Welcome to the coziest room in the house, and while it’s far from finished it checks a lot of the boxes that we needed – an extremely comfortable and large-scale sectional, big enough for all of us + our pups (don’t judge, we let our dogs on our sofa with us), a big ole Frame TV, and a cozy fireplace for the darker colder months. But stylistically it has a long way to go before we will be done with it. I’m stuck in here, TBH, and I’ve GOT to start making some headway. We aren’t shooting some of these final rooms until May but we all know that time flies these days and lead times are long. I hate rushing, but I also do want to be forced to make some decisions. So today it’s all things family room.
But first, where we came from…
This room was part of the 1960s addition to the original farmhouse. It might be hard to see where it is in the house so here are the floorplans of how it was when we bought the house, and where we are now.
Process – Choosing The Paint Color
We paneled this room with a 12″ custom run bead board that ARCIFORM expertly designed and installed. Sorry if I’m a broken record here, but we always wanted to paint it (we thought) so it was installed in poplar which is not a good stain-grade wood and if I could go back in time right now I might have done it in white oak so we could just have stained wood walls – which would have cost a lot more and might not have been worth it. But now it’s painted so it is what it is.
There was a lot of indecision at the end in the paint color, which isn’t where I thrive TBH. Green! Blue! Rose! I still don’t know!!!
We thought we wanted Privileged Green SW 6193 (a really good dark green) but at the last minute, I was worried it would be too dark and changed the color to Ponder SW 7079 which I felt pretty strongly about at the time. It’s a really, really pretty soft and warm gray that definitely brings cozy vibes. I wrote a whole post about choosing a moody paint color for this room, and while I love the color I’m not convinced it was the right choice for this room with this sectional. Some days we really like it and are like, “let’s make this work” and other days I wish I could snap my fingers and try all these different colors to see if just changing the color would help the design a lot. Somedays it’s gray and cozy and other days it looks really purple. I’m super frustrated with myself right now and generally feeling full of self-doubt (which might be in conjunction with SAD, I’m realizing) so thus being “stuck.”
The Family Room Today
So here we are today and before you judge too hard there is a lot still to be done, obviously, so I’ll walk you through it.
- We added the bench/hearth to add storage and keep the fireplace and the TV near the same height. We hired Nate from Dinihanian Design Build to customize it and he did an excellent job. We kept it simple with a little bead around the drawers for some decorative detail then added large Rejuvenation Massey Pulls. Originally we were going to add a piece of stone on top since the fireplace is sitting on it, but then realized that we didn’t need to. Since it’s gas, it’s fine to be on wood. We were honestly done spending money and adding the stone top would have cost about $2k – in materials, but mostly fabrication and installation. We had already donated the leftover soapstone to The Rebuilding Center and it wasn’t going to be long enough anyway (there would be a big seam which I was ok with). But now, I kinda wish we had done the stone. I’ve thought about doing a cushion but we just don’t need it and the kids use that surface to play. We can still do the stone but it means they have to take off the fireplace, redo the flu design, install the stone, and then re-install the fireplace. That doesn’t sound worth it to me right now.
- The fireplace is this little gas stove from Vermont Castings, the Stardance Direct Vent Gas Stove and it’s pretty awesome. We just started using it last week for some extra warmth and ambiance, and I think it’s helping my mood on the rainier days.
- The ceiling light is from Rejuvenation and we faced the bulbs upward which creates a little nice ambiance. The orange glow of the bulbs with the gold inside sometimes makes the wall color look really purple (which we knew would happen but definitely more than we thought).
- The wall color is beautiful, and the sofa color is awesome, but the rug is absolutely wrong with both. I’m not totally convinced that I like the sofa color with the wall color but keep reeling about how I’m going to proceed.
The sectional is from Rejuvenation and it’s extremely comfortable and cozy. The fabric is a performance velvet and that last chaise seat is big enough for me and both kids (see below for scale – I’m so tiny in it!). The coffee table I’ve had forever (from Anthropologie and sadly out of stock again) and it might end up living in the living room but it works well in here. I think something visually lighter would be better (maybe some round nesting tables?). It’s just very big and bulky in here, but not big enough for the living room so we’ll see. The rug is from the kids shared bedroom in LA (sadly unavailable) and really doesn’t work in here with the sofa and the wall color. It’s a great rug though and EXTREMELY forgiving because of the small organic pattern with a lot of color variation (dogs barfed on it the other day and after we spot-cleaned it we couldn’t find the spot at all). It’s not crazy cozy (as it’s woven not pulled) so we have our thick memory foam rug pad underneath it which makes it super cushy. But all in all, the color is just off for in here.
Time To Choose A Rug?? Will It Tie The Room Together?
This is why I always like to choose paint color LAST, but when you are remodeling all at once (a blessing and a curse) you don’t get to live in it before you paint. Sometimes I wish I had just had them prime the whole house and then we paint room by room, but they spent weeks prepping the walls, screening everything off with plastic, taping off every window and trim piece – so it would be such a waste of prep time to have them do that twice. In a perfect world, we would lock down the fabric and rug colors first because Sherwin-Williams has infinite paint colors. So we are working a bit backward now and that’s okay, but it’s just harder.
So the game plan as of this very second is to see if the right rug and art can tie together the pretty paint color and the pretty sofa color. Repainting this room is a whole thing since it’s all wood paneling including the ceiling and the fireplace hearth/bench. It would likely cost $2,500 (at least) and take 2-3 days and we can’t be in here when it’s done (and it’s a pass-through room which makes it hard to tape off and live with). And since we love the color itself we are going to try to work with it first, knowing that if it doesn’t work we’ll give ourselves permission to repaint it in a couple of years. But what that means is that we have to choose a rug that A. works with the sofa and wall color right now and B. A rug we love with the sofa regardless should we decide to change the wall color. We don’t want to box ourselves in even further – so this rug needs to allow flexibility.
We started collecting samples – some of these are companies who reached out wanting to partner on this room, and others we reached out to or bought samples. There are a million more we could choose from obviously, but laying these all out is super helpful to start comparing and seeing what works.
Here’s what is important to us:
- Comfy and cozy, but doesn’t need to be crazy plush (and we fear that popcorn and small legos would get stuck in it and be annoying to clean). So some of the deeper piles are gorgeous but might not work in here.
- We need it to be “forgiving” without being too bold and busy. That means enough color or texture variation to hide symptoms of our lifestyle – i.e. dirt from dog paws, general kid/life traffic, dog hair, Cheeto fingers, etc. Some of the lighter ones could work – I’ve had the Masinissa and the checkered one from Dash & Albert before and are so forgiving, but yes a darker rug will be more forgiving and likely work better for our lifestyle (the mud in the winter is a thing, at least until the landscaping gets done…but still).
We ordered samples from Ashley Stark Home (they are so gorgeous but might be too high a pile for a family room), Enkay (which are where two of the top choices are from right now), and Dash & Albert (a long-time great resource). Not all companies have samples which makes it a bit harder to decide remotely, but I might order more from Rejuvenation, Serena and Lily, Loloi Rugs, and Lulu and Georgia. Also, I could go for a pattern if it’s dark tones or go for a woven one if the colors are so perfect (thus foregoing the coziness of a pulled plush rug).
A. Raksha Rug | B. Desi Rug | C. Aziza Rug (Ice) | D. Sukri Rug | E. Aziza Rug (Fog)
These are the top 5 rugs we like. I like the tonal ones with the rug, but Brian is less into that look and he might be right. I also love the lighter one on the right as it has both the sofa and the wall tones in it – but I worry that it’s too light. I haven’t dived into the vintage Persian rug world yet either (or the new styles of them) as that wasn’t originally the art direction that I wanted for this house (remember when I was all “Shaker!” haha). I know that a vintage Tabriz could look amazing in here or the right worn-in Persian, which maybe I’ll start looking for.
What Is Happening On The Back Wall?
I don’t really know what we need on that wall. Sure I can put a gallery wall (which I might) but we could also use some (but not a ton) of storage in here. From this angle, it seems obvious to do built-in bookshelves along the back wall and perhaps integrate the sconces into it. We put those sconces in the lighting plan like a year ago and now that they are cut out of the paneling we have to stick to them. This is all fine, but if we wanted to do a tall bookshelf we’d have to do some troubleshooting. So I recently installed two Imbrie Articulating sconces there and have thought about doing a long sofa table/bookshelf along the back of the sofa, and then hanging an epic gallery wall on that wall, with the blimp being on the wall to the right. The biggest drawback of doing a big built-in on the back wall is that it really affects the sightline from the living room – so you’d basically immediately be blocked visually by a protruding piece of furniture. It doesn’t so much affect flow as you’d take a right to get into the room anyway, but visually it’s not my favorite. Also, we switched out the sconce on the left to be an art picture light (The Clyde, from Rejuvenation) because that one felt too glam and small. Sometimes I want to switch the gold chandelier to black but we chose gold as to not compete with the fireplace.
So instead of where the table is right now (which is a placeholder), picture a long low bookshelf (with closed backs and sides) for books/games and to put lamps on. Also right now we have nowhere to put a snack or drink or the remote (once you are leaning back, all lounging on the sofa, the coffee table feels pretty far away).
So there you go – a good old-fashioned process post showing you where we are stuck and what we are thinking about. Being that I feel a bit stumped I’d love to know any of your thoughts re the rug and the wall color… Maybe we’ll do a post where we photoshop all the paint colors we are now considering, but the truth is I think that we’ll think one of those is great and I really want to give these two colors together a shot before I let myself just change it, and who knows maybe a creative challenge like this is just what I need:)
Family Room Resources:
Fireplace: Vermont Castings
Current Rug: Serena and Lily (unavailable)
Flooring: Oregon White Oak by Zena Forest Products
Wall Color: Ponder by Sherwin-Williams
**Photos by Kaitlin Green
Sometimes I think constraints lead to the most creative solutions, so I’m sure this room will turn out to be great! Overall, what I think this room needs is more old stuff. Shaker rugs would’ve traditionally been rag rugs, but I don’t think that works with this sectional. The room is feeling a bit modern scandi more than farmhouse to me, and so do those rug samples, so I’d go with a vintage Persian rug to create a mix of old and new. That’s what works so well in the kitchen — blending the vintage island and runner with new elements. It also seems a bit odd to me that the rug enters the “hallway” space and overlaps the door to the bedroom wing, but I think it has to to fit under the sectional? Maybe layering rugs is the way to go. Something neutral can go under the full space with something vintage on top. Behind the sectional, I’d do a sofa table. Bookshelves or a credenza on the wall will create a skinny little aisle that feels cramped to me unless the sectional can move nearer the fireplace wall. Space on the wall side just feels like breathing… Read more »
Second the sofa console table
I don’t know, I think you’re onto something with a rag style rug. It would need to be the right one, but I certainly totally see your vision!
I like the modern rag rug idea too! Something like this maybe – https://www.etsy.com/listing/1160485808/handwoven-blue-and-white-rug-feedsack?click_key=a074ce302b367762c5bbc6b064fe04dad639dc08%3A1160485808&click_sum=7669c2b7&ref=shop_home_active_43&pro=1&frs=1&sts=1
Agree about the sofa console table. I don’t like any space between the wall, sofa table, and sectional – at least from the pictures it looks like the sectional is pushed too far into the room to create the space in the back.
I do like wall to ceiling bookshelves with the sectional pushed all the way against them like this:?v=1544399864
Agree this works and solves several problems. I would definitely take a tip from the inspiration photo and paint it the same color as the sofa. This gives the cozy moody vibe without painting the whole room and anchors the sofa which is now floating along the back, but pushed up the wall on the chaise side.
Great picture , love this idea
The wallpapered ceiling is what dreams are made of!
Agree – I think keeping it tonal- walls, couch, and rug -will really help the space feel more connected and cozy. I would add a door to the hallway since you cannot add a pocket door. I also think couch looks pushed up too far into the room. I love the inspiration photo with the couch against the bookcases and it’s all the same color.
Yes to Kate’s suggestion of the built in bookcase with the sofa pushed up against it. The inspiration photo is not of my favorites. I also think a darker color close to the sectional color would look so good, like in the photo. I also immediately thought of Sara’s TV room direction would be nice for this space.
I just realized I said the photo is not one of my favorites when I meant to say it is absolutely one of my favorites!
I was thinking of this exact room also. I know you don’t want to replicate something so iconic, but ugh, it is just SO cozy and comfortable. I think that’s where I’m hung up on with your room – the wall paint. Its probably hard for readers like me to tell from the pictures, but the paint feels cool instead of cozy (again, from the pics). But I don’t know. I do know I’m once again trying to figure out how to shove this room above into my house. How long does your daughter have to be at college before you can repurpose her room? Is it one semester? I’m starting to feel like its one semester.
Haha, one semester is fine! Although she’ll be talking about it in therapy for years to come!
Love the bookcase idea but the tone-on-tone of the inspo pic, while fabulous, feels like a very un-EHD vibe to me. Maybe wood bookshelves to bring that wood warmth back in and maybe build/find one with open ends so you can see books and pretty objects from the living room rather than a solid block of wood. Love the Persian rug idea. To me the reg rugs don’t seem to fulfill the soft and cozy requirement. This is my favorite type of post, like a fun puzzle to solve! And you’re spoiling us with so much farmhouse this week’
*rag rugs not reg rugs
I agree, Kate. Your inspo photo was my sense. The space needs shelving behind the sofa, and this could be one solution that works with the moody palette you could create w such a dark sofa.
Yep. I think it’d work.
I live in a nearly 100 yr ol’ house and I have a large Indian rag rug in one room, with some ‘proper’ antiques in the room, too. Everyone compliments the vibe and overall look of the room.
Totally about the rag rug and agree with those who say the rug needs to bring in some warmth. I like this one: https://annieselke.com/p/RDB223-810?gclid=Cj0KCQiA1NebBhDDARIsAANiDD2oqy1cfytBAvLYYg2ZyVt5BaKL__DAfWKl-s7F97i6R0y0nP9GyYAaAv1SEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds. Or this one:
I’m on team modern rag rug!
This one from DWRx Maharam immediately came to mind
I also think a modern more open floating shelf system like this one (also DWR) would not mess with the site lines and give that tonal vibe
I love this rug selection! I am team rag rug all the way and omg the richness of the tones in this one would be so gorgeous with that sofa. It just makes sense 😀
I second the persian rug suggestion! I think it is exactly what the room needs!
Literally came here to say the same thing. Bring in some old world charm and warmth with a persian rug. Red & blue tones or even pink. And it’s wool, easy to clean, very forgiving with dogs and kids and will work with the sofa and wall color. I also agree with a long vintage wood sofa table. That way you can place remotes, books, a lamp, drinks on it while you’re sitting.
I think pink is the right decision.
I agree….. not seeing “farmhouse” 8n this room.
Could be the lack of wood??
I’m team push the sofa back as well! That was my first and strongest reaction. I think a sofa table or pushed back against bookshelves would work well and look great. I also think it could just be against the wall, but you would loose the chance for a lamp. There is something about the sofa floating from the back, but tight to a wall at the chaise that feels illogical. From the photos, the sofa definitely appears too close to the TV and the space behind feels narrow. Moving the sofa back gives more space for kids to play, dogs to play and nap. With the right rug, the paint color and sofa will look spectacular. It’s a beautiful cozy room. The whole house is already amazing!!
That’s a great suggestion, and looking at the side of the sectional from the living area would be more welcoming than looking at the side of a bookcase.
Completely agree! Push the sofa back against a wood sofa table. You can use it to put drinks as well as a lamp. Also agree that this would improve the sight line from the living room!
I love that you are thinking textured rug with the solid sofa. When I think of cozy, I picture either dark and moody, layers of color and texture, or a light and furry Scandi vibe. Right now the wall is in between moody and light. The mid-toned rug is trying to swing the room to moody, but the wall won’t come along. I think some brightness as a lighter rug could balance out the equation. Or, option 2, really lean into the darker warm grays so that the wall layer becomes the lighter tone of a lavender-y/taupe-y/chocolate-y color-progression, with the green-blue couch as the compliment. Or lastly, to stay with more of the blues, as Amber suggested, a Persian rug could allow you to weave the wall and sofa colors together via multiple tones of the same color (like the great EH post from 8.7.19 about creating a sophisticated color palette — so good!) Looking forward to hearing more as the exploration continues!
Love that sofa!!! This picture is great- the floor to ceiling bookshelf solves a number of issues with the room – including giving the area behind the sofa a purpose as well covering up a fair amount of the shiplap, which I think helps because right now all those horizontal lines are overwhelming. AM sure you will get it to where you want it!
I am loving the Persian rug idea, but rag rugs can be colorful, casual, and charming, too. This may be more in line with your original direction (very cozy, forgiving, not too busy), but incorporating a little more color: https://www.etsy.com/listing/1270171216/hand-woven-chunky-loop-wool-area-rug
I vote for the sofa table, too. A built-in would cover up all that great paneling and be a less welcoming view from the rest of house, and there actuallly aren’t a lot of open walls for art out there. This room provides some nice opportunities there. A sofa table with a lower shelf would allow for a little styling moment as seen from the living room, too.
I want to chime in on the Persian rug side!
Man I’d put a richly colored cozy vintage Persian rug in here, they are incredibly forgiving to lifes messes. I think what this room is missing is some warmth, it’s beautiful, but very tonal and so feels a little flat/cold, like a windy day at the beach. Some contrast and pattern on the floor, could ground things, and also let the beautiful subtler color or the sofa and walls shine.
I definitely agree that a Persian style rug would be the best fit. I got a huge colorful one when my kids were tiny— primary colors, little animals, a mountain in the middle— and figured it would look pretty even when scattered with toys. It has, and after spending a fortune getting it rebound and cleaned a few years back (dogs had chewed one corner), it is still my most prized possession 20 years later.
For this room, Lulu and Georgia has lovely tonal ones, like the Dylani in denim and red. This one isn’t too pricy— $1700 in the largest size. I think the gray would sing with a mix of warmer and cooler colors on the ground.
I do think a real Persian rug would be your best bet, though. Mine is plush wool on a wool (not cotton) warp and has survived kid messes, dog barf and poop, parties, and at least 8 moves (2 cross country). I do like the softness of the newly manufactured tonal rugs like the one I linked above, but maybe those folks who sent you the kitchen runner can find the perfect one.
Thank you for inviting us in to this conversation! I love the sectional, paneling, stove, and have my own Frame TV thanks to your recommendation for years now. It will all come together (and I think a gallery wall with long sofa table would work great).
That is a gorgeous rug! And the colors will be perfect, I think.
Agree! Something to warm the room and add some richness and contrast. It feels very cold. (Though beautiful). Should match the feel,of the kitchen, which is clean but warm
OR alternatively to a Persian rug, you could use something like the rug below. I know nothing about farmhouse style other than what I’ve seen watching the occasional Fixer Upper episode, and to me Shaker is a style of cabinetry, but I see homes in the UK all the time that mix indigenous products, usually bought on travels, with their own style and it looks awesome – eclectic and interesting and layered. But potentially local to where you live.
Came here to say something similar – I think some warm colors would be nice, and bringing them in through a Persian rug would be pretty and connect well to the style in the kitchen.
I think you need to move away from the blues and off-whites for the rug and think pink or rust or natural jute-ish or warm tones (while being aware that an actual jute rug is scratchy so you don’t want that). Pinks would go with both the green tones in the sofa and the grey on the walls, and the blues are just not working – the tonal look doesn’t work when the walls aren’t dark. Have you got anything in the amazing prop closet you could pull out to see if you like that vibe?
Completely agree with long, low bookcase behind the sofa, with room for styling on top as well as drinks, and with lots of lovely art.
I find the stove on top of the cabinets odd but as you say it’s got to be like that and the kids use it I’d just add some baskets with blankets/kids’ toys that they can move easily to try to draw attention away from its odd location.
It will be gorgeous when you’re done though!
I agree, the blues in the sample rugs all look wrong to me and I think something warmer toned is the right direction. I applaud you working within the constraints of the paint and the sofa — they both look great and I know you’ll find a rug that makes it all work.
I think the blue sofa has a green undertone, not quite peacock blue or teal, but it’s there.
I agree, this room needs more warmth, not cool colours. If you’re not going to go rose on the walls (or even if you are), a rose/pink rug will play well with the sofa, and also make it feel less grey.
You can layer a smaller rug on top of the jute.
I agree!! While I wish the walls were pink, I think red and pink tones in a Persian rug wild do the trick!
While I don’t agree with the stove looking odd on the built in, I TOTALLY agree with Elle on the rug color suggestions.
I meant to add that the stove on the built in gives the room a little quirk, which I always love in an old house.
Oh my gosh we’re all saying the same thing! No blue rug. Neepers, beepers, beepers.
Also agree with the low bookcase. Think of all the pretty things you can style it with: less books than this and more of your things!
If I’m understanding the layout correctly, wouldn’t that just be facing the wall with a narrow walkway between? Feels awkward to me, but I’m not a designer!
Yes. The blues are NOT working in here!
Persian rugs! Go!
Another vote for a Persian or vintage-esque rug.
Maybe a break is in order for you? Just seems like a lot of indecision. The room already looks fine, imo, but if you aren’t sure about so many small decisions maybe you just need to step back and clarify your vision so you “know” when something is right.
Also, what about stripping the paint and staining? I know you said it was “paint-grade,” but I have seen stain and sealer make much worse wood look good. Maybe wood-panelling is the part of your vision missing that is throwing everything off.
She HAS to make decusions and keep going due to promotional commitments and photo shoot deadlines.
No choice to wait.
Em, the process is great and adapting. No apologies or self-doubt necessary.
I am not a trendy gal, I have no design chops. I am the last person from whom you should listen to. But speak, and opinion away, I will! I think a wall of bookcases is a must. But only if the bookecases are just crammed full of books, and not styled and only half-filled. Make this your eclectic grandma cottage situation at the farmhouse. It is too warm and cozy to be minimalist.
Appreciate the peek and happy for you to make it your own and work for your family.
Yesss to crammed full of books!
Yes to this! Books & photos also add warmth and personality to a room!
Where are the books?! I know y’all are a TV family but our “family room” was filled with big bookcases…some ppl would read, some would watch TV…sometimes together. That sofa and fireplace is screaming: “grab a novel off the shelf and get cozy” to me. Also if the sofa is green and the walls are gray/purple, I agree with other commenters to lean into a vintage/Persian rug or at least one with greens/purples/pinks. The blue rugs do not work in this room. Good luck!
If someone’s going to read in that room, they’ll need some good task lighting. Unless they just read ebooks?
Layering light is a must anyway. For reading and games too.
It is very difficult to evaluate a paint color without everything else in place. This color might work out and it’s a good one in that it allows you to go different ways as a stylist. I like the idea of a vintage Persian rug – it would mesh well with the cozy fireplace and potential bookshelf along the back wall. As for colors on the rug, maybe something with warmer jewel tones plus a little of the warm blue to help it tie in to the sofa? I also think the low bookshelf + gallery wall option behind the sofa would be great – if you did the bookshelf in a beautiful wood maybe it would help ease the regret that you have over not going with white oak paneling?
Rug B is my preference. And a darker, slightly green color on the walls. Currently, the walls are reading as dirty white to my eye. Also, add candles. I think more cozy lighting would be vibey. Couch looks perfect to my eye.
Add me to the Persian rug bus! I think it would absolutely tie everything together if you found the right color combo. The room looks pretty flat and cold right now, so it would also add dimensionality and warmth. With the amount of space behind the sectional, I’d go with maybe matched sofa tables that span the length and can hold lamps, remotes, drinks and snacks. I think even a low bookcase might be too wide, and then you’d be left with a skinny little walkway.
For me seeing the bookcase keeps me questioning, do i have to stand on the sofa to get books? I say push the sofa back with a long sofa table behind for lamps , drinks etc. Persian rug yes yes yes warmer tones to create some contrast. Leave the fireplace shelf as is at least for now its fine. get your rug etc in place then worry about it. if you must. Your start out is great! Don’t repaint it will all work out!
hi, boy what a sweet room..I love certain elements….the couch. That is my dream couch. The fireplace set up. the wall covering. It would be enough for me as is…..But I can see why you feel stuck as you need to up the design. But after reading a few comments this is what I notice might work well: I would bring in more farmhouse….a blend…. and antique accessories that still reflect your vibe. Not too sparse- unique. Antique console behind couch with a bit of heft – with lower shelves for books so you see it when you walk it and it can be styled. warmth and character…rugged enough for drinks and snacks…and can have cool stuff on it Persian rug layered on something else. Rug with warmer rosy colors in it, but still neutral…. to pull the paint in…that would look beautiful…slightly off color- no more blue -blue but the off blue of the couch in the rug too …. I would go with the paint. It is pretty…Lean into it…purple-ish is pretty and refreshing, slightly off colors are restful for the soul…But bring it in the room some way with the rug and art. I would do a… Read more »
What a beautiful and apt comment “not style the room…but love it into Being…” that says it all!
Yes to all of this! My family room is the room where I just cram it full of all of my favorite things – color, books, fun pillows, shaggy/cozy rugs, plants – my favorite room of the house because I don’t worry about it all making too much sense.
Love the color of the sofa. I wonder if the rug (combined with the sofa) is causing the walls to look purple in certain light. I don’t use gray much because I have a hard time getting it right. I think a patterned rug with some warmth to it would look great.
Gray has 3 undertones: blue, green or violet (purple). SW Ponder is a purple undertoned gray. So the purple undertone will show itself. I consider SW Ponder a Gray-Purple color. It is a pretty color but if you weren’t aware it has a purple undertone that could be a surprise you weren’t expecting!
There are some great suggestions and ideas in the comments. I’m looking forward to seeing the final reveal!
Have you thought about a rug in a totally different color like mustard, pink, or lime green? It might jostle things up a bit.
The wall color seems to photograph great, if that’s any help.
Also regarding the doorway – you could put a curtain there – I think that feels very old-house, in a good way, and you could even do a tension rod so it’s removable.
It’s going to be great! Thank you for sharing the dilemmas!
+ 1 for a mustard or pink rug
Portieres! Does anyone have doorway panels installed? I think of them as being Victorian, but I bet anyone could use them. https://www.oldhouseguy.com/keeping-your-house-warm-using-portieres/
I genuinly enjoyed the history lesson KJ, thanks for the link!
First, I think this is a great starting off point and i definitely wouldn’t mind lounging on that sofa with the fire on and watching a movie! I love the wall color and think it just needs to be accessorized. I definitely agree that the wall color and sofa lean cool and adding warmer tones in the rug and wall art etc would be a great way to bring it all together. Yes for the sofa table as well. And the blimp picture!! It’s a great space and I can’t wait to see how it turns out!
Love the sofa, it looks so comfy and plush! Also that fireplace is adorable. I like the plain bench, keeps it unfussy.
I would think about a wide striped black and white rug (or a dark gray/off-white if it needs to be softer for the wall color) to give some movement, speak to the lines on the wall, and ground the room. My first thought was something like the IKEA Stockholm rug, although I’m sure you could find something more high end and less ubiquitous.
The space behind the sofa I think could go two ways: a simple, long sofa table with a gallery wall opposite OR building a whole bookshelf wall, with shelves of different heights and length to get around the sconces. But I am a librarian, so I’m always in favor of more bookshelves.
The ice Aziza rug gives me Jean patch work vibes and I know that was something you were considering so I personally love that little nod
Love this room, Emily! I think it is really close and reading sophisticated, country, cozy. The paint color, sofa, coffee table, fireplace/built-in/tv situation are perfect. Love that you did not do the stone – it would have read as a stuck on decorative since it was not need for function. I think the fewer moves you make the better it will feel. Persian rug, blimp art, picture lights or sconces with one big piece of fabulous art (maybe a framed textile or a Julie Blackmon ) and a simple slim sofa table. There is not really space for book storage without it feeling like, we have so many books we have to jam them in every where. That is a whole vibe that I do love, but I think will detract from the really nice, calm, relaxing vibe you have going on here. This could still be a favorite reading spot. What makes it so inviting, and luxurious is that it is not multi-tasking. It beckons chilling and cuddling. Important values to honor in our busy, distracting world.
My 3 cents:
I agree with the prior comments that this room lacks warmth. I also think that a warm-toned vintage rug would help. I would not worry about it not being Shaker. The velvet sofa, gold chandelier, and frame tv left Shaker behind a long time ago. Which is really okay.
Maybe you are putting too much pressure on yourself to fit this house into a set of design categories? Then people have to debate “is this Farmhouse enough?” Couldn’t you just say it’s “Emily Henderson Style” at this point? If you enjoy the design categories, just make up a new one. Maybe “Port City Farmhouse” and then things like vintage Persian rugs make sense because your sea captain husband brought them home from his last voyage.
OMG I love “Port City Farmhouse” as a design category.
Though if you could find a rag rug like the one in this auction, I bet it would be amazing in this room: http://www.willishenry.com/Shaker%20McC%201/McCue%20shaker%20Catalog41-60.htm
L9ve that “sea captain husband brought them home …”🤣🤣
First there was the chic Scandinavian farmer now the sea captain husband. I had no idea these fantasy men existed, yet here we are. I will get nothing done today…
Tarynkay is spot on! It’s Emily Henderson style you’re after.
Hear, hear! “Emily Henderson style” is what this room needs. And warmer tones in the rug will be lovely (and help with SAD!).
I agree. I think a big part of the struggles with this house have been trying to make it fit the exact category, almost like staging it for that persona, rather than treating it as a home full of rooms you want to use and love.
I vote for Persian rug as well! But from your 5 selections I would go with one of the non-blue options. I know you’ll bring in oranges and yellows when you style it – add blankets etc. For the low cabinet under the fireplace, I think a stone top would work best. I feel like it is so close to the ground, if you cap it with wood, it will just seem like more of the floor. The couch is gorgeous! Good luck!
I confess I’m a bit baffled by the layout. Obviously just seeing it through pictures, but I’m wanting to shift the TV to the large wall (where the blimp art is about to live) and reorient everything to face the bathroom wall. That feels more like a den/TV room to me. It also feels like a spot for some slight cabin vibes a la Max Humphry. Like some Pendleton or buffalo check or rustic texture or something.
The layout is confusing to me too. Is this room supposed to be a family room? It just seems like an odd place to put to because it’s a pass-through room like a hallway almost. Maybe it would be better suited as a sitting room/library/play room.
Now I’m confused lol. Isn’t a family room just another word for sitting room/library/playroom? Or is it the TV you don’t feel works here? Not sure I understand the issue you bring up, but I’d like to!
I think TV rooms can be super cozy. We used to call them “the den.” There’s something about a smaller, dark space (definitely with bookshelves) that makes for lovely curl-up. I also want that fireplace to sit on a diagonal.
Woo – I totally understand the design fatigue, and I’m sorry to hear about SAD. I’d love to see you go moody with the paint (maybe a weekend away while they get it done?), but I also know that you have plenty of design options that can help shape the aesthetic without changing the paint color. Looking forward to seeing the progress!
Love that sectional! You have so much vintage art, how about figuring out a gallery wall behind the sofa? Take pictures and add note dimensions of the pieces and your staff can help you Photoshop some options (more play, fewer consequences.
Have one of the craftsmen you like build a custom console for you. Maybe look to yellow brick home’s DIY as a starting point. https://www.yellowbrickhome.com/slim-diy-console-behind-the-sofa/ 2 lamps to add diension and you’re good.
I think built INS would be overwhelming in the space. And then you’d fret about what to do with them.
How about a large leather ottoman with a big tray? Maybe storage for blankets?
Seems super cozy in there.
“More play, fewer consequences” – yesss!
I think the problem is that the room is just lacking “stuff” at the moment and once you accessorize with cushions, plants, vintage items, table lamps and art it will look so much more inviting. I would definitely go down the Persian carpet route and Etsy has some great suppliers of vintage Turkish rugs that are very reasonably priced and deliver quickly. Personally, I would go with wall to wall bookshelves that have just books in them – lined up vertically library style and definitely not color coordinated. You could even – dare I say it – just get some simple IKEA Billy Bookshelves. It will make the room feel high / low and old / new and so much more unique and interesting.
Or perhaps even something like in this image from My Domain – which has a narrow credenza and then floating book shelves above. This image also has a blue sofa and a warm toned Persian rug and I think works really well together. https://www.mydomaine.com/living-room-bookshelf-4773284
Ooh love that mydomaine picture. Gives the option to have bookshelves and a console table.
Emily, wondering why the couch is floating so far from back wall?
What a lovely room and solution that top image is Bea! 🙂 Sofa table with floating shelves above!
That room also has a warm red Persian rug and other warms tones too, which add dimension, interest and add to the coziness.
While reading the post, I kept thinking how cold and flat the room felt (I have SAD too) even more so with the blue rug samples, and how a warm color Turkish/Persian rug would liven up the room. Adding warm colors is really needed – especially if you have SAD – there is already too much bluish gray in the Pacific Northwest, I know, I live in Seattle from San Diego 20+ years ago!
WOW I love that pic! So creative and interesting and organic.
This is surely personal (or cultural — I’m not American!) but this small windowless TV pass-through room has always confused me. If this is mainly where you hang out in the evenings, don’t you want to do that in your big, beautiful room right next door rather than crammed in here?! Have you thought about just putting the huge sectional and the easy-to-disguise Frame TV in the main room with the wonderful fireplace, and using this as a playroom / games room, or even making it into a combined study for you and Brian? I think unfortunately it’s the architecture of this room that is the drag, and perhaps if you shifted its function, you might be happier. Might help solve your living room frustrations too!
I just commented nearly the same thing above – I’m confused as well. Turning this space into an office is a great idea since (IIRC) Brian is working from a small desk in the guest room and Emily doesn’t have an office.
I think this makes more sense as a TV room since it’s dark and cozy. In their main room, there are so many windows that the reflections would be really annoying when trying to watch TV.
Not sure there is wall space for a large TV in that room:
Not this spot to the right of the fireplace? Seems perfect for a TV!
Oops image attach fail!
Oh, that space to the right of the fireplace is larger than I thought. I would totally put a TV there, but I love big TVs to watch my shows and movies on. We have a 77” in our main great room and a 70” in our office/snug, and they both make me so happy.
I am in this camp. The layout and placement of the TV room may not be perfect, but I think it would be a cozy family den to curl up on that gorg sectional and talk, watch movies, read, etc. If it is possible I have always preferred to have my TV area separate from my main living/entertaining space. Bottom line: there are no right answers:)
I think people sometimes just appreciate being in a smaller, cozier, more enclosed space, especially to watch tv and especially at night. Maybe it has to do with our caveman roots? My mom’s old house had a huge, beautiful great room addition with a wall of windows and a huge tv, but every night after dinner she’d go up to the little sitting room off the primary bedroom to watch TV. She just felt more comfy/cozy there. It drove my stepdad nuts because he loved his big tv and wanted them to be together, but I totally got it.
This is a room that no one will use.
Emily, I love the cozy scale of this room. Acknowledging its smallish size, and its cozy intended purpose, I’m thinking you might like to look at some “old fashioned cozy rooms” — of a Swedish home made in 1900 by an artist couple— she designed their home, he painted scenes of family life. Take a look at keywords “Lilla Hyttnäs photos interior ” and see if that cozy feel can help formulate for you, your next steps in this space. Here’s just one photo of their 1900 home…
Definitely do a warm-colored rug! And a bookcase behind the sofa. I think the color and the sofa are great. It would be nice to do some mood boards too to try to pull everything together.
I think you need a large ottoman on casters that you can easily pull close to the sofa, then put a large tray on it for drinks and the remote. I did this in my family room where there isn’t room for end tables next to the sofa, and it works great for us. You could then put a small round drinks table to the left of the sofa (nearest to the windows) if you wanted, as well.
But then it becomes a tv room. a table could add function, for games, puzzles, drawing, food. They will use it as a family but also as a separate space for kids instead of letting kids take over the living room. I often spend time with my family in one room doing something while others watch tv. So an ottoman would limit the function of the room.
Interesting, my kids do puzzles and we play games on our ottoman, and we put food and drinks on the tray. But it’s a smooth top ottoman, not tufted. So maybe that makes the difference. Granted, our kids don’t color in here, they color/paint/do crafts at our kitchen island or living room coffee table (in our house the kitchen is open to the living room, like in Emily’s). But I’m careful about them getting too close to upholstery with markers or paints, anyway. Emily also mentioned that her kids play on the fireplace hearth/bench. The best part of the ottoman is that it’s on casters, so we can pull it close to the deep, loungey sofa like Emily has, or push it out of the way when my kids want more floor space.
Is it possible to orient the room with the sofa on the wall perpendicular and just adjacent to the fireplace? That way the light from the hallway would not be straight in your eyes and the view from the living room wouldn’t have a protruding sofa blocking it?
I also agree with all the comments to go with a Persian rug for this room! Right now it looks cold and flat, and you need some soul and visual interest. This will probably sound harsher than intended in writing, but the rug samples you have are all kind of boring and cold. It seems like you guys are now trying to re-create the minimal vibe you have at the mountain house, and that works beautifully in a contemporary setting, but this house is a Victorian – architecturally it demands more coziness, pattern, and charm.
Final thought: your kitchen seems lovely because of the warmth of the woods and brass, the contrast between the blue tile, marble countertops, and the wood cabinetry, and the texture of all the different surface and accessory finishes and materials. Could you bring some of that warmth and contrast in here (i.e., Persian rug, warm leather ottoman, printed pillows, woven accessories, beautiful wood console, books and art)? You seem to love the kitchen most, so maybe the trick is to recreate a similar, though not exact, vibe in other parts of your house. Just a thought in case it helps you get un-stuck!
I second both of Jenna’s comments, get that vintage mix of warmth, textures, patterns going with the bones of the room you’ve established and see what can happen to change the vibe of this room to be more inviting like your kitchen.
The sofa looks like a green-blue which is beautiful and warm but it needs a bridge between it’s warmth and texture to the cool walls, and I think a Persian style rug could help, but one with darker, mid, and lighter tones, to create the bridge. I found this as an example although I can’t tell if the colors are right: https://www.luluandgeorgia.com/products/romina-rug
Also I’d love to see a tall wooden bookcase in this room: an opportunity to bring in natural warmth (instead of thinking about stripping or painting the walls), texture, vintage art, lighting. It would bring personality and a bit of fun.
That Lulu and Georgia rug does seem to have great colors to pull the room together.
I also found this Swedish rug that has that green-blue with a mid-tone brown, a grey-blue, and a soft gold in a great geometric design: https://www.dorisleslieblau.com/vintage-rug-sweadish-by-gs-flat-weave-8×6-bb6300/
Pretty Swedish rug!
Here’s a modern tonal rug that incorporates mid-tones with lighter ones but in a washed, organic sort of feel: https://www.dorisleslieblau.com/custom-modern-natural-undyed-wool-rug-8×5-n11228-rug/
Some of these from Greige have the tones and pattern but subtle patterns, good as bridges…
A rug like this is what I would recommend also. I also second a large warm leather hassock for the coffee table.
This room is going to end up in a place that is so cozy and awesome! I know you’re under a bit of a time constraint, but I think you’ll find vintage pieces to fill this out. I’m a huge fan of a console table and I think a wood tone there would add a ton to this room. Plus the function of it and the opportunity to style it with lamps, plants, etc. I also think you’ll find a really forgiving old rug that ties this room together and brings in some quirk. The blimp is going to be perfect in here! I’m going to think more about what art I’d do on the other wall. Good luck!
for art for the back wall, I think it’s the perfect spot to create a personal art piece. I’m picturing a big canvas that you’ve stretched yourself and a limited palette (tonal – probably neutrals)…then you and Brian and the kids go for it.
I love these types of posts, where you take us through the thought process and the undecided part 🙂
Feeling the pressure and the challenge here. Honestly, it’s a gorgeous room, and a big comfy couch, and it looks like it feels wonderful to be in with the kiddos. I like both paint and sofa, and all of the options are good ones. Mostly wish you could take a few weeks off to refresh and relax… think that would do wonders to restore your (well-earned, hard-earned) confidence in your own great style!
It seems like you like the paint color only some of the time, depending on the light of the day. I would go back to the moody plan and pick a color that matches your dreamy sofa. Moody and tonal for the win! I would also vote for bookcases (maybe not the full wall?) but only if it you need the bookshelves for books, because you would like to read in that room. I’m sorry to hear you suspect you are dealing with SAD. That makes it harder to trust your decisions, for sure.
Exciting to see things come together.😊
Bookshelf on the wall – wooden.
Blimp art on the wall at the opposite end of the room.
I’m not keen on the rug choices you pulled… what about an oatmeal-ish colour with some latte and cappuccino coloured pattern? The bluey colours are #too.much.blue.in.the.room!
What’s the possibility of trying a sisal rug? Ypu cpuld 9verlsy a smaller, blueish rug on top.😀
I agree about the rug colors. I also favor light beige/oatmeal. Sisal is a nice option too.
Deep blue rug or Persian! And it’s a small space – not too much clutter (gallery wall and blame art seems like a lot?). A monochromatic theme in that deep blue would be so soothing, and the fireplace warms it up.
emily you perfect angel, spend the $$ and paint the room the same color as the couch and make emily’s version of sarah’s tv room! what’s so incredible about the following farmhouse process has been seeing you have gut instincts, then think them through and re-evaluate to come up with something even better. but I think in this case, your gut instinct to make a moody jewel box tv room was right. appreciate you taking us entirely through the process, design is a journey and seeing your family’s journey has been totally thrilling!
Yes, channel Sara’s TV room!
Who doesn’t love Sara’s cozy TV room: https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/saras-tv-room-reveal
I totally agree with repainting it to match the sectional. It seems like you’re going to spend months and possibly a $$$$ on a rug trying to make this color work, or you could solve the problem in three days of inconvenience and the money to get a color that will def work.
Persian style rug would give it some charm. It would help make the room look more curated over time and less designer styled. Credenza on back wall with family pics above would be perfect. The wall and sofa colors are so great….love love love. The light is great, too! As for the storage under the television, just put a stack of pretty blankets and a couple collected baskets. Easy to move for the kiddos to play, but will give it some life.
Emily, I am loving walking through the design process with you. Please feel free to share every last detail! I think most folks can completely identify with re-working their home decor in steps and stages. Thank you for your honesty! Can’t wait to see what you decide to do.
A lovely lovely room it will be:) A few things I would consider to warm up the roomand enhance the gorgeous sectional: Introduce a dark gray paint, such as SW Peppercorn, into the room: it would look great on the bench and/or possibly on some molding, or a small stool.SW Peppercorn is a balanced gray and would tone down the purple undertones of the Ponder Gray. Since the rooms does not have a lot of natural light, you could compare various LED bulbs for a whiter light – there are many choices these days. Add some brown wood to the room, preferably vintage or antique, in the form of a credenza/buffet behind the sofa for function and storage. Add a Persian rug or a neutral beige wool rug such as this Lulu and George diamond pattern. https://www.luluandgeorgia.com/products/palau-rug?variant=40071516684387 I would try to avoid using orange/rust colors as they may enhance the walls purple undertones but I am not an expert so just my thoughts. I do think adding more beige/brown to the room will warm up the Ponder Gray and look great w the black gold and blues already there. Repeat the black of the stove around the room and also… Read more »
I can not WAIT to see the blimp art again. I have missed it so!
ALWAYS so inspired by you and the EHD community. I think the wall color is pretty and wonder if you will love it more once you style out the walls and the shelf under the TV. Might as well give it a chance at this point! I had to look up what a “rag rug” was, from some of the other comments, and this one solidified the immediate idea I had… https://www.etsy.com/listing/1234320385/3×9-rag-rug-runner-ethnic-rag-rug-runner When I saw the picture of the room from the side, I thought of the Humphery rug from Chris Loves Julia x Loloi (in the forest color especially) would be really pretty cozy. I love the idea of a Persian rug, but those are usually floral motifs and I think pattern like a plaid would be more handsome in this space. 🙂 And it has a vibe like vintage rag rug, even though it would be new. I also agree with you about wanting to keep the “walk way” behind the sofa from the door clear, rather than building bookcases, and a narrow sofa table behind the sectional will probably be the ticket. Been so fun watching the farmhouse unfold the last 2 years! It is so beautiful… Read more »
I don’t understand the value of keeping a clear walkway behind the sofa, doesn’t it just lead to a dead-end at the back wall? Am I missing something? Someone please clarify, thx!
I think it’s about the sight-line from the living room. The doorway is narrow and what you see from the other room is that space behind the sofa. Personally, I think it’s better to furnish the room the way it feels good and works well than to prioritize the sight-line.
A row of barrister bookcases. Not the new ones. The real deal old ones. Especially the ones with diamond pattern glass doors. The room (and the house) needs some soul added back in. The island (LOVE) does that. It’s not loud or weird or anything that draws the eye. It’s just purposeful and soulful in the right way. Like the functionality of a console table but feel it would be another “new” element.
i love that sectional. looks so cozy. These are my suggestions:
I would love to see some warmth come from the rug, in terms of color. reds, oranges, earthy. I think a vintage patterned rug would be the way to go. more pattern in general.
yes! i think that’s what’s missing. warm colors.
I’m not 100% sold on any of those rugs. Here are three random rugs from Rejuvenation: the left is vintage only available in 5’x12’, the center one I had to include because it’s the steal of the century (only $599 for a 9’x12’) and the right one is available in multiple sizes. I’m not 100% sold on any of these pictured rugs below either but like the pattern it would add to the room:
Rug 1 – https://www.rejuvenation.com/catalog/products/f2751
Rug 2 – https://www.rejuvenation.com/catalog/collections/skyline-flatweave-rug-heathered-blue
Rug 3 – https://www.rejuvenation.com/catalog/collections/price-hand-knotted-rug-blue/products/633b6e90f626ad58489c7152
Well, Kj, you made me order that middle one – the steal of the century 🙃
And did you get the extra 20% off too??? I didn’t notice that initially.
Yes! With the $99 delivery charge and tax, it came to $620. Thanks for sharing!
Exciting! Hope you like it (I’ll feel terrible if you don’t). Post a pic when you get it.
I commented earlier on the room, but I saw this rug comment by KJ and really liked it! When I look at your pic, I would choose the middle one for Emily’s room! It would look lovely on white oak floors and bringing in the warm beiges/ivory/yellows (it’s hard to tell the actual colors online) will compliment any purple undertones being seen on the Ponder Gray walls and would also compliment the black, gold, and blue in the room as well. Also the cocktail table would not be a stark contrast to the rug and I think that would look very graceful. Adding some additional beige/browns to the room such as a brown wood console, small stool, baskets, etc would add even more warmth and tie all the colors together:)
Oooo yes something like the rug on the right! Tonal with the couch but adds some warmth, and maybe even some of the wall color in there too. We have persian rugs in our highest-use areas of our house with 2 kids and a cat (even under the dining table!) and they’re so cozy and forgiving.
Thank you for sharing your process, Emily! The room is off to a cozy and comfortable start, and I think the wall color and sectional color can work. I’m really liking these options from Kj, and they at least serve to show how more color, movement, and a larger pattern would go a long way. I’m liking the rag rug (or CLJ Humphrey rug) or antique Persian idea, too.
We need to start a movement: Kickbacks for KJ!
Too funny, Shannon.
I’m not a professional interior designer, but I am an artist, so I approached this like I would a painting – I looked hard at the image and I squinted. If this room was a painting, before I added any other elements, I would add a darker color to the bottom third to tie together and ground the dark elements of the sofa and the fireplace. Thinking how this would work in a room, I immediately thought of wainscoting, but to work with what you have on the walls, which is great, I wondered if you could just paint the lower third a dark cozy color, leaving the upper walls and ceiling the color that they are now and that you like – essentially creating a wainscoting with paint. The boards would provide a natural starting point for the lower color. I couldn’t find an image with boards, but here is something that I found online. https://anindigoday.com/half-painted-wall-ideas/. Maybe you could start a shaker inspired trend with painted wall boards 🙂
You have a great room so far. I’m on ‘team rag rug’ or at least something woven, not a Persian rug. That would make it feel informal and textured. Lean away from the solid blue colors, also, and with a woven/rag rug, there would be a fun mixture of colors. And be kind to yourself, you just moved in and are under a lot of pressure right now. Also, have you thought about getting a ‘happy’ lamp? My husband struggles with SAD in the winters and keeps a small happy lamp (very bright) on his table near his chair and feels that it helps, at least a little bit.
For behind the sofa, I would do a L-shaped custom bookcase that would run around to the back wall, with both open and closed storage (closed in the view from the living room). The sconces right there would make the contents easy to see and the height could be customized so it makes a good place to rest drinks/snacks when you’re on the sofa. And then if you want to add back some wood tone, it would be a good opportunity. I like that it would fix the storage problem and create its own little tableau from the living room.