Author Topic: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!  (Read 14489 times)

lifejoy

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Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« on: September 27, 2014, 12:35:30 AM »
I have a gift certificate for a department store. I want to turn my living room into a zen bliss room! :) I'm putting the TV into our storage closet (hubby wont let me sell it - yet.) Too much time gets killed in front of Netflix! I don't want a "dying room" anymore. Time to live. Meditate, read, dream. Look at plants.

But I suck at home decor.

Right now the TV is the focal point when you're sitting on the couch. What would you replace the TV with? Dare you show me your own living room for inspiration? I've attached my own.

lifejoy

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2014, 12:38:31 AM »
Maybe a cabinet with plants and candles on it? O.o
And mirrored doors?

lifejoy

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Astatine

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2014, 01:12:18 AM »
If the view out the window is nice, maybe face the window?

Curtains or nicer blinds would lift the room. Maybe a few brightly colored items like cushions or a small rug?

Good luck, having a room that feels relaxing is important to me too.

lifejoy

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2014, 01:15:48 AM »

If the view out the window is nice, maybe face the window?

Curtains or nicer blinds would lift the room. Maybe a few brightly colored items like cushions or a small rug?

Good luck, having a room that feels relaxing is important to me too.

Hey, good ideas! Now that I look at that photo through your eyes, it could really use some colour in there!

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2014, 03:00:52 AM »
At the moment the room is set up for exercising, TV watching and reading. Is there anything else you do there?

You want to read, meditate, dream, look at plants.

I hate vertical blinds - they are absolutely awful and don't do anything to save energy - replace them with curtains with a pelmet (or some top covering, so they are energy efficient) and blockout (or some energy efficient backing). Or the french blinds that are cellular and very energy efficient.  Or the really energy efficient blinds that you can roll down from the top and up from the bottom. It all depends upon what is on the other side of that window and the effect you want when you are looking out it - because I assume that is where your plants will be.

Get rid of all the furniture you don't need. Do you really need that humungous coffee table? It looks like a tripping hazard. Work out what you have to have. Could you put it against a wall and have plants all over it?

Next you need to move some furniture around. Measure your room and your furniture. Draw them scaled the same and cut out the furniture that has to occupy that room, and move it around. Your furniture is all along the long sides of the room, making it look even longer and thinner, so the room looks horribly out of proportion (of course it might just be the photo).

The object of moving the furniture around? It would be nice if you had a chair that faced the window so you could actually look out it. It would be nice if you had somewhere you could lie flat on the floor for your meditation. It would be nice if you had chairs that faced one another, so you could actually talk to other people rather than having a room where nobody talks to one another because all chairs face the television. My recommendation is to get rid of the couch and get two or three (depending on what fits) 1 or 2 seater chairs. Two 2 seater chairs in an L shape with a coffee table in the middle is a very standard setup for conversations.

kaetana

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2014, 04:33:12 AM »
Do you rent or own the house? Could you paint one or all the walls? Or the coffee table? The walls and the furniture being similar colours makes it look a bit washed out.

Do you use the TV? If so, you shouldn't get rid of it - but maybe you could hang it on the wall to make a bit of space?

Could you get some fake or real indoor plants on one wall and then mirrors on the other to reflect the nice green colours for a meditative effect?

Sometimes the details really help - a few brightly coloured pillows, curtains, or rugs, or throw blankets might dramatically change the room.

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2014, 06:10:13 AM »
The vertical blinds look like something out of an office.  Actually, the whole room looks a bit like an office.

The quick, cheap and easy fixes are -

1) Move the furniture around.  Would that tall bookcase work if it were on its side?  Can you combine it with the coffee table and other bookcase along the side of the room to make your "feature" instead of the TV?  Can the sofa be moved, perhaps facing inwards from across the window end of the room, with the exerciser behind it?

2) Colour.  You can put throws or new loose covers over the sofa and add cushions to it.  Add curtains that go with the new sofa colour.  Add two or three big floor cushions.

3) Lighting.  You have one tall uplighter that is sitting in the corner looking a bit random.  I'd suggest two new floor standing reading-lights for either end of the sofa.

Good luck.  It's great to see other people's suggestions, and I hope you come back to us with a photo of the revamp!

lifejoy

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2014, 09:22:43 AM »
These are great ideas! I'll do what I can without a) spending too much money or b) ruffling my SO's feathers. Also, we rent. This means that the couch and blinds are here to stay.

Greg

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2014, 10:40:54 AM »
Also, we rent. This means that the couch and blinds are here to stay.

You rent your couch?  :)

The space is small enough that a few small changes will make a big difference.  The coffee table is a bit wide for the space, what I mean is the space left over for getting around the table are tight.  Try a skinnier table.

Also, if you can (meaning if it's not part-and-parcel with the unit) try a smaller, slimmer, lighter style couch or some chairs.

To answer your first question though, I cheat and have my TV (used for watching movies only) in a den type room that doubles as a guest room with a hide-a-bed, next to the living room.  So my living room's focus, if it has one, is the view of the woods outside.  In reality it's focus is the table in center, where jigsaw puzzles are worked on and board games are played.  This central area is flanked by a desk for me and a desk for my daughter.  I suspect my living room's bigger than yours, so I have more space to work with.

lifejoy

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2014, 10:53:24 AM »

Also, we rent. This means that the couch and blinds are here to stay.

You rent your couch?  :)

The space is small enough that a few small changes will make a big difference.  The coffee table is a bit wide for the space, what I mean is the space left over for getting around the table are tight.  Try a skinnier table.

Also, if you can (meaning if it's not part-and-parcel with the unit) try a smaller, slimmer, lighter style couch or some chairs.

To answer your first question though, I cheat and have my TV (used for watching movies only) in a den type room that doubles as a guest room with a hide-a-bed, next to the living room.  So my living room's focus, if it has one, is the view of the woods outside.  In reality it's focus is the table in center, where jigsaw puzzles are worked on and board games are played.  This central area is flanked by a desk for me and a desk for my daughter.  I suspect my living room's bigger than yours, so I have more space to work with.

Haha naw, SO would never let me get rid of the couch!

Hmm I agree, the coffee table I have is HUGE! I was thinking of moving it io the kitchen with some pillows, then we can eat Asain-style!

lifejoy

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2014, 10:54:01 AM »
And for the record, I have this in ask a mustachian instead of off-topic, because I see building a room around something other than a TV as a mustachian move :)

Greg

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2014, 11:07:34 AM »
Can the screen mount to the wall and be hidden behind a tapestry or something?  I'm not sure how helpful this would be, I can imagine having to uncover it all the time could be a hassle, maybe it depends on how often it's used.  But, it might free up some floor space.  Maybe the TV table is needed for DVD player or game console or other tech things.  Those can move to other shelves with long enough cables.

Really it's down to how you want the room focused.  Against the wall is how you have it now, with the couch on one side and the screen on the opposite side.  I wonder if having the screen in the corner might be possible and helpful. 

You didn't ask, but I wonder if the screen is too big for the room.  I know big screens are en vogue right now, but a smaller screen might free up other options.  For instance, in my 10' square den our screen (ye olde tv, not flat screen) is a 23" one, and is in the corner.

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2014, 11:18:20 AM »
I have is HUGE! I was thinking of moving it io the kitchen with some pillows, then we can eat Asain-style!

That is an "out there" idea, it's imaginative. I like it.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2014, 12:23:50 PM by iris lily »

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2014, 11:23:14 AM »
I like the title of your thread. :)

At first glance, the room is very beige-y and angular. Can you paint? White walls, or maybe a light grey will perk up the room a lot since there's only that one window. And even though you rent, can you take down the vertical blinds and hang patterned curtains anyways? Just re-mount the blinds when you move out? Is there a way to camouflage the blinds with curtains? Vertical blinds are really gonna kill any zen you hope to achieve. :)

If the TV is going into a closet, then definitely get rid of the stand that it's on. It's too big for the room. (All the furniture is on the large side for a narrow room.) I'd look for an oval coffee table to replace the square one. The round edges would soften the room, with the bonus of being easier to move around! Or a upholstered ottoman.

More art work, and a large ass mirror to reflect the light that's coming in, either over the couch or above the tv spot. I'm a big fan of house plants. Look on Pinterest for inspiration. Try and get a mix of sizes - small succulents, a hanging pot, a potted indoor tree, etc. I get all of my planters and pots from the thrift store.

You could also set up a reading corner by the window, or in place of the TV. Wing chair, table lamp, side table, wool blanket. Serenity!

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2014, 11:40:08 AM »
Your walls appear to be what my roommate affectionately refers to as 'landlord pit-stain yellow.'  Every apartment I've ever had has been this color. It's probably actually called 'cream' or 'eggshell' or something like that.  If your landlord would let you paint, and you didn't mind the effort, that might brighten the space up.

It's personal preference, but I prefer bright rooms. We convinced our landlords to let us paint some.  They told us we had to stay within the roughly 120 thousand shades of white-ish on the market.  Just switching to a brighter white made the room feel a lot more open and airy. 

I think the darker walls and the dark TV furniture make the whole room feel dark and smaller than it is. Lighter colors will reflect light more and make the space feel more open and spots of color will break up the space. 

There are a lot of things that could be done with the couch from re-upholstering it to just adding a colored blanket. Middle ground would be a slip cover or some colored throw pillows.

The shades are a bummer.  I wonder if it'd be possible to put some sort of fake drapes over then to kind of hide them. 

Of course, take all this with a grain of salt.  My living room has a drop ceiling, fluorescent lighting (the long tube kind), and is full of gym equipment and tools. I'm just putting up with it for the time being.

KBecks2

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2014, 11:59:56 AM »
What do you want to do in the room?

Yoga?  Sewing/kitting?  Entertaining friends?  Define exactly what you want to do in the space.  How do you want to feel when you are in the space?  Energetic?  Relaxed?

Maybe you can purchase or make a piece of awesome artwork for the room. 

Have fun!

Emilyngh

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2014, 12:01:00 PM »
I have a gift certificate for a department store. I want to turn my living room into a zen bliss room! :) I'm putting the TV into our storage closet (hubby wont let me sell it - yet.) Too much time gets killed in front of Netflix! I don't want a "dying room" anymore. Time to live. Meditate, read, dream. Look at plants.

But I suck at home decor.

Right now the TV is the focal point when you're sitting on the couch. What would you replace the TV with? Dare you show me your own living room for inspiration? I've attached my own.

I think you could make a huge change by just getting rid of those horrible blinds and replacing them with heavy, colorful curtains, hung on a nice thick rod high and wide over the door.   I'd leave them mostly open, but you could close them when needed.  Here's an image for inspiration (from the internet, not our house), but really in whatever color, pattern, etc you like:



If you wanted to take things further, I'd get some coordinating throw pillows in fun colors, replace the tv with a large painting that you like (maybe that again ties in with the curtains), and possibly a nice large plant in a corner.   IMO, everything else (eg., your couch)  would look great with these changes.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2014, 12:04:36 PM by Emilyngh »

KBecks2

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2014, 12:01:18 PM »
Maybe you want a special lamp from the department store?  Sorry, department stores are not always the best.  Do you need anything else like luggage or cooking gear?

Mark31

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2014, 01:40:46 PM »
Your living room is not big, but I'm generally a fan of furniture that can be moved around easily. So have a couch on castors, and some lightweight armchairs. Then you can easily change the focus of the room to looking out the window, group conversation, or you can spin the couch around to look at the TV in the corner, and put it back when you're done. Get a some nice fabric to throw over the TV when it's not in use, that's the cheapest way to hide it.

Christiana

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2014, 02:45:05 PM »
Orient things so that when you sit or meditate, you are looking at the picture, the window, the books, or something else that inspires you.  In your photo the picture is above the couch, so you don't see it when you're sitting there, and the window is covered by the blinds and the exercise machine.

I'd consider getting a large area rug to set the theme for the room, and to unify it.  That is something you can take with you when you move.

I'd think about putting the bookshelves next to each other, if it doesn't unbalance the room too much.

I'd also try to visually downplay the speakers...but I know it's hard when your SO values high-quality audio.

SailAway

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2014, 03:05:41 PM »
I love this idea. We never used our "formal" living room. It was storage, kids playroom, etc. but we never sat in there. So I've been converting it into a "cafe". We inherited a piano from my parents and that had to stay. I bought a small round dining table on clearance at Ikea. I bought two comfy arm chairs from Wayfair to put around it and put this all in front of the picture window. I have an old cabinet that I'm going to paint and convert into a mini bar. Hang a shelf and mirror over it in the corner. Eventually I'd like to replace the sofa with two chaises.

But I say have a room you will use and enjoy. Who cares if it is conventional? As a renter you are more limited but a nice soft area rug could help. I got ours at Home Depot. Mohawk, made in America. Overstock.com, Goodwill, Marshalls, Target, Tuesday Morning and even Big Lots are good places to look for home decor needs, particularly in the clearance sections.

I'm at the in-laws today but I can post a pic for you tomorrow if you want.

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2014, 04:00:25 PM »
Ooh, I love decorating questions!

You absolutely can take down vertical blinds and put them back up when you move, because I've done it (carefully). I was in an apartment with a sliding glass door that was losing tons of heat and I needed to put up insulated drapes. If you have space, you can also soften them by hanging a valance and something at the sides. I did a rod and then just looped sheers over it and had another set on the ends as verticals. Also, what's outside? If you don't have to worry about privacy, then you can just keep the verticals pulled back all the time and use your own window treatment to hide them.

I know some people love the beige and cream look to a room, but I have to have color. I didn't want to take on painting an accent wall in my current place, so I have a bright slipcover, pillows and a throw rug down and that also works. More color would definitely warm up the space.

If you can get the exercise machine out of there (or cover it when it's not in use) the room will feel more restful, and also I think the non-matching TV stand and coffee table feel clunky. Clutter always makes a room feel crowded, so I wonder if a trunk or ottoman that you can put things into would be better. I keep trying to get rid of my coffee table altogether but I like to curl up with my plate and a good TV show at dinnertime and I have had way too many spills putting dishes on the floor. I use a small glass table for less visual impact.

I have two book suggestions that helped me a lot as an apartment dweller...the actual Apartment Therapy book (I find the website way too aspirational, but the book was helpful) and Lauri Ward's "Use What You Have" decorating books. The pictures are really dated, but the ideas are sound.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2014, 04:06:37 PM by Noodle »

lifejoy

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2014, 06:39:58 PM »
Wow, these ideas are so great!! My SO is not so excited about change, but I think I can implement some baby steps that would do wonders for me. Many thanks for all of the beautiful ideas!

kaetana

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2014, 06:55:23 PM »
This was mentioned earlier, but have you looked on Pinterest? If you just browse "living room", you'll get thousands of pictures of living rooms to help you along. Pinterest is great for just collecting a bunch of ideas when you're not sure what you really want to do yet.

lifejoy

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #25 on: October 10, 2014, 01:23:58 AM »
Well, I did the best I could! Considering that this update was $0, free, cost NUTHIN' :) I'm happy enough with the change. You guys gave me some great ideas for our next apartment though!

I now have plants and candles to look at, instead of a TV :) Also I have some art I can hang above the plants and speakers, if it doesn't make that wall look too busy.

Minor changes, but it feels good!

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #26 on: October 10, 2014, 10:51:31 AM »
This is also one of my favorite topics.  In my opinion, good rooms that live can be arranged most easily and cheaply from the following three components:

1. Books-cheap bookshelves are everywhere.  Get this vintage.
2. Art-collect over time
3. Rugs-look for an overdyed oriental rug.  Colorful but cheap, and the monochrome will be less busy and more calming.  Yes, you can put in right on top of the carpet.  I promise this will help a lot.  BUT, do not get something too small.  This is a big pet peeve, and an undersized rug will make the situation worse.  I'd spend the whole gift certificate on the rug.  It has to go under the couch and the coffee table to be properly sized.  My preference is for it to go under all of the legs of the couch, but it's also OK if it goes only under the front legs.

and, optional but more expensive
4. curtains

If you do 1-4, the color of your walls and your beige furniture can all be forgiven.  A lot of people recommend paint, but I think people are sometimes too optimistic about what a coat of paint can do for a room with no architectural interest.  Further, it seems like you want clean and minimal lines, so painting your room a bold color is in direct opposition to the vibe you want.

If you can paint, gray tones are more in style now than brown ones.  I'd do something like Gray Owl from Benjamin Moore:
http://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/master-bedroom-makeover/

This room also has a nice overdyed rug.

lifejoy

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #27 on: October 10, 2014, 09:37:01 PM »
This is also one of my favorite topics.  In my opinion, good rooms that live can be arranged most easily and cheaply from the following three components:

1. Books-cheap bookshelves are everywhere.  Get this vintage.
2. Art-collect over time
3. Rugs-look for an overdyed oriental rug.  Colorful but cheap, and the monochrome will be less busy and more calming.  Yes, you can put in right on top of the carpet.  I promise this will help a lot.  BUT, do not get something too small.  This is a big pet peeve, and an undersized rug will make the situation worse.  I'd spend the whole gift certificate on the rug.  It has to go under the couch and the coffee table to be properly sized.  My preference is for it to go under all of the legs of the couch, but it's also OK if it goes only under the front legs.

and, optional but more expensive
4. curtains

If you do 1-4, the color of your walls and your beige furniture can all be forgiven.  A lot of people recommend paint, but I think people are sometimes too optimistic about what a coat of paint can do for a room with no architectural interest.  Further, it seems like you want clean and minimal lines, so painting your room a bold color is in direct opposition to the vibe you want.

If you can paint, gray tones are more in style now than brown ones.  I'd do something like Gray Owl from Benjamin Moore:
http://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/master-bedroom-makeover/

This room also has a nice overdyed rug.

Wooooow I love the link you included! Wooo is that ever a nice boudoir!

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2014, 11:34:11 AM »
To be honest I don't really see much of a difference between the before and after photos.  It looks like you just moved the exercise thing.  What's in the direction of the photographer?  Is that open to a kitchen or dining area?  Is there a door?  What I would suggest:

 - Get rid of the coffee table.  That thing is huge and makes the room look way too cramped.  I've always had a coffee table like that too, but our current place is small so we had to get rid of it and I don't think I'll ever go back to using one.  What's the point?  It collects dust and you put 'stuff' on it which also collects dust.  Get SMALL end tables for either side of the couch to set your drink and book on if that's what you need.  Garage sales and goodwill are good for small crappy tables that clean up nice when you paint them cool colors.

 - Pull down those blinds and put up curtains with some color.  Or can you at least open the blinds all the way and put curtains overtop to hide them?  You can wrap the top of the blinds w/ something colorful too.  Get creative, my parents have the same thing and stuck a bunch of old 45s along that top thing (their living room is music themed).

 - Sucks you have to keep the couch.  If you can move that exercise machine you might be able to fit a small armchair which will greatly encourage talking.  Talking facing the same way on the same couch is awkward.  Or, assuming the blinds slide to the left when open, flip the couch to the other side of the room and put an armchair in the corner which will help cover the blinds (then use curtains like above).

- Add some plants to the top of both bookshelves.  We used to have one of those leafy running plants that hang down on top of our tall bookshelf.  A tall plant in the corner may hide the blinds when open, as well.

The biggest problem I see is that it's a small room with too much stuff in it.  If you're unsure what to do, get everything out of the room and start from scratch.  Only add something back in if it will benefit the feel of the room in some way.  Kudos to getting rid of the TV, and to the Mr as well for going along with it.  Getting buy in from both is rare.  Currently only one of us wants to get rid of the TV (it's not me :-)

lifejoy

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2014, 11:41:06 AM »
You're right - it's not really a huge difference. I moved some more things around... And voila! Slightly more different ;)

The big deal for me was changing the living room from the "TV viewing Center" into a place of relaxation and conversation. The focal points are now plants and books.

The amount of white and beige in the room makes me cringe... But on the advice of another poster, I am looking for a large area rug to infuse some colour into the situation. Fingers crossed on one I found on Craigslist!

I will not be changing/selling furniture because we're moving soon (8 months feels soon to me) so I'm trying to make do with what we have. Thanks for the ideas!!

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2014, 11:45:20 AM »
Oh good you added a chair :-)  The only thing glaring now is the two speakers being right next to each other.  The quasi-audiophile in me kindly requests you space those apart.

lifejoy

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Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2014, 12:03:30 PM »
Oh good you added a chair :-)  The only thing glaring now is the two speakers being right next to each other.  The quasi-audiophile in me kindly requests you space those apart.

Lol I suspected that might be a problem! My husband is the hipster with a music addiction. I'm sure he will help me separate the two ;)

I had them on opposite sides of the black table, but then it blocked the view of my plant... Haha so I moved it.

The chair I sniped from our overstuffed office! So now our home office is feeling spacious, and our living room is feeling more social. $0!

Sarita

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2014, 03:32:10 PM »
A suggestion to replace the coffee table-- small folding tables that you can tuck away and then take out when, say, you want to eat while hanging out on your couch.  I live in smallish NYC apartment, and they are great to maximize space-- my living room seems much bigger without a coffee table that just collects dust and unread magazines anyway.

lifejoy

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #33 on: October 11, 2014, 06:40:09 PM »
I found a perfect area rug (red, with design) on Craigslist. $40! I was so thrilled :)
Just waited half an hour at the lady's house. No answer by phone or at the door. Argh.

Metta

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2014, 07:32:06 AM »
One of the very best things we ever bought was a Kotatsu, which we splurged on when we were first together. It has always been in our living room and we do everything around it including eating all our meals. We have never felt the need for a kitchen table or chairs as long as we've had it. Basically it is a low Japanese table with a heating element underneath. In the winter we put a quilt or tablecloth between the tabletop (which is removable) and the base to keep the heat in when we turn on the heater. It allow us to enjoy much lower heating bills since we heat only a very small area where we really need it and keep the rest of the house chilly.

Instead of getting rid of your coffee table, why not use it instead of a dining room table? You can turn your coffee table into a Kotatsu, if you are so inclined. The heating elements are available on Amazon for about $65. Here is a instructable on how to do it:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-an-American-style-kotatsu/?ALLSTEPS


imustachemystash

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #35 on: October 12, 2014, 08:47:51 PM »
You could get a little table and 2 chairs and set up a chess board.  It would make a fun little game area.

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #36 on: October 12, 2014, 08:49:59 PM »
I second turning the coffee table into a board game area.

step-through

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2014, 08:16:19 AM »
I think you  should go with the idea to relocate the coffee table. Low asian/middle eastern style tables are fun. Since the living room is so narrow, try not having a coffee table at all! Have some end tables by the couch. Facing the couch, scoot the speakers and machine aside and try two chairs with a table in between them (maybe on casters so you can roll it into coffee table position for entertaining). This leaves space in the center of the room for yoga, etc.

Put down a nice rug that you really like. It should be nearly as long as the couch or larger. That could be a good department store purchase although they can be overpriced and often easy to find cheap on craigslist or yard sales. Then put a big focal wall hanging opposite the couch - a wall map, something you paint onto fabric or plywood, or maybe a pretty quilt. Have fun! And I think apartmenttherapy.com is great for ideas including on a budget.

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2014, 03:56:41 PM »
This is also one of my favorite topics.  In my opinion, good rooms that live can be arranged most easily and cheaply from the following three components:

1. Books-cheap bookshelves are everywhere.  Get this vintage.
2. Art-collect over time
3. Rugs-look for an overdyed oriental rug.  Colorful but cheap, and the monochrome will be less busy and more calming.  Yes, you can put in right on top of the carpet.  I promise this will help a lot.  BUT, do not get something too small.  This is a big pet peeve, and an undersized rug will make the situation worse.  I'd spend the whole gift certificate on the rug.  It has to go under the couch and the coffee table to be properly sized.  My preference is for it to go under all of the legs of the couch, but it's also OK if it goes only under the front legs.

and, optional but more expensive
4. curtains

If you do 1-4, the color of your walls and your beige furniture can all be forgiven.  A lot of people recommend paint, but I think people are sometimes too optimistic about what a coat of paint can do for a room with no architectural interest.  Further, it seems like you want clean and minimal lines, so painting your room a bold color is in direct opposition to the vibe you want.

If you can paint, gray tones are more in style now than brown ones.  I'd do something like Gray Owl from Benjamin Moore:
http://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/master-bedroom-makeover/

This room also has a nice overdyed rug.

Wooooow I love the link you included! Wooo is that ever a nice boudoir!

Those photos are proof that good lighting is 95% of the equation

masonbrown

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #39 on: February 09, 2015, 02:49:42 AM »
Try these décor ideas, it will create a large room feeling.
For widows, go for horizontal wooden blinds instead of curtains as it helps keep the room warmer.
Replace the glass table if you children in your house.
Get chairs & dining table made from reclaimed wood, as dents will not be visible.
Always keep a table lamp for light at eye level.
Get some decent shape vases to decorate your living area. I think these lovely vases at zopalo.com will create a cool environment.
Make sure to get nice looking flowers to keep your room fresh.
Remember that a rug is a game changer, so get a nice long rug matching to your Sofa color.
Buy some poufs with some contrast colors.
Replace the TV with fireplace.
In the bookshelves don't just add books, keep some place for vases & glass art pieces.

YoungInvestor

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #40 on: February 09, 2015, 06:03:35 AM »
I think your main problem is the white-ish carpet with the white furniture and the white blinds.

I'd try to get a new coffee table and bookcase in black or brown (whichever color fits best with the rest of your stuff), it should be relatively cheap.

I'd replace the blinds with some translucent curtains that have some color to them : You'll get some light in during the day and a pop of much-needed color.

The white-ish sofa is also a problem, but that's quite expensive to fix.

rothnroll

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #41 on: February 09, 2015, 06:54:23 AM »
Get rid of the coffee table. It' s ugly and takes up space.

KD

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #42 on: February 09, 2015, 09:22:45 AM »
Ha!  Good idea!  My hubs won't get rid of the TV either which is strange as he only watches one show a week and it's available on the computer.  Whatever, 55 inch must have something to do w/male ego?????  I dunno.

Living Room???  We seldom have anyone over so we took the living room w/the huge picture window and turned that into our office where we both spend much of our days sitting at a double sided desk in front of the window.  I paint so it's also my studio and the extra fourth bedroom is now the 'den' which houses the couches, TV and exercise bike.  No one hardly ever goes in there.  I do on Sunday afternoons for my faked attempt at watching a DVD which is merely my cover story to take a nap, TV helps cover the sound of my snoring! :)  Husband goes in daily for 30 minutes to ride the exercise bike.  That's it.  We made our rooms what we wanted them to be for us.

Why should we be stuck in the tiny fourth room all the time as an office when the 'living room' is bigger, brighter, warmer, etc. because we occasionally have family in 2 or 3 times a year???  I vote for doing whatever is 'convenient' and happy making for you...decorating 'rules' be damned.

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Re: Home decor: Changing the "dying room" into a living room!
« Reply #43 on: February 09, 2015, 09:23:01 AM »
I think an area rug would make a huge difference. Because the room is quite moncromatic it lacks a focus aside from the TV and speakers (which are the darkest items in the room). A rug will help 'center' the room. Art would be great, if you are allowed to hang things on the wall (appologies if you already answered that one).

I saw that you found a rug on craigslist and then got stood up. Craigslist is awesome for furniture! You can save a bundle and you don't have to trudge through thrift stores hoping to find something that is right for your house.

I believe that table is the one from Ikea that is about $20 or so. If possible consider sanding it lightly and spray painting it some gorgeous color - even bacl, glossy dark brown, or bright blue or something (depending on if you get an area rug). The table is pretty inexpensive and won't last forever no matter what (I have personal experience with that particular table). You can get spray paint for a couple bucks per can and it won't take much to do the table.

Throw pillows in a bunch of patterns and colors. Ikea usually has a bunch of different things that all coordinate together, if you are up for spending a little money.