Design Chat: Sectional Styling & A Family Room Refresh

 

 

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.

  The Inspiration

 

Design Cha with ConfettiStyle: Family Room Refresh featuring a Sectional Sofa

 

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:

Sectional Sofa // Round Pedestal Table //  Floral Pillow // Teal Velvet Pillow // Plaid Tattersall Pillow 

Abstract Art // Brown Accent Chair // Glass Table Lamps 

Geometric Blackout Curtains // Round Glass and Iron Side Table // Black TV Cabinet

 

Design Guide: 5 Rules of Space Planning


Have you ever struggled with creating the best furniture layout for your home?  Well, you’re not alone. So many people struggle with how to arrange their furniture so that it looks good and works with the way the family lives.

In my latest Design Guide post, I’m sharing the 5 Rules of Space Planning.  These are the rules and guidelines you’ll want to use to create a pleasing arrangement for your furniture and decor.

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  • Don’t Hug The Walls

One of the most common mistakes people make when decorating their homes is to push all the furniture to the walls.  The thought is that by keeping the center of the room open, the room will feel larger.  I hate to burst the bubble but the opposite it true.  When you push all the furniture against at the walls, a room actually feels disconnected and unwelcoming. Make better use of the space and create a cozy vibe by arranging furniture within the room instead of against it.

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  • Create A Layout With Function In Mind

A truly great space is one that functions well for you and your family.  Before you begin decorating, analyze how you plan to live in and use the room so that you can arrange the furniture and decor to support that.  As you being space planning, think about how each area of a room and each furniture piece will be used.

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  • Create Pathways In and Out

You’ll want about 30 inches to 36 inches of walkway between pieces.This is what you need to be comfortable, without knocking into furniture and bumping into walls. Any type of furniture with doors or drawers also needs three feet of space to open properly. And keep in mind how you access a seating area within a room. Where possible you want to have more than one way to enter and exit.

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  • Create Conversation Areas

There is nothing less intimate than a gathering of people within a room and them having to yell to have a conversation.  Arrange furniture so there are cozy groupings where conversations can easily happen and people can easily engage with each other. There should be no more than 10 feet and no less than 3 feet between people seated around the room to optimize intimate conversation and everyone’s personal space.

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  • Create Balance

An easy way to create balance within a room is to find the center point of the space.  In some cases, this isn’t necessarily the middle of the room but most of the time it will be. Generally, this is where the coffee table or center table should sit.  Arrange furniture around the center point to create a good flow and visually pleasing balance within the room. If your home has a very long, or very large living room, consider having two center points with two separate furniture groupings.

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These guidelines will help you get started with space planning but you should adjust your decorating according to your own tastes and preferences. Use these rules to get started, but don’t be afraid to break them and go with your instincts if something feels right to you.

For more helpful decorating tips, read  Key Measurement to Know When Decorating Your Home!

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Design Guide: 10 Components To A Beautiful Home

Design Guide: 10 Components To A Beautiful Home

 

Every designer you ask will have a list of key components they think are essential to the design and function of a beautiful home.  And while my list may differ from others, I think all designers would agree that each of the items on my list contributes in one way or another to how a home looks and feels.

 #1   A STYLE BLUEPRINT

I meet clients all the time that don’t have a good handle (or vision) of their design style.  They know if they like an item or not but they can articulate clearly the overall look for a room or the mood they want a room to have.  Once you define your design style you’ll be able to envision the decor of your home, down to the details.

Defining your style encompasses many different elements, from the colors and materials you like to the style of furniture and accessories that appeal to you.  And don’t worry, defining your style doesn’t happen over night. Your style can change throughout the years just like you do.

One of the ways that I have my clients convey their style to me is by going through design magazines and tagging anything that appeals to them.  Then I have them jot down a word or two telling me what they like about the image they tagged.  The word ‘cozy’ on a room photo with warm colors may convey the colors they like. The word ‘clean’ may be associated with a room that is streamline and clutter free which tells me a lot about how they want to a room to look and feel. Once you have a stack of tagged images you can look through them and begin to see the common threads in the design style that appeals to you.

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#2  A FOCAL POINT

The focal point of a room is a lot like a statement piece of jewelry.  It’s an element that captures your attention, serves as a dominant statement and in some cases sets the tone for the rest of the entire room.

The focal point in some rooms may be an architectural element like the windows or a fireplace.  In other rooms it my be a wall decor arrangement, a rug, artwork or even a sofa.

Identifying or creating the focal point within each room of your home will give you the starting point upon which to build your overall design theme.

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#3  SPACE PLAN

We all know that the way furniture is positioned in a room can impact the way a room feels and functions.  Arranging furniture so that movement can happen easily in, out and within a room is critical to the overall design of a space.

When decorating a room think about the scale of the furniture and accessories to ensure they won’t swallow up space and make the room look visually cluttered.  For the Key Measurements You Need To Know When Decorating Your Home, check out my post here.

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#4  TEXTURE

In my book texture is one of the most important elements to design.  Texture provides visual interest, depth and dimension and its also one of the elements that makes a room feel inviting.  As it applies to design, texture is defined as ‘the sensations caused by the external surface of objects received through the sense of touch’.  But it can also be a ‘perceived sense of touch’–you can experience texture visually without having to actually touch something.

Texture can be introduced into your decor through the fabrics you choose, the materials accessories are made of as well as the style of your doors, windows and walls.

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#5  MIXED METALS & MATERIALS

Variety is definitely the spice of life when it comes to decorating a room.  You don’t want one-dimensional decor…you want a home that explodes with interest and personality.

While your style blueprint may dictate a particular type of furniture and accessory style, you want to decorate with a mix of materials and finishes in order to bring your decor to life.  Don’t be afraid to mix gold with silver, leather with velvet or glass with metal.

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#6  A MIX OF OLD & NEW

Years ago the trend was to shop your favorite furniture store or catalog to decorate your home.  While it was easy, many homes ended up with decor that was cookie-cutter and uninteresting.  Just like mixing metals and materials, it’s a good idea to mix the age of items you decorate with.  Pair vintage and antique pieces with newer items to build the character within your style blueprint.

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#7  PERSONAL TOUCHES

If nothing else, your home should feel personal and reflect you and your family.  Personal touches like family photos, books, artwork and collected pieces should be used in every room in your home.

As you decorate, be thoughtful in the placement of accessories and keep these tips in mind:

♦ Arrange accessories in odd numbers in different sizes.  It’s been proven that grouping objects in odd numbers is more pleasing to the eye than even numbers.

♦  Objects that you place together when creating arrangements should have something in common: color, shape, theme, texture, vintage.

♦ Balance the art and accessories throughout a room. Don’t place everything on one side of a room.

♦ Scatter your accent color in at least three places around a room to create visual movement.

♦  Keep scale in mind with pairing accessories.  Small accessories clustered together or scattered throughout a room will look like clutter from a distance.  Use medium to large-sized accessories which will be noticed and seem more important as you enter a room.

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#8  STATEMENT WALL DECOR

 I think every room would have a wall decor statement that stands out.  That could mean a single piece of art or a grouping of pieces that create a dominant visual impact.  Based on the layout of your room and the architectural elements within the space, your wall decor can serve as the focal point.  For creative wall decor inspiration, check out this post.

Design Guide: 10 Components To A Beautiful Home

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#9  SUFFICIENT LIGHTING

Most homes I go into lack sufficient lighting  and without the right lighting and the correct amount of lighting, your home won’t look as good as it could.  There are three types of lighting every room needs:

AMBIENT LIGHTING:  Ambient lighting includes chandeliers, recessed lighting, or sconces, all of which provide overall illumination to a room. And the use of dimmers with your ambient lighting will give you control over the light levels allowing you to easily change the mood of a space.

 tip: When wiring your rooms, include multiple circuits. This will allow you to dim some lights while keeping others brighter.

TASK LIGHTING:   This lighting is particularly important when performing specific tasks like cooking, doing office work, or getting ready in the bathroom.  In the kitchen, pendant and under-cabinet lighting can illuminate food prep areas. In a living room or bedroom, table lamps and floor lamps will provide task lighting.

tip: Even illumination is essential when planning your bathroom lighting plan. Make sure the same amount of light comes from the sides of the room as the top of the room. This will help prevent shadows and create the ideal bathroom lighting for applying make-up or shaving.

ACCENT LIGHTING:  Accent lighting can be used to highlight objects like art, sculptures, and architectural details within a room.   Classic track lighting and picture lights are the most common types of accent lighting, but candles also fall into this category.

For more lighting design tips, read my posts here and here.

Design Guide: 10 Components To A Beautiful Home

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#10  SOMETHING NATURAL

Something natural is a little detail that can make a big impact.  A plant in a corner or a vase full of flowers or stems will give life and energy to your decor.

Design Guide: 10 Components To A Beautiful Home

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If you’re starting a new decorating project or looking to refresh your decor, keep these 10 components in mind and create the home of your dreams.

Design Guide: 10 Components To A Beautiful Home

Design Chat: Arranging Artwork For Impact & Style

One of the things I enjoy most about writing this blog is sharing design tips and helping you solve your design dilemmas. Last year I started a series called Design Chat series where I answer your design questions and provide decorating tips and inspiration.  I’m excited to continue the series in 2017 and today I addressing a design challenge that Jennette has.

Here’s the comment and question Jennette sent to me…

“Shelly, I found your blog in spring 2016 while searching how to style a sectional sofa on Pinterest. I love your design tips! Right now my design dilemma is how to hang art on a long, odd wall when there is already one picture over a chair.”


Design Chat: Arranging Artwork

Artwork can be one of the most challenging aspects of decorating your home.  Once you’ve identified the type of artwork you want, you then need to come up with a plan for a dynamic wall statement.

As you can see in Jennette’s family room, she originally hung the artwork over the chair to anchor that seating area.  While this isn’t bad, the rest of the wall is left blank and feels somewhat disconnected.

Design Chat: Arranging Artwork

Design Chat: Arranging Artwork

Design Chat: Arranging Artwork

Here are my suggestions to pull the room together…

My suggestion for Jennette would be to create a gallery wall arrangement on that wall using the piece of artwork she owns as the centerpiece.  A collection of framed pieces will create a focal point on that wall and anchor the space in total.

I also recommend a few other changes…

1) add a tall plant in the corner to add height and color. The small stool would move to the opposite side of the tv cabinet.

2)  replace the double arm floor lamp with a fun table lamp.

3) add a cushion to the top of the bench and maybe even lean a couple of pillows on top.

4) a larger cabinet under the TV to give that wall more impact and to feel more proportionate with the TV.

Design Chat: Arranging Artwork

Design Chat: Arranging Artwork

On the opposite side of the room where the sofa sits, here’s what I recommend…

Design Chat: Arranging Artwork

Hang candle sconces on each side of the mirror to give the wall over the sofa more impact.  And remove the wall mounted light and position the double arm floor lamp next to the side table.

Design Chat: Arranging Artwork

And my product picks for Jeanette’s room…

Design Chat: Arranging Artwork

candle sconce // table lamp // fabric for cushion // black cabinet // plant basket

Overall, Jennette’s family room has a great foundation. With a  few tweaks and additions, I think she’ll have the space she desires.

Looking for tips on creating a gallery wall arrangement, read my blog post here.

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If you’ve got a design challenge, email me and we’ll chat!

Design Guide: Shopping For The Perfect Sofa

We started looking for a new sofa last year and I couldn’t find I liked.   We decided to put our sofa shopping on hold so it gives me the perfect opportunity to share sofa styling tips to help you (and me) find the ideal sofa.

 

The first and most critical step in picking a sofa is to determine the style of sofa that fits your needs and function as well as your design aesthetic.

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Design Chat: What Size Area Rug Do You Need?

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Hi friends.  The focus of this Design Chat post is area rugs.  Quite often I get questions from readers who are challenged with what size area rug to get for their living/family room.

The most recent question came from Rocio who was having a hard time with a rug for her family room.  Here’s the question Rocio posed to me…

“Hi Shelly, I have a sectional it measure 9 feet by 7 feet for the chaise part of sofa. I have no clue on what size area rug I need to buy. I do have a rectangular coffee table/ottoman in front and just order 2 Moroccan poufs. Do I need to place the poufs on the rug? Please help!!!!  Thank you so much! Rocio”

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SELECTING THE RIGHT SIZE AREA RUG

Many times the shape and size of a room will dictate the size of rug the room needs.  Other times the size and scale of furniture will influence which rug is best for the space.  Selection the right size rug boils down to a few simple things:

  1.  The rug (size, placement and color) should like its part of the overall design plan of the room.  The rug will serve as one of the key focal points within a room.
  2. The rug should anchor the seating area and help create a sense of coziness.
  3. 3.  The rug should not overpower a room or the furniture that surround it but should enhance the space.

 

Here’s a visual graphic I created that with tips on selecting the right size rug.

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After providing a few tips and suggestions to Rocio, she purchased a rug and sent me a photo of the design and color she selected.  Given the small footprint of the room, this rug size works well to anchor the sectional and not impede into the dining area to the left or the area to the right.  And since design is all about the details,  here are some additional suggestions I have for Rocio to really pull this space together:

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♦  Add a couple of pillows to the sofa at will bring in more color and pattern work.

♦  Replace the grey throw with a lighter color to highlight the lighter color in the rug.

♦  Add a side table on the short end of the sectional. A table with a metallic finish would relate to the material on the metallic poufs.

♦  Hang curtain panels on the window to anchor the eating area and add additional softness to the room.

And I quickly pulled together an inspiration board to illustrate the ideas.

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SHOP THIS DESIGN:

Blue Ikat Pillow / Gold Metallic Leopard Pillow / Navy Velvet Pillow / Gold End Table / Woven Throw / Navy Curtain Panels 
Gold Metallic Pouf / Navy Velvet Ottoman

 

Until next time…

Shelly Signature

Design Lessons From The Pages Of Magazines (via Pinterest)

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Ever since Pinterest came on the social scene, I know many of you, myself included have all spent countless hours looking at design photos, saving the images that serve as inspiration for our current or future homes or that can be used as a source of inspiration in our jobs as designers, decor enthusiast and design bloggers.

I often use images found on Pinterest to share an idea with a client,  highlight an accessorizing concept or to help me pull together a color plan.  Whether you like Pinterest or not, analyzing room photos is a great way for anyone to up their design game and learn what makes a well-design space just that, well-designed!

Today I’m going to share a few rooms from some of my favorite design publications and point out the design details that came together to make these spaces what they are.  Consider this a mini design lesson using visual aids.

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If you want more insight into how Pinterest is changing the world of interior design and how we decorate our homes, check out this article

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Thanks for stopping by today and thank you to everyone who left wonderful comments on my Swap It Like It’s Hot Post earlier this week.  If you haven’t had a chance to check out all of the blogger projects, please do.  There’s lots of great inspiration to be found.

Happy Weekend!

Shelly Signature

image source: 1) My Domaine 2) House Beautiful 3) House Beautiful  4) Country Living  5) Domaine Home

Small Space Decorating Tips

Last year I wrote about the Tiny House Movement and how it is gaining in popularity.  Well, a year later and the movement is just picking up steam.

I recently finished an article for a friend of mine who started and published Welcome Magazine here in Atlanta years ago.  She has since moved to New York and is in the process of re-establishing the magazine there.  She asked me to write an article for it with tips for decorating small spaces and I thought I’d share a few of those tips with you here in the blog.

Decorating small spaces can be challenging.  The layout of a room, the style of furniture, the paint color and how to keep the space organized are just a few of the design elements you have to consider.  The tips I’m sharing will help you do all of that without sacrificing style and personality.

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