Decorating Dillemmas: Jill’s Living Room

Helping Jill decorate her living room to be cozy and comfortable

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 cannot get that cozy but classic style in the living room of our 48 year-old ranch. I have moved the furniture around every way possible but not the TV. The living room is 18×13 & and just doesn’t flow well.

I’d like to replace the brown chair and hassock with a new comfortable chair. I like to put my feet up! The little cupboard in front of the 88″ couch should be replaced with a coffee table; a piece of wall art for north wall is needed; different rug or lamps can be replaced.

I like the remaining pieces and the mix of old and new. The TV has to stay; would the room flow better if it were on the east wall and the cabinet moved from the north to the west wall?

Any advice on how to get a cozy, comfy but classic look in this old room is really appreciated. Please help! 

Thanks for your help!


P.S. My daughter-in-law furnished her living room with your pieces and it is darling.






Dear Jill,

It’s always fun to update a frequently used room. It’s a great time to add a few new pieces, edit and rearrange a few things to get a fresh look.

Let’s start with the furniture arrangement. You actually have a workable floor plan. We like that the room looks inviting as you come in the door and that the television is not the first thing that you see. We believe your biggest problem comes from the scale of your comfy chair. It is just too big for the space, which throws off the balance and flow of the room. With the addition of a few key pieces, we can update and make your room functional and beautiful.


Let’s start with the rug. Because your rocking chair looks like a special piece and we are keeping the sofa, we would like to suggest our Catherine Rug. It will echo the colors in these pieces and bring in a soft pattern and palette that will work with your wood. Layer it centered and slightly under the sofa. Replace the large clock over the sofa with a trio of our beautiful Garden District Mirrors in Antique Gray. Your corner cabinet works well in the corner to the left of the sofa, but let’s balance it out on the right with a Morgan End Table in Dark Mahogany. Hang a Garden Whimsy Art print above the end table and top with a Luciana Table Lamp in Distressed Blue to bring our blue around the room. Our Carrington Coffee Table in Rustic Pine will soften the dark woods and add some lovely curves to ease the flow in the space.

For great comfort and style, a pair of Elsie Club Chairs in Austell Oatmeal on either side of the sofa will add some symmetry to the space. Bring in our Stratford Ottoman and position it in front of one chair. We suggest that you upholster in Austell Oatmeal to create a cohesive look. On the window side, use one of your round tables between the Elsie Club Chair and your rocker to create an intimate sitting space. Your floor lamp is quite nice, so let’s update the shade with a new Couture Tapered Drum Shade in Ivory Linen and place it next to the Elsie Chair. One the opposite side of the room, we suggest that you center the oval mirror above the console and switch out the lamp for our Ellis Glass Table Lamp in Amber to bring some of the color from the sofa to this side of the room. Let’s move the current framed photo to the entry way and add a larger piece of art. We like the Serene Reflection Giclee to bring our blues to this side of the room.

Now for the final touches. Layer our Ballard Essential Pillows in Basketweave Natural and Small Taupe Check and Signature Velvet and Linen Pillows in Oasis on the sofa and chairs. Our woven baskets added to the shelves near the door and under the Morgan Side Table will organize and create texture. Our Preserved Boxwood would look great on the coffee table or the console. If you want to paint, choose a warm off white like Benjamin Moore Athena #858 to keep the space light.

We know these ideas will help you create a space that you will love.

Happy Decorating,

The Ballard Design Team

Helping Jill decorate her living room to be cozy and comfortable

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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.