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Archive for the ‘Living Room Furniture & Design’ Category

Stylish Seats for Your Living Room

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Accent chairs aren’t just for sitting. A well-placed accent chair can give a punch of color to a neutral palette living room; lend the room some charm or style; and add texture to the décor, especially if it is upholstered in a different fabric from the rest of the living room furniture. While accent chairs may be used for their good looks, to boost a living room’s functionality quotient they should be comfortable as well.

Accent Chair Style

Stylish seats for the living room don’t have to exactly match the other furnishings. After all, that’s the whole point of accent chairs, to have them stand out rather than blend in. But in order for an accent chair to work with the décor, it should complement the style and mood of the living room. Dramatic, trendy or casual? Since accent chairs are available in a wide range of styles, when selecting one for your living room, focus on the mood you would like to create as well as the chair’s overall appearance.

Accent Chair Material

Stylish seats like accents chairs should look good, but they should be practical too. If there are children in the home, particularly young ones, choose fabrics that are kid-friendly. Even if you don’t have to worry about children, you may prefer enjoying sitting on it rather than cleaning it. To add visual interest to your living room, pick an accent chair that is “textured.” This could mean that it is made from fabric that has a visible weave or one that has a bold or intricate pattern.

Accent Chair Color

Fabrics also contribute to the impact the chair will have in a room. A red leather accent chair or one in a zebra print will provide more “punch” than twill fabric chair in an earth-toned color.

Accent Chair Shape

Accent chairs such as lounge chairs, occasional chairs with no arms or other types of stylish seats can have interesting shapes that will make them a natural focal point of any room they are in.

Accent Chair Placement

The right placement of your accent chair can really make the living room come alive. And speaking of focal points, an accent chair in an unused corner or next to a fireplace is an ideal way to create visual interest. Take a pair of accent chairs and put a small occasional in between, and you have instant conversational grouping that makes your living space warm and inviting.

From the Design Files of Heather B – Room Colors

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Design Question

Hi, My husband and I just bought our second house and we really want to make sure that this one is done right. We have dark hardwood floors and dark wood end tables and entertainment center. We were thinking of a grey blue colour for the walls? And maybe a red for our drapes? Would those colours go together and if not what would you suggest? For paint and drapes and area rug and throws?

Design Answer

Congratulations on your new home! The dark hardwood floors sound lovely.

Grey blue walls and red drapes certainly do go together. A colour might look just fine in the room but, especially if it’s a “focal point” colour (wall, drapes, sofa), you will want to “connect” it to other elements in the room. You can do this by choosing an area rug, throws and accent cushions that incorporate the red of the window treatments.

You didn’t mention which room this was so I’m assuming that it is the living room or the living space where plan relax and entertain the most. Cool colours like blue and neutrals such as grey can make a room appear larger. Red is a warm colour, so you are creating “balance” by pairing it with a cool shade (grey blue walls). Whether the dark hardwood floors and dark wood end tables have more black or brown in them, the cool blue wall colour will be a good “foil” while the red will work well with either black (a neutral shade) or brown (a complementary color of red).

Thanks for writing in. I hope this has been helpful. Let me know how it turns out. Next week I will be answering another design question – please keep writing in!

Contemporary Loft Furniture Ideas for the Living Room

Friday, March 4th, 2011

In terms of a décor design project, a loft apartment is a blank page – it is a large, open space, often with cement or brick walls, cement floors, ductwork, bare pipes and exposed beams made of wood or steel. A loft space is like no other type of home: don’t treat it like it is. The appeal of a loft is its edgy modernity. Get creative; be inventive; take “expressing yourself” to a whole new level. In the second part of this series, I will be discussing contemporary loft living room furniture ideas and decorating tips for the living room.

Pick a Spot

In a house or a condo, the living room is typically the main room for relaxing, personal downtime and entertaining; it’s no different in a loft apartment. Because a loft design floor plan is essentially open concept, you will have to choose a location for your living area. Pick a spot that makes sense and reflects your lifestyle. If you like to, for example, have people over to watch game, for cocktails or just hang out, it would be good to have your living room closer to the kitchen rather than at the opposite end of the loft.

Take advantage of any architectural features in the loft that would enhance your living area such as a skylight, the view from a specific window or support beams and/or pillars that can define the living room from the other areas in the apartment. If there is an accent or freestanding wall, you want to reserve that for your entertainment center. Don’t forget to identify all of the other areas you will require. In addition to needing a bedroom, and living and dining areas, would you like a pair of contemporary club chairs by your favorite window or a home office?

Create the Illusion of Walls

The main challenge that you will have when decorating a loft apartment, is that you will have only four walls. The option of putting the large pieces of furniture against the walls of each zone like the bed in the sleeping area or the sofa and the entertainment center in the living area will be limited. You will have to give some careful consideration to the actual placement of your living room furniture, taking power sources into account. To create the illusion of walls and to define the separate zones of your living room area from the rest of the apartment use living room furniture pieces like an entertainment center or modular bookshelf. When considering using a certain piece of furniture as a screen, boundary or “wall” take into account whether or not the back is finished (can be seen) or unfinished (can’t) – some manufacturers leave the backs of case goods unfinished if they are not meant to be viewed from all angles.

Loft Living Room Furniture

Because of its edgy, industrial origins, loft living room furniture should reflect its environs. For a minimalist feel select modern style furniture with geometric lines and angular or asymmetrical profiles. These living room furniture pieces would have absolutely no decorative detail and are typically made from space-age materials.

If modern is too “stark” for you, contemporary style shares some of the same design principles as modern, but lines are less angular, profiles less uniform.

Another way to define the living room from the rest of the loft apartment is to choose a sectional as your sofa and position it so that it functions as a partition.

Since you are living in a loft space and storage will be at a premium, pick specific living room furniture pieces like a coffee table or end tables that include plenty of hidden storage.

Come back next Friday for Contemporary Loft Furniture Ideas series pt 3 when I will be discussing how to design a contemporary dining area for your open concept apartment.

Furniture Ideas for a more Stylish Living Room

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

You may be in the market for new living room furniture or you might just want to replace one or two living room furniture pieces like your old sofa and the worn coffee table. While purchasing a sofa set is an easy and economical way to decorate a living room, it can make the décor look uniform or even bland. Whatever your reasons for wanting to give your living room a facelift, here are some living room furniture ideas to consider when designing a more stylish living space.

Mix it Up

Choose a sofa set that gives you the option to select a different material for the armchair than the one the sofa is made of. They will still be connected by style and design but the overall look won’t be so “matchy-matchy”.

If you’re in the market for a new sofa, select one that stands out from the other pieces in the room. You will still want it to blend in. But by choosing one that has a unique profile, a fabric pattern not currently part of the décor or is a complementary instead of matching style, you will add visual interest to the living room’s overall design.


Function is as Function Does

You will want to take your lifestyle into consideration when looking at living room furniture ideas for an inspired, stylish living space. The purchase of that lovely patterned red velvet accent chair should perhaps be put on hold until your toddlers are older. In a word, when buying furniture for a more stylish living room, keep in mind that it should be functional as well. The sofa you’ve got your eye on may look fabulous, but if it only seats three people and you love to have people over, you may need a larger sofa or even a sectional.

Scale it Right

Especially if you are replacing one or two living room furniture pieces instead of redecorating the entire room, proportion and scale is very important. Accent chairs and console tables add that certain stylish “punch” to a living room’s décor, but if you don’t get the scale of the furniture pieces right, they can (really) stick out by appearing too large or too small in relation to the other tables and chairs in the room. A good rule of thumb is to take the measurement of the largest table or accent chair and buy one that is comparable in size.



From the design files of Heather B – Townhouse Décor Dilemma

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Design Question

Hi there! I have been in my new town home approaching two years in May – I’m happy with the design of all my space but remain stumped with my living room-dining room combo.  I have no idea what will fit and where to put it!!!!! I’ve attached the floor plan a few pics of my space. Any recommendations of the pieces and sizes and placement of my living room and dining furniture would go a loooong way! Thanks a million!

Design Answer

What a great townhouse this is! Sometimes that happens; we get stuck on a certain room that just won’t fall into place. I think the stumbling block, if you will, is the difficulty of creating a focal point in an open concept space.

Whenever deciding what goes where, get out your tape measure! Measuring the dining area separately from the living room space will help you visualize how much room you have to work with. I would suggest that you define these areas so that they are visually separate from each other in one or a combination of the following ways:

  • choose an area rug for the dining room or the living area
  • choose different area rugs for the dining and living rooms
  • different color schemes for each space; the colors could be complementary (tranquil) or contrasting (bold) depending on the mood you would like to create
  • arrange the furniture in such a way that it will form “boundary lines” between one space and the other; for example, chairs or a couch in the living area would have their backs to the dining room

Regarding the dining room, in the floor plan it looks as though that they have placed the buffet against the long wall (the one shared by the living area). I would try placing it on the wall in between the family room and kitchen; measure the area and then find a contemporary style buffet like the Coaster Stanton Contemporary Server and then centering the dining table and chairs parallel to the buffet. I would find a big print, painting or some form of wall art to go on the dining/living area wall.

Regarding the living room, I would start with that gorgeous accent chair that is now in the family room and put in the right hand corner when facing the entryway; perhaps a low storage console could go underneath the window. You’ll have to see how it works in the space, but I would go for smaller sized seating such as two loveseats perpendicular to each other. I would place one of the loveseats opposite the accent chair (in line with the doorway so that you don’t impede traffic flow). Another option is to replace the loveseat that will be facing the window with a pair of club chairs with an occasional or accent table in the middle. Then on the shared wall, the one that will have the accent chair in the corner, perhaps a small entertainment center or electric fireplace – something that will give the space “focus” or “purpose.”

Thanks for writing in! Let me know how it turns out.

British Colonial Style for the Living Room

Friday, February 11th, 2011

A British Colonial style living room has an appeal and allure that comes from exploring and spending time in exotic lands. While still retaining some of the flamboyance and opulence of the Victorian style, British Colonial living room furniture is noticeably smaller in scale, especially furnishings like the sofa, an armoire or a curio cabinet. The secret to a successful British Colonial living room décor is to mix polished woods with cool, light colored fabrics.

Color and Texture

Start with a cool color palette of green or blue or cooler toned yellows or reds; ones that are pastel or muted – you don’t want anything too bright. Deeper shades of earth toned colors are also good choices.

Plan to add texture wherever you can, but keep it balanced and sophisticated. Simple ways to give a décor a textured appearance is to pile the sofa with accent pillows in different fabrics and patterns; select a window treatment that uses two or more types of material; and place a botanical patterned, animal skin print or sisal area rug on the floor.

British Colonial Style Living Room Furniture

Living room furniture made of woods like mahogany, teak and tropical wood veneers is right at home in a British Colonial style living room. End tables, the coffee table, a console table and an accent chest often include exotic influences like shell motifs, cane accents or animal print insets or tabletops. For finishes you can choose shiny (polished) or “dull” (matte or distressed); if you want to include both, select mostly polished furnishings but add one or two distressed accent pieces to create visual interest (or vice versa).

Accessorizing British Colonial Style

Accessorizing British Colonial style is relatively easy; simply layer textures upon textures. Place a bamboo framed accent chair next to a traditional neutral fabric sofa with plenty of accent cushions in different materials. Include handmade wood candlesticks; a table lamp with a brocade shade in bold colors; an upholstered chair or ottoman in woven fabrics of natural materials.

Come back next Friday for British Colonial Style part 3 when I will be discussing how to create a traditional dining room with those little exotic touches that are visually stunning.

Plastic Furniture You’ll Want to Show Off

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Let’s face it – plastic furniture has a not-so-good reputation. When talking about outdoor furniture, most people agree that it is an economical and functional choice when choosing chairs and tables for the backyard, deck or balcony. But when purchasing furniture for the rooms of your home, that’s when plastic furniture gets a really bad rap, with words like “cheap-looking” and “flimsy” immediately springing to mind. But many designers like the creative freedom and challenges plastics give them when designing furniture pieces that will capture your imagination as much as your eye.

Plastic Furniture for the Bedroom

Plastics take many forms and a popular construction material for bedroom furniture such as headboards or bed benches is leatherette, a high-grade vinyl that has the surface look and feel of leather. While in some ways it is not as durable as leather, leatherette does have some lasting power and it is easier to maintain.

The Modloft New Ludlow Platform Bed in Black Leatherette displays strength of character and a Zen-like tranquility that is timeless. Visual interest is created by pairing the tall, tufted headboard with the low-profile design of the bed.

Plastic Furniture for the Dining Room

Plastic dining furniture has a modern vibe that is versatile and trendy. Lines flow; edges are smooth to the touch – there is something sleek yet energetic about an attention-grabbing dining chair or chic dining table made from one type of plastic or another.

The Global Furniture USA Neville Casual Dining Set transforms a space into a dining room where family and friends share a good meal, laugh together and exchange stories and ideas. The plastic dining chairs in different colors matched with the same colors in the base of the table adds a distinctive look that will give any dining room a contemporary (and fun) appeal.

Plastic Furniture for the Living Room

Don’t forget acrylic equals plastic too. Placing the Wholesale Interiors Baxton Studio Acrylic Magazine Coffee Table over a patterned area rug or in front of a colorful sofa will introduce a whimsical element into your living room interior design.

Molded and modern, the Avenue Six Slick Cube Modern Occasional Table is not only whimsical, it’s just plain fun.

Ditto for the Zuo Ripple Chair. Not only is this unique club chair a real eye-catcher, it is sure to be a conversation piece as well.

Lavish Traditional Style for your Living Room

Friday, January 21st, 2011

A lavish, opulent and imposing traditional style living room is an attractive and timeless place you and your family will want to spend time. Since a living room should be a place to relax, watch TV or enjoy an evening entertaining friends, it might seem counter-intuitive to use a traditional interior design to decorate this type of living space. But there is some about traditional living room furniture that reflects Old World design principles that are classic and enduring.

Set the Stage

The bolder the color palette of the walls and accessories the more lavish your traditional style living room will feel. Select a wall color or wallpaper pattern that will provide a dramatic backdrop to richly-toned wood accent tables, end tables and sofas. If you prefer softer shades, choose richer hues of classic neutrals such as beige, cream or silver paired with a bold colored accent wall. Another option is to paint the living room a neutral color, but wallpaper one wall as an accent point in the living room.

Traditional Style Living Room Furniture

Traditional style living room furniture should, of course, be made of woods such as walnut, teak, mahogany and palissander. Finishes are typically medium to dark in color and can be highly polished, distressed or anywhere in between. When selecting traditional style living room furniture with a lavish look and feel, focus on traditional sub styles such as Queen Anne, Sheraton, Chippendale or French Provencal. If you don’t want to stick to just one traditional sub style, simply pick furniture pieces like end tables, a coffee table or a console table that is typically opulent and elaborately decorated with detailed carvings, motifs and intricate scrollwork. For a truly luxurious look, choose a leather sofa with overstuffed rolled arms and tufted upholstery.

Lavish Traditional Style Accessorizing

To create a lavish traditional style atmosphere, when accessorizing you will want to add enough “layers” for visual effect or texture while still keeping the living room sophisticated yet “uncluttered.”

Window treatments that possess the formal look created by heavy panel curtains paired with sheers and a valance would not be out of place in a traditional style living room. For that extra luxurious feel choose materials like brocades, velvets or silks.

Another automatic place to pile on the luxury is the sofa (or any other kind of seating including accent chairs or club chairs) by selecting accent pillows in different materials. To really mix it up, throw some cushions made from nubby materials or with a “raised” pattern.

Select accessories like candlesticks, vases and decorative bowls with gold trim and/or detailing.

 Come back next Friday for Lavish Traditional Style part 3 when I will be discussing how to create a luxuriously indulgent bedroom environment.

Another Take on the Rustic Themed Living Room

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

The great thing about a rustic themed living room is that it can be as casual or formal as you would like it to be in a way that will perfectly capture your lifestyle. Blend Arts and Crafts with cottage country for transitional style furniture that might best be described as formal country or mix Arts and Crafts and with Mission for a more casual yet sophisticated look. The choice is yours. But whatever rustic themed focus you select, remember that lines are clean and profiles are simplified for living room furniture that is calm, tranquil and inviting.

The Arts and Crafts design style emerged out of Great Britain around the turn of the twentieth century as a reaction to the mass produced furniture of the Victorian era that essentially made cottage industries virtually disappear, putting many crafts people out of work. The Arts and Crafts movement emphasized traditional woodworking and metalwork skills, resulting in handcrafted furniture made of natural materials such as wood, including tables and other furnishings that incorporated metal decorative elements.

While of course today living room furniture is more mass-produced than handcrafted, Arts and Crafts furniture design principles are still popular because of their clean lines and simple profiles. The emphasis is on simplicity and the appearance or spirit of handcrafted furnishings. The Arts Crafts style can be especially welcome in a living room or family room where a casual yet inviting atmosphere is conducive to enhancing the quality time spent with family or entertaining friends.

The Arts and Crafts style furniture looks handcrafted. It typically has little ornamentation; when decorative elements are included, furnishings like coffee tables, end tables and accent chairs should appear as though they are handmade. For your rustic themed living room, Arts and Crafts furniture should have a straightforward design, an “organic” appearance and be functional as well as esthetically pleasing.

Mirror Mirror on the Table: Decorating with Mirrored Furniture

Friday, January 7th, 2011

By now, most of us have heard of the “smoke and mirrors” decorating trick to make a room appear more spacious than it really is. But the mirror doesn’t have to necessarily be on the wall in order to accomplish this sleight of hand. One or two pieces of mirrored accent furniture not only will create visual interest in a living room, bedroom, hallway or even the bathroom, but it can also, depending on where it is positioned in, help the room feel a bit more spacious.

The reason why a mirrored accent chest or table can help make a room appear larger is because, like a mirror on the wall, it “throws” light around a room. Especially when the mirrored accent chest is placed across from a doorway or window, mirrored accent furniture creates the illusion of depth. It can also layer a room with even more texture by reflecting the colorful design of an area rug; the pattern of a sofa or arm chair; or the delicate design of a chandelier.

Accent tables and accent chests lend charm to a living room, hallway or den, but mirrored accent furniture pieces add an element of drama and sophistication to the décor. Harkening back to the 1930s, 40s and 50s of Hollywood glamour, a well-placed mirrored accent chest or console cabinet can introduce a chic and stylish secondary focal point into a living space.

Decorating with mirrored furniture can give the décor a touch of romance, particularly in a bedroom. Since accent chests and other types of accent furniture are available in a range of sizes and shapes, choose one with undulating lines to enhance its reflective surfaces to really bring out its romantic nature. It can also provide a room with an extra little splash or sparkle that will reflect your unique style and taste.

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