Client Living Room Redesign

A recent redesign of a client’s living room:

Before

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This is a lovely condo in Reston Town Center, spacious and bright. My client hated the living room. She and her husband were happy to spend their time in the family room, but she was frustrated that the living room was not functional, and wanted a space that could entertain a group more easily than the smaller family room.

After:

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We conferred about the arrangement that would work best and the items she would purchase, and she decided to go with a new color palette entirely. Didn’t she do a great job? I advised a slightly larger rug to anchor the seating area more completely, and it really makes a difference. Switching the sofa to the long wall and putting a smaller love seat into the window nook worked better for the proportions of the room. It also allowed the large Asian piece above the sofa to assume its place as the focal point of the room. The pair of lamps introduces some symmetry and adds needed nighttime light. The armchair and another across the room (pictured below) can be pulled into the conversation area to provide seating for a group. My client reports that she uses the room all the time now! Always gratifying to hear.

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Beyond Decorating

Sometimes I have trouble with the designation “decorator.” It sounds a bit superficial, kind of like putting flower rosettes on a cake. They may make the cake look pretty, but that’s their entire function. They’re really superfluous to the quality of the cake. “Decorating” sounds like that to me: let’s pretty up the room a little. There’s nothing wrong with that, but … it doesn’t necessarily change how the space works for the people who live there.

What I do in redesigning rooms for clients addresses the quality of the living space itself. The result is a better looking room, in fact – but more importantly, it’s a room that feels better to be in.  And that’s what I’m after. Helping people feel more at home in their own space is what’s important to me. I want them to come home and feel that the space welcomes them, that it’s comfortable and embracing, that it’s efficient in terms of movement and usage. I want to help clients create an environment that sustains them, that feels safe and regenerative, that enables them to be truly at ease. It’s my goal to help people feel at home, at home. To create rooms and homes that are balanced, cohesive, harmonic. And a better looking home is the icing on the cake!

Let’s look at some of the elements in the before and after pictures here to examine why good design promotes a feeling of ease, warmth and welcome in a space.

The television on top of the chest in the picture below imparts an uneasy feeling because it’s too high to comfortably watch from any of the seating choices in the room. It looms over the chair and monopolizes the main wall of the room, creating an unattractive focal point as one enters. And the room doesn’t look or feel cohesive, which in itself always creates a feeling of discomfort.

Before Redesign

After Redesign

In the second picture, the seating area has been rearranged so that the room now centers around a conversation area that feels unified and more welcoming. The big pieces of furniture are balanced in the space, and because balance is a natural principle that we instinctively seek, this signals comfort as well. The mirror is a more attractive focal point, and the paint samples on the wall will disappear when a final color choice is made. A deeper shade on the walls will give them depth and warmth.

So truly, decorating is about more than decorating. It’s about creating nourishing environments.