Saturday, June 27, 2009

Familyroom Consultation

I recently had the pleasure of working with Mary Lou of Marmielu's Nest, one of my readers and a fellow blogger, on her family room. She was so sweet when she sent me an email asking for my help, along with pics of her family room. I was so excited to work with her and come up with a plan to lighten up her room on a budget.

Sofa wall

Mary Lou was looking to lighten up her family room, as well as declutter it to make it feel more cozy and inviting. I gave her a very detailed note advising her of several things to do in here, so she will probably take her time and get going on it a little at a time. The wall color is a pretty gold, so for now that will stay. She really wanted to lighten up her sofa and chairs and wanted to do white duck slipcovers on the 2 burgandy chairs, but realized that with pets in the house, that would not be practical for her at this time. I mentioned blue denim for the sofa and I think she will do that for a slipcover.

FR sofa

Her hubby really likes blue, so we are going to go for more of a blue look in here with lighter accents. And we have to work around her hubby’s likes and tastes too, so had to keep that in mind.


Love her creamy white armoire, so that is definitely staying. I advised her to do some simple and inexpensive panels on either side of these windows above to soften the windows and give them a more up to date look, so the valances will go. For now, she will keep the shades that are up there, but for future might think about bamboo blinds eventually, which I advised and love.


I gave her some suggestions on breaking up the lamps and adding 1 or 2 different ones in here, since they all look alike. I don’t really like matchy-matchy lamps all the time and prefer to have different, yet coordinating lamps in a room. The only place I have matching lamps is in our master bedroom on the nightstands and do like that look.


We’re going to lighten up the rug and go for something a little more casual. I suggested a striped jute which would look great in here.


A big brick fireplace is always something to decorate around and I suggested she paint this out the same as her trim or the wall color, but since her hubby is totally against painting brick (most of them are!), this will have to stay too.

New Image

Mary Lou has some really nice pieces to work with. I suggested she lower the old sign (love it!) and take away the mirror that’s on the chest and make that a focal point with a lamp too.

slider wall

These vertical blinds will have to stay too, but additional panels could be added to the sides to soften it up a bit also. Both of the reddish chairs will eventually be slipcovered with something lighter, but probably not the white cotton duck that she had originally thought about using. Even in decorating, we have to think about what is practical to live with everyday too, in spite of the pets that share our homes.

to kitchen

So, after a few suggestions, I think that Mary Lou will be able to get a lighter and brighter room once she makes some changes. You can see from the board that I am using the colors of creamy whites, blues, a touch of yellow with a punch of red in here to bring some warmth and life to the room. It’s going to look great! Mary Lou recently sent me an update and she has decided to slipcover the sofa and chairs in denim and will start working on that this summer.

Thanks Mary Lou, for letting me work on your room. Mary Lou wrote me back with this after I sent her the Inspiration Board and detailed notes:

Thanks so much for all you've given me. I have really enjoyed reading your notes and looking at the inspiration board, and there are some great ideas for updating my room. I think it gives me some practical steps to take going forward to change the room to something I can enjoy more. I think this is a terrific service you are offering. I have appreciated being able to get another perspective on my room. When you live with something, it can become difficult to really see the possibilities.

If you'd like to get a Decorating Consultation of your own, click here for details!

And click the board for all the info on each item and where it came from:

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23 friends stopped by:

Kathi said...

This is a room with tons of potential! I love your suggestions. Wish you could talk hubby into painting that fireplace!
I did it in my home in Florida and it made a HUGE difference!

Your Polyvore ideas are great!

ButterYum said...

Oooh, oooh, oooh... can I, can I? I know I wasn't asked for my opinion, but I can't help but make a few suggestions as well (hope you and Mary Lou don't mind).

Great advice - the rug must go... it's really weighing the room down. Jute, sisal, even bound broadloom would work much better, I'd pick a light-medium neutral shade - taupe, tan, latte.

Love your denim slip cover suggestion for the couch - that will instantly update the dated plaid fabric. I'd say the fabric on the chairs is fine and will work well with a denim couch. I think the problem with the room is really more about clutter, dated window treatments, art size/placement, and some of the furniture placement.

I love the white armoire, but it's really much too big (literally and visually) for the spot between the windows - it's actually blocking quite a bit of light from coming into the room. It also adds to the cluttered feeling of the room by blocking the natural traffic flow from the front door. I think it would look better in the corner behind the red chair (diagonally next to the patio door covered with vertical blinds).

I love the adorable chest 12 door chest - it's perfect right where it is, and I agree - loose that mirror, add a lamp, and lower the sign... add a plant or a couple of books flanked in nice decorative book ends too. I think the clock from the fireplace wall would look fabulous over this chest too (alternately, either the clock or the red sign would look nice between the two windows on the other side of the room).

I'd loose the mirror behind the other red chair too... it does nothing for the room (actually makes the lamp look like two lamps, which is odd). Replace it with a nice large piece of art.

The window treatments are very dated - I like your suggestions to update them. Also consider sheers which are cheap, and can offer a sense of privacy during the day, while still allowing a lot of light into the room.

I see two sets of coordinating pictures - both are too small for the spots where they're hanging. Add one very large picture above the couch, or a larger set of 2-3 framed pieces (large enough that they can be placed 6-8 inches above the back of the couch). Then place a nice BIG mirror over the mantle. It will visually reduce the look of the brick and lighten up the room dramatically - not to mention it will reflect the beautiful new 'fill in the blank' over the couch. Add a couple of decorative knickknacks to the mantle as well (leather boxes, flower vases, candlesticks, books, etc). Hang the mirror on the brick so it tilts down slightly - you don't want to lean it against the mantle, or the view will be that of the ceiling!

Additionally, I'd find another home for the rocker - it too is literally and visually blocking the traffic flow in the room, the light from the windows, and adding to the overall feeling of clutter. Reduce the number of baskets in the room - there are way too many for one room now. Keep a few of the nicer ones like the magazine holder, and the large basket under the side table. The basket on the armoire looks very 80's, as does the wreath above it. I'm torn over the butter churn. It's very country, but I kind of like it. Might be cute in the foyer.

Add a few Large plants to the hearth to soften it up a bit and reduce the appearance of the brick. Paint the brass fireplace tool handles black (if the tools aren't used, get rid of them).

Love, love, love the skinny coffee table (or is it a bench?). Definitely keep it!!

Cindy said...

Thanks so much for this post! I learned a thing or two. We have a fireplace here to paint! And I'm gonna do it.

marmielu said...

Oh, Rhoda, it's so exciting to see my consult up on your blog! I am slowly making plans, and am trying to get my courage up to start those slipcovers this week. I'm also anxious to deal with the windows, and plan to order those panels soon. I've even bought several paint samples, and hope to do some swatches on the walls.

I'm planning to do a series over on my blog about my progress, so you can keep up with it there. Thanks so much again - it was FUN!
Mary Lou

marty39 said...

Love the colors and the suggestion board you fixed for her. Should look fabulous with just a few changes. Hugs, Marty

Gwen said...

Great ideas! I had a denim couch at one point and loved it. Not only was it a nice neutral, but it was very pet friendly. (I seem to always have black dogs, so white is out)

I will look forward to watching her transform her room.

Frugal Fine Living said...

Great decorating advice! I am sure the room is going to look awesome when it is finished. I hope to see pictures when it is done.


Leigh of Bloggeritaville said...

Painting the fireplace woul make a world of difference to lighten the room and ive it a more cottagey feel. Hope they will reconsider. The room is going to look so nice!

Kelli said...

Great tips! Hope to see the after photos soon.!

momstheword said...

Isn't it funny how we are all different? My hubby doesn't really like painted brick or painted wood but I love it!

How fun to help someone decorate their home!

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Rhoda, I loved all of your suggestions. :) I am SO glad we don't have a brick fireplace (although I wish we had a fp, period) b/c I know my husband would freak out if I wanted to paint it. ;) I liked your idea of lowering that Real Estate sign. Great job!

Marilyn said...

Hi, I've been enjoying your posts. I have the same sort of fireplace (MONSTER) in our living room. Only mine has brick about 24 inches deep on the sides ALL the way from the floor to the ceiling. My husband won't let me paint mine either!! Nor the woodwork that is too dark for me. Oh well, he does live here, too. All your suggestions were helpful and things I could try here, too. Thanks

Rebecca@Harmony and Home said...

I love the choices you picked for her. It will really brighten up the space, yet still feel cozy.

Paula said...

What great furniture to work with! I know that room will come together so nicely. Maybe whitewash some of the wood, too? I'm de-lurking and love your blog!

Jenny said...

How fun! I love your ideas and so wish the hubby would let the fireplace be painted. However, I know mine wouldn't like that idea either! LOL!

Paige said...

Great suggestions! I hope you will share the after is possible.

Tales From My Empty Nest said...

I will enjoy watching the transformation of this room. You had some great ideas to share about this room! Love & blessings from NC!

The Pleasures of Homemaking said...

I don't know what it is with men and brick! I'd soooo paint that fireplace or change out the mantle to cover more of the brick! Great suggestions.

Rhoda, I have NO AC!! It stopped working last night around 7 pm! I can't get anyone out here until Tuesday to have a look at it. I swear this is the hottest weekend in ATL (wouldn't you know)!


Coffee with Cathy said...

Can't wait to see the after photos -- great suggestions! Thanks for sharing your inspiration.

Sandi McBride said...

I love before and afters! Looking forward to the sharing of the afters!

Tracy Pardue Watier said...

Great ideas, Rhoda. And you are right on about painting that brick. In my experience, the man will initially balk but then can't deny the tremendous difference it makes after it's done.
Looking forward to the "afters".

grannyann said...

I loved your suggestions. My only difference would be painting the fire place. Mine was painted (the same color as the trim in the living room) when I moved in and I hate it. I've always thought I'd find something to remove the paint and put it back to brick but I haven't gotten around to it.

midnight macaroons said...

Really great ideas, Rhoda!