Order (and style) in the house.
Q. I'm looking for furniture ideas for my family room. I need something to go beside the fireplace that will hide a DVD player and cable box. I also hate my sofas, so any suggestions for new ones are welcome! And I'd like to change the wall colour.
— T.B., via email (To submit your own question, see our Ask A Designer™ page.
A. Your room is really well put together, but I understand the need for change. Going a few shades lighter than your current wall colour will instantly freshen things up. Neither Antique White (43YY78/053) nor Southern Shadow (40YY74/056) (both shown above) from CIL's Realife collection is a big departure from what you have now, but it will make a difference.
I like using freestanding bookcases on either side of a fireplace instead of built-ins. As our inspiration shot shows, it's a great way to introduce symmetry, establish the fireplace as a focal point and offer open storage to access TV and stereo equipment. If you prefer closed storage, the black lacquered Kiyoshi sideboard (shown) from Greentea Design has a simple Asian-inspired look that suits many different styles. Tuck your equipment in one and consider getting a Logitech Harmony 900 remote control — it lets you operate all devices using one remote and works through a closed cabinet door. Finish the effect by hanging a piece of colourful artwork over each cabinet.
As for your sofas, a favourite of mine is the Newman (shown) from Barrymore Furniture. The gently sloped thin arms and high tapered legs give it a beautiful profile that won't crowd the space. You have plenty of room, so go for two the same size instead of a sofa-loveseat combo. Your armchair has great lines and only needs a white cotton slipcover similar to the one on the C2450-01 chair (shown) from Lee Industries to get it ready for spring.
Finally, a couple of sculptural boxwood topiaries (shown) will bring a little of the outdoors inside.
1. C2450-01 chair, Lee Industries. 2. Dome topiary, Ballard Designs. 3. Kiyoshi sideboard, Greentea Design. 4. Paint, from left: Antique White (43YY78/053), Southern Shadow (40YY74/056), CIL at Canadian Tire. 5. Newman sofa, Barrymore Furniture.