Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tweaking the Living Room

My sister-in-law, who visited last week, is a nurse. She told me that after work one day/night, she came home in the wee hours and rearranged her living room furniture. "Aha!" thought I, "this is a woman after my own heart." 

The two of us set about rearranging my living room furniture, with Mum sitting on the side, giving advice. I like the new arrangement. Tweaking my home perks up my spirits. There will be more tweaking after I write this post because, I was in such a hurry to write this that I didn't vacuum the carpet first.

The carpet mess is from the sticks I was playing with, now behind the couch, in front of the window. I wanted to ask some advice of all my savvy decorator readers. Even if YOU don't think you're savvy, I'm still asking your advice. The window is a shallow bay. There are white wood venetian blinds on it now, with a funny sort of valance topper. I would love to change this out and add more fabric for softness. Long panels would be ideal, but we have electric baseboard heat and the curtains cannot be floor length. The window coverings do need to close at night for privacy.

While you're thinking about the window, here's a view of the corner opposite the window. That chair was a wedding gift from my in-laws and is in excellent shape. During the years we lived in Ecuador it was stored in my parents' basement and rarely used. I would like to recover it someday. 

I hope you're still thinking about the windows because the same window coverings will be used in the dining room, seen here from the living room. There are two of them, in the corner, with a baseboard heater under one of them. Why do builders do this? 

If you have ideas, please share them. I've been pondering this for many months and don't like the only solution I can come up with. It's likely one of you has better ideas.


  1. I also like rearranging furniture and we even thought with Elise of swapping her room and the office downstairs... but no time for this right now.
    As for your windows, I was thinking something very light and translucent as a background, with a piece of more colourful fabric "rolled" up as if it was a blind, only it would be tied. Do you see what I mean ? I hope I could convey my idea rather clearly (if not I can draw something and scan it). This is what came to my mind, but it's so full of many things that I might do better during the week-end.

  2. its looking so beautiful..
    have a lovely day dear x

  3. Even if I don't think so? You've seen my place and you seriously want my help? LOL! Okay, I'm game. It would seem logical to me that if the drape can not go to the floor that you might try a short drape that could be pulled closed. Rather than try to have it go into the bay, just install the hardware above the window and straight across. I'd also pull the sofa away from the bay...get your sister-in-love back to help that the views can be enjoyed. Since you have some pops of blue, I'd play that up a little more in the fabric you choose...either in a trim or somehow or perhaps you've added the touches of blue to help the chair fit in better. If you're covering it, the blue isn't an issue at all. It's a beautiful room...rather spacious, right? It looks to be. Every time I'm tricked into responding to questions like these on a friend's blog, I get in trouble so I'm skeddaddling before I get hit. (Just wondering how the room was arranged just prior to this shift.)

  4. Ha! Vee cracks me up but I like how she goes for it and is ready to help. I really like your roomy space! No ideas here...yet.

  5. Obviously, Ellen has seen how much trouble I can get in!

  6. I enjoyed Vee's comment too. ;) This is a large bright room and I agree it's difficult to find drapes to suit windows with baseboard heaters under them (very common in Canada!). I would get a dark rod (wrought iron) that is long enough to extend a good 2 feet beyond the bay window (and the heater) and install it just a few inches from the ceiling. I'd find drapery panels to hang at either end with some colour in them, perhaps blues and yellows to give the room some colour. In the dining room you could hang a panel on the outside of either window in the same way. You could add some colour on your sofa and loveseat with toss cushions that have the same blues/yellows in them. I find Winners a great store for cushions at a good price. I agree with Vee that the sofa should be pulled out a bit from the window. I noticed the artwork on the mantel in the black frame and think it would look nice on the wall behind the love seat centered at eye level (not too high). I'm not a decorator and hope you take my suggestions as just that. :) Good luck and I hope you will share again when you finish the makeover. I love decorating and because of our large picture window I can't move things around. Have fun! Pamela

  7. Funny girl...that Vee! I would have maybe suggested Roman blinds from a nice light fabric, but since you already have Venetian blinds, I'll hold that thought. I'm looking forward to seeing the end result.

  8. So far great advice, this is interesting to read...I'm loving it.

    We have had those heaters under the windows...sigh...I had to hem and hem.

    Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.


  9. Anonymous8:03 PM

    I like some of Pamela's ideas , you really need some colour in there. To me the room feels very cold and antiseptic , get some stuff up on the walls too lol . Donna

  10. Anonymous8:47 PM

    I agree that you need something on those walls. Do you have any prints from your travels that you could enlarge. Also using pillows with a punch of colour is a good idea.

  11. I love to rearrange furniture too! So funny that you should post this today because this very day, Deanna (Creekside Cottage Deanna) and her family came for a visit and we talked (among many other things) about rearranging my living room furniture. She had written a blog post a while back about furniture placement to enable good conversation and traffic flow, and I sought her advice. I am kind of stuck in a rut...

    Your room is lovely! Your furniture is gray, right? That seems to be "the" color these days, and I have seen it used with pops of yellow.

    I am afraid that I don't have much advice about curtains. Our house sits far back from the road, and not within window-viewing distance of any neighbors, so privacy is not an issue. I have swags at most of my windows, valances at the others. Unless you consider my bedroom which has no window treatments! (I want to repaint and don't want to make new curtains knowing that I will change the colors.)

    I am enjoying this conversation and will pop back in to see what other advice you get. :)

    P.S. Have you searched Pinterest for window treatment ideas? Do any strike your fancy?

  12. I think the suggestion to pull the sofa away from the window is the place to start. One idea is to have curtains (the length you need) just on the edge of the two end sides. If you don't understand what I mean their are pictures if you do a search. Small rods, with curtains just for the side portions. Country curtains is a great site and the large (Black and White checked) curtains would give the room some life. IMO>

  13. Oh dear, I am going to be the awkward one. I would never cover the view of a bay window with furniture. Bay windows are attractive in their own right. Curtains for evening are fine. They too could provide an attractive picture from the room.

    I told you I would be the awkward one.

  14. These comments have been fun to read. I think Pamela has a good idea and I also think the introduction of yellow might be nice. I'm thinking you might need another lamp or two to provide warmth to the room in the evening. Also if you aren't too attached to the side table and coffee table, with your color palate they might look nice painted white to go with the white fireplace and other accents. I do think the sofa might be nicer away from the window but I know there is only so much room. You might consider pulling it all more into the middle for a conversation area, but then you might want it around the fireplace, and so goes the challenge. I have a friend who does not have her windows covered but has hung panels from almost the ceiling down with a short decorative rod just to provide warmth to the room and it is quite stunning. You would still have your blinds when you need privacy at night. Finally, I have a similar blue chair given to me that I am trying to welcome into our room so have similar blue pillows to try and tie it all in! The room looks nice and bright. Gray is an interesting color. In each of your pictures it looks different and that's how it seems to be. Now I need to do a similar post about a window covering challenge that I have! Have fun!

  15. Anonymous9:31 AM

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  16. Still thinking...
    Have you considered something like Roman shades or a balloon shade that can be raised and lowered? A good friend has Roman shades in her bay window, and they look great up or down.

  17. Lorrie we have the same problem with radiators under a window. Maybe soft sheer lacy curtains down as far as the window sills?
    If I was suggesting extra colour I'd bring in a zingy pink for accents, rather than yellow which is a cold colour.
    It is a lovely room.
    By the way, you have won one of my giveaways.

  18. Builders usually put heaters and HVAC vents under windows because of the valuable areas along the walls can be filled with furniture.

    I have a suggestion. Go on to Pinterest and search for "bay window curtains." You'll find a ton of photos!

  19. Some good ideas here.
    Like Donna, I was going to say get on Pintrest. Pintrest always has an answer for me! :)

  20. I'm not giving any advice, since I don't have a single curtain up in my entire house. Oh wait...yes, I do...lace valances in my sewing room, but that is it. When we moved back to Ohio from FL, I wanted every single ray of sunshine I could get, so we have honeycomb blinds that can drop down from the top or pull up from the bottom. It gives us great control for privacy in some rooms & total unobstructed views in others where that is not an issue.

    I sure wish I still have my Lazy Boy rocker recliner!! I foolishly sold it when we moved to FL, as it was the wrong color. DUH? What was I thinking??? I used to take the BEST NAPS in that chair. I'm ready to go out & buy 2 more if I can find them in cream, with rolled arms just like yours & a skirt on the bottom.

    Stay Warm Hugs,

  21. Hi! I’m new follower of your blog and would like to invite you to join me at my weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop:

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    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick


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