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Decorating tips for that two-story family room....

Updated: Mar 3, 2020

Living Room

Hey, Hey everyone! So I thought I'd venture my blog away from my own personal home to some common questions and concerns I receive from my followers. I think this will give you all some more inspiration from others homes, especially if you have a common layout. After I posted this picture from The Jacob Home project on my BDesign'D Facebook page, I was contacted by "Jen" asking how she can make her living room feel more like home. Jen also has a two story living room that even after 10 years, still did not feel "cozy enough".


We all know that room. The two story family or living room right off the kitchen that has loads of room and windows and WALL SPACE. As much as we love an open concept home, once we start decorating the questions arise. How do I set up the furniture to get the most function out of the room? Where do I place the drapes on the large arched windows? What do I do with all this wall space?!

What I first noticed was that all the furniture was placed against the walls. One of my first blog posts discusses why its better to keep the furniture away from the walls. You can read about that here. I completely understand that with these layouts, it may seem like the right thing to do, however it can end up backfiring and making the room feel smaller and disorganized. Another thing I noticed was that everything, both furniture and accessories, are pretty much in the same color family. Browns, reds, oranges are all great colors but by staying in this color scheme can make the room feel monotone and dark. Lastly, besides the oversized chair, there are no patterns or different textures to balance out all of the single toned fabrics.


The good news is that this room is not a lost cause. The sectional, chair and TV placement are all things Jen said needed to stay and that's fine because with a little furniture rearrangement, additional accessories and more colors, this will feel like a whole new room!


For this blog post, I opted to keep the paint color in the room because as you can see (and not see) changing the paint in here would change it up the stairs and in adjacent rooms as well. My suggestions will also work if Jen wants to switch up the paint down the line!

First change to happen is the layout. I recommend moving the China Cabinet to where the chair and credenza are to create height on that wall and match the scale of the steps going up. The credenza can then be placed on that back left wall (centered) with a mirror over it to reflect the natural light from all the windows. The sectional needs to be pulled away from the large window, turned and more centered in the room. Both the fireplace and TV are the focal point of this room so that dictates how the furniture should line up. There will still be plenty of walking room to get to the stairs. The oversized chair would be perfect in that one corner by the fireplace! Add a floor lamp, small side table and you have a very cozy reading nook.


I put together some boards to show exactly how I envision this room to be. These boards are great for all of my projects because I describe all the details to my clients so there is no confusion. For larger projects, I also do a 3D Design which is a fantastic way of seeing how everything will look when the project is complete.

Accessory Design Board

One thing that can be tricky to some is where to place the drapery for arched windows. While you can hang them from below the arch to just frame the lower portion, I feel that can cut the window in half and have them appear to be smaller than they are. The best place is above the arches as this will elongate the windows. In Jen's case, there is no crown molding so for the large side window I'd put the hardware at the top part of the wall and then for the side windows by the fireplace have them be the same height (since that wall goes up much higher). I'd suggest lighter drapes, ones that have a slight pattern on them. I'd go a soft ivory color, not beige or tan since the trim is white.


In regards to the furniture and accessories, I suggest adding a transitional style area rug with a pattern to create interest. Bring in different metals and stone to offset the wood furniture. A stone coffee table and a round metal side table would be a great fit here, along with different style lamps. It's ok to mix and match! Add in some blue striped pillows and a yellowish throw to welcome some more colors. The walls are still all bare so I suggest hanging some mid sized art on either side of the large window. I find art to be a personal selection but Jen should bring in artwork that is harmonious with the colors in the chair. A round mirror over the credenza will reflect the natural light that comes in and brighten that corner up. Another lamp, candles and family pictures will complete the look. For the stairs going up, wall galleries are great. Have fun with it! Mix and match sizes and shapes, add signs in the middle of pictures or small mirrors. I would recommend to tape it out before hanging the pictures though. Pinterest has so many inspirational ideas and tips here.


One last thing, that if you've been following me and have seen my projects on either Instagram or Facebook, you've seen that I always add greenery. Every home needs them! Whether you opt for real or faux (like me haha), greenery is proven to improve concentration, reduce stress and boost your mood. Ok, I think they are talking more real in these cases BUT even though I bring in faux greenery, it still makes me so happy. There are plenty of places that have faux greenery that looks real as well so if you choose to go faux, at least make sure it doesn't look too plastic.


Jen's room has so much potential and I trust that with these simple changes, her living room will feel cozy and relaxing!


Until next time friends!


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