Living Room: Fresh, Modern & Inviting

One of my most favorite kinds of projects is when we get to take a room that feels cold, naked, and uninviting and turn it into a personal, inviting, and warm space!  

This living room, for example, belonged to a fun, young couple who'd just moved into their new home and were wanting help choosing fresh, modern furnishings for their new place. They gave me great inspiration images from 
Houzz.com and I was able to help them create a space that felt like home to them. After I delivered their living room design, they took steps to implement these changes in the timing that worked for them! 

In their own words:  
"We love our living room, it makes us feel at home and it brings us a smile every day. We would have taken forever to agree on anything and even if we had come to an agreement, we would have never been able to put together something like this and we are very grateful. You absolutely nailed it, in every detail." 
 
What a treat to get to work with such nice people and to help shape another beautiful Seattle home.  

BEFORE
Before Living Room

AFTER
After Living Room

Living Room: Bland Becomes Beautiful

I can't tell you how much fun I had with this homeowner!  Unlike rooms where I spearhead the design process, this was strictly a coaching project.  We had a half-dozen sessions together to work on three rooms in this builder-bland space. During each session my client would have her list of questions and ideas ready, and we'd barrel through answering each question, reinforcing her confidence in her choices, and guiding choices that might be off-course.  

This room, her living room, had some great potential with its vaulted ceilings and architectural columns, but was extremely naked and bland when we started.

Together she and I chose an utterly fantastic transitional rug, fabric for the new camel colored velvet curtains, and new paint colors for the walls.  Each of those selections was inspired by the nautical maps she brought out during our first session which we then framed in simple black frames and cream mats, hanging them in a way to embrace and somewhat camouflage the tv centered on the wall. Perhaps best of all we had an electrician add a center fixture to the ceiling and hung a feature chandelier to really set off the room.  Talk about banishing builder beige!

BEFORE
Living Room Before

AFTER
Living Room After Chandelier and Transitional Rug

Family Room: A Space For Grown Ups

This family wanted a basement tv room that felt a little more elegant and inviting, but still had a sense of fun. We played with scale in the room to make an impact, with a giant wall mural and oversized lamp, and layered in color and pattern to make it playful and interesting. Now it’s a space where the kids can still have sleep overs, but the grown ups feel at home, too.

BEFORE
dark family room before

AFTER
modern family room after

Living Room: Out of the 80s

This living room was ready for a re-do! The overstuffed white leather couches, too-small rug, brass lighting, and balloon valences showed the space’s 80’s roots. We painted the walls a lovely warm grey and added crown molding to the room, and extended the hardwood floors into the living area. Then we brought in a whole new suite of furniture to bring the room into the modern age. Now this grandmother doesn’t have to feel like she has a ‘grandma’s’ living room. It’s as hip and chic as she is!

BEFORE
80s living room before

AFTER
transition living room after

Living Room: Inviting Craftsman

This great couple needed to be able to host parties for dozens of people in their home, but they could’t figure out how to make the rooms look comfortable and inviting and also create plenty of seating. They had been stuck for years with furniture that was too small in scale and a lack of cohesiveness in the rooms.

We created a furniture plan for the rooms that would maximize the spaciousness of the rooms so they no longer felt small, and would also maximize the seating. The fireplace room alone can now seat 12 people! Once we determined the furniture layout we shopped for pieces that would fit the bill, and chose new colors and accessories to really show off the beautiful home.

BEFORE
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AFTER
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AFTER
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Living Room: Just Accessorizing

This family had a great house with great colors and accessories! All they needed was some help placing the items to create better focal points. When I arrived the pictures in the nooks were all the same height, and the two feature nooks on either side help items that weren’t tall enough to fill the space. The pillows on the couch were not the right style to go with the richness of the other items in the room, and the couch was set all the way back against the built ins.

We pulled the sofa forward to give everything a little breathing space, and swapped the pillows for some with more luxurious texture and color. We added height to one of their existing vases to fill one of the feature nooks (the flowers are orange to balance the triangle sculpture on the opposite side), and helped select a new, tall sculpture to fill the opposite nook. The we curated the shelves and moved around the items they already owned to show them off at their best.

Sometimes a room just needs a little adjusting.


BEFORE
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AFTER
mcmanus living after

Living Room: Eliminate Builder's Beige

This single man wanted his living room to have more interest and asked Rivalee to come and do a color consultation. We choose deep, leathery grays that set off the great architecture of the space, tied together his dramatic draperies and mushroom colored sofas, and showed of the white trim and carpets. As an added bonus the color embraced the TV so that the room can be appreciated as a whole and made the fireplace even more of a feature in the room.

BEFORE
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AFTER

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Living Room: Urban Awesomeness

This home owner really wanted to feel at home in thier urban house, but rarely spent time in this room because at night it was a corner-lot fishbowl, on view to the world. The first decision we made, after determining that this would be the ‘living room’ area instead of dining, was to add floor to ceiling turquoise velvet drapes. In addition to giving privacy they added gorgeous color and, along with the white shag rug, eliminated the echo in the room. The fantastic sputnik lighting created a focal point and also illuminated the whole room where before it felt dark even with all the lights on. Now the owner has furnishings to match the great architecture of their home, it feels fun and personal, and the drapes can be closed with ease to create a snug urban cocoon.

BEFORE
living room before

AFTER
living room after : urban

Living Room: Urban and Amazing

This woman was newly divorced and had just moved into her own condo. When she brought me in she was still figuring out her new life and said that the space felt empty and lonely. She wasn’t inclined to have people come over.

She said she wanted to feel excited, alive, and happy. Still, was she surprised when we ended up going for brilliant pumpkin-orange paint and a bold zebra print rug! Rivalee custom-painted art for the space and added a few accessories. The space almost instantly transformed from impersonal builder-boring to alive and incredibly personal!

The change in color and fantastic accessories add the drama to the room, but equally important was rearranging the furniture to create a more comfortable seating space and take the emphasis off the tv (which was also switched out for a slimmer wall-mounted flat screen, freeing up precious floor space).

Total cost for this room? Less than $1000, plus the cost of the new rug and tv.


BEFORE
living room before

AFTER
living room after : bold zebra

Living Room: Lovely Rental

This single gal was renting this queen anne condo and couldn’t paint, but still wanted to really make it feel like home. She’d already been there a couple years, knew it would be at least another couple, and decided she no longer wanted to live like she was still in college.

She already had two beautifully reupholstered pieces, a chair and sofa handed down through family.  Unfortunately the rest of the room was a mish-mash of unmatched wood pieces, all too small for the room, and a much-too-little area rug with no personality.  She asked for a beautiful room where her friends would love to gather, and to make the view and her books the focus of the room instead of the tv. 

By bringing in a soft, oversized rug and a contemporary entertainment unit that was more about books than media, adding more seating and fresh accessories, we created the room she wanted without changing the paint color at all.

BEFORE
living room before

AFTER
living room after : inviting

Living Room: Hiding a big TV

A recent and significant job loss helped this couple take a critical look at their life in general and acknowledge that they were feeling really unsatisfied, especially with the state of their home. It was so cluttered that they felt too embarrassed to have friends come over. It was time for a change. They wanted a room they could be proud to share with guests and that also felt great when it was just the two of them.

They actually had great furniture, but just too much of it for the space. The light yellow walls didn’t do anything but show off all the clutter, and their giant flat screen tv dwarfed everything else. We found new homes for much of the furniture, then painted the walls a medium, warm grey that would help both the furniture and the tv recede. Lastly we added soft, colorful accessories like the rug, drapes, art, and new lighting to create an inviting, cohesive space.

The homeowners now feel proud of the space and never hesitate to invite friends over for a movie or glass of wine.


BEFORE
living room before

AFTER
living room after : uncluttered

Living Room: Craftsman Classic

Like many families these homeowners already owned a number of nice pieces of furniture, and also like many families who take on a big remodel, there wasn’t much money left in the budget afterwards to buy new furnishings, regardless.

We chose colors that would both compliment the new remodel and also perfectly incorporate all their old furnishings into their new home, creating a wonderful space to raise their kids for years to come.  The deep pine-forest green on the far wall not only tied in their large area rug, it also grounded the large armoire and made it fit snugly into the room. The rich burgundy in the far room (dining) also tied into the rug in the living room, making the whole space feel thoughtfully planned, warm, and inviting.

BEFORE
living room before

AFTER
living room after : craftsman

Living Room: Soft Sophistication

The rich burgundy wine colored accent wall was quite pretty, but this family wanted a change to something more updated and sophisticated.  While they were not yet in a position to update the larger furniture pieces, we swapped out the old and too-small rug for a new, larger rug, and exchanged the very traditional coffee and end tables for a more contemporary look.  We added a new floor lamp with more substance and a shade that was a better compliment to their existing table lamp, and refreshed the items on display on the mantle to showcase their treasures instead of being spaced evenly in a line-up.  Of course, we also changed the burgundy paint to a soft, rich sparrow grey.  The result is a room that is more sophisticated and yet less formal, a grown-up, elegantly relaxed room.

BEFORE
living room before

AFTER
living room after : sophisticated

Living room: Going Global

This client was a fabulous woman embracing her new single life. She decided to buy a wonderful house with box beam ceilings, warm wood floors and picture windows, but wasn’t quite sure how to make the most of it and make it really feel like her home.  We painted the ceiling and walls in a warm Citrine yellow, enhancing the warmth of the room and showing off those fantastic ceilings!  We worked together to select a new L-shaped sofa to create a cozy seating area, then filled the room with accessories she’d collected during her world travels.  This project was a wonderful example of client and designer working hand in hand to transform a space and make it really personal!

BEFORE
living room before

AFTER

living room after : global

Living Room: From Suburban to Urban

This couple wanted to turn their bland, outdated family room into a cozy, interesting lounge for hanging out and watching tv. The challenge was making a long, shoe-box shaped room feel cozy and inviting while keeping it functional as the ‘hallway’ from the garage to the rest of the house. The additional challenge was to have a big bed for their great dane without a traditional, stuffed dog pillow.  After the walls were freshly sheet-rocked and the carpet updated to a neutral and easy-to-clean frieze, we painted the walls a combination of dark charcoal and wasabi green. This made the room cozier and more textural, although it made the homeowners nervous to have such dark and ‘weird’ colors on the walls. Then we centered a large chocolate brown sofa in the room, put an oversize vintage chair in the corner for the great dane, anchored the sofa and the coffee table with a sisal rug, and accessorized using the treasures the homeowners had on hand. While the homeowners weren’t so sure about the colors when we first suggested them, or even once they were painted, they absolutely loved the results once the whole room came together!

BEFORE
family room before

AFTER
family room after : bold and urban

Living Room: A Sunny Personality

This delightful woman hired me to help make her place feel more personal and warm. She had a very good sense of what she liked and knew she wanted to paint the room yellow, but also knew that choosing the ‘right’ yellow could be an impossible challenge. It too often turns out too bright and garish or too sweet and pale.

Within an hour of starting our color consultation we had picked out new paint colors for each of here rooms and she was set to go. Now, what I love best about these before and after pictures is that there is almost nothing new - only paint and the dining light fixture.  Just the change from pale beige walls to rich sunflower yellow gave every item in the room new life!  It made the space feel happier and friendlier and, most importantly, it made the place feel more like the homeowner herself!

BEFORE
living room before

AFTER

living room after : bright and sunny

Media Room: Man Cave

This client hired me to makeover the tv room as a gift to her husband. They wanted the space to feel fun and easy-going, but updated and much cozier.

When we started this basement room was painted white. While white paint might feel like a ‘safe’ choice, it can’t create a cozy a room, combat the chill of a daylight basement, or help hide clutter and big tvs, all of which this man-room needed! We covered all that white paint with warm grey on the walls and ceilings and updated the room with golden oak flooring. It was important to showcase the sports collections and to keep the room masculine, so we tied all the colors together with a bold rug, suede pillows (just a few) and hefty wood lamps, and reorganized the collection of Seahawks and Mariners items to show them off more fully.

The result is a masculine, comfortable media room that pays homage to the homeowner’s favorite sports teams without resorting to cliche and expected sports-team colors for the walls and accessories. 

 BEFORE
media room before
AFTER
media room after : personal

Living Room: Rich and Inviting

The living room had looked like this for years as the homeowner focussed on being a single mom. Once her daughter was grown she wanted to create a living room that would make her excited, not embarrassed, to invite people over. She wasn’t sure where to start, but had found a painting that she loved, so we keyed the colors off that inspiration piece.

We started by removing the old mirror tiles from around the fireplace, then we faux painted the brick to make it a richer espresso color to match the hearth. We painted the walls olive green and then accessorized the room with deep chocolate and vivid red furnishings, giving the once-bare room bold, intriguing and rich flavor that made the homeowner feel eager to be at home and share the space with her friends and family.

BEFORE
living room before

AFTER
living room after : inviting

Living Room: Southwest Modern

The owners of this home just purchased this beautiful contemporary sofa, but needed help complimenting it with the right accessories.  We added a beautiful new area rug and laid it horizontally in the room to reduce the long skinny feeling of the space, then placed an accent chair, Naguchi-style table and colorful accessories to create a warm, cohesive, contemporary living room.

BEFORE
living room before

AFTER
living room after : accessorized

Living room: Robin's Egg Redesign

This busy mother of two wanted a feeling of openness and calm in her living room. We added a soft, breezy blue to the walls to lighten and open the room and show off the color in the homeowner’s artwork, and rearranged the furniture and removed pieces that weren’t useful so that the room felt less cluttered and more welcoming. A fresh coat of paint and a little reorganizing can go a long way to making a room feel fresh and new again.

BEFORE
living room before

AFTER
living room after : serene