How and where to place your tv

So, if you are like many other people you struggle with where and how to place your tv. The reality is most of us still have large televisions in our homes. Even if we spend a lot of time watching Netflix and Prime on our laptops. It can be a challenge to decide where it should go, living room? family room? den? And of course, where ever it goes, it dictates the furniture placement.

Do you put it centre stage in your room? But what about when it is off, and it becomes a big black hole in the room? Not typically what we all want as our room’s feature. Well for most women anyways, men can be fine with this. Lol

Sometimes, due to the size and shape of your family room or living room, it has to go above the fireplace. Not the ideal option, in my opinion and I struggled with this in our current new build. But sometimes, it is the only option.

I’ve listed a few methods here to help you disguise the big black box in the room.

  1. Hide it
    Well, at least part of the time. A media cabinet with either doors to close when not in use or one that is open with shelves, takes the focus off the television. This can also work for mounted tvs. A mounted cabinet can be built that allows for a decorative feature or artwork to show, when the doors are closed. And then there is these new tvs that look like art when they are not on. I just may be asking for one of these when our tv needs to be replaced. The Frame by Samsung is one that I have my eye on, pun intended ūüėČ
  2. Make it part of a feature wall
    Aka¬†” If you can beat them, join them.” ¬†Mount the television and then add a gallery wall of photos and art. By adding decorative pieces around it, the tv becomes part of the gallery. ¬†I also like to use a dark media cabinet so that the tv and cabinet read as one piece.
  3. Blend it
    Paint or wallpaper the wall behind the tv in a dark colour. This makes such a huge difference. The big black box won’t stand out when it’s off and it’ll make for a better picture experience when it is on, as any glare will be reduced. This photo below is a client’s home showing how we wallpapered the tv wall in a dark colour to blend the tv and dark media cabinet. TV placement
  4. Embrace it
    By putting it above your fireplace, you make it part of the focal point. Make sure you get some guidelines from your television manufacturer since the type of tv and fireplace you have will dictate the specific clearances you’ll need. You’ll also have to keep in mind the distance between your sofa and tv, since optimal television viewing states that the tv be at eye level. This is not usually possible when placing it over the fireplace.

In our new build we have a very small living room on the main floor which will need to have a tv. Not a huge tv but a tv nonetheless. It also has only three walls, one that has a large, low window, one that has a fireplace with two windows on each side and then one long blank wall. So I went back and forth about whether or not to place the tv over the fireplace. Like seriously, back and forth, thinking about it at night, making a decision, then changing my mind.

We finally made the decision which I’ll share soon. I hope these suggestions help you in your quest to find the perfect place for your tv.

 

 

 

 

Downsizing 101 and basement plans

That’s right! We are downsizing and have purchased a new builder home that will be ready in a little over a year.

It’s a long time to wait, but it gives us plenty of time to get our ducks in a row such as, disposing and donating many items and it gives me lots of time to play with the exact design and decor I want for this new chapter in our lives.

QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN DOWNSIZING

So if you are thinking of moving in the same direction or even if you are purchasing a condo or a smaller already on the market home, here’s some things to keep in mind.

Think about how you live or about how you want to live. Ask yourselves these questions.

How much space is needed for entertaining family and friends?

How many bedrooms or home offices are necessary?

Parking requirements

Ease of maintenance

Take the time to think about this and what your priorities will be for the next few years (we like to use 10 years in our plans). Write them down and compare them with your spouse or partner. It is so much easier to have a priority/dream list when you are out there looking for your next home.

For us, even though we are downsizing, we wanted a bungalow with a double car garage, space for two home offices, a guest room and an open plan for entertaining.

The layout we went with is approximately 1600 square feet without the basement. It has a very open layout with the kitchen, living room and dining room as one large room. This works well for us and when our large family comes to visit. There are two bedrooms and den in our plan and we will be converting the second bedroom to a second den. Click here to see our main floor plan from my previous post.

BASEMENT PLANS

Now onto the basement plans. This model’s¬†basement comes partially finished with a family room and we will be completing it with a guest bedroom, exercise room and a full bath. This will give us lots of room to entertain and host family events.

 

Basement downsizing

 

We will leave the family room (or games room as it is called on the plan) will stay as it is. But we will be adding a gas fireplace centered on the back wall.

Bedroom #2 will be our exercise room and bedroom #1 will be our guest room, right beside the bathroom (which we are also keeping as per the plan). This gives us quite a bit of space for storage in the back room.

We want the family room to have a large seating area with a projector for movie watching. I also wanted a table with four chairs for games and hobbies as well as a large contemporary shelving unit for books and other items. I think we are bringing our pool table with us so that will take up a good chunk of the space. ¬†It’s a little challenging to design as there is a post right centered about 8′ from the fireplace. I’ll be sharing a few of the design options in a later post.

One thing to mention about basements is that there needs to be alot of light. So make sure you think of that at this early stage. Our builder has placed quite a few pot lights in the space so I will be concentrating on supplemental lighting exactly where we need it.

So again, think about how you need the space to function and write your priority list. It’s a must!

NEXT STEPS AND WHEN TO HIRE A DESIGNER OR DECORATOR

Once you’ve signed on the dotted line for a newly build home, keep in mind that the questions and decisions will be coming at you fast and furious. It can be quite overwhelming.

Many major decisions need to be made quickly, so now is the time to hire a decorator or designer. They can walk you through these steps and give you some guidelines on where to spend and where to save. I’ve already made quite a few decisions,¬†you can read some of them here.

Once you’ve decided on your new home and it’s layout, it’s time to look at your current furniture and ask these questions.

What will fit?

What do you need?

What can be multi purpose?

What can be reupholstered, repaired or painted?

I literally listed all my current furniture and then measured everything. I also thought about how it could be used (not only where it is used now). Keep an open mind about this. Lots of items can be repurposed. Downsizing can be liberating and fun!

Next post, I’ll be talking about exterior finishes and how to coordinate them.

 

 

 

 

Log home dining room update

It’s certainly been awhile, but I’m back with my last post on my log cottage renovations and makeovers.¬†This time I’m sharing my log home dining room. Also if you’d like to read the other log home posts here they are:

Living room makeover

Modern log home bath renovation

Log home sunroom

Fresh and bright log home kitchen renovation

 And back to the dining room. Here is what it looks like now.

Log home dining room after

Photo credit: Mark Hollaron

It started off like this.

Log home dining room before Log home dining room before

Log home dining room before

So as you can see there weren’t a huge amount of changes in this room. It was actually a make under., I took away alot of things. Here’s exactly what I did.

Log home dining room changes

I also painted out our hutch in a sunny yellow chalk paint. It was originally dark brown, you can see it here and how I did it’s makeover ¬†in this post. Also, this hutch and the buffet (used in the front entry and also painted the same yellow) and the table in the sunroom (painted a bright green) were all from the same set. So don’t be afraid to break up sets and paint them in fun colours.

Blue and green plate wall

The plate wall is done and continues to be a work in progress. As I collect plates, I’ll add them to this display. I wrote about this plate wall and how the plates are hung in this post. Obviously, ¬†I really need a better photo showing these plates over the buffet now.

Also just visible in the left corner of this picture is the window seat. I had new window seats made in a soft blue and finished them with some fun throw pillows in various textures, patterns and colours.

Log home dining room

And I am still not quite done with this log home dining room. I’ve been wanting to paint out the windsor chairs in a black for a long time. Maybe one of these days I’ll get around to it or have someone do it for me. I think it would be a great update to the space.

And that amazing open black lantern is from Troy Lighting. I instantly fell in love and it was my first cottage purchase and also the first item we installed.

Here’s the before and after for you one last time. Sorry about the quality of the before picture.

Log home dining room before

Log home dining room after

Photo credit: Mark Hollaron

You can check out more of my log home in the online version of Ottawa at Home’s Summer edition 2018.

 

 

Breaking up the squares

Round table versus square

Breaking up the squares? What am I talking about? And exactly what does shape have to do with design? Well, actually a lot. It is one of the things that we unconsciously notice in a room and it can either make us feel at ease or uncomfortable.

Think of a room that you may have been in, that is all rectangular and square furniture. A large rectangular sofa together with square armchairs and a square coffee table and end tables. Add the square or rectangle shaped art and perhaps even an area rug that is, you guessed it, either a square or rectangle. Often you’ll see institutional waiting rooms, like hospitals, schools, community centres which are decorated like this. This doesn’t help with our sense of unease or make us feel like we want to stay awhile. Everything feels hard and well….not so friendly.

Now, think of a room that has rounded or curved furniture. Typically you may see this in spas, bars and coffee houses. Round tables with chairs, a cute curved banquet to sit at or a friendly furniture arrangement around a round coffee table or ottoman. Now don’t you feel more comfortable and want to stay awhile?

It is the same way with our homes. Too many squares and cubes like armchairs and sofas? The remedy is simple. Round, oval or asymmetrical accessories or furnishings. Ottomans, coffee tables, end tables or mirrors in a rounded shape are the perfect way to counteract all the squares and rectangles that are so common in our fixtures and furnishings. An asymmetrical piece like a cowhide rug or even artwork will also help break up all the squares. Even by adding in a round vase, pendant or table lamp can change your room’s feel. This is definitely one of the most common things I suggest to a client during a consultation.

Another benefit to using oval or round furniture is that they often help with traffic flow. If you have a tight dining room consider swapping out your rectangular dining table for a round one. All of a sudden the flow is better and it is more conductive to table talk. Same thing goes for a round coffee table.

This is the before of the kitchen above. A kitchen is obviously primarily square due to all the cabinetry, sink, countertops and appliances. Add that to the fact that they are all hard surfaces. Just by changing out the rectangular table for a round one in this example served two purposes. It breaks up all the squares and it makes for an easier traffic flow to the sliding door. To read more about this renovation, click here.

Rectangular table versus round

Ahh..now that’s better.

So consider even adding in a round pendant light or mirror to your room that is full of cubes, it will definitely help to break up all the squares!

 

 

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.