Last week we wrapped up an installation of a family room that we’ve been working on for a few months, and we’re so excited to finally show it to you! But before we do, let’s take a look at where we started.
We were first contacted by our clients shortly after they had purchased a suite of living room furniture. Though they loved the set and the dark tones of the leather upholstery, they started to fear that it was too much of a good thing, especially against their chocolate brown wood floors.
“We tend to like darker furniture/wood finishes but, having said that, our concern has become that the look of our living room might be getting too dark.”
We agreed that the room was feeling too heavy and needed to be lightened up. This room had a couple other challenges as well. The builder had wired the home so that the TV could only go above the fireplace. And while the style of the home is very traditional, the room needed to work for a family with young kids, and for a couple who has modern tastes.
Alright, now that you have the backstory, are you ready to see the results??
Here is the “After”:
What a transformation! We love how bright and airy the room feels now! It just goes to show that you don't *have* to start over with all new furniture to have a new room. If you’re looking for a refresh, and have some challenges to work around, here are 5 Takeaways from this project:
1. Start with the end in mind.
We always suggest that before you buy a single piece of furniture, you know what the finished design of the room is going to look like. This will avoid costly mistakes like pieces that are too big or awkward for the space. In this case, we didn’t have the luxury of totally starting from scratch, but we still applied the principle by starting with the 2D furniture plan. Looking at your room, to-scale, from a bird’s eye view will allow you to optimize your layout. Here, we repositioned the furniture so that it was balanced in the room. Before, it was sitting at awkward angles and was crowded against the wall. By straightening it out, and spreading it out, we gave the whole arrangement space to breathe.
2. Break up the Set
Our first suggestion was to break up the matching set of leather, and swap a piece or two for something in a light-colored fabric. Understandably, though, as the furniture was new, they wanted to keep it.
So we looked for an eclectic mix of occasional tables to balance the neatly matched upholstered pieces instead. Side by side, the three tables we chose (a formal oval coffee table, an industrial-inspired iron and wood side table, and an almost-beachy white wood side table) wouldn’t seem to fit in the same room. But because the furniture was so perfectly matched, we were able to get away with it, and the blend of styles and finishes gives movement and life to the finished room.
3. Choose the Right Rug
A new rug was an absolute must to bridge the contrasts in the room. The former rug was a bright white, and instead of lightening up the room, its starkness made the dark furniture feel even darker. The tone of the new rug is right in the middle-- not too light and not too dark-- so it unifies the dark sofas and the lighter tables. The style of the previous rug was also too modern. Although modern is good, it went so far that it couldn’t relate to the style of the home anymore. The new rug has a traditional pattern, but it’s faded and distressed to make it fresh and on-trend. Lastly, the size is so important! Increasing the size of the rug means that all the front legs of the furniture now comfortably fit on it, so the room feels full and the furniture grounded.
4. Lower that TV! (Or art piece, or whatever is floating into space on your walls….)
A television hung above a mantle is not necessarily a bad thing. Though we bemoaned not being able to move the TV, the real crime wasn’t its placement in the room, but its too-high placement on the wall. The simple step of lowering it a few inches brought it into proper scale and relation with the fireplace and made it work. Now we actually love how simple and clean it looks with some neat topiaries on either side.
5. Layers and Texture are Key
The finishing touches were the accessories, and they were the stars of the show. Everything, from the pillows and throw, to the baskets and the books, was done in light and bright neutrals, icy greys, and soft blues. We added plenty of texture with knits and even fur, and that final layer really brought the room to life. Even we were a little surprised by HOW light the final result felt. It doesn’t have any of the original heaviness, in spite of having all the original brown furniture! That is the true magic of accessories, and we can’t overstate how much a few pillows and throws can transform the look of your upholstered pieces.
OK, we can't resist. Comparing the Before & After is the most thrilling part, so let's take one more look back at how this room has changed.
We couldn't be more excited about how this room turned out, and couldn't have asked for nicer clients to work with. Thanks so much to this sweet couple for bringing us on board- we had so much fun!