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A Textured Traditional Mid Century Living Room + Shop The Look


Hey everyone, it’s Ginny here with another e-design. This time we’re tackling a living room space where the husband and wife team had very different design styles from each other. As most of you know we love mixing styles here at EHD so this was a fun one for us to tackle. Here is what our client Shauna had to say when she emailed in:

“I prefer mid-century. My husband is more of a traditional kind of guy. I also like a beach house vibe. The outside of our house is a traditional/transitional brick two story built in 1993.”

They wanted the room cozy, warm, cheerful, pulled-together, welcoming, young, and current. Maybe even a little artsy as well as being hip and functional. Quite a list but we were excited to tackle the project for them to turn the space into a place that they could use and enjoy. They have 3 kids and this is the room they use the most to hang out in, watch TV, play games and eat snacks.

While they weren’t planning to paint the walls for a couple of years, they were totally open to any color story for the room and did welcome a paint suggestion for the walls for when the time comes down the road.

They also let us know that the definite no, no’s for this room consisted of “Anything that makes it feel like a grandma lives here. I would prefer to not have the TV above the fireplace. Faux distressed furniture. Sofas with rolled arms; overstuffed furniture.”

Emily Henderson_EDesign_Shauna Haymond_Living Room_MidCentury_Design Plan_2
Sources: 1 | 2 | 34 | 5

With all that info in mind, we called upon our e-design gal Ali to fuse together a design for this cozy traditional mid-century family room.  As always Ali started off by pulling together some inspiration. We always like to send our e-design clients this first so that we can all get on the same page about the design and they can give us their feedback with their likes and dislikes of each space. This also helps the clients really think about what it is exactly that they want to see from the room.

For example with this inspiration, Shauna and her husband really resonated with the top left image “mid-century paired with traditional” I like the colorful tufted ottoman and accessories and the mix of a leather chair with a fabric sofa. But commented saying that they didn’t love the idea of the leggy lamps in the middle of the room as they knew they would eventually be knocked over by the kids. It’s small details like this that really help us to deliver a design that is most suited to out clients.


Blue Rug | Sectional | Leather Chairs (no longer available) | Credenza | Coffee Table | Arc Floor Lamp | Brass Floor Lamp | Large Art | Surfer Art | Woven Basket | Marble and Gold Side Table | Greylock pillow | Blue Colorblock Pillow | Blooms pillowBeige and Navy Pillow | Color Block Pillow |  Linen Curtains | Curtain Rod

We gave Shauna two different design options and both worked off the midcentury vs traditional vs beach vibe that she had originally mentioned that she wanted. In both options we started with a neutral palette then added color and life through art and pillows.

For the general layout we suggested a sectional as that would be the best fit for the room, both functionally as well as maximizing the space and seating.  We proposed 2 darker fabric options so that they could stand up to the ware and tear that her kids might put them through.

The first option plays into more of a grey, blue and oatmeal route that is offset with pops of teal and soft coral. The rug is simple in pattern, yet brings in a solid color that we elevated with other accessories around the room. We went with a simple round coffee table which helps to soften the angles of the sofa and fits nicely into the space. We also added two leather tufted wingback chairs that play into the traditional vibe without being overly stuffy and formal.  These help to bring warmth into the space along with the wood from the credenza. To bring in some color we proposed two pieces of art: one for above the sectional and one above the fireplace. Both of these are happy and playful which work great in a family room, they also help solidify the color story and fill the walls nicely. The pillow choice works particularly well with the art and pulls the teal, coral and blues throughout the space but also balances out a the neutral oatmeal. We also kept with a more neutral oatmeal color for the curtains, that way they don’t compete with the rug and other colors in the room.



Rug | Sectional | Leather Chairs | Credenza | Coffee Table | Wood Floor Lamp | Brass Arc Floor Lamp | Large Art | Surfer Art | Woven Basket | Side Table | Table Lamp | Greylock pillow | Blue azure pillow (no longer available) | Handwoven Mayan Throw Pillow | Color Block Pillow | Floral pillowLinen Curtains | Curtain Rod | Planter

The second option highlights a different color story of blue, cream, black, and mustard.  The rug is neutral in tone but playful in pattern and brings in warmth with it’s thicker pile. Again we opted for wingback chairs and a wood credenza both of which could work well with the first concept and vice versa.  The coffee table brings in a beach vibe through its lighter toned wood, yet it is grounded by the black base. Again, the art is proposed for the same areas as option one, and allows for us to make the palette feel cohesive, yet doesn’t compete with the rug or other items in the room.

We mixed up the lighting in this design by using wood tones, black metal, and blue/grey glass.  This helps to give it a more eclectic vibe but still feels part of the same room.  The pillows really make the concept pop by the use of strong mustard tones mixed with the navy blue and oatmeal color scheme. We added a small scale floral pattern as well which feels modern, adds a fun pattern without making the space feel too country/granny, which she definitely wanted to steer clear of 🙂 Lastly, we added a simple stripe for the drapery that almost blends into the background and becomes a solid color but allows some interest without competing with everything else.

Emily Henderson_EDesign_Shauna Haymond_Living Room_MidCentury_Design Plan_6


With both options Shauna has the potential to mix and match some of the products i.e. put leather chairs from option 1 into option 2 and vice versa. Although they weren’t looking to paint right now, we suggested a couple of paint colors since with our proposals to help make the room feel fresh and highlight the moulding and the fireplace in the best possible way.

Shauna emailed back saying she was having a hard time deciding which one they liked best since there were things they loved about both options and then last week we got an email with her final decision:

Just letting you know we decided (finally!) on design option 2.  It was such a hard choice because we could see ourselves living in both!  You should see all the texts going back and forth changing our minds.  Ultimately we decided to go with option 2 because I think it fits the style of our home better and so I won’t be constantly worried about the kids and hubby putting their feet on the furniture.  But, we’re finally done with our summer holiday travels and have ordered our furniture and accessories.  Yay!

We love hearing a review like that and could not be more thrilled that she is happy with the final option. Which one is your favorite design for her room, or which one would you pick for your own? Does anyone else butt heads and disagree with their partners on designs styles? Let us know below and we might just tackle it for you here on the blog.

In the meantime if you are craving more Design Agony and E-Design posts? Check these out: Updating Basic Bedroom Furniture with New Bedding,  Should We Paint Wood Panelling?, How To Layout A Narrow Living Room, Kitchen Nook Refresh, Cures For A Maple Orange Kitchen, Master Bedroom Refresh Plan, A Rustic Mid-Century Family Room, Neutral (Well Mostly) California Nursery.

Fin Mark


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I love both, but I lean towards option 1 because it feels brighter overall. Still, I loved what they picked. I always find myself hoping to see follow-up posts once these e-clients order and install everything! I’m always curious to see how it really turned out in the space!


Emily! Do you have a good online source for bamboo shades?


Hey! Check out this post – it has a number of bamboo shades toward the bottom under the “woven” section 🙂


Help! We moved into our new house last November, and we’ve been working on furnishing it, but we’re kind of stuck on our living room! We’re going for a traditional/somewhat farmhouse look, and I have some of the big pieces in place (couches, rug, built in bookcases, and a tile picked out for the fireplace), but the finishing touches are killing me! A lot of what we have from our previous house doesn’t really work (it was a more contemporary house, and significantly smaller). I’d say my husband and I butt heads on things, but honestly, neither one of us knows how to really finish off the space (although we can’t agree on a new coffee table to save our souls). Please please please pick me for an e-design!


😉 I think all of the edesigns we see are paying clients ( lol so Emily could “pick you” if you paid for it 🙂


#fail. I got too excited on that one. Maybe she’ll take pity on me? 🙂


Haha one can only hope right? 🙂


How do you suggest that they hang the curtains for the rounded windows?

Susie Q

I prefer option #2 because there’s more contrast–I like the darker sofa, light rug, and mustard accents. But I think I prefer the coffee table and art from #1. Is Shauna going to pull up the carpet in this room though? Having a hardwood floor would make a big difference. The idea of putting a shaggy beige rug on beige carpet is kind of…hmm.


I would love to see how it looks once everything is installed as well! Both options are lovely, although I personally would lean towards the first (probably because I have that exact rug in my foyer).

And maybe its just me, but since I live in a very similar house (brick, built in the mid 90s, mostly traditional to transitional) I would love love love to see more before and afters in houses like this. I feel (and maybe I just haven’t looked very hard) that I don’t see very many houses of this type in the design blogosphere. Maybe because they feel a little boring? They typically don’t have many interesting architectural details and most of the finishes are pretty builder basic unless they’ve been upgraded by a previous owner. I just feel like I struggle trying to find examples of houses that look like mine being updated. And I know you’re supposed to work with the style of your home when you are decorating it…but I have a hard time with a house that has such little personality!

Rachel J.

COULD. NOT. AGREE. MORE. (Can you tell I live in the same type of house and also constantly struggle to find inspiration?! 🙂 )


Feel your pain too! Only, I live in a “mid-century” oise but the only thing MC about it is that it was build in ’64. and it boasts 7.5 foot ceilings, tons of louvered doors, a blue tub and green toilet. Besides that….NO PIZAZZ unless we invent it. (Now that I type this…. we got all the bad MC traits, none of the good!) Currently (past 7 years) switching out the trim. It’s a long long labor of love and even when we do things. It’s still kinda dull. No nooks and crannies and cute character traits. Sad.


I agree! I would love to see more like this!


I like bits and pieces from both. I would lean more towards the second one but swap out the art and couple other smaller things from option 1. It’s nice to see both designs and be able to pick and choose a little bit to customize it even more to your exact style etc.


It’s super interesting that she commented that she doesn’t want the TV above the fireplace. Typically I actually really dislike this look too, but I’m struggling with placement of our TV after several placement changes over the years trying to AVOID the fireplace. But this week we cleared out the whole room to get our hardwoods refinished, and I’m considering biting the bullet and trying it out. Emily & friends — what are your thoughts about TVs over the fireplace? Tacky? Necessary at times? (I just hate that people (what people?! Idk) would think it’s the heart of our home. It is NOT.)


I think it’s a personal preference, but I recently talked my mom out of putting her TV above the fireplace. My reasons were that it’s a huge shiny black rectangle that is at your eye line when standing and it’s also very high for TV viewing.

Try taping a black bath towel or something similar to your TV size above your mantel. Walk around your room. Do you like it? Then, position yourself how you normally watch TV. We fully recline on the sofa and prefer TV viewing that’s more parallel to our eye line vs looking up. After doing that, she decided to keep her TV on a low media console.

Susie Q.

I hate the trend too, but yeah, my tv is over the fireplace in my LR. It isn’t mounted to the wall, but just sits on the mantel. My apt is in a house that was built in the 1880’s, so I know there is brick behind the wall. I didn’t want to drill into brick and install anchors, etc–I don’t think my landlord would really appreciate it either. In this room, over the fireplace is just the most practical and logical place. It’s a temporary solution.


We have opted to leave the TV out of the living room since I wanted that area to be more of a quiet “curl by the fireplace with a book” or “talk with family/friends” kind of place, so we’ve got artwork over the fireplace instead. But for those that don’t have another space for their TVs, there sometimes is no better option. I personally think electronics get a bad rap for being “ugly”. I actually think they can look very sleek and beautiful. Sure, a TV isn’t as nice as art (though that’s taste-specific too), but I would never go into someone’s house and think it’s an eyesore–unless it’s not size appropriate for the fireplace, has wires hanging out all over, etc. And I doubt your friends would think it’s the “heart of your home”. My only objection is that they usually need to be mounted well above eye-level. There are mounts that can swing out and downward over the mantle so that the viewing angle is better. I would probably get something like if that’s a concern for you.


What wonderful inspiration for my own home. Will you share your fabric and color choice for the sectional in both designs?


Hi there! I notice you don’t source any of your inspiration photos… Is that something you could add? I’d love to know where you’re grabbing these beautiful images and I suspect the individuals behind each photo are due the copyright credit as well. Thanks so much! Can’t wait to see where this room ends up!

Cris S.

Sandy – the numbers beneath the inspiration photos link to the sources.

Cris S.

Whoops! That should have been Charlotte –


Wow, that is a tough choice! I think #1 edges out slightly over #2 for me personally, but seriously could live with either of those options myself. Great job!


I LOVE these posts, since I’m amazed to see how you can impact a room you haven’t even been in, and love to see the thought process… but would love even more if the clients share pictures of their results!


I know three people who live in some variation of that house. Switching out the yellow paint will make a huge and immediate difference. It will be a huge pain because you’ll probably need to rent or borrow scaffolding to tackle those high walls, but you won’t regret it.

Love both of them too!


Link to Option 2 curtains appears to link to Option 1 curtains.

You did a wonderful project. You created a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere. This traditional style of the mid century living room looks lovely. I like that very much!

Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures!

I really like this type of traditional design. This mid century living room is one of the best collection I have ever seen.

Chaya Jain

It’s really a nice and helpful piece of information.


I’m confused why she is worried about children and husband putting feet on the white coffee table in Option #1, but isnt worried about the white rug in Option #2? We keep all our rugs dark toned in our house, due to kids and dogs. I much prefer the leather chairs in Option #1 as well. But both designs are great.

I am also confused why they are spending so much money on all new furnishings and accessories without putting up fresh paint and new flooring first??? to me, having those basics in good shape are the #1 first step to a truly nice looking space, no matter how cute your furniture and accessories are. Funny I see that yellowy-beige pain in pretty much every house from the 90s. I can remember when it was so popular.


I’m confused why she is worried about children and husband putting feet on the white coffee table in Option #1, but isnt worried about the white rug in Option #2? We keep all our rugs dark toned in our house, due to kids and dogs. I much prefer the leather chairs in Option #1 as well. But both designs are great.

I am also confused why they are spending so much money on all new furnishings and accessories without putting up fresh paint and new flooring first??? to me, having those basics in good shape are the #1 first step to a truly nice looking space, no matter how cute your furniture and accessories are. Funny I see that yellowy-beige pain in pretty much every house from the 90s. I can remember when it was so popular.

Kelly J

Great design Ali! Love option 1. Thanks for sharing.

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