Group Therapy: Paulette's Decorating Dilemma

Paulette reached out to me a few weeks ago to chat about her living room and how to best arrange the space. She has a long, narrow living room that makes it hard to configure her furniture to really utilize the square footage.

 Paulette has some really great pieces. How fabulous is that campaign chest and gallery wall?

This is what Paulette had to say about her family's living space:

I'm looking to change the sofa, rug and coffee table (it's just too much wood). I want to try to lighten up the space and figure out something to do in the area behind the chair. It's essentially another room which the kids tend to play because there is absolutely nothing there. I was thinking about using it as more of a sitting area, but I am not sure how to divide the areas and place the furniture.  My kids are 5 and 7, so we have finally hit the stage where toys are kept in the room, but I do want the kids to feel like they can also hang out there. I bought some simple white curtains from IKEA and add trim if need be for color. I would call my style transitional. I do have a tendency to be scared of color but am trying to step out a bit – thus the camping dresser in peacock blue.

Alright Paulette, here's what I would do – take it for what it's worth!

To split the living room and sitting area into two separate areas, I would move that tan accent chair into the sitting area and angle the two chairs in the corner. I would replace that chair with a chaise lounge or long upholstered bench – either of those options would allow you to have the same seating but keep the rooms opened to one another better than any furniture piece with a high back. The low-profile nature of a chaise lounge or bench allows the eye to see easily into each area and for the people in each room to interact easily, but it still provides the separation you're looking for to delineate the sections of the room.

Here are some pieces I think would look nice in the living area. I tried to find affordable pieces because what good is it to suggest furniture that is overly expensive? I hate it when people do that! This is real life; most of us can't spend a fortune on a throw pillow!

One thing I think always helps lighten up a space – like Paulette wants to do – is to get brighter rugs and incorporate mirrors. Mirrors bounce light around the room and really make a space feel lighter and more glamorous.

Paulette's Living Room

I would create the seating area in the back corner using the two existing tan chairs and bring in some colorful pillows to tie the two chairs together and coordinate with the red chairs from the dining room.

Paulette's Sitting Area

Another thing I would do is create a small desk area on that empty wall leading to the back door. If not a full fledged desk, that would be a great spot for a colorful console and some big artwork.

Paulette's Desk Area

Enough of what I would do – what would YOU do if you had Paulette's space? Share your thoughts in the comments section. Let's help Paulette tackling this decorating dilemma!

If you have a tricky situation in your own home that you want us to discuss on the blog, shoot me an email at jgrantham106@gmail.com. Thanks so much for writing, Paulette. It brings me true joy when blog readers reach out to me with thoughts and questions, and I LOVE to discuss decorating!

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  1. I think the middle area is screaming for a u-shaped sectional or seating arrangement! Maybe one of the IKEA affordable ones. Then move the existing furniture down to the area by the glass door for the children's area. Add a cubby shelf for storage on that right side wall or behind the part of the sectional closest to that area, so it would be hidden from the dining area. Add a skinny sofa table behind the sectional, maybe on the window wall, for lamps. I think (blue?) patterned curtains in the entire space would tie all the spaces together and add interest. That rug is awesome! Put it in the middle area with a coffee table. I also really like the red desk and art you chose, Jordan, for that wall or behind the sectional closest to the children's area. I agree the red ties to the dining room color . Agree with your bird pillow selections also!

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  3. First, I really like Paulette's space. If it were my space I'd buy a sectional, but one that has a chaise lounge that you described. I would put the chaise lounge side of the sectional closest to the dining room to divide the living room and dining room. Something like the shape of the Rooms to Go Meridian sectional. I also think a fabric storage ottoman/coffee table would be perfect to soften the space. It would be great for kid storage as well.

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