Best Paint Colors

December 3, 2008

Living Room As Entryway

Q. Our house is a small, 75-year-old inner city home. Our front room is used to read, relax, entertain, and leads the way from our front door to the rest of our home. How do I change this room to make it comfortable and a stunning first impression of our home?

— Gayle Horvath

A. The room that acts as an entryway to the rest of our homes is often overlooked. Whether mudroom, foyer or living room, these spaces should be designed to represent and introduce your style and the rest of your house.

Firstly, in your alcove, add a bench or built-in seat along the width of the wall. Topped with a thick, upholstered cushion, the bench will make the alcove seem much more welcoming, and can house shoes and boots underneath. Install crown moulding painted a warm white in your alcove as well as all around the living room, and think about painting the alcove walls a different colour, like a welcoming red, or installing wainscotting in the same creamy white as the crown moulding, just to allow this area to be a little different and interesting. Don’t forget to add a mirror here — it is a must in an entryway.

Your living room furniture is beautiful; the checker table, armoire and chairs are lovely. The chairs under the window create a pretty seating area, but need more colour to complete the visual. A simple addition like a white or clear glass vase filled with bright pink tulips would make that setting pop. Since you have such nice wood furniture, think about painting your window casings white, like the new crown moulding. This will instantly offer contrast to the warm paint colour and wood furniture, as well as extra interest.

Some of the windows are too close to the walls for drapes, so consider roman or roller blinds in a stripe or natural woven material to rejuvenate the windows.

Paint your fireplace mantel and even the brick white like the new trim, and think about slipcovering your blue sofa and striped armchair in natural, off-white cotton denim. This will instantly update the room, and allow any other fabrics you introduce to stand out. Install a grouping of mirrors, photos or artwork over the now-blue sofa, to add interest to this wall. Add a large area rug in a neutral jute or sisal to anchor the sitting area facing the fireplace, which will also offer more warmth to the room. Move your now-striped chair closer to the fireplace, at an angle, and use the chest as a coffee table. If you treat the leather chair the same way, they will both seem more open and inviting. With the chest as coffee table, you might not need the small farmer’s bench/table beside the leather chair.