I continue to get emails from people who have read my blog post or found my pin How To Style A Sectional Sofa. I wrote the original blog in 2014 and there are over 25,000 re-pins on Pinterest. And when I wrote the post, I didn’t realize so many people are challenged with decorating around a sectional sofa.
My most recent email was from MJ who is looking to update her family room. She wants to trade in her current sofa and loveseat for a new sectional with chaise. And she wants to replace the recliner with two accent chairs. Here’s how MJ posed her design challenge to me…
“Hello, I came across your article on Pinterest and was hoping to get your advice. I have attached two pics of my great room as I want to purchase a new sectional (would love a chaise), but with a corner fireplace, I am not sure how or if that would even work. Also get confused on how to determine if I need a right arm facing or left arm facing chaise. One picture shows the wall across from the stairs where the chaise portion of a sectional would be placed with the longer sofa portion obviously along the area across from stairway. My plan is to purchase two complementary accent chairs to be placed in front of window wall. Any suggestions would be appreciated!!
Here are the photos of MJ’s family room now. As you can see, MJ’s family room is not large and the brown/beige color palette that takes it cues from the carpet and wall color.
After studying the room layout, I created an inspiration board and outlined a few suggestions that will help MJ execute a new look for her home.
Family Room Refresh: Design Suggestions
FIND FURNITURE THAT FITS: With the size of MJ’s family room, a large sectional will fit with ease. I recommend a left arm sectional which will position the sectional on the long wall opposite the TV. Selecting the right size sectional will allow for side tables and lamps on each end creating a cozy sitting arrangement.
tip: When looking at sectionals, left facing and right facing refers to the arm placement when looking at the sectional sofa head on (not when sitting on it).
CREATE A COLOR STORY: The foundation of every room is its color palette. The current color scheme in MJ’s family room is somewhat flat. The main color in the room is brown with a little deviation in tones form one brown to another. What I recommend is combining more shades and variation of tan and brown which will give the room depth, dimension and visual interest. Since the sectional will be the largest piece in the room, a lighter color fabric will provide a contrast against the walls and carpet.
PUMP UP THE COLOR: I also recommend pumping up the use of accent colors in the room. Right now the only significant accent color is the teal lamp shades o n the table lamps. Using the teal as the accent color I would bring in more of this color with patterned pillows and drapes. Curtains will add softness to the room and define and create a focal point around the windows.
tip: when adding patternwork to a room, combine patterns in different in scale so they don’t fight with each other and each individual design stands out.
tip: hang your drapery rod as high as possible to maximize the visual effect of taller ceilings and a more open space.
MIX UP THE MATERIALS AND FINISHES: Another way to add depth and dimension to a room is by using pieces that are made of different materials and/or finishes. My suggestion is to replace with wood side tables with tables made of iron and glass. The glass will not take up any visual space and the iron will keep the tables from looking whimsy. For additional contrast, I’d place a painted wood accent table between the chairs in front of the window. Painted furniture will introduce even more color and another finish in the room.
ADD STYLE WITH SHAPE: Having little to no variation in the shape of furniture within a room is a common decorating mistake. Having too many elements in one shape (i.e. square or rectangular) can result in a room that feels heavy and overloaded. A combination of square, round and other shapes creates visual interest and movement for the eye. In MJ’s room I’ve suggested round side tables to add that needed contrast.
PERSONALIZE YOUR STYLE: In addition to new furniture and a pumped up color palette, here are the other suggestions I had for MJ…
- Hang the mirror over the mantel versus leaning it. Hanging the mirror will balance the fireplace and create separation between the mantel and the mirror.
- Hang a larger piece of artwork on the long wall facing the TV. A larger piece of art will add color, visual interest and create a secondary focal point within the room.
- Replace the lamps with a style that has more substance and shape. Your lamp base and shade should feel proportion to the scale of the furniture in the room Lamps are also an easy way to introduce more color into a room. Note how the lamp shade color in my recommended style picks up the lighter neutral in the pillows and curtains.
- Upsize the TV cabinet with a larger piece. The current TV console is a bit small and makes the entire TV arrangement feel diminutive. A larger tv cabinet will work better with the scale of the fireplace and furniture within the room.
- Paint the inside of the front door an accent color. Painting MJ’s door will add so much visual interest within the entire entrance/family room space. And the color will visually link the two areas together. The inspiration photo for the door is below.
One other thing I wanted to point out is that while MJ’s room could benefit from a patterned area rug, I wouldn’t recommend it because of the plush wall to wall carpeting. It’s fine to layer a rug over a low pile carpet with plush carpeting an area rug tends to crawl.
Do you have a design challenge? Leave me a comment and your space just might be featured here on ConfettiStyle.
SHOP THE INSPIRATION BOARD: