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Emily Henderson

Style Play Every day
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by Emily Henderson
Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 5

Style, Play, Every Day, folks. I switched some things in my living room because well, it sounded like a fun thing to do on a Tuesday afternoon. Was I unhappy with my living room before? Hmm. “Unhappy” isn’t the right word but no, it wasn’t there yet and that’s okay. It just felt a bit boring and serious so when Sheba, who owns Blue Parakeet Rugs said I could try out this rug and see if it worked, I took her up on it.

But let’s back up first and refresh your memories of where my living room has been so you can understand where it’s going (or is now). When we first designed the house, it looked like this:

Photo by Tessa Neustadt | From: Our Modern English Tudor Living Room

While I love it in photos, it was too chaotic to live with and didn’t feel as “me” as I wanted it to. I kept thinking, why can’t I find the blue/green version of this rug?? Turns out they are VERY hard to find. So, I sold the rug and got something neutral:

Photo by Ryan Liebe | From: Our Updated Living Room

But that room didn’t have enough edge. Between the traditional sofa and the chaise lounge and the solid rug, it just didn’t pop. I missed the vintage rug. The chaise and trunk were vintage but everything else wasn’t and it needed some soul. Also, my cats all but destroyed this rug and it was painfully snagged. I would “trim” it (which I called mowing the rug) by getting on my hands and knees and clipping it. I’m bringing it up to the mountain house if I don’t put it back in here (now that our cat situation has changed).

So I was back on the hunt for a vintage rug. I texted Sheba Khodadad from Blue Parakeet to see if she had anything and she sent me photos of this one with a “want me to bring it over to you right now and you can live with it for a bit?” offer. To be clear, this isn’t a normal part of her service. She knew that even if I didn’t keep it, I would post about it and someone would likely buy it.

Look how excited I was:

Rug Process

At first, we tried it with the navy blue sofa but the sofa was a bit big for the rug, though that could be because I was used to a MUCH larger rug. Sometimes your past skews your perception of the present. Then I remembered that we had our former TV room sofa (which was custom through Clad Home) down in Brian’s office (which you haven’t seen yet and maybe never will), so we grabbed it and brought it up and put our navy sofa in the garage.

But first we tried both sofas, because why not?

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 16 Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 17

It was A LOT of seating. So we stored the navy sofa in the garage. Hilariously, the garage doors then broke so while we can get in/out through a small doorway, we can’t even get that sofa out right now to bring it back into the room. In the below pic, you can see how the smaller rug did feel a bit small with the massive sofa.

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 18

As of right now, we are playing with this one and I have mixed feelings about it.

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 1

Yes, everything WORKS, but it’s still not right. I love the rug but not with the sofa. I like the sofa, but somehow the color of it competes with the rug. I don’t know how to explain it but I keep thinking that if the sofa were a cream and more modern, it would let the rug pop, but the two of them feel too heavy together. Yes, that’s the word, just too heavy.

I love this side of the room more, though and I think it’s because the chairs are more modern and yes, lighter in color so the busier rug is the star.

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 2 Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 3 Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 4

Now, the one benefit of this sofa is that it’s a better scale for the coffee table than the other sofa was. I think I just designed that other sofa to be too big—mostly too high to be in front of my pretty windows and if I could just take the back down 10 inches, I’d love it so much more. WHOOPS.

So this sofa, with the table, with the chairs are just generally a WAY better scale with each other, but are they all too small for the room? MAYBE.

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 6

But boy is it fun and honestly, I love this rug and I’m going to bring it up to the mountain house to see if I can make it work in the master bedroom with a pretty white headboard before I give up on it. But if you are interested in it, let Sheba know so if/when I return it, she can sell it (you can send her a message via her website here).

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 7

Before we leave this post, I think we’d all be curious if an ivory linen or more neutral tone sofa would be better here? Well here you go:

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall White Couch

Of course, if the sofa were a light linen, then I’d have to switch out my chairs for something darker, my pillows for some that popped more and my children for something/persons less disgusting. Although TBH, we have a linen sectional at the mountain house (this one from Article) and it’s been fine because we don’t let them eat on it because we have a separate “family” room. If this weren’t also our TV/family room in addition to our living room, it might be fine. But I don’t think this sofa could withstand our Saturday morning sofa egg burritos in front of cartoons.

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 12

All in all, I like it, I really do, but no, it’s not there yet. And maybe it never will be, and that’s okay because this is FUN.

Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 8   Emily Henderson Waverly Living Room 2018 Fall Update 11

But obviously a “I switched things around” post would be pointless without asking you guys what you think?

Here’s what I think: I think it needs to look cooler. Either the rug or the sofa should change. I think I want a neutral rug, possibly even this rug,  or this rug, and I want someone to give me this sofa for my 40th birthday and maybe someone else can accidentally leave these chairs on my front stoop, although maybe they are too chunky…

Would you guys want me to pull together a “dream living room” mood board of things I likely will never buy because of cost/kids? I have one started but literally everything on it is like $7k each, but it helps me figure out what I like and why and then I can either try to find something similar or hunt for it a the flea market.

Back to the current living room. Thoughts? Opinions? Should I hoard the rug because authentic Persian antique rugs in blues/greens never come available? It’s not really the vibe of the mountain house but that vibe is changing every day so maybe it is…

  1. Thanks for sharing how you work through your design. I usually purchase something, find that the scale/color/ style isn’t right and suffer in silence until it falls apart or the dog destroys it.

    1. I literally laughed out loud to this. Yes, I totally suffer in silence 9 / 10 times.

    2. Need a like button for this comment. I’m soooo with you on this. But know you are not suffering alone!

    3. Hahaha! Yes! Although, I don’t suffer in silence, but endlessly moan to my family about how I screwed it up. 🙂

      To answer Emily: I LOVE that rug in that room with everything but the sofa. And I think you’re right: it’s the color of the sofa competing with the color of the rug. I’d love to see the mood board, and I love your reasoning for making one with things that are out of your price range — a light bulb dawned when I read that! Thanks for talking through your thought process because it is super helpful. We have a room in our house that has never “worked” in the 20 years we’ve been in the house, and this helps me see how a real designer would work through the problem.

    4. Haha!! I can’t do that anymore. My OCD makes me change it ASAP! 😂

  2. In the latest switcheroo in your living room, I had suspected the couch was the problem not the rug, so I applaud you on pulling back all of the layers and playing around. It IS fun, she says trying to convince her husband:) I would love love love a post on what to do with a big blank wall behind a couch, and how to think about lighting to frame whatever goes on the wall behind the couch, that is my Achilles heel right now.

    1. I had this same personal design challenge (vaulted ceilings), and went with a custom-made 5″ deep walnut picture ledge that is a bit longer than the sofa, and then I flanked each end of the picture ledge with wall sconces (Rejuvenation Cypress in black, I love them!). The picture ledge is deep enough to layer frames and include some decorative items (plants, vases, etc). To give you an idea of scale, my biggest frame is 40″h, and the picture ledge is 120″w. The picture ledge is installed at the height of our walnut mantle that’s on the wall next to it, so together it creates a really nice, linear visual trail. I love the picture ledge because it gives me a lot of flexibility and it’s easy to change things up (you know, b/c I obsess about this stuff and one little thing on EHD’s blog will trigger something and I’m off and running (repeat)……).

      1. We need a pic of this. Sounds so lovely.

      2. I want to see a picture!

      3. Matty, I made a similar ledge to Karen’s photo. If you’re into diy, check out https://www.chrislovesjulia.com/how-to-diy-an-art-ledge/ it was super easy.

    2. Hi Matty,
      I enjoy seeing what others say about the issue. I agree with you that it is the color of the couch with the carpet.
      Both of which are really lovely. I have big blank walls that I painted accent colors. Sometimes it can be a shade lighter or deeper than your couch depending on how much light you have in the room. A large work of art always looks great but that’s maybe because I am an artist : ) at http://www.candylesueur.com.
      But other ideas are a row of large photographs or a collection of decor items that fit with your style : basket, decorative plates etc. Also, consider a large lamp instead of wall lighting.

    3. Hey Matty,
      How about a gallery wall of art on that wall? I do it all the time for clients.

    4. Here’s a pic of my picture ledge: https://www.instagram.com/p/BqucjppgG6x/

      Thanks for inquiring on seeing a picture, ladies! 🙂

      1. Wowzer, that pic is gorgeous! I love how the picture ledge isn’t too chunky. It’s simple & really lets what’s on it shine. Great room, just needs the perfect coffee table, like you said. Thanks so much for sharing!

      2. Super inspiring!!

    5. Yes on what to do with a big blank wall behind a sofa! I have been staring at this blank wall for a very long time.

  3. I love it. I love that light blue? sofa against the rug. I think it looks worn in, patina’d and beautiful. I love the rug too, but there is no doubt it is busier. It is in a completely different style, but s similar blue colour-way (and in Australia) but I am eyeing off this rug: https://www.designerrugs.com.au/rug-collections/designer-collaborations/catherine-martin/black-pearl/

    1. Just checked this rug out and it’s gorgeous! Great recommendation

  4. The first photo made me smile! I’m glad the navy couch is gone! Although the before is lovely it’s also, well, ordinary. (Gulp!) The room may not be there yet but it looks fresh and fun and definitely more you. I love seeing your design process as well. I can relate because I do the same thing in my home. It is fun!

  5. I love this post. I have the same struggles at my house, and it’s comforting to see how you deal with it – and nice to see you consider costs too. Thanks!

    I think the rug and blue sofa are the wrong shade of blue- that royalish color doesn’t go with a lot else and isn’t what. You usually use. Both pretty- just limiting.

    1. Any one else not able to read posts this week because there is a huge blank header that doesn’t go away when you scroll? : /

      1. YES! A big white box that blocks the entire page except for an inch at the bottom. Very frustrating. To read the blog, I had to switch browsers from Firefox to Safari but am now bombarded with ads!

  6. I would hoard the heck out of that vintage Persian rug. GORGEOUS!!! I love this version of your room best, including the lighter-colored sofa.

    1. P.S. I totally disagree about removing the bookcases. Anyone who wants to remove built-in book cases, or color coordinate the volumes is, by definition, evil. (Just kidding. … Sort of). Personally, if “visual clutter” really is an issue, I think you should fill those shelves with more books and remove some of the tchotchkes.

      But what does everyone have against “busy” anyway? I prefer the visually cluttered style of a British room that conveys the inhabitant’s personality and interests than the soulless black/white Scandinavian minimalist vibe (with off white diamond patterned rugs) that’s been replicated ad nauseum. Not that I feel strongly about this or anything. 😉

      1. I am 100% with you. I was SO surprised to see people suggesting to remove the bookcases. I bug my husband for built-ins beside the fireplace on a weekly basis, at least. I feel like if they were to be covered up, it would be one of those things that someone down the line would find and think, why would anyone DO THIS? I also love British interiors, though. The lived-in quality of the aesthetic really appeals to me.

      2. YES!!!!!

      3. Totally agree with you! I love when there are so many ”moments” and tiny details to observe; they not only lend visual interest but they add layers of history and personality to the whole home. Built-ins foreverrrrr!

        1. Yes, bookcases! They bring character, charm, individuality to the room.

      4. I’m a big fan of those bookcases too and classically cluttered British style. The space would calm down visually by editing out some of the pattern (throws, pillows & art). I want those fabulous architectural lines above the fireplace to stand out more!

  7. I think a charcoal or black sofa would look beautiful, modern, and French, with that rug and be good for Saturday morning. I have never had a problem with any of the rug/sofa combinations. I think what takes away from the coolness of the room are the built-in bookcases . The scale of them is old-fashion. I recall you did contemplate removing them in the renovation. I often wonder what they would look like with just books in one color.

    1. I agree re: the built-ins. I don’t love the scale either and I just feel like they make everything look really busy. I feel like covering them and adding two matching side boards or something like that for storage would look amazing. I actually really love this couch/rug combo but do think some black/dark contrasts in the furniture elsewhere could look really great.

      1. Totally agree!

      2. Would love to see you use a leather couch – it’s limiting but the only thing I love found that holds up to kid and dogs.

        1. Yes! A large worn in leather sectional. would be perfect with that new rug!

    2. I agree with Amy! Would love to see a photoshop version of the room sans bookcases.

      1. I wonder if a temporary fix for the bookcases (if covering them isn’t an option) would be to remove the top few shelves. You could keep favorite books/objects on the bottom remaining shelves and then put a single piece of art or nothing at all in the newly exposed top portion. Might help with the busyness factor?

    3. Yes, I would love to see what the room would look like without the built-in shelves!

    4. I’m for team remove book cases. I think they throw off the scale of the whole room and nothing will feel quite right while they are there. But I think Brian is very attached to them?

    5. I agree it’s the bookcases throwing everything off. The shelves need to be thicker to flow better with the scale of the fireplace. I would also make them no taller than the square part of the fireplace before it flutes inward (great explanation, huh? Lol) — this would add a needed horizontal element. I’d do some plaster work and round off the corners of bookshelf, inside and out to, again, flow with the fireplace better. The fireplace and shelves should look like a seamless feature, IMHO. I get this is kind of major but I think it would make the room.

      I love seeing a more traditional rug back in the space. Really works with the windows and beams.

    6. I agree about the built-ins as well and I’m so glad others mentioned it because I thought I might be crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a minimalist and I love me some stylized shelves, but between the credenza on the right and the blue table on the left, the art, the sconces, the hand, the beams – it’s all like too much of a really, really, REALLY good thing.

      Emily, I love all of your wall art pieces, art objects, pillows, blankets, literally everything in that room – it is all my taste and it is all beautiful. But those built-ins make the room look messy and old lady-ish.

      1. I agree- but would think it might be easier to remove the credenza and the gallery wall above it, then just streamline the objects on the bookshelves to match more in colour and have fewer small objects. To me that is what is adding visual clutter and heaviness. I actually like the rug and the sofas (either) together but I am comparing to my house and resources where this would be a dream!

        1. This is what I agree with! It’s the credenza that is the extra thing making it look to cluttered in my opinion!

  8. I really, really like this new rug and the light blue sofa combo. It blends the traditional and modern elements of your home beautifully and the carpet gives it a more unique look.

    However, in order to make the room “pop” a bit more, have you considered adding a third colour i.e. the 60 / 30 / 10 colour rule? If white is 60% and blue 30% how about adding a contrasting colour in a 10% quantity? Perhaps yellow or orange? Or even pick out the same red as in the carpet for your cushions and accessories etc?

    Who knows, it might make the room “zing” in just the way you want!?

    1. I agree with this 100%. I think the reason the sofa + rug feels a little “heavy” is because everything else is so neutral. I understand why you wouldn’t want to change the draperies, so adding another color would probably help balance the palette.

  9. I loved the blue sofa, the curves helped balance the curves of the room and contrast with the the rest of the modern straight lined furniture. but then, my style is a bit more traditional. The velvet sofa is beautiful too, but not right with this rug/accessories. I love these posts, I feel as if they give me “permission” to play with design and not suffer through a bad choice!

  10. Does it have to be vintage? It feels like the rug needs a more neutral background with pops of blue and green. So it is calming but the sofa and the other items pull out the strong colors. Something like this, just not $45K : ) https://www.ecrater.com/p/22365724/oriental-rug-antique-1900s-persian

    1. Wow, that’s gorgeous!

    2. I like your analysis and that rug is beyond beautiful.

  11. My vote would be a more muted oushak that has some warmth to it but also some cooler tones. Maybe the issue lack of warmth (cooler-wise). I know you’re not a fan of orange but I think some pretty peach, taupe and earth tones would do wonders for the room 🙂
    Also, I should mention that I bought a pair of those Target wingbacks based on your recommendation and I LOVE them, perfect balance of traditional and modern. THANK YOU!

    1. Sorry for the typos, I meant *is lack of warmth and *color-wise not cooler.

  12. Those ‘chunky’ chairs are to die for! If they show up on your stoop you must adopt them! Love the post. For the $ of the Annie Selke rugs you could take the whole family to Morocco and buy direct.

    1. I also thought the chunky chairs were fun! The current chairs you have look nice, but maybe chairs with a bit more heft and less openness (being able to see through the arms and legs) would be a betterfit.

      Also, since the chaise is gone, have you ever considered a round game table back in the corner? The room is pretty long, so I think it could handle another seating area. My family had a game table in our family room and it got so much use growing up! Good luck!

  13. I am team “original living room”, with the navy sofa and the red Persian rug. It was sophisticated and soulful. Never cared for the second rug you had there, which, though beautiful of course made the room soulless and generic. Absolutely agree that the last rug competes with the light blue sofa, which I beg you not to leave in your living room!!! 😉 Great post, thank you!!

  14. I think any rug sofa combo you choose will be great if you eliminate those bookshelves flanking the fireplace:-)

    1. I agree – I think the styling of the shelves, multiple small pictures above the credenza, and coffee table books create a lot of visual noise and clash with the rug.

  15. That rug is gorg, so yeah definitely keep that bad boy! I LOVED the red rug, but understood how busy it was with the navy sofa. I actually don’t hate the lighter blue sofa, but agree that the white couch would look fab with that rug in a perfect world. True story, I don’t really like either of the Dash and Albert rugs you were considering, they seem TOO neutral, I think you need a little more pattern personally.

    I’d be interested in a dream room post, but ONLY if you can contrast it with a narrative on finding more affordable alternatives. I’m frankly so frustrated when I see posts of arguably beautiful things that I can never ever in my wildest dreams afford even one piece of on my budget. It’s depressing. But your advice and trial and error on finding the right pieces on more of a budget would be amazing!

    1. I would love to see your “dream living room” with absolutely no constraints. For pure eye candy beauty and pleasure, Thankyou!

  16. Have you thought about a contrasting color? For the sofa? Maybe a pale melon? The rug is a keeper IMO.

    1. Yes, a pale contrasting color would be great. And that rug is too beautiful to let go.

  17. I love watching you play around with your living room. This rug is beautiful. One thing I have noticed is that the thing that doesn’t feel right to me with this and the other Persian rug is that the photos with the shelves in them make everything look too busy. In photos (it may be different in person), the things on the shelves read as a similar scale to the pattern and it makes everything feel a bit overwhelming and my eyes dart around too much. I don’t get this in the photos without the shelves. I think this kind of rug would work better with no shelves and just larger scale art, or at least quieter shelf styling like when the books were all turned around and the objects were more tonal. Please keep posting photos of the process and would love to see the expensive board so a girl can dream!

    1. Completely agree on the styling of the shelves and the profuse number of pictures on the walls. I think that the rug-sofa combination is perfect but the styling of the art and shelves should be changed. I do think that replacing the objects with books might help.

  18. Definitely too busy for my taste. The rug is pretty, tho! I really like the new target wingback chair in that corner – seems like it suits the space better than the chaise that was there before. Love watching your process.

  19. I really like that sofa and rug together. I think the other rugs you linked would look good as well. Also, the color of that sofa is wonderful. I’m kind of sad to see the chaise go, but understand that it would definitely clash with the newly placed sofa.

  20. Very much enjoying these process posts! I agree that this room was never totally satisfying. I like every individual element (you have great taste!), but it never quite “gelled” the way most of your styling usually comes together. After looking at all of the permutations, I think what is throwing the room off is that the fireplace/bookcase area is a bit too busy. Other readers have commented about the bookcases , but I think what throws it off is the sconces. They are beautiful, individually, but there are just too many back there, and they are placed at different heights, so they compete with the accessories and the floor light. I wonder if you could do some Photoshop sorcery to hide either 2 or all 4 of the sconces, hide the shelves, and other permutations, and see if that makes the front of the room feel more pulled together.

    1. I love this comment. I can’t see anything but the sconces now. I think the sconces are a significant part of the problem. I think getting rid of the sconces on the side walls (which compete with the lamps anyway) would help a lot. Or maybe replacing them with a complementary design that hugs the wall more. I know there’s no overhead light probably to not interfere with the ceiling beams – but there is way too much sconce action happening here.

      1. I agree. The secret culprit in all this is the sconces.

        1. Would a library picture light be a little more streamlined and less competitive? Traditional in a sense, modern in a linear shape? Keeping in antiques brass tones, maybe? The sconces seem very high up…maybe something that shoots the light down…

  21. Yay, the new living room is much nicer than the old one! This velvety pale turquoise is so nice and truly more Emily. I think the new combo takes you closer to the Proper Hotel style you so admired, and you can play it up with mixing different chairs and patterns. It’s screaming for something pink. Kelly Wearstler would do orange leather, or may be mauve, but you are Emily and you love pink:) With dark green poufs, may be?

    But then your wishlist items go in a totally different direction, all pale-muted-chunky masculine, as if Nate Berkus (or may be Brady?) took over your pinterest board. I love it, obviously, but it’s so different that I had to pause. You want light-hearted, fun, playful. I adore both, but I thought the current one is more you.

    1. I agree totally about the pink. I think some bright fuschia velvet pillows, a vase….something to pop against the blues would really elevate the room.

      I would also play around with the bookshelves….maybe turn books so spines face in, pick one or two colors for anything else on the shelves: white, cream or gray. A pop of fuschia.

      I would remove the vase/branch from the hearth and also maybe move the handchair away from the bookcases. But, I like negative space.

  22. Hold onto that rug! Blug/green vintage rugs NEVER come available. I’m sure you’ll find a place for it and seeing you flip your living room around is very fun.

  23. It’s nice to know that even my favorite designer has rug problems. I’ve been searching for a master bedroom rug for 4 years. Uuuuuuuuuugh. Thanks for the moral support! And keep it up! I like the blue rug. Don’t give it back, but maybe do a roundup of other Persians in her store and how you would style them? I’d REALLLY like that….

  24. Well it looks good-I also loved the one with the red. I think the point is their are many rugs (chairs, sofas) that are great…I think it is just what makes your heart sing every time you go in the room. I just switched my living room rug and the new one…yes a little sigh happens when I see it in the room !

  25. Yes, yes, yes of course we would like to see your “dream living room” so happy you have started please keep developing it and share…….Thankyou!!
    PS I couldn’t think of a better post

  26. Hi Emily,

    Interested to know if you would ever try a layered rug situation. A custom cut seagrass under a vintage lighter rug is what I see in my mind’s eye. And the vintage rug can’t have a center medallion. That is what feels dated to me.

    Good luck!!

  27. I love the rug and the couch together. I don’t think it looks heavy. I think the problem is the rest of the stuff, it’s too busy. The double sconces+art, the fireplace+shelves, the vintage trunk+more modern chairs, the blue table+black floor lamp, the very different side and coffee tables… They look great in separate vignettes, but together it’s too much information.
    I think the coffee table should be more solid and simple, so it would break the rug a little and give the eye some rest. I would switch the chairs for something bigger and softer so it doesn’t contrast so much with the couch.
    If you don’t want the room to look busy, a solid rug won’t be enough, you should pair down the number of things and styles in the room.
    Sorry if this sounds too critical, I blame it on the language barrier. I love your work and how open you are to dialogue!

    1. Hard agree! There’s no ‘peace’ for me in this room if that makes sense. With just the picture of the fireplace side of the room I count 11 lamp shades- and this is only half the room! The bookshelves and fireplace just don’t work for me. It’s very busy. And then two seperate vignettes on opposing sides but no cohesion between them. And the beams on the ceiling and then the whole other side of the room doing it’s thing.

      I’m surprised in all the talk and rearranging of the room this hasn’t been addressed.

      Sorry for all the criticism. It’s definitely NOT a disaster. It’s very beautiful, but I think this is what’s keeping you from getting all the way there.

    2. Agree with the “too busy” viewpoint. There’s a LOT of stuff and styles in this room. Look forward to more experimenting!

      1. My thoughts exactly. Although I think the problem is less with the bookshelves and more with the stuff in front of them. No need to have an additional chair, a credenza, and a side table over there. And then If it’s still too busy, you could swap the art and pare down the bookshelves.

    3. I agree!

      The room is very visually busy with no one place for my eyes to rest. Maybe a darker, solid coffee table would anchor the room.

      1. Please add me to the chorus of too much going on in that half of the room. I like the bookcases. Just not with the four sconces with eight lampshades, two table lamps, a floor lamp, a side table with legs, a vase with greenery, a dramatic painting above a brick hearth, a mini gallery wall over a console with a bar on top, a hand chair with digits sticking up in front of shelves chock full of books and objects. I am just as guilty as the next person of keeping a lot of objects scattered around my home. But some of that stuff down there needs to be edited to let the room breathe and give the eye a place to rest. I suggested moving the black and white print from above the fireplace to a wall it could own. Looks great where it is now, perhaps move the finger chair down near it. Seems redundant to have a two light shade sconce with a table lamp directly under it, and a floor lamp beside that.

        And on the main subject of sofa and rug, they are both lovely. Just not together. The sofa is not the right color or tone. Some one else above suggested leather. For that room and rug I like the Blu Dot New Standard sofa in Toffee. But I lean more towards modern in furniture so my old objects play off clean lines. Maybe not the look you are going for…

    4. I think the bookshelves could work, but with all of the other elements paired down. Similar to this: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5627ec30e4b0dc30fe462054/5aa6c2e0e4966bebdaae65d1/5aa6c37ec830258352f3fe18/1520878468506/03+-+Library.jpg?format=1500w

      Maybe pulling out some of the other items around the room and working with the arrangement of furniture to fill the space.

  28. I love that sofa but I don’t think it goes with the rug.
    Seems like only yesterday you RAVED about that Dash & Albert rug. I did like the look of it better with the blue sofa. At least it looked more like you.

  29. I think you should try a cognac leather sofa or a sofa similar in color to the chairs you want dropped off on your front stoop. I love the rug, but don’t like the blue sofa or the green sofa with it. Also, I’m glad you got rid of the red rug. I did not like that look at all.

  30. I’m probably the Lone Ranger here, but I really like to two sofas together. I would probably clear everything out of the built-ins and replace it with all neutral objects so they don’t compete with the rug. Also, as much as I adore the coffee table, I feel like it’s just sitting out in the middle not really serving either couch. A larger square table or trunk would fit better, as long as there is room to walk through. Thanks for sharing this with us Emily. My current living room is very small and the furniture pretty much needs to stay where it’s at so these posts satisfy my need to arrange and rearrange. Also, we are building a house and when it’s finally finished, this blog will be my bible.

    1. I agree with this! The two chairs aren’t working and look too busy with everything else going on. Take it really simple with large pieces and see how that feels!

  31. I love this sofa and actually think it works better than the previous. Main thing for me is I feel the coffee table is way too small for the room. At least that’s how it comes across in the pics – but any change is fun! 🙂

    1. Absolutely agree! On many previous Emily living room posts I commented that this coffee table, while beautiful, is not right for this room…too small and busy looking. I agree with a large as possible chunky wood square maybe 2 tier table would bring the whole room together (with the elimination or enlargement of the “too small and out of scale” built in bookcases. So fun to see the professionals go through all the same processes that all of we non-professionals do!!

      1. Agree with Silvia and Karen! I feel like the coffee table is just floating out there and I wish it felt more connected to the couch. Maybe a long, low, wood coffee table here would work?? I still love the room though!! And love the new rug!

    2. 100 percent agree with the coffee table comment. I think that during every iteration of this room!

  32. I love the new old rug!! I think the chaise needs to go where the hand chair is and the hand chair needs to replace the wingback. It is my opinion that there is too much of that wood tone on the one side of the room currently. That said I don’t know if the chaise and sofa will play nice together but I would try it. I do these kinds of things too and so it’s validating for me to see you do it. And I TOTALLY know what you are saying about the past skewing the present. Sometimes I just have to be patient and sit with it for a few days to know what I think/feel about it.

  33. So I ADORE that sofa (that color! that texture! those feet!), but agree it is not quite right with the decor in the room. However, it might not be the rug, or just the rug. I also think it’s boxy when you contrast it with the chairs, and feels clunky with the royal blue painted side table in the background. I also ADORE the rug and agree it looks nice with a lighter color sofa. So although this is no help, I say pick one or the other and design around it. They are both showstoppers. (And hoard the other because one day, you’ll wish you did!)

  34. I actually love this couch/rug combination. If you’re still not feeling it, what about mixing up the chairs or coffee table?

  35. This is probably obvious but with a rug like that (which I love though I LOVED the original one you had best) – you need a more modern profile couch. Something to edge it up. I love seeing how you do all of this because when I do it at my own house I just get moans and groans from husband and child.

    1. totally agree–needs a soft modern profile sofa, but no legs showing. And a different coffee table, I love it somewhere else, but the oval upsets the lines.

  36. I love an antique rug and think there’s nothing better when living with kids – messes add character! I wonder if the colors on the rug are good, but the scale of the pattern is off. Maybe if the rug had a more neutral field in the center (like a navy medallion?). Of course that’s a really specific thing to find on top of a navy/green antique rug so I see why going more neutral with the rug is a simpler solution. The D&A options you posted don’t feel super new to me though – the antique rugs are always more interesting and exciting.

  37. Based on the dream choices, for the sofa and the chairs, as well as from this version live, it seems you are pulled the direction of more straight lines / modern that seems also more exciting to your usual self. As opposed to the ideas you shared when decorating this house, which you wanted as a big experiment / push towards more traditional. Main traditional pieces, notably the fringed chaise as well as the blue sofa, disappeared from this version and from dream sources you hinted. I like it personally. Its almost like, pivoting back to what you like, from the self-set challenges of trying your hand in less familiar styles?

  38. I love that you added the Persian, I follow Blue Parakeet=amazing! But, for me the scale of the rug’s field design is too large for your room. It’s just overpowering! You have too many other beautiful aspects of your room’s architecture. Pick a beautiful Persian with a small field design and it will be all good!!!

  39. YES to that dream sofa and chunky chairs. Both are gorgeous!!! And yes to the dream mood board. I’d love to see what an endless budget could look like.

  40. Yes to the dream board! Can it include Apparatus sconces to replace the current ones?

  41. Dare I suggest the most radical answer… that you think wayyyyyy back to your original intent for the house/room (Modern English Tudor) and go from there? It feels like lately every new swap-in has no connection to that decorating manifesto and so the mishmash is getting… more mishmash-y. English roll-arm sofa, midcentury modern chairs, a 70s boho hand chair, a West Elm-y rug, tripod lamps, tons of abstract art…

    I’d be really interested to see you literally strip the room and rebuild it so it has the same mission as the rest of the house. Keep the English roll-arm couch (but maybe have it reupholstered?). Find some modern chairs that don’t have that midcentury bent to the them. Put the chaise in the other fireplace corner so it doesn’t look so matchy with the curves of the sofa. Keep things like that brass dome lamp, and find more modern pieces that really have some edge to them. Sprinkle in some portraiture. And yes, I’d love another vintage rug, but maybe one that isn’t so traditional?

    And perhaps my biggest suggestion of all would be to tone down all the wood varieties. There is so much brown in this room and it’s all doing different things.

    1. I strangely really like this suggestion. She makes some excellent points.

      1. Yes, this! I feel like there is a lot going on in this room, it’s all fine, but this room is boring and dull (from the pictures), it doesn’t look like Emily at all. Dare i say maybe its the white walls with that white fireplace/bookshelf? With the dull curtains? Where’s the fun?

    2. I have similar thoughts Hillary – though I do like the green sofa / rug combo better than the previous – more funky and fun but not modern Enligsh Tudor. It’s getting too mismatched and busy./ I would also love to see a bigger chunkier coffee table or ottoman. We have some soft ottomans from West Elm that are awesome for kids to jump around / play on (though less good for coloring etc). Would love to see a reimaginging.

    3. I think that this is really good advice for Emily. A more focused aesthetic would help cut down on the visual clutter that most people seem to be picking up on.

    4. I’ll throw my hat in this ring!

      Also, don’t kill me, but though I LOVE EMILY AND EVERYTHING EMILY DOES, I’m actually bored to death of “Scandi” and MCM in general. Everyone and their dog has that stuff now, and once my dad remarked to me, “I grew up when what you call mid-century modern was actually in style and it’s always looked really flimsy to me,” I couldn’t stop seeing it as flimsy. I love a classic room with character––mostly books in the bookcases, hand-woven oriental rugs (functional art), old wood. Playfulness but not cookie-cutter neutrals. I actually really like that sofa with the rug.

  42. Definitely go with a neutral rug! I think the Persian rugs are too busy in that room

  43. This room feels busy AF! Particularly the view looking toward the fireplace. So many items are competing for my eyeballs: beams, reading nook, bookshelves, credenza and gallery wall, pillows, rug, etc.
    I’d love to see it pulled back, like WAY pulled back. I can’t help but wonder what Mel’s version of your living room would be.
    That being said, I really love your work and really enjoy seeing these types of iterations.

    1. I couldn’t agree more – I would love to see Mel’s version, it might help you find a way to calm this room down

      1. AGREE with this great idea! Emily could crowdsource dream mood boards for this room from the current EHD design staff and even some designer friends. I would just love to see the Brady, Sarah Tramp, Mel, and Orlando versions of a dream moodboard. I know we are pretty far down in the comments so likely nobody will pick this up, but I can just imagine how different each could be. And, then we can all remember the point of this whole thing – there is no one right answer, this is about Emily getting HER room to the best version that it can be, and all of us learning a ton and being inspired along the way. I think it would be a fun exercise in demonstrating different mixes in personal style for traditional architecture.

  44. I love the switch! It feels more like the formerly eclectic Emily style you posted about getting back to. I also would love to see the dream living room sources, just for fun!

  45. My favorite incarnation of the room is still version #1!

  46. I like the lighter blue sofa! I agree it’s not perfect, but I think that’s part of the charm. Perfectly imperfect. Looks like a great place to lounge around with my bff and gossip for like 5 hours, haha!

    I would have never thought about removing the bookshelves, but now that other people are talking about it… I’m dying to know what it would look like! eek don’t hate me!

  47. It’s a beautiful room. Have you thought about maybe anchoring the space with a sectional? When I look at photos I see so many elements kind of competing with one another. Maybe fewer, bigger things might be better and allow elements like the rug to pop?

    1. Amen to this! The room feels busy because there are too many pieces! The neutral rug grounding all the pieces just feels cookie cutter and soulless.

  48. I love this rug! I actually really like the blue/green sofa with the rug! It’s FUN!!! However, I do agree that a more neutral linen sofa would be perfect with this rug. Sounds like you’re not keeping the rug in there, but I definitely vote for hoarding it. I feel like you’ll eventually find a place for it and would later regret letting it go.

  49. 1. awesome fun post, I love contributing my opinion to something not quite right,
    2. The rug situation is still not there for sure. The blues of the sofa and this blue rug arent’ good together and it is def heavy as you said. I really think a rug with a bunch of blue/white/cream but also a dose of soft warm color would be better! It needs a touch of apricot or pink or faded terracotta because as-is, this room is way too safe all blue and white for Emily Henderson.
    3. If you get the neutral type of rug that you linked, please bring in a little of said warm colors in your pillows! It doesn’t have to be madly eclectic or boho, but I really feel a counterpoint of warm accents around the space will liven up this room considerably and replace what the overly-bold yet lovely red Persion rug added.

  50. The lighter sofa makes a big difference – I would love to see your dream sofa in there! Wow! BTW, where do you hide the TV in this room?

  51. Thank you for letting us brainstorm your beautiful living room, Emily! Ok, so this in no way takes away from my love of your various iterations of the room so far, but since you are playing and inviting ideas, here goes: if it were my living room, I’d have some handsome millwork shutters/doors made to close in front of the built-ins to clean up the look, and put books and games on those shelves you’ll use instead of trying to style them. Then I’d whitewash the brick trim on the fireplace a bit to soften the contrast, and invest in a large-enough-for-the-whole-room antique dhurrie in a faded indigo or beige stripe, or a faded Oushak in the pale peach and lavender warmer tones some comments above are calling for. I’d switch out one pair of the four sconces beside and on the walls facing the fireplace — maybe long picture lights above the millwork folding doors — and get a little more textile pattern in the room, maybe on the chaise or a long lumbar on the sofa. I like the scale of the blue sofa you designed but you could go for a beautiful velvet to pick up a color in an Oushak rug that, again, was a but warmer against all the white walls and windows in the room. A pretty apricot? Maybe I’m just more of a pastel girl. Love the trunk, the Target chairs, can take or leave the coffee table depending on the other elements. To me, there hasn’t been an antique rug option yet that wasn’t too heavy or busy — I think an antique carpet with a cleaner, less dense design or one in warmer colors (as opposed to the cream Moroccan options which are pretty but I think would die in the room) would make the space.

  52. I think I may be the only one that likes the combination of the greenish sofa and the new rug. A white/off-white sofa would make the rug pop more, but I also think it’s boring. That sofa is interesting.

    I agree with the many others who have commented on the clutter of the bookshelves and that end of the room. Keep the wingback (I was never a fan of the velvet chaise), do a heavy edit of the shelves, put one larger piece of art above the table, and reduce of number of lamps and sconces. I think that would add calmness to that side of the room to balance out the color and pattern of the sofa and rug.

  53. Emily – I wonder if the style of your home is dictating what looks and feels right for your home. And if maybe that style is not quite aligned with what you normally gravitate to that gives you the look and feel that you love.

  54. I love that rug! So much more interesting than the other one. I don’t think the problem is that the rug and sofa are “heavy,” but more than they are both mid-tone and your eye naturally wants one of them to be lighter or darker for some contrast. I think if the accessories were more pared down, this rug would be great. Otherwise perhaps a vintage rug that is more neutral (they exist – my mother has a gorgeous one) would hit the sweet spot in this room.

    1. I came back to say that I think you should consider making two seating areas, one oriented around the fire place. I think that would actually make the room feel bigger, and less busy. I had a living room like this and it made a dramatic difference to orient the sofa across the short way, instead of the long way (honestly it was like a collective “sigh” for the space — everyone who came over commented on it too). Right now your LR lacks focus, and feels cluttered even though there’s an appropriate amount of furniture in the space. Switching the orientation of the sofa would visually break up the room, give your eye a place to land, and minimize the long galley feel it has now.

  55. I love that you’re playing more! With this rug and those linen chairs, I honestly think you need a leather sofa. Leather wears beautifully, can be very comfortable, and is super kid-friendly. It can go more traditional (chesterfield) or modern, and only gets better with age. Plus that would pull some of the reds/tans in the brick on the sofa, the pattern of the rug, and the wooden beams. Leather!

  56. I agree with so many of the positive comments here, and constructive as well. It is fun to see readers embracing this rearranging instead of being overly critical. On another note, have you thought about playing around in this room more in your Stories? Maybe I missed one, but that would be a blast to see! I’d LOVE to see the former “chaise corner” free of a chair, just to see a peek of how it would look without one. I do love the more modern chair you placed there for these photos (that I first spotted in your Stories), but that demilune console seems like such a beautiful focal point for that corner.

  57. I keep thinking you should move the sofa, rug, etc. closer to the fireplace and make that one simple, cozy seating area. I would also take everything out of the room and add pieces back, one by one until it feels right. I’m encouraged that even amazing designers struggle too—thanks for the honesty!

  58. Love the neutral chairs speckled throughout the room, Emily! They sing. What if you removed the painting from the mantle? In the pulled-back shot it feels distracting to my eye. I want more sconce-stage pressnce and architecture admiration and less colorful art-distraction. That hearth is so beautiful on its own. Thanks for sharing your progress from the depths of the middle!

  59. what about trying out some color on the walls? or if that’s too much (because it’s hard not to do the ceiling) what about painting the fireplace (+/- the inside of the built-ins?) to maximize that architectural detail? the mantel is such a cool feature but it gets a little lost in that end of the room, which feels a little cluttered relative to the other half. something deep and dark could look very cool. that could bring in some edge for almost no $$ and if you hate it…well it’s only paint.

  60. I like the lighter couch, definitely think the rug is too busy for this room. Would be cool to see it work in the mountain house…

    On another note, the new pop-up adds on the site are really distracting from your wonderful content. As soon as you x out of one, another one pops up. Definitely takes away from the enjoyment of coming here–just my two cents. Thanks team EHD for all you do. xo

  61. I really love both the sofa and the rug and think it works well but if you’re not totally feeling it, you never will! What about a sofa like the one in the house tour from the other day: https://joybird.com/sofas/chelsea-sofa/?sscid=b1k2_yn5i5
    I know you’re trying to go with more vintage and this isn’t but it feels a bit lighter than the current sofa and the color seems like it would cool things down a bit. But I’m not a designer 🙂

  62. It’s getting there! I feel like you’re really committed to that coffee table but I’d love to see something more natural there. Neither the style or color palette work for the room from my perspective. Personally, I’d love to see beautiful walnut live edge coffee table there, one with a steel base to give it a little bit of edge.

    Also, would centering your coffee table with the fireplace make the seating area feel too small? I’m not typically a stickler for symmetry but this instance always bothers me visually.

  63. Also, 100% YES would love to see your dream home vs. the look for less/more practical. I’m a sucker for a “look for less” segment.

  64. I agree, this IS fun!

    I recently bought a new sectional, but it made everything else in the room look off. That led to a new coffee table, which led to a new rug. It’s crazy how changing one key piece can break everything else (but should really be considered when you are budgeting, because you won’t LOVE your new piece until the rest of the pieces work together).

    I know this isn’t up for debate right now, but I would LOVE to see a mirror on a long rope above your fireplace instead of the abstract, a la the fireplace at Orcondo. If you put the circular mirror right in the middle, it would simplify that wall and mimic the pretty curves of the fireplace. I just think there are so many square lines over there on that wall it calls for something circular, and a simple round mirror wouldn’t fight with the traditional shape of the fireplace (which I love).

  65. Emily, I think you needs to paint the walls …*gasp…something other than white. But defiantly a very light color.

  66. Wow that new sofa is dreamy and the lower height is good. I’m a sucker for a bench seat. I think it might work with the rug if you replace some of the navy textiles with ones that are mustard yellow, linen and emerald green.

  67. Love this post! Yes to a dream living room post! Yes to weirder things!

  68. leather sofa?

  69. I actually LOVE this combo. So glad yo see you playing more again!

  70. I think a different shaped coffee table would help.

  71. I love this post and always enjoy seeing your home as you tweak it. I personally like the darker sofa that’s trapped in the garage right now. It looks better with the new rug or the previous rug (which I love). I think a duplicate of the darker sofa facing each other would ground the space and the coffee table would look great between them (I love it too). I’m also for making the bookshelves disappear along with the lights above them. Thanks for bringing us along on your journey.

    1. I also feel if the bookshelves/lights disappeared you could paint their walls an accent color to showcase the fireplace and make it pop.

  72. Visually, I think if you had a camel brown leather sofa it would help tie the room together. Compositionally, it would bring your eye to the wood beams of the vaulted ceiling and connect to the warmth of the credenza and other warm medium woods of the room. That is your answer.

  73. The thing I liked about the old sofa was that the legs are long enough to allow some air and give the rug some space – the new sofa does look heavy, as it rests closer to the ground. I love the rug, but if you want to keep it I’m afraid you’re going to have to ditch the modern art over the fireplace – they really compete with one another and add to that cluttered sensation.

    I’m a fan of the built-ins, but I would be a bigger fan of clearing them out – fewer, more impactful items. It might even involved taking out a shelf or two.

    Lastly, like others have pointed out, so much lighting. The eye really doesn’t know where to go, and I’m not even convinced it’s all functional. I know you’re a big fan of layered lighting, but maybe take the Coco Chanel approach and remove some?

    1. I am going to chime in and agree with this one! In one photo I counted 7 different lampshades. You shouldn’t need so much extra lamps, especially with the wall sconces. I would remove all lighting and items in the shelves, then give the couch/rug combo (which are beautiful, BTW) another look. Good luck!

  74. I guess I’m nuts because I actually love it with the two sofas and/or just the navy sofa. It looks so much more cosy, warm and inviting. The fact that no one has said the same thing is now making me question my own home, ha!

  75. Just a note that I love this – my favorite of posts over a long period of time, actually. I love how the writing lately has been funny and well edited, but the posts are so “done” and more about reveals. This one, we can hear your thinking process and join the journey. Thank you!

  76. I love the blue rug and think it looks really great with the mint greenish sofa an the gold detail on the legs is amazing. I am drawn to blue and when there is wood, texture and gold in the mix it just makes my eyes and heart happy!! Love seeing you switch things up! So fun 🙂

  77. I too have a long narrow living room with the front door opening directly into it, two internal doorways (hall and double wide dining) and two radiators. It’s too narrow to float the furniture and the front door is a disaster to deal with. Future piece on the challenges of the long/narrow living room?

  78. I must have skipped past the part where it says how old this rug is? I’ve seen 50 and 100-year-old Persian rugs in homes that had children and which were used daily and they never look as aged and worn as this rug. Faded in places from the sun, sure, but ragged like this? Nope, they were not. So honestly, I do not know how this look is naturally achieved sans faux aging or from the rug living an abused (abnormal) life at some point.

  79. Not a designer, but I LOVE that minty sofa and think it looks so great with the rug and in your living room. If you add an oatmeal linen sofa, it takes a Nancy Myers turn, which is fine, if that’s your jam, but I don’t think it is your jam. What if you toyed with those chairs and kept the rug/sofa. Maybe something a little more library/cozy than so linear/mid-century. Leather club chairs maybe? I just love the green of the sofa with the blue of the rug and the scale/shape of the sofa is just perfect.

  80. Love love love both of the sofas and that rug! I do vote for the lighter sofa and while I love the coffee table and the chairs I feel like I’d go for a solid color more square table and chair and a half’s? Gorgeous space that would totally hold more seating!

  81. I love that you’re constantly trying to improve spaces. I feel like there is this unspoken guilt that I have if I’ve technically “finished” a room but still want to keep tweaking it to make it better… but why is that such a bad thing? I’m glad you’re embracing it! I do have one question though, have you ever thought of painting the brick on the fireplace or changing it out for a tile or something? For some reason, every time I see photos of your living room, that is the one thing that stands out to me as not really belonging? The reddish brown color just seems off. Just my humble opinion :).

  82. I love the built in bookcases. For me, it’s the credenza that’s crowding out that side of the room! A plant, a hanging chair, something more simple there seems to speak to me.

    Love your vintage style first and foremost and love what you are experimenting with!!

  83. I LOVE your navy sofa — bring it back, pleazzz!! I also really liked your original D&A rug in the blue. This one, not so much. It’s busy and really competes with your decor in the room. Maybe something a bit less busy but with more edge than the D&G one would work. I also like the idea of a light sofa. But if you have to choose between a light sofa and a light rug with kids, I’d vote for a light sofa with kid-proof fabric.

  84. Keep looking, for if anyone can find it, you can. I just think it could be better. I have been waiting years for just the right rug at just the right price. I can’t just throw money at it so I’m thankful for jute rugs to be a place filler in the interim. I’m looking forward to the update!

  85. I think the rug is a total keeper – don’t get rid of it! It’s beautiful. I agree that the sofa isn’t just right, and if you change the sofa to a lighter color, then the chairs need to change. Looking forward to what you decide next.

  86. What about a brown leather sofa?

  87. I think my issue with this room is more about the overall look vs. its functionality. I get that you are a designer and this blog is your canvas, in a sense, so perhaps a lot of the traditional “rules” don’t apply. But when you talk about this room as the place where you gather as a family to eat burritos and watch cartoons in the morning or movies at night, I just don’t get that vibe AT ALL when I look at pictures of the room. I think it’s a combo of the formal rug plus formal couch (to me, velvet plus tufted always reads formal) plus vintage elements plus heavy fireplace plus that velvet chaise lounger just scream “formal sitting room” so I can’t make that jive with how you say you use it. In my head, I’d imagine you doing family movie time on a massive, ultra deep and comfy couch, a neutral/tough rug (like jute or something durable) perhaps with another rug layered on top for color (or not), lots of floor pillows, etc. Maybe this room is suffering from trying to be all things to all people (e.g., make a grand/impressive design statement when you enter the house (plus be a good slate for blog content) while also being the place where you gather as a family for cozy time? I wonder if you might be happier picking an audience and going with it, design-wise?

  88. Thanks for having Clad Home make your minty velvet sofa Emily, we LOVE what you’re doing with it!

  89. I don’t have time to read through all the comments today so this may be redundant to what someone else offered. I love the rug & love both sofas but agree something doesn’t quite work with the combo. I also don’t think the off white sofa is the solution – I think it would end up feeling too traditional. I personally like traditional, but I think you need something a bit more funky. My vote is keep the new rug to use for now, sell later if you find something better. And keep working on bringing some funk in through other pieces. You’ll get there. It’s tough when you have to completely furnish a room all at once. It ends up not feeling collected enough over time – I think that vibe is what’s missing here. The big pieces are all brand new.

  90. Definitely hoard the rug! Remember that sofa you sold and regret?
    And please, pretty please, do a post on your dream room, but add ‘get the look’ much cheaper options. Thank you!

  91. I actually really like the turquoise couch with the new rug (and I LOVE that rug!!!). But what about a leather couch option for contrast and durability?

  92. I love this post and reading your thought process! I actually really, really like the rug here. But totally get the sofa concerns! My brother solves that by getting the light colored / neutral furniture and draping pretty fabric over the couch for every day use. Good luck w the decision!!

  93. OK…I have a long living room in a 1790 farmhouse and it’s been a STRUGGLE. I can totally relate;). I like the formation of the sofa, coffee table and chairs – from the pictures, that appears to be the best arrangement. In all honestly, the navy couch feels really heavy, and the light linen has been my favorite so far. I like the idea of a persian rug – it’s awesome with little kids at home (hides everything!) and can make such an impactful statement on its own. I’m wondering if a persian with a bit more edge is the way to go? Something lighter and with a bit of distressing? One final thought if you’re still with me – I’m struggling a bit with the coffee table. Not sure why, but it doesn’t feel right (but of course, I’m not there, and it’s definitely not my home so don’t mind me:). I feel like there are a lot of round edges overall, and perhaps somethings more square, lighter wood (a super cool vintage bench?) would really fit. Love your blog!

  94. You seriously would rather a plain/overused dash and albert rug as opposed to that amazing patterned on-of-a-kind area rug? Hell no girl. Keep that rug!!!

    I think the whole problem are those flimsy chairs. They look like an afterthought and not comfortable at all. You need something more substantial… or two sofas. Just not those chairs. Also… I love that you took the chaise out. Keep it out.

    I like seeing your thought process on all of this though. Share those mood boards!

  95. I never liked your old couch or the chaise thing. I love the dream couch you want though!
    I was also wondering how your fireplace would look without any picture on it…

  96. To my eye, the sofa works really well in that room. It provides color, and some softer texture.

    My suggestion would be to try flipping the couch to the other side of the room, where the chairs currently sit. The chairs in front of that bay window with a cool side table between them and a tall plant beside one of them would help the room look more open and light. Having a straight back couch in front of them mutes the open feeling they provide.
    The room needs something with a bit of height, to my eye. Either a tall plant or a floor lamp draping over something would help a lot.
    Otherwise that room is awesome!!

    1. That won’t work, Sara, b/c they have a drop-down TV screen (jumbo) that is across from the couch (where they can all sit as a family). You’re right about it making the room more open though.

  97. Agree about the bookshelves. They’ve always looked too busy to me. Love the lighter colored sofa with the rug, but agree about the breakfast burritos.

  98. Emily I love that it even takes you several experiments to nail what you want – I think sometimes us normal people can feel very overwhelmed by these decisions but it is quite heartening to know it can be tricky even for the best stylists around! Meantime, I bloody love that navy sofa with the rug!

  99. I adore you, Em. You are me. I switch things around all the time AND I’m always looking for the PERFECT rug. I will check out your friend’s website.
    The navy sofa would look best in place of the one you have right now.

  100. Emily, I love being included in the thought process. It makes me feel so much more NORMAL, but with far fewer resources to change things up. However, since you asked for our opinion, I LOVE the rug. LOVE it. I do agree with the visual clutter commentary of the bookshelves, but I think that can be helped by removing the art over the fireplace. Hear me out – If that area is left intentionally clean, the fireplace can speak for itself and the shelves aren’t competing with anything.


  101. I enjoy the ‘playing around’ posts, because I agree that your living room, while always “nice” has never had that same pulled-together look. I don’t love the mint sofa with the new rug, the colours are off somehow, but I also didn’t love the navy tone of the bigger sofa, I would have liked to see a more sapphire/jewel toned blue. The persian blue rug is too busy for me personally, but I agree that you should hoard it! Maybe with a nice caramel leather sofa.

    But anyway, I’m interested to see what happens next, and enjoy the posts no matter if it goes with my personal style or not!

  102. There is just SO. MUCH. STUFF. in this room.

    I’d love to see a giant sectional couch that faces the fireplace with a beautiful long table behind it. Get a big ole square coffee table for the middle, and throw a life raft to that poor little oval one thats just floating around out there like a man overboard.

    There is no focal point! Make the beautiful fireplace the focal point, and remove the throw pillows, tiny pieces of art, little knicknacks, mismatchy lighting, and for the love of all things holy STYLE THOSE SHELVES.

    The rug is the least of the problems with this room.

    1. Oh snap.

    2. She ain’t wrong.

    3. What she said.

  103. I think the colour of your navy sofa looks much better with the new rug. But then the tv room sofa goes better with the chaiselongue. Both seem to have a similar minty colour.

  104. Seeing the blue green sofa in that room makes me SO happy- I am obsessed with that sofa, and the tufted one just feels off somehow. Love the new vintage rug as well with the sofa. What about a gorgeous worn cognac leather chair and otto in the chaise corner…..and dare I say trying a different coffee table? Something with more presence? Thank you as always for working through design dilemmas and making the rest of us feel sane with our ordeals at home!

  105. So you said that if you kept the light/ivory sofa you would need to get darker material on the 2 chairs. What color material? If the dark blue sofa was too much for the rug, would you try dark blue in the chairs instead? I ask because I have a med tan sofa and am looking to add two chairs similar to these. Should I choose a darker color for the chairs? I love the new rug you are borrowing and would like a similar overdyed “vintage” rug. I’d like to read your mind as to why you are making some choices so I can better make choices in my own home. For instance, you said the rug was a bit too small for the big sofa. To me it fit within the confines of the rug – do you have a 2 foot overhang rule or something in which we can use as a guide when selecting the right size of rug for a furniture arrangement? Stuff like that would be helpful to people like me, who are mulling over how to re-do our floorplans. Thanks in advance!

  106. Emily the rug is gorgeous! Your husband is one of a kind to be moving furniture. And that cute little end table shaped like an almond with the thin metal legs….be still my heart. Can you tell me where you got that?

  107. What if you put an outrageous curved sofa in front of the bow windows- celebrate the windows rather than pretending they don’t exist. Something like this http://www.bellissimainteriors.com/standardize-your-sitting-area-with-curved-sofa/curved-sofa-curved-sofa-ico-3d-3ds-zclripy-wrslegw/

  108. Hi Em, Three words: Hoard That Rug! If you don’t keep it, you will never be able to get it out of your mind, I know I wouldn’t. The colors and design in the rug are so unique, I loved it from the instant I opened this email.
    I also happen to think the sofa looks great with the rug. Have it triple treated for stain resistance and eat all of the egg burritos you and the hubs and kiddos want. (But, I get that, we bought a luscious cream velvet sofa about six months before we were shocked and surprised that I was pregnant.) My first thought is to get different chairs and change out the pillows and throw on the sofa. Just my thoughts, I’m excited to see your final decison.

  109. The white sofa seems like it makes the whole room loook too white esp with the chairs, etc. If you had the leather 2 chairs it might work though. Or, I like the second tug you gave as an alternative to the one you are trying out now. I agree the room needs to feel a bit edgier.:-)

  110. I liked the first rug–can you buy it back?

  111. I kept thinking about this room for some reason today – I guess I really want to help you solve the design mystery! have you ever thought about going super neutral in this room to highlight all the pretty wood and bookcases? So a muted rug with a floral detail (very english tudor) and light linen sofa like you mentioned and leather, velvet chairs or architectural chairs? Just a thought! The oriental on it’s own is beautiful though!


  112. oh yes, please try a photoshop version without the built-ins! would be so curious to see what that would look like. also i really like the new rug, but i think the one thing that really doesn’t go with it is the blue console table in the back on the left side.

  113. I love the new rug. I’m searching for a living room rug myself. It’s my first time with hard floors, not wall-to-wall carpet, so all of this is new to me and a bit overwhelming.

    But back to your living room: I think there’s too much going around the bookcases, with the big chair on one side and the large credenza and chair on the other. I would suggest smaller-scale furniture and fewer pieces, and take a few things off the shelves–fewer, larger items would look more streamlined and modern. Scaling back what you have on that side of the room would give whatever you keep there more room to shine.

  114. I love the rug, and I am so glad you brought back something vintage/antique! You have a traditional English-style house, and I think it can handle some busy-ness. That said, I think the room falls a little flat because there is almost no variation from the blue-white-cognac color scheme, at least in photos. I think some contrasting hits of color would deepen the feel of the space and make it more visually interesting. I always love the art above the fireplace, but to be honest, I think the hard lines compete with the fireplace itself. Something more sculptural (and maybe a little smaller?) might be worth a try. Whatever you do, don’t get rid of the built-ins!

  115. Hey EMD team,

    I like Brian’s sofa. I’m looking for mid-century sofas kind of along that line (no wood arms, maybe leather or velvet) but the CS reviews on so many of the well-known brands are horrific (they might have initials like WE or CB). Do you (or readers) have suggestions of reliable mid-century oriented vendors (does not have to be vintage) that are available in Los Angeles? TIA.

  116. I think these choices depend on your priorities/lifestyle. One might argue that an antique Persian rug is both a statement and an investment. A couch can be reupholstered, but really it doesn’t retain value (unless it is serious designer/collectible stuff) and could be viewed as something that you could change out. So, best to pick a rug that SINGS to you, and then work around that piece. But, if you have pets (kids?) that would damage a “collectible” rug, then put down a rug that is not precious. Personally, I think antique rugs say, “Grown-ups live here and have put down roots. They have committed to this room size.” I still have kids who have friends who walk around with drippy snacks, so I refuse to lay down a nice rug in the living/family room. I put a nice rug in the master bedroom and decorated around it. I have too much respect for the sheer number of man-hours that went into hand-knotting it that I’d feel horrible spilling yogurt tubes on it rug.

  117. Keep the rug and slip cover the sofa, maybe not cream linen how about a pop of a happy color to contrast with the blue scheme

  118. That BDDW sofa is the one! It’s cool yet has refined classic vibe. I also like the idea of a neutral rug. Feeling like a leather piece (bench? 2 small ottoman benches? ) could help round out the material mix.
    Also I LOVE that you are back to styling and playing. It’s what I fell in love with your book and EHD. HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

  119. I like the rug – but I think you’re right – it competes with a colored sofa. You definitely need a lighter color to complement it. I think if you also re-styled the bookshelves to something more simple it wouldn’t feel so busy – and look at the room as a whole. Figure out what you can take out and change and how it affects the whole look. What do I know though? You’re my design touchstone, the queen of styling! 😁

  120. I think you need a rug from our shop @vintagerugshop, they’re more muted and would work so much better with the Emily style! We have blue ones all the time! And we specialize in large room sized rugs!

  121. I agree that the color of the sofa is competing with the colors of the rug. But the white linen sofa is just so blah. Like a giant marshmallow. The room needs something to ground it so everything isn’t so airy that it looks like everything is just floating in space.

  122. I love that sofa and every time I see it I’m rooting for it to find its right place in your house! And that brass lamp? Amazing. I really love the sofa, lamp, bold graphic art combo!

  123. I Love all your posts and ideas. Sooo Fun, that’s what you do.
    I think it needs a bigger coffee table. Keep the couch, which I like, but maybe the chairs should be a green ish color. Then go lighter with throw pillows.

  124. For me, scale is the hardest thing to get right in a room. I agree that the new rug is the wrong size. I also think it is too busy, but that could be me, because I have a migraine right now, so the rug and the blue and white striped pillows are strobing when I look at them.

    I love the scale of the “new” sofa in your room. It works really well with your Target chairs. I would love to see the sofa on the opposite side of the room, with the Target chairs opposite it, and the chaise back in its old corner. It looks like the color of the sofa and chaise would work well together. I know this poses a functional problem for your projector tv location.

    I like the two rugs you’ve picked out. I’d like to suggest one of my favorite rugs – Stark’s antelope pattern carpet (which also comes as a rug of any size you want). It is so beautiful, interesting, and yet neutral. It works with any furniture style, and it’s been a classic for many years.

    I love that you are still moving things around. It’s fun to see your process.

    1. Correction: The Stark “Antilocarpa” is the rug I meant to reference. Oddly, it often is referenced in photos as the Stark “Antelope” rug, but it actually is not the same rug. The Antilocarpa comes in eight to ten colors. I like the “almond” and the “mushroom,” which are very neutral and work with anything. But also available blue.

      I noticed that both Persian rugs, red and blue, have really bossy colors – the burgundy red and the navy blue are both so strong that lots of things will not work with them.

  125. I love the darker Blue sofa with the rug! And to put a small rug of same blue tones between chairs at fireplace. This will ground the room in my opinion. The high ceiling just wants to fly away. So tired of Cream/White rooms; Add very wide blue fabric as new hem on curtains.

  126. Well I do declare that rug is stunning! It elevates the room in such a special way. I love the direction this is going.

    Have you played around with the coffee table? I feel like the large expanse of bright white is what made the original red vintage rug and this one feel too much contrast/busy/something not quite right. Don’t get me wrong, that table kills! But it seemed more suited for the lighter rug.

    I’m torn on the bookshelves… they are so interesting to look at and create a lived in warmth, but there is quite a lot of visual distraction in the back of the room. Maybe the hand chair is competing too much?

    Lastly, I agree with other comments about adding some pink! So fun to play around with all this!

  127. Theres a lot of great feedback in these comments! The rug is beautiful but I don’t quite think its right for this room – maybe its a bit too busy for my taste with the other graphic elements (art, throws, pillows).

    I think the comment about the room needing to look more “classically British” is spot on stylistically for initial vision for the house. I personally like a more “collected over time” look.

    Thinking something like: Arch Digests’s “This Greek Revival Brownstone Is the Ultimate Nonurban City Home” slideshow image number 3. These a lot going on but its still restful to the eye. Perhaps look to Howe London or Lief on Almont for a rug – love a good Swedish flatweave. Howe also has really beautiful fabrics.

    I’d like to see the chaise in the right hand corner by the fireplace. I think it could look really special with a Nickey Kehoe’s Curved or Modern sofa (maybe in a small graphic print (kid friendly fabric!) like the BDDW sofa?) and some mismatched chairs across and a visually heavier wood coffee table.

  128. I think I need a lesson on how to appreciate vintage rugs. All I see is potentially great colors and pattern but so many worn places, I would be embarrassed for people to see it. Clearly, I am missing something based on the reaction of most of the responses I read. Can you help me open my mind?

  129. Wow it’s amazing to me how many comments have been made.
    That’s it.
    The end.

  130. I just loved your first rug……colour contrast, richness, antiquity, size……..beautiful.

    I hate matchy matcha. You’ll go a long way to find what you already had, which was perfection. Sorry, jay

  131. Thanks for asking! I haven’t commented yet but I’ve been a fan, following you since Design Star, because you took my
    spot 😉 Congrats on the children and successes!
    I think you need to mix in some furniture that is more in character with the room. I appreciate your esthetic and how the room needs to feel like you. But… that is a house with it’s own esthetic, listen to that and then mix in yours. Probably not 50-50, but 35-65 either which style.

  132. I think the rug is beautiful but the pattern might be a little too busy. If you keep the rug, then I think the room needs more warmth. Maybe a sofa in a vintage looking worn leather -Chesterfield style – in a color similar to your beams. I know you did not like your first rug but I the warm colors did “talk” to the beams and grounded the room…so maybe accomplish that same thing with the sofa?

  133. I think it could work if you use a pop of unexpected color on the sofa, like persimmon or a citrusy yellow. That would make the sofa seem more neutral and would be a fun accent. The rug is pretty darn fab.

  134. I say this knowing full well it does you no good at all, but I still LOVELOVELOVED the OG rug. That little bit of red just really “Emily’d” that room right up. Maybe you could find a vintage Persian style that’s blue-based but with a few pokes of red and pink, rather than the green, just to liven it up a little. The new rug is gorgy, but feels a little too tonal to me. I think it needs that pop of warmth to bring out the warmth in the wood beams and the fireplace, since the rest of the colors in the room lean cool.

  135. I LOVE that rug! And I love it with the green sofa! OMG, keep both in there! LOVE.

  136. Oh how I love that couch and rug together, the room for me is just perfect! But yes I would love to see a moodboard of your dream living room. Thanks for sharing xx

  137. Have you ever tried connecting with rug dealers on Etsy? I’ve had shops in Turkey help source rugs. I just send inspiration Pins, rough size, preferred budget and would get dozens of options sent. They also offered to cut to size or overdye if desired. Definitely worth perusing.

  138. I think your sconces could pop more- something darker and more fun/modern would help!

  139. So, I have a thought …. I can envision that couch reupholstered in a nuetral linen because the size and style is perfect, plus it looks super comfy. Then the two chairs could be recovered in a light camel leather. I’m envisioning light linen and a yummy cognac or camel leather ….
    Just my two cents.

  140. Wow I LOVE the sofa you linked. Can someone give me that for my birthday too??? Haha. As for your question, yes, I’d love to see a “dream family room” mood board!

  141. Hmm. I think the colour palette is lovely, but I feel it is all quite traditional. I could see going with the same colour palette but with a more energetic/graphic rug. Something like https://www.zoepawlak.com/rugs#4, although the colours aren’t quite right, you get the idea! 😉

  142. I actually love the sofa and rug combo because it quenches my unending thirst for blue/green tones. They look very serene together.

  143. This rug is gorgeous! I am so glad you are trying it out. I may be in the minority but I like the velvet sofa, both the color and the scale. To my eyes, it is that the room doesn’t quite fit with the sofa because there’s not enough of the soft aqua color, or the velvet texture in other furnishings throughout the room. It is similar to the problem with the original red rug, there was nothing to tie it in with the rest of the space. Thus, both that red rug and this aqua sofa seem to stick out. But I think you could work with it by bringing in some velvet pillows and some more aqua, pottery, art, a throw on one of the chairs opposite. While I’m making suggestions… how about different chairs? I agree that slightly larger chairs opposite the sofa would fit the cozier vibe that the rug and velvet are setting up. I like this direction!

  144. New thought… that is not about the rug (I love this one though). What about piano lights over the bookshelves? That would allow the fireplace to be the main vertical element on that wall and reduce the visual clutter of the lampshades.

  145. I really like the way it turned out. That rug is fantastic and has so much character. The other rugs you posted are a bit more on-trend, whereas this one has staying power and real class. The lighter chairs are a nice complement, along with the lighter blue couch. I suspect you would prefer the reverse, but it does look great as-is. I am obsessed with the velvet rotating chairs from R&B and they come in light blue.

  146. Emily! Let me just say that I LOVE you, your style, the way you openly express the free flow of thoughts you have about your (evolving) style (it makes me feel less crazy and more normal). You are my model “influencer” to follow. All that said, I have to say that I agree your living room has never been quite right. There are certain vignettes I LOVE but the overall never felt like it fit together right. I’m glad the chaise lounge is gone, glad the couch is gone – was never a fan of either of those. I love this new rug. I kinda think you gotta try to lean into that. I also don’t like the coffee table (I think it’s the legs?). And I love the sconces on the side walls but for some reason having those above the bookshelves as well feels like overkill and brings in this stodgy dated vibe. Again, I say all of this with the best of intentions – to help you solve this ongoing puzzle! I like the idea of the dream board … starting with a fresh, uninhibited mind! You rock lady, hugs.

  147. This has the Emily freshness I think the more traditional style has been lacking. I think it you switched the trunk and target chairs to something else you’d be closer but that’s just me. 😜

  148. That Abel sofa is to-die-for. I would love to see you design a living room around that it. The other wish list rugs and chairs you listed are not nearly as compelling.

  149. This post was amazing! Two thoughts- I freaking love the clad couch with the rug. Second, it was awesome to read how wishy washy you are in your design process just like me! If I had not read your post and just saw Instagram, o would have thought your life was total heaven! Thank you for being honest. Now if you want to accidentally drop that minty couch on my porch that would be ok.

  150. I would want to see the 7k mood board along with the comments of “what I like and why.” I learn a lot from the “what I like and why” and I also appreciate beautiful things even if (like you) I need different children (and unlike you because this is your business) an entirely different budget.

    What would be EVEN MORE AMAZING is if on top of the 7k mood board you also included a look for less posting with the Ikea/Target/Home Goods/Living Spaces round up of similar things in different price points. That helps us create our own high/low mix. I like how in the Canadian Style magazine, they show the two pictures of the room and then you have to figure out which is the high and which is the low. I always have fun with that and then I realize that I would pick items from both the high room and the low room and mix it. I do the same things with clothing…

  151. It’s fun to see you try new things, but I loved your living room pre-change, with the exception of the chaise and the trunk, however, I get that they are more your style. In fact I liked your living room so much I bought the same coffee table and nearly the identical rug. I wanted your rug so bad, but I was worried about the material lasting with our cats and heavy/wear tear and I found a nearly identical wool one on Annie Selke. Excited to see what comes next :).

  152. Wallpaper or crazy paint the fireplace all the way up. The problem is too much empty space in the “sky” of your room (low furniture + vaulted ceilings) and too many “spaces.” Sitting space, chaise space, back in the corner by the bookshelf space. Back in the early days you had a layout that was almost like making this into two rooms, right? Like sofas facing the fire back to back with sofas facing the piano. Two spaces.

  153. …I think it’s a case of overthinking it…🤔

  154. I would never remove the bookcases.

  155. I love it all. I love it when things clash is a good way. That turquoise sofa is to die for. The room just feels more fun.

  156. Love the rug! Question; have considered changing the orientation of your furniture? Like sofa accross from the fireplace? ( I mean I’m
    Sure you have but I’m so curious about it!)

  157. I’m following your blog with pleasure. It’s just great!
    A bright room and tastefully decorated as always, of course. Carpet is Gorgeous. I think it’s a Turkish carpet. It must be very precious. The harmony of colors and patterns is spectacular.
    I found decorative Turkish ceramics in these patterns and colors for my own living room. They’re also lovely. I thought it would look great in this room.

  158. Am I a lone voice in favor of the blue sofa? Love the rug: keep it!!

  159. KEEP THAT RUG!!!!!

  160. Nothing is terribly wrong with the room but it has never felt right. If you can, I honestly think you need to start over. The beams, fireplace and bookshelves all need to be reassessed. If you leave the beams, you need more warmth in the furnishings to balance out the room.

    There is no warmth and no “peace” in this room right now.

    But I love these posts though!

  161. I LOVE this new look and I think the sofa actually gives a great funky/vintage vibe with the rug, but I’m very partial to everything vintage. It’s so much fun to see you play around with a less forma/serious look!

  162. Yes! Dream board!

  163. What about a structured leather, not too dark?

  164. Sign me up for the BDDW sofa – running down to Cosby St to see it pronto!

  165. Hi Emily!! I love you and your room. Can I point out a few suggestions? Well, you did ask right? :). I love the rug that is Persian and expensive and blues that are hard to come by in a pleasing pattern and feel in my gut you REALLY WANT IT TO WORK. I agree that neither of your sofas are doing it justice. Although I see where you are going with your wish for a simple Moroccan X pattern rug, I think you are WAY TOO unique to do that in your home. That’s what everyone else does! I agree with some of the folks on here that a darker charcoal, black or even a slightly darker grayish than your window treatments may look lovely and cool. Many on here think your builtins look busy, which they kinda do, but rather than color coding books, removing personal, meaningful knick-knacks, how about you just stream-line your credenza area adjacent to the right? Just one slim, rectangular piece of art under that sconce will totally calm down that corner? If you wanted to ditch the rug and go back to simple like the one your kitties clawed up, then I would layer that one and your coffee table won’t seem too small as well. xos

  166. I love this. A family member of ours is moving and offered us their beautiful shelving unit for a good deal. My husband looked at me and said “Give a mouse a cookie?” Haha. I am always tinkering and moving things. And of course he was right… we ended up moving all of our couches and chairs from different rooms. Moving things around makes the things I already have feel new without having to buy something. Always fun to play. I think that rug is pretty but my favorite thing in the room is the couch. Glad you are using it again. The color, fabric, and scale of it is just so beautiful. Glad to see you having fun, Emily!

  167. I love to see the design process. I’m thinking the problem is that the couch has a “dirty” undertone whereas the rug has “clean” undertones. Neither is good or bad, they just don’t seem to be harmonious. But I am just a home decor blog reader, so I really have no clue nor expertise in this area. Either way I really appreciate seeing the struggles and victories in design. Thank you for sharing your home and process.

  168. I love your posts and would be interested in the Dream Living Room Moodboard. This room is starting to look like a mishmash though and not in a good way, I think the light colored wood lounge chairs really need to go and have always thought so. They are too mid century for this space I think you can go modern but those just look to budgety for this room. I like the rug and do think a cream sofa would be ideal but Id’ be tempted to tweak the roman shade color behind it. The chairs need to be more modern elegant, that’s what I would choose and just perhaps donate the maple ones? Oh and the BDDW Sofa is perfect definitely get that if its not insanely priced! Also the painting above the fireplace is too busy with the rug, can you hang the portrait back up?

  169. This is my favorite version of your living room to date. Never was a fan of the navy blue sofa–it was too busy and too old fashioned looking. The green velvet one is fantastic, and I love the rug too!

  170. It’s so fun to play like this! I’ve never felt like your chairs work with the super traditional blue sofa — same with the coffee table. LOVE them with the sofa from Brian’s office. The new rug is BUSY. So are your bookcases. And ALL of your art. And the console top styling. And the tassels on the throw on the chaise. All the blobs of navy and black are grabbing for my attention leaving my eyes wanting a calm place to settle. I love how you mix pattern and color and antiques with modern — but try pulling out some of the “movement”. Example: if you clear off or pare back on the console top (the one one the right), the art above it is fine. Or lighten up the console top styling and hang one long, narrow horizontal piece with less white space. Remove the black lamp and any art over the fireplace. I’m thinking if you added a few pillows with accent colors from the rug to the pale green sofa it will work. Maybe. You’ve made me want to go push things around in my LR.

  171. I think this traditional-looking rug is actually clashing with the modern art on the walls (not the sofa). Too many styles going on.

  172. This is really fun. I love these posts! I have a vintage Persian rug in my living room and had no idea how bossy it could be in a room until I got it home. So I understand why you wanted to switch out the red rug. Luckily, I had a cream sofa, so nothing competes for attention with the rug, everything else is pretty neutral with some black to ground it. I think rugs are the hardest piece of designing a room because they can make or break it, are $$$, and you don’t really know how it will look until you try it or have a ton of experience doing rooms. So thank you for experimenting for us so we can see 3 rugs in the same room and how each really change the feel.

    I was kind of curious why you didn’t put a rug in the Portland house dining room. Do you have photos of your process styling those rooms, like things you tried but rejected? That would be really cool to see in a post.

    I don’t know how you do it with all the comments/opinions/suggestions/critiques of your room. I love everything you have going on, but I love it when you change it too. I am slightly curious how the fireplace wall would look with library sconces over the bookcases instead of the tall double sconces.

    I would love to see a post on your dream room!

  173. The rug is beautiful, the sofa is beautiful! Nothing else seems like the right fit. If I were you, I’d think about starting over fresh while including a statement piece or two — or just let it be your family’s living room for now and wait to see if inspiration strikes. Because you’ll definitely figure it out, and maybe it’s best not to force it. ​You got this!​

  174. I know you have mentally moved off the red rug but I think it works so much better than the other rugs with the wood beams and brick fireplace which are beautiful features of the room. In your photo, It visually unified the floor, mid-ground and ceiling as well as brought warmth and energy to the space. In addition, the red rug is a striking counterpoint to the white walls and large expanses of glass.

  175. It’s refreshing to know you have the same doubts as us non-professional regular folk. That being said I have always LOVED THE FIRST RUG RENDITION. The colors, offset everything (tied in that brick) in the room and I deeply miss the portrait above the fireplace.

  176. Love this post. Long time reader here, and while I love everything you write, posts like these are uniquely helpful. I have a room like yours: it’s large with lots of windows, ceiling beams, and a cool wood fired stove. It should be such a great room, but I don’t even know where to start with space planning, color palette, etc. I’ve currently given up, letting convenience take priority- blah beige couch that hides the boogers I’m constantly telling my 4-year-old not to pick, ugly coffee table covered in “road tape” for optimal hot wheels play, entertainment center from the newlywed chapter in which we lived in a 600 square foot apartment. Getting to hear a little about your process when approaching a room is SO helpful. Thanks for letting us into your brain!

  177. ok, I’m no designer but I love this rug and I think its screaming for a caramel leather sectional sofa as an anchor. I think a large L shaped sectional facing towards the fireplace and the doors to the backyard would be so perfect. Would frame the TV and the fireplace equally, making the fireplace the focal point of the room. Then you could put a pretty table behind the back of the sofa facing the door to the room with lamps/plants, etc. I love the concept of living room and family room as one space since we no longer entertain so formally. A large sleek sectional would be great for family movie watching and big enough to seat everyone when friends come over. You could use one of those smaller chairs as an accent chair in the corner to the right of the fireplace. I was always surprised not to see this as one of the options in the original post you did on different layouts for this room. Either way, love the rug!

  178. I think it’s time to reconsider painting the timber beams the same colour as the walls. I feel they break up the whole space and that’s why everything looks busy.

  179. I like the rug, but the furniture does seem too smalll for the living room. Wondering if painting the room/ceiling might help the rooms scale come down a bit, popping the drapes, etc?

  180. Change up the room:
    1) Try flipping the sofa and chairs. Put the sofa in front of the solid window – and the chairs by the curved windows
    2) Move the sofa so it faces the fireplace. Right now you have a huge walk way through the center of the room. Break it up
    3) The carpet is unique and stunning!

  181. Yes, I want to see your dream living room, because we all have them, and then we have to search for the more realistic versions for our spaces. Yes, it sucks, especially when you want $400 worth of curtains and can’t justify the purchase (even though $400 is the price for them on sale, which makes it so.much.worse), so you live with no curtains, or worse, blah curtains, but you keep on dreaming, and yes, I want to see your dream, okay?

    Also, I rather like the tv room sofa, but I like cooler colors in general, and this plays much cooler on my screen. I do like the other side of the room better overall, but I couldn’t handle a neutral sofa, too. I feel like the sofa side needs the same pop that the chair side has, which is more graphic. The pattern on the sofa side is the same pattern on the chair side (I mean, yes, you’re styling it for the blog, but you know what I mean). It’s like looking down the week and seeing the reverse looking back at you. Does that make sense?

    Speaking of sense, than my 2 cents.

  182. I don’t think my comment posted but I really want to share…o haven’t seen anyone mention the orientation of the furniture! The sofa ACROSS from the fireplace…maybe a long table behind it with lighting? I’m just dying to move the furniture! Otherwise bravo on the rug, it’s gorgeous!

  183. Would a rug with some sage or coral in it (or even yellow) be awful?

  184. I like the lighter couch in there. I would love to see aspirational mood boards for your living room or other places. I think it’s fun to see higher priced items to inspire a look even if it is out of reach.

  185. I vote yes on the dream living room mood board! But honestly my favorite sofa and couch configuration was the dark blue one with the muted rug. I feel like the heavy pattern is too much for this room and while I love the velvet looking aqua sofa, it doesn’t look as unique as the dark blue one.

  186. I can’t stand that coffee table. Let’s get that out of the way. Sorry, Emily! It has never been right for that room, it looks super out of place in there in every conceivable way. Just swapping that out would make a world of difference.

    I agree with some other commenters that what you need in there is a caramel leather sectional with a nice sofa table behind it. I also agree that you have way too many knick-knacks and lamps happening in there, it’s too much little STUFF. The scale in the space is all wrong with everything in there, you should have bigger pieces and less of them.

    About the rug options, I’m really surprised about the ones you linked to at the end. Those are trendy styles that have been happening for like three-four years already and are totally played out, and besides that, don’t seem like your style at all. I actually think a darker rug would look great in there to anchor the space. Charcoal grey, perhaps. With some really fun throw pillows with contrasting colors and patterns. Then really, really edit all the knick knacks and lamps down, add more large pieces that don’t compete with each other.

    Oh, and that room is crying out for greenery!!! My goodness does it need some big plants in there somewhere to breathe some life into the room. Again, bigger is better and less is more.

    1. AMEN and praise the lord to everything you said. Darker rug, bigger stuff and less of it.

  187. So many good, interesting comments! I’ve said this before, but I still think this room lost some its “soul” when you removed the red, vintage rug. I understand that it was busy for you, but it inspired me and helped me to find a rug for my living room, so thank you. However, when I looked at the pictures of your room with the different rugs, I realized that one of the things I liked about your first rug was the way the colors complemented the wood tones and the brick surrounding your fireplace. I love those features about your room and it’s part of the charm. It’s not a modern room and although I like a mix, I think that you need something warm to contrast with the blues and greens, whether it’s in a rug or accessories. My other comment is that I’ve always felt like you need to replace those two Target chairs and find another place for them. I agree you need something chunkier, but the ones you linked look like a great fit for the mountain house.

  188. I literally screamed “YESSS, She’s back!” when I saw the picture on Instagram. Keep it quirky, Keep it unique. A neutral white sofa is MORE OF THE SAME. The minty sofa is completely unexpected and I love the fact that it doesn’t “match” the rug. It results in a more interesting (and more sophisticated) room. I was really surprised when you wrote that the other side of the room worked better (sans minty sofa). I don’t think the old Emily would agree. A traditionally trained interior designer might say that and I’m sure that they would have their reasons. They would be wrong. Please continue to trust your eye and intuitive style.

  189. Love the rug, and love the couch and rug together, and love them in this room!

  190. Hoard it!! You know you’ll use it somewhere later and hoarding is fun. 😉

  191. I LOVE this post and all of the awesome comments! Seeing you experiment with your space is so inspiring and refreshing! I have to echo what others are saying about “quieting” the fireplace side of your room. I’ve been wondering for some time why last year’s XMAS reveal was my favorite “look” for this room (https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/living-room-holiday-reveal?_sft_room-category=living-rooms). After reading these other comments, it hit me. For last year’s holiday decor you parsed down the space A LOT. Less lamp shades, no hand chair, no abstract art on the fireplace, all neutrals in the bookshelves, etc. It allowed the bigger statement pieces like the chaise and couch to really shine. Just my two cents. Good luck!

  192. That is a gorgeous rug.. look great.


  193. May vote is for a cognac colored leather sofa, new streamlined sconces, and less stuff generally. I also see a lot of legs…legs on chairs, legs on tables, legs on magazine racks, legs on lamps. The built in shelves do not align with anything on the fireplace. Can one self be removed and the others adjusted?

  194. Okay, are we SURE the red rug can’t come back? One thing’s for sure, you really need some other color to pop in the room with the blue, ivory and black. And I had loved the red rug that had some blue, because it provided some warmth. I do agree that the chairs look better than using 2sofas. I also agree that using an ivory linen sofa looked better than the lighter blue couch.

    But you designed the first couch in the first place to withstand the, er, love, active young children will give it; it’s such a shame not to use it. Have you considered layering rugs so that the dark blue navy sofa isn’t directly on the vintage rug. Or is that just too passé to even allow the posting of this comment?

    It’s okay; I really have made my peace with not using the red rug. I think.

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