Decorating & Design

Ask A Designer: Cosy Living Room

Q. I live in a great old home with lots of character. However, I’m struggling with my living room: it’s L-shaped, and I want to make it cosier and make the spaces work together.

— M.S., Powell River, B.C. (To submit your own question, see our Ask A Designer™ page.)

A. Fill in blank spaces.

Your green velvet sofa and chair are right on trend, and work really well with your existing wall colour. The other half of the room looks somewhat empty in comparison, so focus on filling it in to make the two spaces work better together. Take a look at the inspiration shot (above) with four chairs grouped around a coffee table. This arrangement will make great use of your space and be nice for entertaining or playing board games. The Martha Stewart Maddox slope-arm chair (shown) is a perfect choice. It’s a good size, and will nicely contrast your existing sofa and chair.

Unify the room with accessories.

Once the upholstered pieces are in place, add in elements in both areas to link them together, like lamps, accent tables and throw pillows. Consider buying two Crate & Barrel Braiden coffee tables (shown). Use one with the new chairs and one to replace the existing table. Try the same with the Robert Abbey Real Simple Boom floor lamp (shown): place one near the sofa and one with the new chairs.

Update window coverings.

Replace the vertical blinds (which can be harsh looking) with sheer panels similar to the ones behind your sofa. Hang them on a decorative metal rod with drapery rings. Another good option is roller shades in a sheer fabric that can roll up out of the way.

Bring in soft texture and colour.

Use the same type of rug in each seating arrangement, but choose two different ones with complementary patterns. Elte’s striped flat-weave rug in Blonde and Grey would look great under the chairs, with their Moorish rug by the sofa (both shown). Finally, add some linen pillows in shades of green and blue on both sides of the room; try Thomas Paul’s Robin throw pillow in Moss and Blossom throw pillow in Duck Egg (both shown).

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1. Real Simple Boom floor lamp, Robert Abbey. 2. Martha Stewart Maddox slope-arm chair, Bernhardt. 3. Moorish (left) and Blonde and Grey Stripe rugs, Elte. 4. Robin throw pillow in Moss (left), Blossom throw pillow in Duck Egg, Thomas Paul. 5. Braiden coffee table, Crate & Barrel.