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Any design suggestions?

Jenny Varcasio
last month

Hi there! We have brand new nice leather couches and I’m in need of ideas to update the decor to match. Since the couches are much darker than what we had before, I feel like I need to be more bold with everything else to match. I plan to get a coffee table that has a white marble top and a black frame, but after that I’m not sure what else would look good. It’s a smaller room so everything I do needs to be intentional.

Maybe larger dark toned artwork above both couches? Should I do an accent wall? Throw pillow suggestions? I’ll take any advice. TIA!

PS - the dogs wouldn’t leave so they got included in the decor. Also this was early morning so the natural light wasn’t great.

Comments (51)

  • deegw
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Lamps! People-level lighting is much cozier and the shapes add interest to a room.

    I would look at kilim patterns for pillows for your sofas. Do I see gray walls? I would try to incorporate a little bit of the wall color in your pillows to help tie everything together.

    I agree about moving the sofas, you want them partially on the rug, it also helps to tie all the decor together.

    Your dogs are cute!



  • Lyn Nielson
    last month

    a solid top table will only fill the space, I would choose a glass top.

    you have a lot of little things on the mantle, choose a couple, negative space is a good thing. the plants up off the floor. Maybe the dogs could pose on the hearth, for an art installation

    I would choose one large format canvas for the wall, no mirror. floor lamps, rather than little end tables... would be nice to see the other side of the room. the rug is great! work with the colors in it.


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  • HU-910663146
    last month

    I would pass on the black and white coffee table. Sounds too stark. I would paint the white brick of the fireplace before I tried to tie the white in with a coffee table.


    I would replace the rug with a rug that can compete with the darkness and heaviness of the couches.





  • PRO
    lisedv
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I would opt for earth tones mixing in some black and grey something like this...

    A white top coffee table won't work with your dark sofas, I show a black wood one. Flank your fireplace with black bookcases with doors. For your small window, there may not be space to hang side curtains but a natural fibre roman shade would coordinate well with your new decor. I would replace the rug with a vintage look area rug in the beige-black-tan tones. You'll need side tables and lighting, I show a black floor task lamp and a table lamp on end table.



  • HU-910663146
    last month

    Everyone loves your pups!

  • PRO
    BeverlyFLADeziner
    last month

    Can we see the rest of the room?

  • Jenny Varcasio
    Original Author
    last month

    Beverly - I’ve been at work all day but will try to get a photo tonight of the other side. Like I said in the initial post, the room is pretty small. I was essentially standing against the 4th wall to take the first picture (the pic with both dogs in it).

    Thanks everyone for the dog love! I love them too!! ❤️

    I also really appreciate everyone’s perspectives. I always come back to Houzz when I need good design advice.

  • Jenny Varcasio
    Original Author
    last month

    **correction - I was standing against the wall when I took the pic with just my white pup (Reilly)

  • lawsonch19
    last month

    Please pull the couches out from the wall. Maybe reconsider coffee table with white top. Clear one might be better as room is so small. Best of luck with your room.

  • Jenny Varcasio
    Original Author
    last month

    As requested, here’s the rest of the room

  • Jenny Varcasio
    Original Author
    last month

    Looking the other direction

  • grapefruit1_ar
    last month

    I really like your new couches! Two things jump out at me, the white fireplace and the white frames on the art, The white is so stark with the brown sofas. I would get a more colorful rug, replace the mirror with colorful art, and switch out the other art ….more colorful and darker frames. Have you thought about changing the fireplace color? Is it painted currently?

  • Jenny Varcasio
    Original Author
    last month

    Grapefruit1 - I agree about the artwork and frames. Yes, the fireplace is painted. What color would you suggest?

  • la_la Girl
    last month

    I feel like leather shines with highly textured pillows so I would go with some creamy (to lighten things up a bit) and shaggy pillows ( maybe mohair) or pillows with some nubby interesting detail


  • Jenny Varcasio
    Original Author
    last month

    Hi again everyone! I followed the advice from a few posts (the things I could do easily). I moved the smaller couch in closer and cleared off the mantle a bit. With it closer, I have wasted space behind it. I’m attaching pictures from each direction and a view of the wasted space. Notes-I plan to add a freestanding lamp to the right of the relocated couch, I will update to large artwork above both couches, and the leather ottoman is just there until I get a coffee table - too much leather in there and it doesn’t match.

    So my new questions are 1) what to do behind that loveseat, 2) if I paint the fireplace as some suggested, what color, 3) any other design ideas?

  • deegw
    last month

    It looks good! The dog is so funny - MOM! What is going on here?

    You don't have to do anything behind the loveseat, besides putting some art on the walls. I would scooch it over a little closer to the fireplace so you have a more comfortable walkway between the sofa and the loveseat.

    Your fireplace is a little stark but it's not terrible. What is the brick like underneath? Perhaps you can sand off a bit of the white and expose some of the brick to tone it down a bit.

  • ptreckel
    last month

    Is your loveseat a recliner? Then you need that space behind it.

  • Jenny Varcasio
    Original Author
    last month

    Ptreckel - it is but the recliners push out toward the front even when fully extended so it could even be against a wall if I wanted. They’re electric and amazing! 95% of the reason we wanted these couches. Recliners that look like normal couches when not in use.

  • Jenny Varcasio
    Original Author
    last month

    Deegw- the brick is really unattractive underneath. I’m the one that painted it when we moved in (at the time we had lighter furniture and different flooring). Here’s the before & after pic.

  • typeandrun
    last month

    Not sure if this would work but what if you put the couch in front of your window and move tv to where you have the round mirror? Remove mirror and have tv straighr on wall not diagonal Would there be enough room to add another chair? Maybe a swivel?

  • PRO
    lisedv
    last month

    Jenny Varcasio: I'm coming up with new ideas now that I see the entire room but in the meantime here's what you can do with what you call wasted space behind your loveseat which is really not wasted at all when used properly...

    Place a sofa table with a few decor items at one end and a table lamp at the other end with large canvas on the wall above.

    Referring to the suggesion by someone to paint the fireplace, black would coordinate very nicely with your new furniture. Something to think about...



  • JP L
    last month

    I'm not the layout expert, but I can't get over the urge to switch the loveseat and the tv cabinet positions (i.e. move the tv cabinet to the other side of the fireplace and position the loveseat on the window wall). I also think the tv cabinet is undersized compared to the space - built-in's flanking the fireplace would be ideal. A console along the wall where the mirror is currently (perhaps with the tv mounted on the wall directly above) could work nicely.

  • PRO
    lisedv
    last month

    Revised ideas:

    - Painted black fireplace

    - Cabinets instead of tall bookcases

    - Console table behind loveseat with lamp, decor and canvas above

    - TV on one console, floating shelf above the other console

    - Your charcoal existing chair and ottoman integrated in the decor

    - Lighter wood



  • bcafe
    last month

    There are times when couches and loveseats should be away from walls, but this setup disrupts the flow from the front door. Your fireplace looks great and I really like the beefier mantel!

  • Jenny Varcasio
    Original Author
    last month

    Wow. Thanks so much for putting so much thought into this everyone! I’m pretty sure I’m going to paint the fireplace black as suggested, possibly swap the loveseat to the other side, add large darker toned artwork, add a freestanding lamp, and…probably so much more! I’ll definitely post a follow up. The cabinets might have to wait due to budget but I really like the idea.

    The pups appreciate you helping me too!🐕🐕

  • PRO
    BeverlyFLADeziner
    last month

    I can't be the only person who thinks the room would look and function better if the furniture were arranged this way



    Select an over the ottoman table for holding drinks and snacks.



  • PRO
    lisedv
    last month

    Just realized the location of your front door so yes, a good idea to switch the loveseat to the opposite wall and have your lounge chair and ottoman on the left side of the fireplace - something like this.


    Also, take a look at Ikea's Besta Series cabinets as shown, they're not too expensive.


  • tozmo1
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Like the idea of rearranging the furniture but what happens to the cat tree? Maybe you can get a drop down shade for that front window and place it there so the cat (who apparently is camera shy) thinks they've gone on vacation with the new view. You may live where it's just fine to have a front window uncovered so no new shade needed, just give kitty a view.

    For me, painting the fireplace black is tricky. You have to find the right black so it's not super stark and works with the new sofas. I'd let the current color stay and consider developing an overall color plan i.e. sofa, rug, walls, fireplace, fireplace insert, drapes. Don't poke at things. In my experience that just results in frustration.

  • Maureen
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I’d hold off purchasing a coffee table (don’t suggest marble) until you try love seat on opposite wall and TV in either location per Beverley's suggestions. Your room will function better and feel more balanced.

    The shape/size/style of the coffee table should be considered, ie: maybe nesting tables would be a good option and aim for a more casual style.


    Consider the walls and fireplace (mantle and above - try your mirror) to help pull the room together rather than lots of little things, less is more. There is lots of on line help and oftentimes, it will take hits/misses and having to return items and look for art and cushions that complement your rug.






  • PRN
    last month

    I can't tell if Patricia's new arrangement would work unless we see a picture of the corner where the Ikea chair and the sofa meet. Patricia has placed a round table there. I am wondering if this really is a usable corner or is there a passageway there to the rest of the house. It seems unlikely to me that the room only has one point of entry. If there is a passageway there then this could be a pinch point if the loveseat was moved to opposite wall. Jenny, would you please clarify this for us?

  • gailmmatt
    last month
    last modified: last month

    No comment on your room, but I think I have your dog's twin! This is Coco.


  • Jenny Varcasio
    Original Author
    last month

    @PRN you are correct. That corner is an opening to our galley kitchen. I still think swapping the loveseat position makes sense though.

    @Lisedv I love those ikea cabinets. I’ll check them out. Thanks again for the design work!

    @Tozmo1 - we have 2 cats that use the cat tree to supervise the rest of us in the evenings : ) I may replace it with a newer one or possibly add the window shelf as suggested. A cat tree is certainly not a key design piece but I always have to incorporate it to keep my fur babies happy.

    @Maureen - your post was super helpful. I was just walking through target this morning to try and get ideas for decor, throw pillows, artwork, and even the coffee table. I was at a loss on what to do to make it all sync. Thankfully I’m great at trial and error and have no problem returning things.

    @gailmmatt - wow. Coco and Lucy (my pup) could definitely be twins!

    I hope I addressed everyone’s comments. Feel free to continue with suggestions on anything! Btw-I did buy some black paint today so the fireplace might be very different after this weekend.

    Also-comments seem split on the rug. I love it but can easily relocate it and get a bolder one for this room if you all think that’s a good idea.

  • Jenny Varcasio
    Original Author
    last month

    Since this has become a team project 😀, here’s a update with the loveseat and tv swapped. I’m also including a view from our kitchen looking into the room. Opinions? Note-the rug will need to be moved but these couches are HEAVY so I’m waiting till I’m sure I like it like this. Opinions? Is it too weird coming from the kitchen?

  • salonva
    last month

    Just joining in here. You are so receptive to all the advice and feedback.

    I happen to like your rug and think with a few touches ( lsomething like the pillow deeg upthread suggested,) the rug works.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I like the sofas. the mantle arrangement, not so much. looks cluttered. aim for something tall, and then put a few (just a few) things around it.

    I got carried away w/the picture examples! couldn't help it. i see so much potential in your room w/your new sofas.

    This is one of my fave arrangements


    you have that round mirror. try placing it on the mantle w/just a few items and a plant


    a mirror isn't mandatory. you could do a larger piece of art.


    you see how both of these have different heights? yours was straight across and rather cluttered.


    have you considered painting the walls oneither side of the brick a dark color? black, navy blue, forest green, ??






    or maybe the chairs placed like this


    While I don't normally prefer tv's over the fireplace, yours is small enough. (and I really dislike corner placed consoles and tvs


    Try it right on the mantle, move the black chair over where the tv is now, and consider painting that wall. Or do a larger console placed like a book shelf to the right of the tv.

    something like this idea. (ignore windows)


    just a quick photoshop (which looks weird because this shot is at an angle), ignore this style, just look at the bookcase or shelving idea on either side.


    you could get unfinished base cabs, trim them out so they look built in (this is an easy DIY w/a ton of tutorials online) paint or stain, and add a few open shelves above.

    even Ikea has a hack w/their bookcases on how to do this. love these black sconces on top. do a black mirror, and get some blk/white pillows/throws for the leather sofa


    In fact, doing the brick in black, new blind, tall tree in corner, some other accessories, (and the built in on either side) and this room would be killer!


    see how the right pillows/throw pop w/the leather? maybe try a rug like this, and get a slab wood coffee table w/hair pin legs. (also something you can make for a lot cheaper)


    example black brick, large art, and some white built-ins on either side.


    super simple to make these.


    try doing this on the windw




    or, do a couple of benches. BTW, I think a woven wood blind would look way better on your window w/your new leather


    If you give me a picture straight on (showing the fireiplace in the middle and both sides of the wall, I could photoshop something

    just found this pic. look how nice that wood slat w/the dark wall is (and the black brick). paint the whole wall dark, add in the 1x1 stained wood slats (super easy to do) install a sconce, bring in a little bench or cabinet.




    digging this black on black too. with your leather sofas??? so pretty (I'd keep the wood mantle though


  • flopsycat1
    last month

    Love the dogs, but where’s the cat? I see a cat tree by the window.

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    last month
    last modified: last month

    IMO, simply moving that loveseat to the window side made it so much better!

  • Maureen
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Much better! With rug on the small size, loveseat should have its front feet on rug, but looks awkward from the side and suggest a console/lamp behind and try moving rug slightly closer. Once coffee table is added, room will feel better balanced as well.


    Have you tried the tv in the corner and chair on its other side? All that’s left is accessorizing.

  • PRO
    lisedv
    last month

    Yes to moving the sofa forward so the front feet sit on the rug and a sofa table behind as suggested previously...

  • Jenny Varcasio
    Original Author
    last month

    @Tozmo1 and @flopsycat1
    I’m attaching a pic of our cats as requested. 🐈 🐈‍⬛

    We’re happy with the new arrangement and now I’m planning to get a larger tv mounted on the wall. Next after that is a coffee table (leaning toward the nesting tables that were suggested), throw pillows, a standing lamp (any suggestions?), and maybe a large faux plant. I’m still on the fence about the black fireplace and I am now considering painting the wall behind it black instead. Either way, the room is already feeling cozier!

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    last month
    last modified: last month

    cute cats jenny. I have a ginger and a tortie too!

    did you happen to see my comment about the black? is that what put a bee in your bonnet?? I think it would be a good idea to try. It's only paint. ;)

    I really like this look (except I'd do that slat wood on both sides


  • Jenny Varcasio
    Original Author
    last month

    Hi Beth! Yes, your comment got me thinking about the black wall. Our ceiling is low so I’m not sure the slats would have the effect they do in this picture (which I do love btw). The ceiling is lower than it looks. I tried the gold trimmed circular mirror there and it almost reaches the ceiling. I did however take your advice and add in a larger picture frame. I haven’t done much else since my last images though.

  • tozmo1
    last month

    Love the kitties. The way they are book ended and the cushion creating a third pair of cat ears is adorable. I like the idea of painting the wall vs. fireplace. Your insert is solid black so I feel painting the fireplace will make it look very dense. Here's your wall with SW Urbane Bronze and some drapes (just an example for color) to tie it all together.



  • ptreckel
    last month

    I think your rug works well with your couch and loveseat. If you want to “increase” its size, get a large sisal or faux sisal rug and place it underneath the one that you have, thus increasing its visual space in your room. I like where you are going with your home!

  • Jenny Varcasio
    Original Author
    last month

    Another update. The wall has been painted and i added a lamp. Still need new coffee table, new artwork, and I need to move the rug over a bit.

  • JP L
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Holy transformation, Batman! This looks amazing!! What wall color is that? And are you available for hire - you work fast! :) (Disclaimer - I legit have a million Samplize sheets hanging in my kitchen right now as I try to work out cabinet colors - and we are still going back and forth with our architect and structural engineer so it's going to be at least a year before we break ground - I just know it will legit take me that long to choose a color!).

    I realize the coffee table is temporary so no comment there. As you look for a lamp, I'd search for something that has hardware that will contrast with the wall color. LOVE that moody wall so much - it elevates the room so much!

    Now the important part - what do the pooches think about all this change?!?

  • tozmo1
    last month

    Looks great! Very well done. It's really coming together.

  • PRO
    Beth H. :
    last month

    looks really good. nice job!

  • Jenny Varcasio
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks everyone! I’d love suggestions for a coffee table (with links/brands). I’m currently hooked on one that Beth suggested - it was low, round and black rattan (?) - but I can’t find anything similar that isn’t really expensive. I’m also looking at nesting coffee tables. @JP L the paint color is SW urbane bronze as tozmo1 suggested. The dogs seem indifferent to the change but they’re glad the furniture has stopped moving around.

  • lawsonch19
    last month

    We placed a long narrow sofa table behind our couch that we positioned about a foot ouot from the wall. I put just a few (3) carefully selected objects on it and a large paiinting centered above. Good luck with your room!


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