These will allow for multi-purpose storage while keeping the transitional flow from one room to the next.

We’ll start bringing texture and color into the room with upholstered chair options. The Gramercy Chair would be great positioned at the heads of the table. The fabric for the Gramercy chairs in either the Timur Orange or the Athena Slate will bring in an accent color while staying within the tones of the other rooms. By choosing color (Blue or Orange) it will give your living spaces definition while letting you introduce a bolder color into your design.  The Grand Palais Mirror hung on the smaller wall will balance the scale of the room while also reflecting light.

Transitional style furniture for your living room will add sophistication and sensibility to your space. The Baldwin Sofa with the Natural Linen Slipcover would be a great option.  Our Baldwin Sofa is not only for comfort, but gives you the option to update slipcovers with a variety of ready-made choices or the option to customize with any fabric of your choice.

Floating two Larkin Swivel Gliders will help define the living space from the kitchen and dining areas. Again, we’ve suggested a patterned fabric and color that helps merge the tones and textures from the dining area.  Placing the Bornova Side Table in warm gray between the Larkin Gliders will balance the space. The Geneve Rug shown with the Graham Storage Ottoman upholstered in Herringbone Spa as your coffee table, will allow for extra storage. The spa color we’ve shown will tie back into the cooler blues we’ve recommended for the dining space.

Our Olivia Side Table in black will balance the larger space behind your sofa. Placing a table on both sides of the sofa with the Suzanne Kasler Gourd Lamp will add height and light.

Bringing balance to the wall space behind your sofa can be accomplished in several ways. Gallery walls are a great way to create a focal point in a room. Merging Bellesol Mirrors and a collection of framed photos will add balance and personality to your living space. To emphasize the height of the living room, hang curtains close to the ceiling and allow the panels to go to the floor. Ballard Essential Panels are available in a variety of colors and lengths for you to choose from.

Happy Decorating!

The How To Decorate Design 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.