Decorating Dilemma: Josh’s Living Room

Decorating a living room in turn-of-the-century home

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:

We are looking to refurnish our downstairs main living space, and we cannot figure out the furniture arrangement due to the long and narrow nature of the space and the walk flow of our living area. Our kitchen overlooks an eating area and the main living room (which is shown in the photos), and the total space is 48 x 13.

The living room area show in the photos is approximately 20 x 13. On the left hand side of the photos, you will note a fireplace with windows on each side — the space on each side of the fireplace measures 7 feet in length. The back wall is 13′ long and the large wall on the right measures 20 ft long. Finally, from the vantage point of the photos, to the immediate right is the walk flow of the home, which goes into a large, two-story foyer.

We are big fans of Ballard and How to Decorate, and the only items that stay are the Durham cocktail table and the Orb chandelier. We’ve also been saving for the Jill mirror to go above the mantle, unless you recommend something different. We have spa colors throughout the home to go with the walls, which are mint frost by Valspar.

Please Help!




Dear Josh,

You have a great space to work with and we have developed a solution that we think you will love! The floor plan is included (with two variations) on the same page with the furnishings we are suggesting for your space.

Your living room will have multiple functions for entertaining guests … relaxing in front of the fire with family, and even curling up and reading a book. We have arranged your room to serve all these purposes. To begin, we positioned the Tuscan Media Center at the end of your living room space so that it shares a view with the adjacent area and the kitchen from above. For extra seating, we would suggest to place the X Bench upholstered in Leo Brown, on either side of the console. We see that you have two sunburst mirrors and you could place one on each side above the benches. Sharp!

In order to delineate the living room, we think you could place the Toulouse Bookcase at the 20’ mark, one on each side of the space. This will create a natural division and leaves a nice wide opening for entry. As an option, you can also push the bookcases together … positioning them on the opposite wall. The media center and bookcase would be lovely places for books, personal collectibles, photographs etc, and the top of the bookcase would be a perfect place for some small houseplants to soften the lines.

As you have Valspar’s Mint Frost represented on your walls, we have integrated small pops of blue/greens in pillows, as in the Trilby Basketweave Spa, and Oasis Velvet, on the chairs and sofa. We also suggest the Catherine Rug in 10’ x 14’ that has blue/greens in the design to coordinate with the walls.

The windows will feel fresh and light by framing them with Bingham Drapery Panels.  We think a pair of Thurston Chairs, upholstered in Pallini Sand, would be perfect flanking the media center. Let’s pull up a small Durham Tray Table beside each chair for a drink or book. Don’t forget to add lighting like the Bradley Task Floor Lamp in an antique brass finish.

We suggest placing the Durham Rectangular Coffee Table in front of the sofa and centered under your Orb Chandelier. We have selected the very handsome tufted Emerson Sofa embellished with brass nailheads and upholstered in Queens Velvet Saddle. Remember to add a few throw pillows in the Leo Brown to your sofa and chairs.

We love the Jill Mirror, too. We would suggest placing that on the wall opposite to your fireplace. It will reflect light into the room will be lovely above the Ananda Serving Table. Top the sofa table with two Malia Glass Lamps for a finishing touch. For an additional interest, surround the mirror your personal photo’s or art collection. The Suzanne Kasler’s Pastoral Hues Art framed in an antiqued gold patina would be amazing above your fireplace. Add a pair of sconces or varied height candle holders on either side to create beautiful focal point … with a fire in the hearth!

Happy Decorating!

The Design Team

Decorating a living room in turn-of-the-century home

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How to Decorate Team

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