Decorating Dilemmas: Natalie’s Cottage Living Room

Lightening up Natalie's cottage living 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 Team,

Our family room is in desperate need of some “fluffing” and refreshing. It feels so dark with the current paint colors and all the furniture is over-sized for the space. We have thought of painting and changing to more appropriate furniture and accessories but do not know where to start.

We are looking for something cozy, comfortable, and with a cottage/bungalow style. We also have a dog who loves to cuddle with us on the furniture so we would like it to be pet friendly as well. Any suggestions you could make would be most appreciated!!

Natalie McKelvey






Dear Natalie,

Your little cottage is so fun and welcoming. I do love your sense of color and whimsy. If you want a new look for your living room, we love continuing your casual look with a shift towards smaller but still comfortable pieces.

Layout for Natalie's cottage living room

Let’s soften and lighten up the room by trying Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue on the walls; it is a beautiful green casted blue. Wooden blinds or shutters in white will brighten up the space while keeping a garden feel. We have a colorful rug from our Casa Florentina collection — the Payton Hand Knotted Rug. You can use an 8×10 in front of the fireplace and then a small 3×5 behind the sofa.

We love our Eton Chairs in the Keaton Linen Stripes and placed in front of the windows with your round table in the center. Let’s replace the sofa with our Sofia Sofa upholstered in the Danish Natural Linen. The sofa can face the fire place and still be perfectly situated to watch TV. The finishing touch to create this cozy conversational space will be placing 2 side chairs in front of the fireplace. Here we used the Casa Florentina Solvie Armchairs in distressed Mineral Green. All the seating can come to life with an assortment of colorful throw pillows. We can use your lovely coffee table and add 2 Eton Ottomans upholstered in Danish Linen Aqua and the Courtney Peacock print to fit nicely on either end of your coffee table – or can be pulled in front of the Eton chairs.

The Louis XVI Sideboard in Warm Green will add great dimension to your entrance way wall. Add Lauren Lamps in Green paired with assorted sizes of our Preserved Boxwood Topiaries. Finally, hang the Garden District Mirrors in Distressed white above to complete the look. You might want to consider the Friend Art picture, this cute little dog looks like something you might like.

For extra lighting in the room, flood the space the Tasseau Floor Lamp and the Casa Florentina Verona Chandelier. We added one of the wood colors, Distressed Blue for your consideration for a new TV console or a new shelving unit. If not, you may want to consider a DIY project by repainting your existing shelf and console in Distressed Blue.

Happy Decorating!

The Design Team

Lightening up Natalie's cottage living room

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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


    July 29, 2016

    I love the color combinations you selected for this room! I would have never thought to put the striped chairs and floral ottomans in the same room, I need to be more adventourous when selecting fabrics. Thanks for providing this helpful service and allowing folks like me to learn from such a great design team!

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      August 1, 2016

      Thanks for your comment, Deb. We love hearing when a post helps you!