Decorating Dilemma: Julie’s Sitting Room

Decorating Dilemma: Julie's Sitting Room

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,

This beautifully paneled room is on the south side of the 90-year-old home we bought this past fall. The whole house is a mishmash of influences, though I am hoping to take it more toward lovely French country than heavy English Tudor. This room is covered in four large windows, two small and a door, so the window treatments are going to be a big factor in the overall feel of the room. We need something for sun filtering during the day, since it faces south, and for blackout at night because our closest neighbors live on that side. The area by the fireplace is our favorite sitting spot, and the other side is for the kids’ school table and books. Also, we want to add tall, thin bookcases between the three windows on the long side, to keep with the library theme as we are book lovers.

The curtains in the photos are from the previous owners and need to be thrown out asap! What would you suggest for colors? fabrics? etc??



End of room with fireplace

view with side chairs

Dear Julie,

Thank you for submitting your dilemma. You have such a beautiful and unique room, we decided to keep your design plan simple to allow the natural charm and warmth of your space shine through.

For your windows, we decided our Document Drapery Panel was the way to go. The cotton blend is heavy enough to give you the privacy you seek at night, while not totally blocking out the light during the day. The print also fits your desire for French country quite well with the panel being totally covered in beautiful French script. The lovely oatmeal color of the panel will add warmth to your space without being too dark or heavy.

The Tuscan Center Bookcase in rubbed cream would be the perfect solution for bookcases on each side of the fireplace.  They provide lots of book storage and their soft color would repeat the Document Drapery Panels and the soft colors of your rug.

To continue with the French country theme, we love the idea of flanking the fireplace with two of the Sofia Settees.  They are large enough to sit two comfortably, without being so large it overwhelms the space … the ideal size for a small library!  Add a Castered Storage Ottoman in Herringbone Sage to finish off your cozy spot.  Don’t forget a lamp or two for your reading enjoyment.

Happy Decorating!

The How to Decorate Team

Do you have a decorating dilemma? Send us your own questions here.

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

    Debra Jarvis

    July 12, 2014

    I have a large den 17 x 25. I have shelves around the fire place. I have beachiy theme. I’m having decorating problem placing items on each shelve. Any help would be helpful. Where can I send a picture of my den?

    Thank you

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      July 14, 2014

      Hi Debra,

      Thanks for your comment. We would love to help choose a few items for your bookshelves. If you’d like to submit a photo of your space to us, go to this page and complete the form. Someone from our Design Solutions team can get back to you with an answer!

      Looking forward to helping you with your space,
      The How to Decorate Team