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angela_archer98

awkward living room

last month

We want to update the livingroom. We hate the window seat, but realize the wood flooring goes up to it and not under it.
The entertainment area is about 80% unused especially the cabinets in the corners. It’s not inviting at all.
Not a fan of the floor but flooring isn’t in the budget right now. One window trim is painted black. Don’t hate it but it’s the only one in the house that’s black.
The other side of the room has an enormous dark grey fireplace which we want to update

All suggestions welcome

Comments (55)

  • 29 days ago

    The fireplace update sounds like a great idea! A low budget plan would be to paint over the blue/gray, matching the paint to the walls AND painting the currently UNpainted bricks. The walls look like a warmish off white, which is great with your beautiful wood floors and your furniture.

    I’d add a color, which your room is lacking, in window treatments, pillows, a warm throw, rug, art. Hunter green maybe. Toss some of the little doodad decor pieces. This is a big room - a bunch of ephemera does not equal one appropriately-sized art piece.

  • 29 days ago

    Does the flooring go underneath the (kitchen??) cabinets as well?

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  • 29 days ago

    @Jennz9b: good point! I wonder where the original poster went.

  • 29 days ago

    The cabinets look fine to me. Nothing "uninviting" about them. Unless you have a clear plan for that space, I'd keep it as is.


    The window seat doesn't match the rest of the room. Reupholster it to match the rest of the room. Add some pillows, so it looks more inviting. Alternatively, remove the cushion and put plants on it.


    I don't like the gray on the fireplace, you could paint it. The decorations around the fireplace are cluttered and incoherent.


    I like color. I'd pick an accent color and add pops of it. If you like the neutral, calm vibe you have now, then ignore this suggestion.

  • 29 days ago

    Hello everyone. I posted this less than 24 hours ago. Thank you for the assistance. I have a full time job and am nit on my cost
    Other 24-7 to get the responses so I have to get them when I can.
    Yes Jan I did post two threads because there are two different major problems. I can not move the tv because all the wiring is on this wall. I’ll be more than happy to add additional photos. To the right of the window seat is a wall of window. And French door leading to our deck.
    Where I’m standing taking the photo is the open concept kitchen. With a TON of cherry wood cabinets, that itself is an issue. The person who had this home before me, loved wall to wall cabinets :(

  • 29 days ago

    Sorry for the typos

  • 29 days ago

    these cabinets are built in place. solid oak the flooring goes up to them, not under them. frustrating for sure.

  • PRO
    29 days ago

    Sure wish we could have measurements of the room that include walls, doors, windows (especially the one with the window seat), openings and the fireplace area. We have some fun ideas for the fireplace but really need the measurements of that space first. We understand that you are very busy but having the measurements will make it possible for us to help you. Best Wishes

  • PRO
    29 days ago

    "Yes Jan I did post two threads because there are two different major problems."

    But both problems are the same room, the same house. Both exist in that context, with "french doors and an opening to a mile of cherry kitchen" nobody is seeing.

    Everyone understands "busy" but it makes more work for you,.....

  • 28 days ago

    @JanMoyer: This is why I keep posting instructions on how to post a Design Dilemma when someone just shows one or two photos. For designers, there is no such thing as a "separate problem" if it's in the same visual field. When an on-site designer walks into a space, that person take in the entire view all at once--the first overall impression--then studies the separate parts. By working that way, designers often come up with creative ways to solve the problem that the homeowners hadn't thought of. I repeat to anyone reading this thread: Show a space FROM ALL FOUR SIDES, in ONE THREAD, from the get-go. The two threads in this Design Dilemma are so confusing.

  • 28 days ago

    The entertainment center was actually built all the way to the ceiling. We removed the top portion. These cabinets were built in place! Crazy! The floor does NOT go under them. Just up to them just the same and the window box.

  • 28 days ago

    Here is the other walls. And different angles of the room.

  • PRO
    28 days ago
    last modified: 28 days ago

    It's a house in need of money.....

    Depending how long you plan to be there? The fire would be a false "wall" a touch latch door for access. You can't just wall it off, there are safety codes for a full removal.

    A good craftsman can lower the built in, still cover the foot print. The window seat is less an issue.

    A logical place for a nice dining area is in front of that " fire area, .

    In the meantime? Paint it.

    Why the two colors for window door trim? What the previous owner did, I assume.

    A rip of all the built in and window seat? Just means a flooring fill in, sand and refinish. Might be worth it, take the raised hearth to gone.... at the same time.


  • PRO
    28 days ago

    Thank you for the additional pictures of the room. We have some suggestions we could add to those that have already been presented, but we hesitate because we do not know the actual dimensions of the room. It is hard to suggest anything without measurements, of the walls, windows, doors, openings, fireplace, and window seat. Yes I know I have asked for this before. I’m sure others have as well but this is some thing I would do if I were in the room myself. Can’t do a 3-D rendition without these measurements in order to see the room and offer appropriate suggestions. Hope you can get these measurements to us so we can move forward. Jan is correct. The window seat can be removed and the flooring matched if you really want to remove it. Best wishes.

  • 28 days ago

    behind the livingroom fireplace is an formal dining room with another fireplace. the fireplaces (dining room and living room) are behind each other but off centered, making for two chimneys.

    in all honesty, id like to completely remove both fireplaces and add a modern wood stove that could benifit the entire space for heat if we were to loose power.


    we are going to paint the fireplace (white) next weekend and look for a new solid mantle to replace this one.

    I dont care for the rustic or farmhouse look and was weary of painting it whte, but feel this might be the best option.


    someone suggested this house was in need of MONEY, im not sure how to take that comment. i have plenty of money and have the ability to do the work myself, i was thrown off because the exceptionally large fireplace weighing the room down.


    i was hoping for color ideas, design, and help to make the space welcoming since its and odd shape and have two focal points.


    i do appreciate everyones help. ill try to get some measurements tonight.

  • 27 days ago

    The room is 22 x 18 (length, width)

  • PRO
    27 days ago

    Hello Angela, that’s a good start. But we still need the detailed measurements of the windows , doors, openings and the fireplace. Sorry to ask for these things, but it really does make a difference in how we can see with the room. a hand drawn sketch with the measurements filled in works really well. Thanks ahead of time.

  • PRO
    27 days ago

    Within an EXTREMELY helpful community? Even the most ardent of helpers will eventually give up.

    I suggested a casual dining room at fire....

    Because it appears you have a table quite jammed in a kitchen

    Asymmetry does not destroy a room....only a bad use of that element, as balance becomes far more important along with proportion and scale.

    It's 22' X 18."......and the does or does not include the two foot depth of the built in ? : )




  • 27 days ago
    last modified: 27 days ago

    Here are my final thoughts:


    --Remove everything on fireplace including mantel and firescreen. Paint fireplace same color as your walls. Fill the firebox with chunky logs. That's it.




    --Remove the middle portion of the cabinets. They do seem to be kitchen cabinets repurposed as media wall. Find kitchen cabinets the same height and depth and have them refaced to match floor and window trim. This will look good.


    --

    Project Woodcrest · More Info


    --Sand and restain black window trim for a more harmonious look. Embrace the wood floors and trim since they add warmth to an awkward room.


    --Get a much larger patterned rug so that all the furniture sits on it. This palette will work with your floors and light gray upholstered pieces. A much larger rug will also give you a cozier room-within-a-big room feeling.


    --Remove seat cushion on window seat. Use bare window seat as a base for tall, dramatic plants.


    You asked for styling advice, color, etc. without showing us an inspiration photos. You should know that all your gray upholstered furniture looks uncomfortable and too formal with the modern style of the room. To make the furniture more inviting, after you choose a much bigger, patterned rug with an accent color, add textured sofa pillows (but not on the chairs. Who can sit on them with pillows you have? So uninviting.) Think about a throw in grays and warm accent color.

    Maratea Ombre Down Filled Throw Pillow, 20" Square, Marigold · More Info


    Medallion Souk Throw · More Info

    Too many pillows below, but a few arranged like this and a throw would make your sofas more welcoming. Go in the direction of warm gold same shade as floors. Everything you add should work with your wood floors and future remodelled wood cabinet.

    To sum up ways to make room more inviting:

    Strip fireplace; paint it to match walls,. Get a much bigger rug to create cozy "island" space. Add textured sofa pillows to echo rug. Rehack the cabinets in wood to match floors and make them level. Change window trim from black to wood. Turn window bench into a planter for dramatic, live, tall plants. All of these changes work with flooring so you don't have to change it.




  • PRO
    27 days ago

    Regarding power outages: suggest you install a gas generator rather than replacing the fireplace with a woodburning stove. We have both and the generator has been a worthwhile investment . A wood-burning stove is nice, but it takes a lot to maintain it including keeping dry firewood available. It is messy.

  • 27 days ago

    Much to our surprise. The cabinets are not kitchen cabinets. This entertainment center is 100% custom made from oak. Behind the top cabinet doors on the right are drawers for vhs’ on the left slots for records. We have looked at bamboo flooring to replace the current floors. Every room is different, travertine in the office, wood in the living room and tile in the rest of the house, carpet in the bedrooms. I love the fireplace housegal200 showed. I also love the blue cabinets in place of the entertainment center. Definitely due for a pillow update! Thank you for the help

  • 27 days ago

    Jan, the kitchen table you’re seeing is a built in granite counter, table height. Im assuming the previous owners used it for kids. This is where my son sits to do homework. The kitchen needs remodeled as well, we know what we are going to do in there. They are 100% custom cherry cabinets. As I said before, there is a dining room behind this crazy fireplace where we eat.

  • PRO
    26 days ago
    last modified: 26 days ago

    Approximate based on only two dimensions.:


    "Someone suggested this house was "in need of money. ( yes, me ) I'm not sure how to take that comment. i have plenty of money and have the ability to do the work myself, i was thrown off because the exceptionally large fireplace weighing the room down "

    And yet, this:

    "Not a fan of the floor but "flooring isn't in the budget right now "

    You don't have "plenty". ......You have a fire you hate, built ins you hate, a window seat you hate, a kitchen you want to re do, and three floors between Travertine, the hardwood and carpeted bedrooms. (There isn't anything wrong with this hardwood floor)

    Back to the two posts,"fire and "awkward"



    The fireplace is weighing the room down because it is jarringly dark in a large room, and is suffering clutter/over decorating as well. It isn't even really "IN" the room - as it has been left all alone in a traffic passage, unrelated to all else in the space.

    You eat in a dining room we haven't seen. Tables are great for family games, puzzles, dining, homework ,all.

    You have to give the fire end of the room a reason to exist! in a space with great light, and a pretty exterior view

    Drywall is cheap. Paint is relatively cheap. Remove the middle high portion of the built in/cover the footprint. Replace with drawer bases via a carpenter, get an electrician, get a bigger tv/use an ART app on your phone and it won't be a black hole, A larger rug, 9 x 12. A table with some upholstered chairs. You already have a dozen suggestions to improve the look of the fire.

    PERHAPS......turn the "formal" dining to a cozy tv den with the loveseat ( no clue what that looks like, nor the entire kitchen wanting a re do). Or just have a really casual multi purpose in this room! So what? Many have two dining spots!

    My point? There are miles of improvement between a perfect dream and where you are,,,,,,,,now. More cohesively arranged, larger 9 x 12 rug and the rest ? is but one, with no more seating than you own right now and as you see...less.: ) with the potential for one room gathering with family and friends. Make a fire!.



  • PRO
    24 days ago

    Pictures of suggestions for your consideration.










  • 22 days ago

    Thank you Mae for the help. this is perfect. we are trying to find someone who can redo the flooring so we can start taking the entertainment box seat and the fireplace hearths out. we live in a rural area so finding someone who has the ability and the time to install heated / bamboo flooring and can do a 3500 sf home quickly is hard to come by.


    may ask two questions. 1. what do you think about a sectional on the tv side? its just myself, my husband and our 9 year old, we love watching movies upstairs, just wanted to have a bit more leg room :0) 2. where would i find a rug that large. ;)


    ive added a few pictures we found of the house two owners ago. the small fireplace is butted up to the large fireplace in the living room. we are planning to close it in, theres no use for it. this is why i was thinking of removing both fireplaces and adding a pretty functioning wood stove (no access to gas in our neighborhood) or we would do a double sided gas stove.


    thank you again for your help.





  • PRO
    22 days ago

    Thank you for getting back to us. It sure is nice to know that we helped. We are doing some research for you and will get back to you regarding your questions.

  • PRO
    21 days ago

    I haven’t forgotten you. Thank you for your patience. It’s been a really busy day today. One thing I will say an answer to your question regarding the sectional; please do not get a sectional! It will not give you the comfort you are looking for and, take over the room. It will also throw the balance off. I have another suggestion. I am hoping to be able to Post my suggestions to you and answer to your questions at least by tomorrow. Again, thank you for your patience.

  • 21 days ago

    I’m Not a fan of sectionals. But have seen them in a few designer posts. Love the idea of us having room and not touch each other. I have a wiggly 9y/o! Haha

  • PRO
    21 days ago

    😊 I understand.

  • PRO
    20 days ago

    Pictures of the updated rendition with the following suggestions:

    " a bit more leg room "

    1. Two matching ottomans with storage for blankets, etc. (or not) that can be moved around the room to be added to furniture anywhere in the room. They can also be used as extra seating for guests.


    Pic with two white ottomans


    Ottoman with swivel chair. Suggesting you add two swivel chairs to the TV area for extra seating and more wiggle room. ;).



    Two black ottomans. No coffee table. Use ottomans for trays for food, etc.



    Swivel chair suggestion: Link: https://www.worldmarket.com/p/megan-upholstered-swivel-chair-105276.html



  • PRO
    20 days ago
    last modified: 20 days ago

    Hope this helps. Best wishes. MAE


    Area rug updated rendition:


    " where would i find a rug that large" Two options:

    1. Buy two matching 10' by 14' area rugs
    2. or find a store that sells carpeting and have them cut a piece of carpet 14' by 20' and have them finish the open edges.

    Pictures of the great room with the two matching 10' by 14' area rugs. You may want to check out www.rugsusa.com

    Link to 10' by 14' area rugs that are on sale at Rugs USA: https://www.rugsusa.com/rugsusa/control/search-oversize-rugs





  • 17 days ago

    Started the fireplace. Have some touch up, and making the mantle next weekend. (Yes we need to clean the fireplace and paint the bottom)

  • 17 days ago

    The speakers will be flush mounted near the lights

  • 17 days ago

    The mantle will cover and be mounted to the support bricks. (I already measured to ensure it will be high enough for fire safety

  • PRO
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    wow. I would have kept it black. you have those black windows and nothing else black to tie into it

    what you need are warmer leather tones and natural textures


    these are all pics of black brick w/rooms similar to yours



    leather sofa, pouf




    These sofas w/the black would look great. all of these textures



    new ceiling fan that's wood/black. similar to this color


    I don't think the silver and light gray work that well w/the floors and the black. I like the brown leather, maybe a charcoal velvet, or even a black leather


    this would be better.






    I'd paint the door black to match the black window trim. and paint the window seat black as well


    Get some diff cushions.

  • PRO
    12 days ago

    Hello Angela, you are working hard to get this room done. Looks great. hope you keep us posted with the finished look. Best wishes. MAE

  • 2 days ago

    We bought two rugs, waiting on the other one to arrive. The mantle is being made. We love walnut and wanted the mantle to match our custom live edge dining table. Looking at furniture and tables for the livingroom.
    Going to move these white chairs to the fireplace side with another wood table (splalted maple) with hairpin legs.
    Changing the couch pillows seasonally (this why I feel like it’s always changing out and I’m not bored with it)

  • 2 days ago

    The window box is coming out. Have someone looking for wood to go there. It’s an odd thickness (of course it is )

  • 2 days ago

    The skylights trim will be painted to match the ceiling. When we add can lights. We still have to install the new fan it will be black

  • 2 days ago

    Ok, now my husband is asking for a brown fan., I want black. What do you think?

  • PRO
    2 days ago


    this one

  • PRO
    2 days ago

    Brown. Looking great Angela! Thanks for keeping us updated.

  • PRO
    2 days ago

    Sure wish the black windows could be painted or replaced to match the wood frames, mantle and beam in the room.

  • yesterday

    We can strip it. :) I think they were planning to paint all of them black but ??? Who knows

  • PRO
    yesterday

    Well, if they were going to paint all of the wood elements black then a black fan would look better. But either way, it would be nice if all of the windows and trim are the same color. it is quite a task to paint that beam. Whatever you decide will look very nice.

  • PRO
    yesterday

    To be honest, the brown is warmer and more inviting

  • PRO
    yesterday

    The brown also goes better with your floors. Just a thought. It seems as if the black would throw the rest of the room off because of the Floors.

  • PRO
    yesterday

    Are the black windows metal? If so, what about painting them the same color as the walls?

  • yesterday

    I have the brown one. It’s very pretty in person. And works well!