Decorating Dilemmas: Tabitha’s Great Room

Decorating a large family room with a fireplace and TV wall

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,

My great room is in a great mess! We had a leather sectional under the windows, and the L-shape faced the wall across from the fireplace. The leather started to peel and was still under warranty. Unfortunately it is unable to be repaired as the manufacturer no longer has materials for it. Now I’m at square one.

I’m trying a different layout (using the piece of the sectional they left and wood to visually see the space) but it is looking a little empty. I was thinking of not doing a sectional this time and doing two couches. I’m attaching a layout of the room and photos from the room at ground level and from the bridge overlooking.

I’d love your suggestions.






Dear Tabitha,

You have a wonderful, light filled space. We are so happy to help you add in warmth, comfort and easy living pieces to create a great gathering spot for your family.

We would suggest starting on the long wall and add a Salerno Console in Cream. This is a great piece to use as a media cabinet.   Add a pair of Salerno Cabinets flanking the console to mirror your fireplace and create and amazing focal wall. Next, we suggest a pair of our extra comfortable Baldwin Sofas. You can upholster them in your choice of fabric or, as we are showing you here, with a slipcover in Trilby Basketweave Bark for softness and simple maintenance. We’ve added a couple of 15”x30” Custom Pillow Covers in Courtney Peacock for the sofas. These pillows contain all the colors in our room and help bring a cohesive appearance to the room. Signature Velvet and Linen Pillows in Deep Teal add the final touch to the sofas.


Since you have two focal points in the room, you might consider adding a pair of Carlyle Swivel Chairs in Mya Peacock to create a cozy spot in front of the fireplace and provide additional seating for watching the television. Side-by-side Durham Rectangular Coffee Tables between the sofas make a perfect landing spot for magazines, candles and propped-up feet. A small Durham Tray Table around the sofas will be very convenient and the addition of a Allen Side Table will give a great location for a Hanover Adjustable Table Lamp in Bronze.

Behind the other sofa, the slim Ananda Serving Table in Rustic Black will look smart topped with a pair of Suzanne Kasler Gourd Lamps in Light Winter Gray … adding a bright note of much needed ambient lighting. Since the layering of rugs is all the rage, we suggest a Catherine Rug under the conversation area to add extra color, pattern and comfort and hold the space together visually.

Create a reading nook in the far corner with a Helmes Wing Chair in Ezra Natural, a William Floor Lamp and a Classic Garden Seat in Bronze. When you are ready to replace your drapery, try our Firenze Panels in Chocolate. You can choose the size that hang above your lower bank of windows for a more current look.

For some finishing touches, we suggest A Sunlit Stroll Art in a larger size to add some great color and an eye catching focal point over the fireplace. A pair of Leather Poufs in Chocolate flanking the fireplace will provide extra seating or a great ottoman when needed. On the wall to the left as you enter from the foyer, we suggest a 2– Door Martin Console in Black. Bring your mirror from the fireplace to hang above and add a Leona Lamp in Teal for color.

Bring in the comfort and enjoy your new family room.

Happy Decorating,

The Ballard Design Team

Decorating a large family room with a fireplace and TV wall

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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


    December 21, 2016

    Oh this looks so familiar to a room one of the Designers at the Tampa Ballard’s store was working on for a customer. They have excellent design advise at the store why do they not contribute to these?

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      December 22, 2016

      It’s funny you say that because the Design Solutions designers in each of our stores actually answer these questions! Once you send in your question through the form, it goes to one of our store designers who then create a list of items to purchase and email it back with a collage and explanation.
      You’re right, they are a talented bunch 🙂