Furnish a room in 6 easy steps

Are you looking for help to furnish a room? Here’s my six steps that you can follow to furnish your perfect space. I’ll be using one of my client’s living room as an example. Click here to see the original post. 

Here’s the before so you can see where we started from.

So you can see from the before pictures that we were basically starting from scratch the only thing that we kept was the television.

FUNCTION AND FEEL

The first thing I asked this client was questions on how she wanted the room to function. This is key to having a room that works for you and your family. Form always follows function.

For this client, she wanted space for her and her son and to entertain guests. She knew she needed more storage, better lighting and comfortable seating. She also wanted to address the drapery treatment and was already planning to put in hardwood floors.

I also ask my clients how they want the room to feel. This really helps to fine tune your design choices. This client wanted fresh, beachy and bright. So take a moment to think how you want your room to function and feel.

LAYOUT

So once you have the function question answered, draw up a little sketch or use an online program of your space. I use the paid version of Room Sketcher but they do have a simplified free version available here . Better Homes and Gardens has one as well. I haven’t used it but you can click here to go to their site.

Play around and see what works. This is the key step you need to furnish your room. At this point don’t be too concerned with colours, these design plans often have limited colour choices, right now you are most concerned about what will fit.

If you are looking at your family room and you need seating for 4-6 people. Well, now you can decide whether you want a sofa that is long enough for napping, with a love seat and a chair. Or do you want two love seats and two chairs? This is where you will see what will actually fit and what won’t. Keep in mind that you need a minimum of 3-4′ of space for traffic flow areas and that coffee tables should be at least 18″ from sofa/chairs to be useful and comfortable.

FOR EXAMPLE

Here’s what the living room and adjoining dining room layout looked like for this client.

Living room and dining room layout

Living room and dining room layout

If the program has 3D rendering it will really help you visualize the space. I find it very useful to help clients visualize and for deciding on item’s heights. This is also where I focus of the shapes of items. Since most furniture is square or rectangle I try to incorporate some round, oval or irregular shapes to balance the design.

Living room 3D rendering

Living room/dining room layout 3D

A sectional worked well in this small living area and maximized the seating as well as comfort factor. A colourful occasional chair adds some pattern and can be pulled up closer to the sectional when company is over or even used at the dining table when needed.

A television console with cupboards, a large coffee table with drawers and shelves and a dining room buffet situated between the living room and dining room offers storage for both rooms. It also gives her a place to put a larger table lamp and add in a small gallery wall.

My client ended up going with a sofa with a chaise lounger at one end instead of a full sectional as she didn’t want to block too much light from the window. The key here was she knew what size of sectional/sofa would work and then she went shopping. She also decided to wait on getting an area rug and see if she really missed having one or not. Design is fluid and often Plan B or Plan C is utilized as you go along.

FURNISH

Now make a list of the pieces you will need to furnish this room. Perhaps you will be using something you already have. Just make sure that the dimensions work in your layout. Remember to measure everything so that you don’t have any unexpected surprises. It’s also very important to measure your main door frame or any stairs to ensure you can get any larger pieces of new furniture in your house or up or down the stairs!!

This is also where you want to think about window treatments. Do you need blinds and drapes, or just blinds. Is privacy or sun protection an issue? If so, you definitely want to ensure you have blinds or at least lined drapery.

Furnish a room in 6 easy steps

Also don’t forget the lighting and smaller case goods, like end tables, foot stools, night tables, etc…. This is the best place to play with placement and see if you can fit in a floor lamp or perhaps even a large house plant in that corner.

Here is the mood board for this project. This was done up together with a list of items to be ordered/purchased and their costs.

Mood board living room and dining room

BUDGET

We can’t forget the budget. It really does make some decisions for you. I am a splurge and save kind of gal, as I love a few luxury pieces but then my practical side comes in. I LOVE to find a bargain or perhaps repurpose or reuse an item.

Make up a spreadsheet with the list of the items you need to purchase/find on the left and then start sourcing with your budget in mind. As you go along you will have to decide where to splurge and where to save or perhaps plan for a larger purchase over time.

Furnish a room in 6 easy steps

COLOUR SCHEME

Now this is where the colour scheme comes in. Are you using some existing pieces? Use them as your guide. An area rug, art piece or even the fabric on a throw cushion can be your jumping off point for the colour scheme. Keep in mind the colours in the rest of your home and how much light this room gets. If this is a main room, you want to ensure that it won’t clash with the hallway or other rooms adjacent to it.

If you need further inspiration or are starting from scratch, look around your home, what is your favourite room? What colours are in there? Or do a Pinterest search and just start pinning rooms that you love. A common colour thread will emerge quickly.

Once you have decided on the colours of all the major pieces you can now choose a paint colour. Paint colours should always come last. As it is much easier to choose a paint colour to go with your sofa fabric than the other way around.

Furnish a room in 6 easy steps

ACCESSORIES

Once you have made all these decisions and ordered your furniture you can start the fun part. Accessory shopping! You can either shop your home or hit the stores for the finishing touches. I like to keep at least 10% of the budget for accessories. Don’t skip this step, it gives your room it’s personality. Buy more accessories than you think you’ll need so that you can try them out in your space. Just make sure that there is a good store exchange policy so that you can return the items that are not needed.

Furnish a room in 6 easy steps

That’s it you are done!

Now sit back and enjoy your perfect space.

And if all of this seems way too complicated or time consuming for you, just contact me.

I’d be happy to help design your perfect room.

Whether from start to finish or by just giving you the design plans to do it yourself. It’s entirely up to you.

How to furnish and love a long narrow living room in 5 easy steps

Do you have a long narrow living room? Are you a little puzzled on how to go about using it to it’s full potential or at the least making it appear less long and narrow? These quick tips will definitely help you.

1.  First off, do not make the shorts walls a featured area. That is, don’t paint it a different colour than the other walls or put wallpaper on just this one wall. That will draw your eye right to the other end of the room and emphasize it’s narrowness.  So, no accent walls of paint or wallpaper, and if possible, do not put the television or fireplace there.

2.  Do try and place the television/fireplace or other focal pieces, on one of the long walls. This will redirect your focus there.

3. Place furniture away from the short walls wherever possible. So that they will be drawn more into the center of the room.  Creating two seating areas works well in a long narrow living room and enables it to be used to it’s full potential.

4. Built ins or shelving units are your friend.  They can be used on the short walls to create some additional storage and they will inevitably cause the room to be shortened in length. Especially if one of the longer walls has a focal point, as in the image below, the window wall will draw your attention before the shelving unit does.

5. Don’t be afraid of larger pieces of furniture, like sectionals, they work especially well for long narrow living rooms. They take up less space than a sofa and love seat and give you just as much seating, if not more, and allow you to stretch out to watch your favourite shows….hello, Netflix.

Recently, I did up a floor plan for a client with a long narrow living room and here are the two options I gave her.  There is an interesting closet like space at the end of the room that we needed to work with, you know….. old homes and all their character. The challenge in this long narrow living room was accommodating the two entrances and windows and the traffic flow. Also, keep in mind drawings are for design layout purposes only and not necessarily suggestions for colour or specific pieces.

Long narrow Living room Option 1 –  long narrow living room - layout

The alcove at the end of the room is brought forward by using it as another seating area. Placing a console with a piece of art above and two matching chairs in front make this space functional.  Having the television in the middle of one of the long walls allows it to become a feature.
long narrow living room - design option long narrow living room - design option

Long narrow Living room Option 2 – 

The left side of the room remains the same, with the right side accommodating a built in bookcases and storage.
long narrow living room - layout
long narrow living room - design option
So what’s your favourite Option for a long narrow living room?
Lisa

Update on my updates

So I thought I’d give everyone a little update on what’s been happening at my house this December. (Click here to see my previous post about what we were planning). We’ve had the painter in for 3 weeks now and it looks like we will be done early next week.  Phew! It’s been a bit of a long haul having the whole house painted at once, every night is spent putting a room back to together and taking another one apart.  I’m so looking forward to that being over.

So the living room, lower and upper hallways have been painted in Benjamin Moore’s Grandma’s China and doesn’t it look so very fresh and clean?

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The kitchen is soft and lovely in Subway Tile.  I love the way the gray/blue looks against the warm wood.

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We also decided at the last minute to do the den in the same colour, instead of Picket Fence.  Pics of that room later, we are still putting it back together.

I hate to play favourites, but the dining room is the best….shhh…don’t tell the others. This is Andes Summit and I’m in love with the colour, so rich and dramatic. Perfect for entertaining.

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My master bedroom went just a bit darker than it was, as I was keeping the wallpapered accent wall.

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The family room, sunroom, guest bathroom are also done but I haven’t got a great picture of them yet as we are having this done as well and the mess is encroaching on those two rooms.

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I know, I know, I’m crazy for doing this now.  But really, it should all be done by next Tuesday….fingers crossed.

Lisa

Guest room mood board, living room designs and some reno updates

I hope you’ve been enjoying some of the spectacular weather that has been happening.  Makes it really hard to spend the day at the computer, but I may just be bringing it out on the deck.  It has sure been a busy few weeks here.  I’ve just finished a guest room mood board for a client.  Keeping in mind that we wanted to stay on a tight budget for this basement guest room, with a light and fresh beachy feel, here is the mood board.

Laidlaw Guest Room-001

The background colour is the room’s current colour – Benjamin Moore’s – Collingwood OC-28.  And I’ve suggested painting the existing unmatching wood side tables in New Hope Gray 2130-50.  A sheer pretty roll up blind for the tiny  window is perfect to let the light in. A soft upholstered headboard in a linen fabric keeps the bed looking fresh and clean and works well with the existing soft blue/gray tone on tone paisley bedding.  A mirror in a fun shape and a simple bright white dresser are perfect for storage needs and a graphic striped runner completes the beachy feel.

I’m also working on a client’s family room that is very long and narrow.  With dimensions of  23′ x 9′,  it’s a tricky one.  I’m loving the suggestions found on Pinterest, check out my Long Narrow Rooms board to see some of the inspiration photos I’ve collected.

Also on my desk, is the finishing touches to a client’s living and dining room that is all things minimal and modern, oh yes…and with lots of Indian touches and style.  Having lots of brilliantly coloured artwork to play with makes me a happy designer 🙂

And we also been having some fun with the cottage renovations, the sunroom roof was replaced and some skylights removed at the same time.  Lots of mess, but heaven knowing we will not have any more water pouring into it, when it rains heavily.  And we will be replacing some tile flooring in there as well, stay tuned for a tile repair that will look like an entrance rug…fingers crossed….

Hubby is also in the process of making a fire table for the cottage deck.  Lots of stone and concrete bought for it and here’s hoping he has some time in the near future to actually get it finished.  I’m looking forward to leisurely sitting around the fire with a glass of wine while enjoying the river view.  Here’s our inspiration –

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Via www.techo-bloc.com website

And in anticipation of having a beautiful fire table to sit at, I’ve ordered some outdoor fabrics to make some cosy pillows for our rather hard wood chairs.

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Well, you’re all caught up now, on what I’ve been up too.  How’s your summer going so far?

Lisa

Mixing up fabric textures in a room

Last spring, I started redoing my family room, I shared my new sofa and coffee table in a previous post, shown below.

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I have always loved tufting and classic chairs so I went with this very traditional style.  Very different styling from my sofa and exactly what I was looking for.  I wanted large and comfortable for tv watching.

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But  since I was lusting over velvet,  I went with a hard wearing velvet that is cosy and practical.

This photo below shows the sofa fabric on the right, the floral fabric I had chosen for the throw pillows, and  the blue velvet sample.  As you can see I didn’t match the blue exactly in the throw pillows, it just references the blue.  Notice how different the fabric textures are? A woven for the sofa, a linen for the pillows and a velvet for the chairs, this makes the pieces much more interesting together.

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Did you notice the nail heads accenting the legs? Details, really make a piece sing.

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So would you do velvet or do you think it is too traditional?

And on another note, I did get back to my table this weekend. Hubby and I worked on the sanding down the table top which was much more time consuming than we thought.  Here’s how it looks now.

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Obviously we have a little more work to do…..dreading having to sand the intricate apron, as that will have to be done by hand…sigh.

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But I did get finish putting the dark wax on the base.  I’ll follow it up with a coat of clear wax when I’ve finished sanding the top.  I think you can see the depth the dark wax gives the finish (please ignore the sanding residue on the stretcher, I guess I didn’t clean that off too well).   Signature-00133