Let’s talk about tricky spaces. There’s always one room in a house that proves to be a challenge. My living room happens to be one of these odd design dilemmas. Here’s the issues I have with this space: there are two focal points (fireplace + tv), the fireplace is oversized, and there are a lot of windows, doors / traffic paths. This leaves me with a crazy puzzle when floor planning.
First to address: the reason for two focal points. Does anyone else have a husband who demands a ginormous TV? Yeah, good. At least I’m not alone! It totally makes him happy and I can’t really complain on the days we decide to binge watch Netflix and stay in comfortable clothes far too many hours, but it’s definitely not pretty. Yes- it fits our lifestyle, but it makes my job designing much more difficult.
The television wouldn’t fit above the fireplace and given we have two walls of windows, there is really only one possible location for the TV… hence the reason for two focal points: a wall featuring the television and a wall featuring the fireplace. Here’s a better visual:
The only way to take advantage of both focal points in such a small space was to purchase a sectional. We’re currently saving up for a larger version that is equal in length on both sides, but for now, we’re using a modified version of the Jackson sectional. I say “modified” because you’ll notice the back cushions are MIA. That’s because our very cute dog destroyed them… right before an important photoshoot. One trip to Restoration Hardware later, here we are with mixed and matched pillows lining the back of the sofa until we save enough to replace it.
It’s not ideal, but I try to make the best of the situation. My solution for the TV was a gallery wall. If I have to live with the monstrosity, I wanted to disguise it with beautiful art. Here’s more on the installation if you’re interested, and a peek at my inspiration.
The fireplace is massive; it’s really over-scaled. This presented another challenge because it was difficult to find balance when styling the mantle. In regards to the lower half, it has a gas hookup, but no attached faux logs. Therefore, we currently have a nonfunctioning fireplace. My solution? Fill it with candles. Find more inspiration on that issue here, here, and here (a little post I put together for coco+kelley).
Despite its challenges, the living room and fireplace have come a long way. A large, brick fireplace in a small room felt super heavy. I decided to paint the brick in an effort to lighten the look. Check out these before and after images:
Pretty amazing what a little elbow grease, paint, and stain will do! The dark trim was replaced and the chair rail was removed. We also skim coated and replaced drywall in some areas.
What do you think of the transformation? It was definitely the most cost effective option, rather than trashing the entire fireplace and starting fresh.
This is still the one room in the house that frustrates me and there are still things I would like to change (once I save enough), but overall I’m happy with the outcome. Someday, I’ll upgrade to a larger sofa, someday I’ll invest in a plush and cozy rug, and maybe someday the fireplace will function… but for now- I’m content. Even with a huge TV.
Want to shop the look? Here’s a breakdown of the living room:
If you’re in need of coffee table books, check out this post.
I think my favorite part of the entire room is the TV gallery wall. I’m always a sucker for artwork and there’s so many fun things happening in that vignette!
Photography: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking and Sarah Gibson for Room for Tuesday