Decorating Dilemma: Kim’s Living Room

Decorating a small living room with blue and black accents

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 renovated my living room. We added new drywall, crown and baseboards, hardwood flooring, new paned window, and refurbished the bow window. The walls are a very pale yellow,and  all trim is pure white.

I love the new clean, bright feeling and want to follow with that in my choices of furnishings and decor. I bought a cotton duck, ruffled slipcover for my old sofa because it’s still in great shape and very comfortable. After months of searching, I bought this area rug. With Caroline’s decorating help, the Slim Chadwick Armoire in Rubbed Black is on its way and will house a new flat screen TV!

The only other things that are staying are the pillows, the tree, and the wood and iron side table. The others seen in the photo are just placeholders and temps. So, I need a coffee table, an upholstered chair, maybe two of Ballard’s x-stools, lamps, and window treatment for the bow window (probably my biggest dilemma). I’d like to leave the upper row of windows open, but can’t figure out how best to do that. The smaller window I’d like to leave open and embellish with painted white wooden brackets in the upper two corners. My goal is to keep it all cohesive and get the patterns right. Thank you for any advice and suggestions!



BRAVO on the beautiful subtle paint choice for your space. The colors and textures of your existing furnishings and rug give you a broad pallet from which to pull.

You mentioned in your dilemma that you’ve ordered our Slim Chadwick Armoire, in Rubbed Black finish, to house your media components. This is a wonderful piece that has a smaller profile to tight spaces.

Replace your existing chairs with a pair of our Coleman Chair upholstered in Ellie Indigo or Ellie Snow to enhance the deep saturated indigo and gray tones in your existing rug. The Morgan Large Cocktail Table in Dark Gray, paired with our woven baskets, will coordinate nicely with your current wood and iron side tables and as well as working perfectly with the scale of your sofa.   A large gathering space is always in need of additional seating, so we suggest that you place a custom X-Bench upholstered in Suzanne Kasler’s Linen Sky/Blanc Small Stripe fabric on either side of the Chadwick Armoire to provide fun and functional seating for friends and family. We have a great selection of table and floor lamps in multiple styles can provide the final piece of ‘jewelry’ for your room. We’ve suggest our Suzanne Kasler Small Navy Gourd table lamp as well as the Madison White lamp base as a starting place to find lamps that you love.

Our Bingham Printed Damask Indigo panels will give you the texture of a natural fiber drapery but will leave this family room with casual and cozy feel. Another option for a more sophisticated approach is the Firenze Embroidered panels. They are designed to capture a simple elegance with their beautiful embroidered trellis pattern. In the space on either side of the panels, hang trios of our Morris Seabirds. We think they’ll coordinate with your wall color beautifully and tie in the black accents around the room.

Place a grouping of the Blue and White Porcelain Vases in various sizes atop the Chadwick Armoire to compliment your room’s timeless traditional feel.

We wish you much success with the suggestions we provided to create the perfect family room of your dreams. If you need additional assistance, we can setup a complimentary phone consultation with a member from our design team.

Happy Decorating!

The Design Team

Decorating a small living room with blue and black accents

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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

    Karen DiNoia

    March 28, 2016

    I want to change my cocktail table and maybe my rug I think it’s too dark with the ginger leather sofa and chair and ottoman. Suggestions please.

  2. Reply

    Jackie D

    March 26, 2016

    Love this! How do I submit a room?

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      March 28, 2016

      Simply complete this form, and our Design Solutions team will contact you with a plan!