Article Line Long1

Sara’s House: Her Awkward-Yet-Soon-to-Be “Downton Abbey” TV Room

Welcome to the post all about our future TV room. It’s not much now. BUT ONE DAY SOON it will be a cozy, intimate, moody room where we cuddle to watch TV and take afternoon naps. Because this room is so small, we decided it was a fun place to take a few risks, and trust me when I say we’re getting RISKY. But first, let me walk you through the room’s history…

Sara Moto Listing8

This is what the room looked like when we bought the house, back in October 2018. There was a single bed in one corner, and it felt a little depressing. But those two big windows were pretty awesome and I knew this could be turned into something cool.

Sara Moto Listing9

This room was added as a strange little addition either shortly after the original house was completed or sometime in the ’50s. We’ve gotten differing answers from different people and haven’t really done the research to find out the truth. Regardless, it was done in a baffling way that created a deep, sharp angle in one corner of the already long and narrow space which had be turned into a closet (below).

Sara Moto Before18

When we decided to reconfigure the layout of the house a bit, we had to make a big decision about this area. Technically, it did count as a bedroom. It had storage and two forms of exit (a window and a door). Apparently the bar is pretty low these days. But the only entrance to our master bedroom and bathroom was through the kitchen, which was not only weird but used up a decent amount of kitchen space in an already small and narrow kitchen (can you sense the theme of our house?). So we made a decision that I know not everyone will agree with, but was the right one for us: We closed up the entrance to the master areas from the kitchen, turned that space into a master closet, and opened up an entrance to the master from this small addition room, turning this “room” into a pass-through space. Already the layout feels so much more functional for actual life, resale decisions aside.

House Renovation History

The truth is, having that third bedroom on the listing when we sell the place would definitely make it more attractive on paper. But once you saw the space in person, you would be BUMMED. On the other hand, all the renovations we’re doing (central heating and AC, new hardwood floors, renovated bathrooms, updated electrical and plumbing) will be FAR more attractive than one weird “third” room. That’s our thought process anyways. It also provided a great solution to our TV problem. This house was built in an era when TV was not everyone’s nightly ritual, so the living room really lacks a good piece of real estate for it. We were going back and forth about where to put that huge thing until we realized we could just…put it in another room. Sure, moving the TV into a smaller room means we’re not going to be hosting any huge movie parties anytime soon, but 99% of the time it’s just Mac, me, and the cats. Now we can have our living room laid out for entertaining and hanging out with friends, and our TV room as a cozy space to cuddle and binge Outlander.

Tv Room Timeline

It’s also going to serve as a bit of a library. I’ve always wanted a library, just like in Downton Abbey. A room where, on a rainy day, I can go lounge on a lush couch reading my regency romance novels until I fall asleep to the sound of the pattering rain outside all afternoon (not that there are many rainy days in LA, let alone ones on weekends when I have nothing else to do). This room is going to be my mini Downton Abbey, done Craftsman style. It’s not a big space, but we’re going to shove as much moody old library into it as possible.

The first issue we needed to address was that sharp corner now that it was no longer a closet, and I came up with what I think is a pretty genius solution (if I do say so myself…which I do). We’re going to build a cabinet and bookshelf in that space. The cabinets on the bottom will use the depth of the space so it’s not wasted but keep it all hidden behind cabinet doors, while the shelves on top will give the room that library vibe. It will also serve as a method to flatten that area out without putting all that wasted space behind drywall. I did the first rendering on InstaStories, and I’m proud to say it’s the version I showed Velinda to help her understand my idea:

Bookcase First Design

You can totally understand what I’m explaining and would know exactly how to build this, right? HIRE ME FOR YOUR RENDERINGS. Sadly, this is not what we passed along to the cabinet builder. Velinda took this idea and ran with it, making it her own and bringing in a lot of nice details along the way. As well as adding things like “measurements” to the rendering *eye roll*. But you’ll have to tune into the post she’s writing about it to get the juicy design details. All I can tell you is that it’s going to be amazing, and there may be a hidden whiskey bar in the works (if we can swing it—literally. UGH, you’ll get this joke later if we can pull it off). Then I’m going to fill those shelves with my vintage oil paintings, vintage books, and vintage objects.

It’ll look something like this…

Sara Moto Progress32

The next thing we’re doing to make this old library-inspired space feel cozy and moody is going for a monochrome look. It’s very much a trend right now, but one that I’m fully behind and excited to explore myself. And this room feels like the space to do it. We once wrote a post over here about why you shouldn’t paint your small rooms white, so I’m using that as my hard evidence to go dark and moody in this small area.

Bookcase Inspor Grid
Image sources from left to right: Livingetc Magazine | Design: Emily Henderson, Photo: Tessa Nuestadt | Craftberry Bush | Mia Ahlskog

This means the shelves, molding, cabinet doors, walls, window and door frames, baseboards, and back door will all be painted the same color. EXCITING! We haven’t yet decided if the door between the master bedroom and the TV room will be painted this same color on the TV room side yet, and here’s why. If we DO paint it the same color, it would create a very seamless monochrome look in the TV room when closed. But because the door will swing into the bedroom, when we have it open instead of having a pretty stained wood door swinging inwards toward our bed we would have a dark green rectangle sitting inside our room…but not painting it on the TV room side and instead just staining the door does rather disrupt our monochrome lewk on the TV room side. Happily taking opinions in the comments below.

We also haven’t yet decided on what color to do, but there are some strong contenders (all from Sherwin Williams, because looking at more than one paint deck is emotionally exhausting for me):

1. Foxhall Green | 2. Olympic Range | 3. Rookwood Dark Green | 4. Rookwood Shutter Green | 5. Jasper | 6. Roycroft Bottle Green

Paint caterpillar at the bottom so you can really see how all the greens differ…

Paint is one of those tricky things that you really have to try in a room, and stare at over the changing light of the day to make a decision about. Our walls don’t have plaster on them yet, but I already have all my paint samples. So as soon as those bad boys/walls are plastered up, I’m going to be painting big swatches of each above color and then spending an entire day sitting on the floor of that room just staring. I want something deep, rich, and green but not swampy and not so dark that it appears black. It also has to compliment our couch, which is a slightly teal velvet. It’s going to be a tricky tight rope to balance on, but that’s what makes it fun.

And now, so you’re all on the same page as me and my brain (aka Velinda), here is the current TV room mood board:


Sofa from Article Modern | Rug from Neon Dove (Vintage) | Leather Pouf from Lulu & Georgia | Table Lamp From Target | Roman Shade from Decor View (Custom) | Ceiling Light from Schoolhouse Electric | Side Table from Chairish (Vintage) | Paint from Sherwin-Williams in Rookwood Shutter Green

This isn’t 100% complete because we are trying to source a lot of vintage for this room, and that takes time. But the vibe is there. Right now I have Rookwood Shutter Green as the wall color and I love it, but the computer screen can vary greatly from a real wall. We do have that couch (from Article Modern in Pacific Blue) already sitting in the back of the house awaiting its new home. Will we have TWO velvet couches in our home? Yes. Is this a good idea? YES. I have no evidence that disputes this, and it turns out performance velvet is actually a very pet-friendly fabric. You won’t be able to see both couches at the same time, so we decided that it wouldn’t be an issue (and by “we” I mean me). The vintage rug is from Neon Dove, and was a gut reaction order several months ago when I didn’t even know where it was going to go yet. We’ll be installing custom blackout Roman shades from Decorview in a dark charcoal fabric on both the window and back door (for optimal TV watching ability). And I just made my first ever Chairish purchase by way of that little side table. It’s a vintage French piece, currently painted a gray-blue. But we’re going to paint it black and polish up the hardware to bring in a lot of old-world charm in a cool way. Plus, the drawer will provide remote storage in this no-coffee-table room.

Why no coffee table? Because this room is too narrow for both a couch AND coffee table. We’re opting against a coffee table and instead bringing in our leather pouf for feet resting, and our vintage side table for drink resting. Speaking of TV and narrowness, what is our plan for the TV? This single photo really sums it up:

Design: Shanti Crawford | Photo: Heidi’s Bridge

It’s going to take some behind the wall electrical cord configuring and running, but we want to keep that wall as minimal as possible. Just the TV, wall-mounted, and a small custom-built shelf for a candle and some tchotchkes. We have one of those smart TVs that already has all the Netflix/Hulu options built in without requiring an AppleTV or Roku. But there are three things we’ll have to run to the TV: the power, the internet, and our PlayStation (which is how I play all my Harry Potter DVDs). The hope is to run all those wires behind the wall and either over to the side of couch or into our new cabinet. It’s still a work in process, but we’ll get there.

We’re going to be installing recess lighting on dimmers throughout the back part of the house, just like Em did up at the mountain house. But we’ll also have a ceiling light and fan, sconces on the bookshelf wall, and a table lamp in the corner so there will be lots of options for soft, cozy lighting. And we’ll be getting rid of the door between the dining room and the TV room, so it’s just a clean pass through. You’ll be able to see the living room and dining room from the back of the TV room and vice versa, so it was really important to Velinda and I that all three of these spaces feel like they can relate to one another. Even though this room is going to be dark and moody, the living room is going to pick up its green vibes through the couch and rug. And we’re bringing some dark hits into the dining room to help transition from a bright white space to a moodier one.

Sara Moto Progress40

And that’s where we’re at! There’s going to be a LOT of work going into the room over Christmas break but hopefully, by February of 2020, I’m in this room living my moody romantic Downton Abbey dreams.

Catch up on all of Sara’s Makeover Takeover: Sara Buys A House Part I: Six Tips For First Time Home Buyers | Sara Buys A House Part II: The Renovation | The Designing Begins: A Floor Plan Design Agony | The Designing Continues: Time To Pick Furniture | The Final Design Plan | A Fireplace Design AgonyHow Much It Really Costs To Work With A Designer: The Final Tally Of Sara’s Project 

0 0 votes
Article Rating


Never miss a single post and get a little something extra on Saturdays.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

[…] post Sara’s House: Her Awkward-Yet-Soon-to-Be “Downton Abbey” TV Room appeared first on Emily […]

2 years ago

THAT sofa!!!

2 years ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

This must be my favorite post because I love EVERY SINGLE photo. Your room’s gonna look fantastic I love the direction you’re taking it!

2 years ago

I love the look of those plans! I say paint the door green as well – when it’s open, you’ll see the rest of the room from the bedroom as well, so I don’t think it’s going to look too incongruous.

2 years ago
Reply to  Sam

This exactly.

2 years ago

Paint colors I liked: 6, 2, 4, in that order.

2 years ago
Reply to  Jessvii


2 years ago

Would a pocket door work for your bedroom door? Then you wouldn’t have to see the dark color of the door in the bedroom when it’s open.

2 years ago
Reply to  Wendy

I was thinking this as well, or perhaps engineering the door swing direction?

2 years ago
Reply to  Wendy

Seconding this. Something “barn door-esque” or pocket door would really open up the space and make it a smooth move through.

Alternatively, definitely agree that having the door swing from the bedroom into the tv room is the better alternative. They’re hinges after all! They can be moved!

2 years ago
Reply to  Wendy

Pocket doors are magical, but you need to rebuild the wall to accommodate them. The track has to sit inside the wall, and it ends up a few inches wider than a standard wall construction. Not easily done as a retro-fit. The open door (tucked inside the wall) may also interfere with where the TV wires are intended to go. Similar space-issues for barn doors.

2 years ago
Reply to  Wendy

I was thinking of a pocket door as well! But perhaps the placement of pipes and electrical in the wall makes installing one out of the option?

2 years ago

Very excited for this! LOVE those inspo images and your plans for the built-in cabinetry. I agree with your layout changes, too – sometimes you have to look beyond what looks good for resale ‘on paper’ and do what works best for you and how you live. Can’t wait to see the result!

2 years ago

Yay Sara’s house!!! What a pleasant surprise this morning.

I like the more “muddy” colors for a good Downton Abbey vibe so my vote is either foxhall green or rockwood dark green!

Jenn aka the picky girl
2 years ago

My husband and I just moved and are doing something similar! He’s a gamer, and I didn’t want to constantly battle the “stuff” that comes with that, so we turned our third bedroom into a rec room with his piano as well. Deep Navy walls, TV in a large closet. We have to add bookshelves, but we love the space, and I love that the TV is truly hidden.

Emily W
2 years ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

I don’t know how much you’re gonna touch that space, but I would really, really love to see that!! My partner and I are slowly updating our office and the inspo I could find was all kinda ‘meh,’ to be honest. Our office is the small second bedroom, and our desk and chairs (we just upgraded to an Ikea countertop for our desk, I’m actually really pleased with it) takes up a solid third of the room

2 years ago

Love the new layout–it makes so much more sense! And I like colors #4 and 6, in that order. I would not paint the door. I just don’t think it will make much of a difference and it will be nice for when you eventually want to change the wall color. And you will want to change the wall color eventually–human nature!

2 years ago

1, 3, and 5 will be too warm/jarring against the sofa I think!

2 years ago

This is going to be awesome! Tiny nook rooms are kind of the best.

2 years ago

Gorgeous and a great, practical use of the space. It’s for you NOW, so do what you need! Future buyers will figure it out for themselves, too. I’d add a small furniture piece between the door and the sofa… catch keys, etc for coming and goings through that door, and to give that side of the sofa a drink / popcorn / teacup / whiskey spot!

2 years ago

A pocket or sliding doir would solve your issue and create additional space where a normal door would require swing space. Then you could paint each side whatever color you like! ?

2 years ago

Love the moody look! And making the corner into a bookcase is amazing. A bigger space behind would make a sweet secret door. (Let us know if you need help sourcing the books. That’s our true love.) Enjoyed this post!

2 years ago

Regarding the bedroom door: I’d switch the orientation so it swings into the TV room. That way, you have more bedroom space and you can paint the one side of the door with no problems!

2 years ago

Great ideas! Can’t wait to see the finished room.

2 years ago

I vote to paint the door green. Also, have you considered removing the exterior door? I noticed you already have two doors to outside so do you need a third?

2 years ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

I had the same thought of removing the exterior door. An exterior door into a cozy, library-esque room just doesn’t seem to jive. But you always have to balance practicality with aesthetics, so if you use this door more than the kitchen door, perhaps it doesn’t make sense to remove it.

2 years ago

Loving it so far can’t wait to see Sara!

2 years ago

I love the monochrome look for a tv/library! I hope you will be adding some nice moldings as that is what makes the example rooms really work IMHO.

2 years ago

I would do either a stained wood door that complements both the green paint and whatever you do with your bedroom, or, as someone else mentioned, pocket door!

2 years ago

I love this! I also just ordered a second velvet couch for my home. I am getting a beautiful green sectional from Rejuvenation to replace loveseats that have been over-loved by my dog and are pilling significantly. Velvet rules!

Kate Sawyer
2 years ago

Well, this is hilarious. We took a small, mostly useless 4th bedroom and turned it into our TV room. We had an odd angled wall that was original to our Victorian home and straightened it by turning it into a built-in bookcase. And then I painted the entire room a monochrome dark, dark green color and bought the same sofa you’re considering but in grass green. Its primary use has been binge-watching Downton Abbey, so we basically have the same room.

2 years ago

Very excited for this space! I love the den idea!

2 years ago

Pocket door for sure. As I was reading your explanation of whether to paint the door or not, “pocket door” popped into my head before I even finished the paragraph. If it’s a door that won’t get closed very often anyway, the TV room would feel like part of the master suite without the visual presence of a door, creating more of an open concept between the two rooms. If you want to separate the two rooms or want to feel the moodiness of the TV room alone, simply slide the door closed. I also love your inspiration photo of the TV wall with the floating shelves. Excellent use of space in a small space!

[…] {$excerpt:n} Source: Sara’s House: Her Awkward-Yet-Soon-to-Be “Downton Abbey” TV Room […]

2 years ago

We have SW Jasper in our bedroom…I really love it…it’s almost black in some lights and green in others. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

2 years ago

Paint the ceiling the same as the walls!!!! It’s the best, coziest possible move for a dark color. I cannot recommend it enough.

2 years ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

There’s a gif I would normally post here of Snoop grooving himself backward through a room full of dancing people.

2 years ago

I love this plan! My color choice is Rookwood Shutter Green. And a dark room is so cozy. In my last house, I had a dark bedroom and loved it.

As for going from a 3-bedroom to a 2-bedroom, you made the right choice. The new configuration is so much better. I live in an old house and old neighborhood, and we looked at a lot of houses with funky additions, and they are a turn off. I know multiple families who love old houses and would prefer a nice 2-bedroom over a funky 3-bedroom, so with all your upgrades, I don’t think you’ll affect resale. Plus, I know many people with small kids would love that extra living space.

I can’t wait for the final reveal!

Paige Cassandra Flamm
2 years ago

I love the rendering for this space! I can’t wait to see it all come together!


2 years ago

This layout makes so much more sense – honestly when you have buyers walking through and it’s a nonfunctional bedroom there are negative “bait and switch” type feelings associated with the house.

“It’s *technically* a bedroom” is so aggravating when you’re looking at houses!

Confused about the original layout – there were two bathrooms for a one bedroom house…?

2 years ago

This layout makes a lot of live-able sense, I totally get it.
Seriously how could you not use it on a daily basis as part of your living space, instead of an occasional guest bedroom, with a likely closed door most of the time?
Great call! Excited to see it developing. Thanks!

2 years ago

This was great fun to read. I think about painting our home office, which has a cozy sofa, something dark. But I lack the nerve. (Our whole house is painted Simply White, including doors and trim.) Love pretty much every idea and paint color you posted. Also, that pic of the pensive-looking cat is adorable 😉

2 years ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

Then I REALLY can’t wait to see how all this turns out. Simply White is great in our rooms that have a lot of light, but elsewhere it can be a little cold. Was surprised so many “experts” call it a warm white. But it’s pretty versatile and especially nice with greens

2 years ago

Another bite for a pocket door! It will solve your problem AND give you more space. Hopefully it isn’t too late.

2 years ago

Ooooh, I’m so excited to see how it turns out! I love moody, dark colors and would LOVE a room like this! That is the exact sofa I picked out for our front living room, but hubby vetoed it. 🙁 But we got the same couch in tan leather, so I still like it.

nancy m
2 years ago

my vote: paint the door!

2 years ago

I vote for Rockwood Shutter Green (#4) and painting the door that color as well!

2 years ago

How would you describe that side table? It’s what I’m looking for in a nightstand and knowing the best search terms would be super helpful!

Also, we just painted our bedroom all (baseboards etc included) dark blue and left the doors white because they are almost always open and it works

2 years ago

Are you painting the ceiling? I hope you do.

[…] post Sara’s House: Her Awkward-Yet-Soon-to-Be “Downton Abbey” TV Room appeared first on Emily […]

2 years ago

Not too make this any harder than it already is but please try a sample of
SW really teal 25% darker.
I think you would still get that dark moody color you crave but it may go better with the beautiful sofa.
Looking forward to seeing the reveal on this as I have a house with a teeny tiny bedroom that needs to find it’s personality with a new paint job and function. I am considering making it a large walk in pantry as my kitchen doesn’t have enough storage and I could also store some craft supplies in there.
I hadn’t thought beyond white for it’s new color but now you have me thinking otherwise.

2 years ago

Can’t wait! Yes to all of it! Also this made me LAUGH: You can totally understand what I’m explaining and would know exactly how to build this, right? HIRE ME FOR YOUR RENDERINGS.

2 years ago

If the door is wood and kind of caramelly in colour so it picks up the tones in the pouf and the art and the rug – then I say leave it (or find a cool old wood door to use). But my first thought when you mentioned library was to use/make one of those cool pseudo hidden bookshelf doors. I think Home Depot even sells them.

2 years ago

Don’t paint the door! It’s going to look incongruous in your bedroom. A stained wood door reads as it’s own thing; it doesn’t “belong” to either room. And will you be closing that door when you’re in the TV room anyway?
I also vote for a small drinks table on the other side of the sofa.

Nancy in WA
2 years ago
Reply to  designpo

I agree that a rich natural-wood door, especially an antique one, would be perfect in both rooms and add to the old-world feel you’re going for. That will give you the opportunity to do some more fun shopping around!

2 years ago

Vote for staining the door. I think it could look weird in the bedroom painted green and I bet you’ll have it open more than closed. Love the cozy monochromatic look you are going for!

[…] Welcome to the post all about our future TV room. It’s not much now. BUT ONE DAY SOON it will be a cozy, intimate, moody room where we cuddle to watch TV and take afternoon naps. Because this room is so small, we decided it was a fun place to take a few risks, and… Read More … The post Sara’s House: Her Awkward-Yet-Soon-to-Be “Downton Abbey” TV Room appeared first on Emily Henderson. Read More […]

2 years ago

Your color choice was my first choice too! And that sofa, oh my, that sofa. Tres jealous! Love the built-in cabinet idea too. This whole little room just rocks. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

2 years ago

Absolutely love it, and I think your plans will help resale, not hurt it. As for the door color… if it would be stained a medium to dark color I don’t think it will matter between painted and stained. Maybe think abt which would bug you more – one stained door in an all green room or one green door in a non-green bedroom. Either will be a fine option. I’m guessing you are going to build a bookcase that swings out and maintains the closet space behind it? I hope so because otherwise you’d have to get on hands and knees and crawl through the cabinet doors to access the space behind! I LOVE watching this process.

2 years ago

Love this. I vote for a stained door–it will look like it belongs to both rooms, without trying too hard.
I painted my bedroom a deep gray (BM Deep Space) because I work night shift, and wanted a cave. I LOVE it. I did paint the trim white–pretty happy with that decision as well. One thing to think about–my painter suggested painting all the “wall acne”, i.e. light switch, outlets, cold air return (everything but the smoke detector, which is clearly labeled “do not paint”) the same color as the walls, which really helps unify the small space. Recommend it, especially if you are going for a total monochrome feel.

2 years ago

Please tell me there will be a secret compartment , (since you don’t have space for a secret room). I saw a false bookshelf in a historic house museum in Salisbury Cathedral Close. It actually hid a bar, but I’ve seen then as hidden doors. You NEED this for Downton Abbey vibe.

Go To Top