We decided to shake things up with our Design Agony series after the huge success of “Design Mistake: Too Much Furniture” post the other week. One of our readers, Jessica, had an idea for us to simply post one person’s home and explain their design dilemma plus the wants/needs for the space. Then throw it to you all to start brainstorming all the possible ideas to help elevate their space. Thanks Jessica!
Well. Today is the day people, so put on your designer cap and let us know how you’d like to see the space transform. You may not know this but we took a lot of your suggestions from all of the Mountain House: I Design, You Decide posts. Seriously, that house would not be the home (that Emily and her family are indefinitely staying at while I take over her LA home/life….I am the new influencer. Jk) without all of you. The more the merrier when it comes to creativity so bring on the comments and let’s help Kimberly and her family figure out their new living room. Here we go!
Kimberly’s “Need to Make a Living/Playroom ASAP” Agony
Kimberly’s email was at the top of our email@example.com inbox (wink, wink: that’s where to email us if you’d like help with a space in your own home). I think the email gods were on my side that day, even though I went through 20+ other submissions, as she was the first one in our inbox. The designer/problem solver in me really wanted to help her out first. She deals with not only the classic “long and narrow” living room but it also doubles as being the main entrance to their urban-dwelling (a fancy way of saying apartment). Their front door is the one closer to the bay window so it’s important to keep an entry moment like they have with the console and mirror above. The space is also a pass-through to the dining area AND needs to function as a playroom. They are currently on the hunt for some stylish toy storage solutions to mix into the space. Her daughter is only a year old right now and she already knows that with time the need for storage/space to play is only going to grow.
The main focal point in the room is the fireplace but the fact that it is so close to the bay window makes for an awkward furniture layout situation. I think Kimberly is onto something though by placing a pair of chairs by the large window but there’s another configuration for the space that could help to create those multifunctional zones and a better flow into the dining area. Adding more seating into the space is the second priority on her list and she is open to replacing some pieces to achieve this.
As you can see there isn’t a TV in the room so this opens things up a bit to help redefine the area where the sofa is currently. As of now, the sofa feels like it’s floating over on its own and instead this could be the area that is designated for a play space for her daughter. Kimberly said, “I can see having to add even more toys in the future like a table/chair set and/or a play kitchen”.
For the overall feel of the space there are 3 different storage pieces along the wall with the doors that if they were moved more evenly around the room it would help to make the space feel balanced. It’s just a lot of warm wood on one side and mainly cool tones from the sofa fabric and fireplace stone on the other.
KIMBERLY’S CURRENT SETUP
Let’s start with what we are recommending to repurpose to another room or start over on. First, both rugs feel small for the zones that they occupy. Then the entry console with baskets and the wood cabinet, I know I know, why would I suggest getting rid of any storage? Just wait for it. The heights and depths of these pieces are so similar that it makes this large space feel smaller by having one cabinet and door after the other.
Now for the fun part, let’s look at the room recommendations!
By moving the sofa in front of the window it will help to open up the room and combine the two seating areas so you’re not yelling across the space to your guests. Adding another either similar scale or two matching accent chairs across will allow an inside voice conversation area and an additional seat. Top it off with an airy & round coffee table, maybe with a shelf for some additional storage. That entry moment was important but it was also on the opposite side of the door swing, so let’s flip it to the other side. Instead of another “boxy” furniture piece, swap it for a demilune with two drawers & a basket on the shelf to bring back some storage. Then to create some varying height let’s throw a bench with, yup you guessed it, storage. Plus it makes for a great place to put on shoes and extend that ‘entry’ moment. Moving the tall glass cabinet into the opposite corner allows more visual weight to disappear from the bay window area.
And finally onto that important play area/storage. Start with an oval rug instead of another rectangle will allow your eye to see it as another zone but one that doesn’t compete in size. The chair and ottoman now live in the corner and to save some space Kimberly could add a plug-in sconce or a floor lamp with an attached side table. Add a big and low piece of toy storage under the window area will not only create ample storage but a hard surface to play. Finally, finish it off with a large lidded basket that can be filled with toys and easy for her daughter to help put away when she reaches that age.
What other main things do you think Kimberly should focus on? Is there a piece of furniture that you just feel isn’t working or serving her functional needs? I think there is so much potential for this architectural beauty so let’s all have a chat about it in the comments below. Talk to you all soon! xx