Renovation Reality: Volume 4: The Living Room

Imagine the days of the 1920’s, when homes were built with grand living rooms for people to host formal events. Now imagine the current day, where some of the best events occurs when guests stand around the kitchen island to socialize! We’ve traded in the grand formal rooms of the past for those that are more relaxed, casual, and family friendly.

In the English Tudor that we’ve been renovating, the formal living room is the largest room in the home. Located just off the foyer, arches lead you into the living room. This room boosts some beautiful architectural details, including built in bookshelves, crown molding, and several windows.

The above photo shows the room when it was occupied by the previous owners.

And today, the room feels warm and welcoming!


To begin, we selected a color palette that would help to enhance the room’s architectural details, and create a warm feel. The white walls, white bookshelves, and white trim made the room feel flat. By painting out the walls to a medium toned beige, the trim and details pop out, highlighting the character of the room.

The long and rectangular shape of this room could present a challenge for furniture placement. Rather than create one large and spread out seating area, we chose to create two distinct seating groups, making the room feel more intimate while still being able to entertain larger groups. The photos below show the room before and after.


In the main seating area, we added a sofa and a pair of accent chairs. Instead of a traditional coffee table, we chose a pair of leather stools which can be used for extra seating, or moved off to the side when entertaining larger groups. The secondary seating group, in front of the windows and bookshelves, offers a more intimate place to relax with a pair of chairs and shared ottoman.


Rather than one large custom sized rug, we added two smaller matching rugs to define each seating group. Velvet drapes, in the same color as the wall paint, frame each pair of windows and add a rich feel to the room. To accentuate the high ceilings, we hung them just below the crown molding. The pair of patterned chairs were the inspiration for the rooms color palette of warm beige tones, with hints of light blue and chocolate brown. To complete the room, we added a variety of patterned accent pillows and accessories.

Rather than creating a formal living room that made the homeowners feel like guests in their own home, we chose to create a room that is casual enough for the family to enjoy every day and sophisticated enough for adults only entertaining.

Next week we’ll give you a peak at the home’s formal dining room, and how we were able to transform this dated room!

For more information about our firm, please visit us at

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