artfulartichoke

Grown Up Living Room

artfulartichoke
May 31, 2013
What can I do to make our living room feel more cozy and comfortable? I like color a lot, but I'm not sure how to use it. This is an apartment we are living in for the next year or so while my boyfriend finishes school, so I'd rather not paint. Our budget is small, but I don't mind buying a few things we can take with us.

Thanks for the help!

Comments (52)

  • charleee
    Your yellow table and orange chair, do you see how they pop? I would paint the coffee table turquoise! Maybe a cool floor lamp: [houzz=
    Brella Arc Floor Lamp - White - Buy Floor Lamps Lighting & Arco Floor Lamp - Mil · More Info
    ]
    artfulartichoke thanked charleee
  • Beth Bourque
    You really need some art on your walls. You can buy posters and prints and pick up great frames for them at thrift stores.
    artfulartichoke thanked Beth Bourque
  • PRO
    Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
    I'm on the same page with olldbobbi. I'd add turquoise in the form of a couple of pillows for the sofa. I like the first one below because it also has the yellow in it and costs only $24 from Islimi on Etsy. If you have an Ikea near you, they're great for pillows and artwork, and many, many other wonderful things!
    turquoise ikat pillow · More Info
    artfulartichoke thanked Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
  • artfulartichoke
    Thanks for the suggestions! I love the idea of turquoise, especially on the table! Another question, I see a lot of good looking vintage/antique wood furniture and neat old lamps on craigslist. I love how warm they look and how solid they are, but a lot of our current stuff is from Ikea or Target - so more contemporary. What is the best way to combine old and new? Is there a way for me to add antique/vintage pieces without the space feeling confused?
  • PRO
    Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
    I think you could add a vintage floor lamp with no problem and update it with a new drum shade. But shades can be expensive so go shade shopping before you leap into buying one and be aware that some old lamps require an unusual type of shade which you would have trouble finding if you could find it at all. Big old table lamps take up space that you may not have. If you find a small table lamp, you could use one on your pretty yellow table.

    I see now that you actually have an old floor lamp with no shade by the yellow table. If you're having trouble finding the right shade for it, be aware that you can change the harp to shorter or taller to accommodate a different size shade. The harp is that brass thingy that holds the shade up.
    artfulartichoke thanked Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
  • Gloria Holmes
    I think painting vintage wood furniture gives it an updated, more contemporary look.
    artfulartichoke thanked Gloria Holmes
  • lindsi
    You could definitely find a great vintage coffee table to replace the one you have- it would look great!
    artfulartichoke thanked lindsi
  • charleee
    Lindsi is right. Have you seen the 'new' vintage coffee tables with wheels? [houzz=
    The Maggie Natural Stain Coffee Table by Old Bits of Wood · More Info
    ]
    artfulartichoke thanked charleee
  • PRO
    Terracegallery
    I nice colorful piece of art that is not "too busy" is a great way to add color that can be moved with you to your next place.
    artfulartichoke thanked Terracegallery
  • handymam
    I really think art and drapes and throw pillows will go a long way toward cozying it up. I would'nt invest too much more into things as you will not be staying there that long.
    artfulartichoke thanked handymam
  • Beth Bourque
    I think rearranging the furniture is the first thing that I would do. I would rather see your sofa on the opposite wall and your very appealing chaise moved across as a compliment to the books with the tangerine chair filling in whichever space it looks best in. Move the tv to the wall left of it. If an outlet or cable is holding that up, then buy extensions. The cute little yellow table should be move a bit to the right. It looks like it is valuable to you at the door, but soften that bit of space up a bit by adding something tall, like twigs in a vase or even a coat tree between the door and the table. Personally, I would paint the little table navy blue to match the rug and add a couple orange and navy accents around.
    artfulartichoke thanked Beth Bourque
  • blrussell
    Yes, rearrange the furniture..it looks like the only piece being used is the couch to view the TV....just keep moving pieces until it works. You can get posters and frames without spending much...go to the Internet for large selection and different sizes...you can get frames made to order on ebay quite reasonably especially if you want to save and use acrylic with wood frames. Good luck...making it cozier shouldn't cost a fortune.
    artfulartichoke thanked blrussell
  • blrussell
    PS..remember that with an inexpensive piece of art you can always cut it down to fit a ready made frame...there is no law against it.
    Yes, drapes,pillows, and maybe a throw would help.
    artfulartichoke thanked blrussell
  • gotchaz45
    Get some lighting in that bookcase to warm up the room. With all the dark colors of the rug and the couch group, I think you need some color on your walls (Maybe an apple green.) By all means, add some color to that TV table which troubles me more than the coffee table. You mention that a lot of what you have is from Ikea... they have lots of ideas for hanging lights and they can be fairly reasonable. I think you may need to angle that rug or center it more in the room. It seems like you are trying to create a walkway into the rest of the house but it is cutting down the size of the room. I don't think you can create an entry area in a room that size so just decorate the room as a whole instead of chopping it up. Can't wait to see what you come up with...
    artfulartichoke thanked gotchaz45
  • gotchaz45
    Ooops, didn't see the part about not painting the apartment!! Yes, art work would help as well as some softness at the windows, if you are going for cozy. I got my drapes at Ikea and love them (they were $19.99 a pair 3 years ago.) Hardware for drapes can be expensive but I found my brackets on clearance at Tuesday Morning and used round wood lengths from Home Depot cut to the right size and spray painted (actual closet poles were too expensive).
    artfulartichoke thanked gotchaz45
  • PRO
    sstarr93
    I'd whitewash the table (not flat paint), like this:
    artfulartichoke thanked sstarr93
  • PRO
    Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
    @sstarr, that does brighten things up nicely!
  • sharongee1
    recover sofas in a beautiful textured or tonal jewel tone with gorgeous pillows, incorporate the other things in the room by color. Put a solid sisal rug , a large contemporary pc of art from a flea market or Z gallerie for the wall.
  • artfulartichoke
    Interesting ideas for moving the furniture. The TV is indeed positioned where it is because of the outlets - there are a lot of cords with the Xbox, cable box, Internet, and power hidden behind that white table. Also, we didn't want it facing the window because of the reflection. I guess we could just close the curtains (for which I am looking) when we wanted to watch TV, but between my boyfriend and I that could be almost all the time and it might get kinda stuffy. The couch is positioned directly in front if the TV (vs at a right angle) so the two of us can sit and watch it together straight on. It is the perfect distance for video games. I don't know though. I will get some extension cords and try moving things around. Should I try moving the bookcase somewhere else? It's super useful, but does have a tendency to loom.

    Lighting and artwork, check.

    One thing I forgot to mention, the chase and couch can be joined to make a larger sectional sofa like the picture below. Does that change anything?

    Also, I love that everyone has something to say about the coffee table. I think it is kinda ugly, but it is one of the one piece of furniture to which my boyfriend is *really* attached. Sigh, I suggested painting it, but no go.

    @carolyn-albertkincl-design I have had that exact problem with finding a shade! I picked up the lamp at the Goodwill bins for $3 and can't find a good looking shade to fit.

    Thanks for all the helpful suggestions! BF and I discuss them, and we are looking for lighting, curtains, and art. I also found the fabric pictured to cover the pillows super cheap!

    Cheers!
  • PRO
    Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
    It would be nice if the sofa were all the way against the wall, if the bookcases are not too hard to move.
  • Beth Bourque
    I think moving the bookcase is needed. It's like everything was pushed to that side of the room. Things are just not well balanced.
    Throw a mirror on top of that exquisite coffee table that your BF finds so alluring. I agree it's a real piece. One other thought about it, though. You could pick up some fabric and decorative cording and cover it. The cord can be wrapped around the top and tied tight. At least it wouldn't be so desperately eighties.
    I like the chaise and I'd use it if I had it.
    artfulartichoke thanked Beth Bourque
  • artfulartichoke
    @Carolyn Albert-Kincl Design and @Beth Bourque would you move the bookcase to the wall where the chaise is or take it out of the room all together? We have a second bedroom in the new place (yay) that we are planning to use as a shared office/workspace.
  • PRO
    Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
    Every room can benefit from having a tall item in the room so I would not remove the bookcase from the living room. And if it's an Ikea Billy bookcase, I would add the extra height pieces that they offer to the top to make it look really great! With the bookcase moved to the other wall, I would then move the sofa out from the wall far enough to leave a traffic lane behind it (despite what I said earlier about putting it against the wall) is there is space enough.


    I see a pile of art in the office which could no doubt hang on the wall behind the sofa. You could arrange the pieces together in a grouping such as you see below.
    Wordly in Los Altos · More Info
    artfulartichoke thanked Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
  • PRO
    Prima Luce Lighting
    Careful consideration to lighting in a small space must be considered, try use a style and design that suits your surroundings but is practical to the space you have. Something like this would add some cosy value yet provide a stunning talking point for you and your guests to chat over.

    http://www.primaluce.com.au/replica-twiggy-floor-lamp-originally-by-marc-sadler/
    artfulartichoke thanked Prima Luce Lighting
  • PRO
    Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
    I would remove the chaise from the room. Perhaps it would fit in the bedroom. It offers nothing shoved into a corner and there does not seem to be sufficient space for it to be angled in the room where it would look good.
    artfulartichoke thanked Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
  • artfulartichoke
    Really? We often sit on it to do homework or cuddle up with a book. But maybe some other chair would serve the same function and take up less space. Thanks!
  • PRO
    Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
    Why not remove the chaise and then see what's needed. If the media console moves over a little, you may not need a chair. Or you may indeed still need a chair and find the perfect little chair on Craigslist.
    artfulartichoke thanked Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
  • PRO
    Artistic Upholstery
    HI...I would agree to remove the chaise and coffee table. Replace the wooden coffee table with the existing ottoman thats off to the side. I'd place a serving tray over the ottoman, so that it can serve as your coffee table. I would then move the chair thats next the TV and place it where the ottoman was at. I would consider replacing the rug. If the budget allows, then slipcover the chair so it compliments the sofa along with your new rug.
  • minoomajlessi
    Hi. i know u dont want to pay so much. so might be better to color the table ands some flowers on it also anice big picture on the empty wall. and asmall warm colour carpet or material on gray sofa.minoo
    artfulartichoke thanked minoomajlessi
  • PRO
    Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
    I'd def leave the coffee table. It's size looks just right.
    artfulartichoke thanked Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
  • Marcy Claire
    I agree about colorful throw pillows (or use your pillows and just get or sew new covers) also get a nice runner to put on the coffee table if you can't paint it...also I think an underutilized source for big art for a blank wall is framing a shower curtain! There are so many beautiful, bold patterned modern shower curtains in the stores now...how about making a simple wood frame and stretching that curtain over it...instant big art for a big blank wall..
    artfulartichoke thanked Marcy Claire
  • Nancy Travisinteriors
    Buy poster art big for walls. A ottoman in zebra instead of table. Or recover one you have. Easy just staple under. Get two armless chairs in a cream and a print. Teal and gray. Put where ottoman is now not against wall.
  • Nancy Travisinteriors
    Sorry didnt look at other pic. Put chaise next to sofa facing TV. Cover ottoman in zebra and put in front of sofa. Move orange chair to front arm of sofa angle towards TV. May have to move chaise sofa against wall to make walk way from front door. Remove yellow table no use. Add panels to the floor on all windows. In a orange and cream chevron print. Bed & Bath, Anna's have them measure length of window from top of sill. Get black rod.
    artfulartichoke thanked Nancy Travisinteriors
  • Nancy Travisinteriors
    Add orange and cream pillows to sofa and chaise. Like wall unit. Remove any books you are not using. De clutter.
    artfulartichoke thanked Nancy Travisinteriors
  • Nancy Travisinteriors
    In dining area extend rod out 6" so panels hang pass ledge. Just narrow panels there.
    artfulartichoke thanked Nancy Travisinteriors
  • Nancy Travisinteriors
    Add tall 5 ft mirror on wall next to TV by front door hang horizontally . In black frame. You could also lean secure in back with wire and hook. A tree in corner where chaise is now.
    artfulartichoke thanked Nancy Travisinteriors
  • PRO
    Steven Torres
    I recommend a large mirror or any colorful art you can put on the empty wall. Everything else looks great!
    artfulartichoke thanked Steven Torres
  • PRO
    Andee Photography Fine Art And Digital Design
    Maybe go with pillows that will match the orange of the chair and the yellow of the little table. That will give you a nice pop of color and not cost a lot!
    artfulartichoke thanked Andee Photography Fine Art And Digital Design
  • Nancy Travisinteriors
    Don't be afraid to mix it up. Using old with new, makes a interesting rm. but don't over do.
    artfulartichoke thanked Nancy Travisinteriors
  • artfulartichoke
    Whew! Thank you for all of your comments! I spent all night moving furniture around because it looks like we will be here for another year and a half and I'd like it to be cozy for winter.

    I spruced up a couple pieces at Goodwill and pulled some things from other rooms. Here are photos of what I have right now. The arrangement seems to work the best with our normal traffic flow, so hopefully it doesn't look too awkward.

    Any more ideas? I'm not so sure about the ladder. I set it there and shoes just sort of began to accumulate on it.

    Curtains - There is a baseboard heater under the window. Would relaxed roman shades made out of drop cloth be an okay alternative to long curtains? I am worried that "high water" curtains would look weird.

    Empty wall - I am planning to hang two shelves above the couch with lots of pictures on them. What would be the best way to position the shelves?

    Corner - I don't know what to do in the corner where the lamp is positioned. Big fake tree?
  • PRO
    Kimball Starr Interior Design
    Since you don't want to paint there's an easy solution to spruce up the walls without paint.
    Try using removeable wallpaper with either color or pattern that will liven up the main focal wall. Tempaper is a brand that offers lots of color and pattern options.
    artfulartichoke thanked Kimball Starr Interior Design
  • gotchaz45
    You are still trying to create an entry rather than develop the whole room which makes the room look small and all the furniture bunched together. Forget the entry... make it so you have to walk INTO and through this cozy area you are creating. Don't bypass that warmth on your way into your space. Make this room go all the way to every wall.

    Put a mat at the door if you are worried about tracking stuff in the room. The ladder and the laundry rack have to go... looks like the ladder may be keeping coats from going where they are supposed to go and the laundry rack... I'm hoping it is temporary but you did have it there for the photos for a reason? I think the couch may need to go back where it was. Its position with the coat rack (which looks kind of permanent) means someone is going to be sitting there with a coat in their face if they are watching TV. Put a box of some sort or a tray under that coat rack for shoes if that is where folks want to leave them.

    Then try starting with that rug in the middle of the room. Furniture under that window isn't any harder to walk around than the yellow table that used to be there and separate pieces would not block your heat. Somehow that window wall screams "Don't look over here!! This is not part of the room!". (is that why the laundry rack is there... to really emphasize that this wall is not "living room"?) Trouble is... it IS part of the room and it just looks forgotten and ignored. It is completely blank while every other wall and corner of the room is filled to the max.

    I think a canvas drop cloth would be very heavy both in look and in actual weight. A good length of muslin from the fabric store would work better and probably be less expensive (unless you already have the drop cloth). What are you allowed to do as far as hardware is concerned? In checking your photos carefully, I see that you do have a blind at that window. Why not drop it down and just open the louvers for a softer look?

    The light in the corner looks warm but very bright. Is it the photo or is the lamp shade still missing? Again, IKEA has lots of solutions. I think you definitely need a lamp in there.
    artfulartichoke thanked gotchaz45
  • Beth Bourque
    You still have a huge blank wall. One of the least expensive art ideas I've ever seen was to go to a craft store and purchase blank framed canvas(es) and then turning them into wall art by covering them with awesome printed fabric...or even plain broadcloth. You can buy all sorts of sizes and they are only a couple of bucks each. They're lightweight to hang, so you can use those releasable hooks, too. Don't like the idea of fussing with fabric? Do whatever YOU are comfortable with or ask a friend to help. Decoupage magazine or album covers, paint them with craft paint, decorate them with leaves or rhinestones or felt. It really doesn't matter what you do, but that blank wall is your biggest problem in my opinion. I am also not crazy about the placement of the pretty yellow chest. The art behind the tv is a bit low and is concealed by it. I'm not sure how I feel about the little drop leaf table. Is there any possible way that you could move your video entertainment to in front of the bookcase, or vice versa, and then place your sofa across from it? That would open up a wall for your two chairs and place the chest (angled, maybe) in the corner. Does any of that sound reasonable?
    artfulartichoke thanked Beth Bourque
  • artfulartichoke
    @gotchaz45 I forgot to move the laundry rack for the photo, but it will probably be there over half the year with the Portland rain. It is the largest window in our house and the baseboard heater makes it an ideal place for wet clothes - our bathroom is tiny and doesn't have good ventilation to begin with.

    That said, here are three photos of another arrangement based on your comments. Tho, I forgot to take down the ladder and move the coat rack over (not actually permanent). It feels unbalanced to me, but maybe I am just not used to it. I think the rug may be too small, but it is good wool and I'm not sure I can afford to buy a larger one.

    I also tried the couch back where it was with the rug centered (see next post for photos). The only thing is that I cannot center the couch and have something under the window without blocking access to the kitchen completely. So one arm of the couch is on the very edge of the rug and the rug still doesn't reach under the white chair. Is that okay, or should the rug be centered with the rug?
  • artfulartichoke
    As you can see, the lamp has an awful shade that we will be replacing.
  • gotchaz45
    Well, the first 3 photos get my vote and show more open placement already. The room looks bigger and I like the comfy chair under the window (nice pop of color). You may not need the white chair in the room full-time. Put your lamp on the other side of the comfy chair (we're getting the new shade, right?). Put your lamp on the other side of the comfy chair (we're getting the new shade, right?).

    Try the gold cabinet on the other side of the TV (a lamp on top could add some light on that side of the room). Move the TV a little more towards the coat rack. Leave comfortable spaces between these objects on that wall. After that, it will be easier to see how you might place your art. You are going to need more art work for over the couch, I think.

    See what you can do about some soft fabric around the window. Get 2 of the brushed metal 3M hooks for the outer edge of the window and up 3 or 4 inches; then drape some muslin between them and hanging down the sides to about the ledge of the window (it is about $3 a yard and you could use about 6 yards... can you sew a hem in the narrow ends?) I like the view with the blinds up when you have no concern about privacy.

    I get that this is a temporary space that you would like to be comfy and homey for the time being. Sometimes you gotta make do with what you have and the arrangement with the comfy chair under the window seems like the very best option. I like it...

    The gold pillow on the couch brings that color around again, which is nice. I think you might want to use the patterned pillow somewhere else and get a red one (or a couple of red ones... the red jacket brings that color in and the color is great even if the jacket isn't part of your decor!!)

    A trio of very small lamps (as you can find and afford them) on that bookcase would make it seem warmer and you could find objects and/or books with your two accent colors to bring that color around to the bookcase side of the room. IKEA also has some neat lights that would sit on top and bend over and down to brighten the bookcase area. Try to be sure your bulbs are warm white not cool white.

    I LOVE the rug... wool...!! and it looks to be blue. Maybe a couple of blue pillows around the room? Solid or a pattern that works with the rug... geometric not floral. And in some forthcoming art?

    I have 12 of the small framed mirrors that IKEA has for about $2 or $3 each. They are 10 inches square. I painted some of them with a white primer and then painted them with craft paint in my living room accent colors... oddly enough, gold, red and blue (lighter shade than yours).
    artfulartichoke thanked gotchaz45
  • Jacqueline Arica
    I like your most recent photos. They seem to suit your lifestyle best, which is most important. The ladder as a shoe rack is a sweet idea. It's just a little too tall. Can you move the yellow chest to the other side of the tv? It's kind of crowded by the coat rack, but maybe the lamp is still in that corner. Good job bringing more yellow into the room, and this coffee table looks a ton better than the oldie. Big improvement from your original post!
    artfulartichoke thanked Jacqueline Arica
  • Jacqueline Arica
    Thought of you when I saw this. :)
    Custom Dining Room · More Info
    artfulartichoke thanked Jacqueline Arica
  • artfulartichoke
    Thanks again for everyone's help. I ended up using a lot of the furniture in the office, which we finally unpacked (t has been more or less a storage room since we moved). I've been keeping an eye out on craigslist and found some super good deals.

    So now that I feel the furniture is in a functional and comfortable set up, I am baffled as to what to put on the walls and how to accessorize. The office is now my colorful creative room, and I'm sort of thinking that I might like to keep the living room mellow.

    I made another discussion asking specifically about art and color, but since you were all so helpful sorting out my furniture arrangement quandaries, I want to share what I've done so far and ask if you have any suggestions on finishing up.

    Cheers and Thanks!
  • PRO
    In Style Modern
    Definitely a big improvement! Very nice. I think an ottoman will also be a nice addition and will definitely also make it look cozier