Decorating Dilemmas: Jessica’s Living Room

Decorating Jessica's large family 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,

Our living room is a pretty large space, and the layout is kind of hard to work with. One wall is built-in bookshelves and a brick fireplace. The colors are dated and need updating. I have considered white washing the brick around the fireplace and painting the gold fireplace insert but wasn’t sure about what to do with the bookshelves.

On the two walls meeting the bookshelves, one has a window and the other has a sliding glass door. We have wall-to-wall carpeting in the room which is a tan color. One day we plan on installing hardwood flooring or laminate.

My other struggle is furniture placement. The TV has to stay where it is because the satellite cord is not long enough to put it anywhere else. I have two sofas, two adult recliners, one child recliner and two end tables (which I could take or leave these). The walls are a tan also. The room is 24′ x 18′.




Thanks for contacting us to help you with your living room facelift, you will be amazed at how much paint and furniture placement can make a difference in a room.

We love your idea of whitewashing the brick, but we would take that a step further and paint out the bookcases as well. Take a look at Benjamin Moore White Dove OC-17 for both of these projects, but leave the mantle and brass fireplace screen as is. To further freshen up, think about changing your wall color to Benjamin Moore Beach Glass 1564.

Now that the painting is complete, let the decorating begin. Prop the Gilded Heines Leaf Art on the mantle to allow the gold accents in the art to tie back into the brass on the fireplace screen. Our French Knot Drapery Panels would be a perfect compliment for the sliding door and window.

Now let’s tackle that hard to work with seating arrangement. We have grounded the space with the Irving Rug. The blue, gray and latte tones are a perfect blend of color to infuse into the space … not to mention the texture and warmth of the rug. Consider replacing your recliners with two of the Rebecca Swivel Chairs in Bristol Flax, the swivel will allow you to have the perfect angle for viewing the television and enjoying the fireplace.

Our last suggestion would be to add the Kerra Sideboard opposite the fireplace to balance the space and provide the perfect landing spot for two of Suzanne Kasler Chapelle Lamps and the Crossed Path Art.  

We know these ideas will give you the update you wanted and solve the seating arrangement dilemma.

Happy Decorating!

The Design Team

Decorating Jessica's large family 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.