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Reader Question: Objective Advice on Living Room

Oh sure, I LOVE being objective. Just remember, you asked 🙂
This weeks READER QUESTION is more like a few questions, but here we go. (‘Reader’ is in green, i’m in black)

I’m hoping for a little objective advice on my living room… I’m attaching some not-so-great iPhone photos, and hope ya’ll can get an idea of my space + stuff.

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I’m not sure how to describe my style….comfortable modern, a little minimalist? I love mid-century stuff, but more importantly I like a mix, and I’m worried that this room is getting too mid-centuryish.  We use this room a lot-kids practice piano here, we read in here, play board games on the floor.  

QUESTIONS:
Fabric for sofa reupholstery? bluish tealish from the rug? keep in mind out 100+ pound dog and two elementary aged kids and that I hate being careful with things all the time.
First off – you are in VERY good shape, here. You have awesome furniture and I don’t feel sorry for you at all. But choosing a sofa fabric can be scary – especially kid-friendly. I would know, i just did it. I really like the idea of pulling the teal or a dark green out of your rug – its kid friendly and it’ll work with the room and contrast nicely with the teak chairs with the light upholstery. I secretly like that plaid, but I know it’s probably dated in person – that sofa is just so awesome. I recently redid my new sofa in Sunbrella fabric (outdoor) and they had a pretty big range of colors. It’s not as soft as most fabrics, but its crazy durable, has a decent weave that kinda looks like linen and you don’t really have to worry about it. A good polyester velvet or linen that has a lot of polyester in it will hold up nicely, too. But that sofa is a gem. It reminds me of an Adrian Persall or my former sofa  – I can’t say ex-sofa, I just can’t … it was sooo hard to part with it!!! I’m still mourning its loss (but sooo loving my new sofa).

What should I do for pillows?
The shape of this sofa is super beautiful – you could probably get away with just a couple of pillows and a throw and nothing too big or bulky. Maybe this is where you can bring in some other styles that you like to help it not feel too midcentury (your words, not mine, I love how midcentury it is).

pillow-roundup

(Clockwise from top left: Etsy pillow, Target chunky knit throw, West Elm Pillow, Target chevron pillow)

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I’m thinking about redoing the plycraft chair in caramel leather…it’s seems like there is too much fabric in the room now with the non leather sofa. Or I can redo it in any other fabric-so easy and I’ve done a bunch of them so it only takes a couple hours!
Um, what are you? Some sort of upholstery wizard? You can just reupholster a plycraft chair in a couple of hours? Amazing. Move to LA. I’ll board you, and you can just be my personal upholsterer.

I totally agree with you about the leather. I don’t mind all the fabric necessarily but I think the upholstery on the Plycraft should be more classic and caramel or black leather is just so fitting for this chair. This chair is like Kim K – it doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles, It already has a lot going on, so its best when its simple and you just show off those pretty lines.

Should I get rid of one or both of the ottomans and get a coffee table?
I do think you could use a coffee table – I could see one of these in your space:

coffee table roundup

If you don’t want to commit to a whole table I really like those little gold stools from Crate and Barrel (or you could get two). The midcentury oval table (top right) would be totally appropriate and seamless. The raffia wrapped Serena and Lily table is pretty amazing and i’ve wanted it for a few projects (although its $1200 price tag is hard for clients). The bentwood table would ground the seating area nicely and add some heft to all the leggy chairs. And the mid-century inspired Target bench is a super affordable option ($150) that is simple, pretty and would work seamlessly in there as well (and you wouldn’t have to be so precious around it).

I have pretty thick skin, so all critiques welcome, too!
The only thing I will say (and I hate unsolicited criticism although you did email me :)) is that in these shots it seems like you could lose a chair. I LOVE your chairs, but the mid-century chair next to your sofa seems a bit crowded. You could either face both mid-century chairs opposite your sofa or put one in another room and pair the other with the eames chair. Again, I love them all but I wonder if that would still provide a lot of seating and help open up the space. Also maybe try putting the fig tree in the corner (to help draw your eye to the corners which makes your room appear bigger) and then put the money tree where the fig tree is.

I hope I answered all your questions (well, I know I didn’t answer a couple, but I kinda ran out of time so I deleted them. Sorry!)

GOOD LUCK!!!!!

I have approximately 400 of these to answer, but if you want yours to make it to a post be sure to take good big pulled back photos (of different angles), ask very specific questions (not just ‘how can i make it look better?’ but more, ‘what color should I paint my wall and should I burn that ugly chair or recover it?’. And original questions that I haven’t addressed before are better – like since I’ve done ‘how to style a mantel’ video, I probably won’t do another post on that.

But bring ’em on.

To submit your reader questions, email them to brady@emilyhendersondesign.com

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