Katie's Living/Dining Room

Katie had all the major pieces for her open living and dining space, and she knew what she liked: open and airy spaces with pops of color and dreamy photographs. But she struggled with how to layout the space to be more efficient, and what accessories would pull the space together. A unique challenge for me was that Katie lives in Australia - and some of my go-to stores don't ship there, or the cost is outrageous. To save on shipping, Katie sent me to a few local stores where I could find new and cool items. Adding some staples from Ikea and etsy, we were ready to go. But first, here's the before. katie's before

And here's my cheerful design plan:



Dining room should stay as-is, although I think it would be fine to move the console table a bit to the right to allow easier access to the stereo (not pictured). Another option (if it fits) is to relocate an existing bookshelf from the office to this space. You could still use the top for a buffet for entertaining but would have more flexibility with your storage below.

I noticed the piano and a guitar and assume that music is an interest to someone (or everyone!) in the house and wanted to create a space to honor that. Currently the back of the sofa is to the doors, cutting off a significant portion of square footage and rendering it basically unusable. In the meanwhile, the sofa, piano, chairs, and tv create a smaller-appearing living space by boxing that area off. Now I don't know exact measurements, but I think this will fit. Slide the piano all the way down the wall toward the sliding doors. The sofa moves to where the piano is now. The chairs stay put (but use all three existing nesting tables together between them). The two ottomans stay put and will sit between the "living" area and the "music" area and creates a flexible, multi-use space that feels much bigger. The ottomans can be used facing the tv, or while someone is playing guitar or listening to the piano. I recommend a more neutral rug that unifies the living space and adding a coffee table to make it more functional. I know some people hate sitting sideways to the tv but I think you'd get used to it fast.

Now to explain the moodboard. Links are included.

1. Throw pillows! Keep the green leafy one that is already on the sofa and ditch the rest. I liked the idea of using a green and pink theme with a little blue thrown in. I envision the "Home" pillow on one of the armchairs and the rest on the sofa. The geometric pillow is just an example, though I do think this one would work. Just a little something different from the other florals.

2. Curtains. I, along with Katie, am a big fan of the bamboo with white sheers. Ikea has these bamboo panels that you can trim to your desired length. I'd hang them about five inches below the ceiling and trim them just under the top of the window and sliding doors to create the illusion of extra height. Hang two white panels (these have a subtle pretty pattern!) on either side of the sliding doors and either one or two on the window depending on where the console table ends up. If the curtain gets in the way of the table, try pulling the table out from the wall a bit and draping the extra fabric behind loosely. .

3. I love the dreamy art you're drawn toward and I picked four prints that I think would look beautiful in wide white mats with white frames hung in a grid over the sofa. This one, this one, this one, and this one, all from etsy. I think 8x10 is a good size and if they aren't listed in that size I made sure you can request a new size.

4. This natural and textured pendant light will look fantastic over your dining room table. Tie in the natural elements with a simple linen runner. I think that white gourd lamp on the console (not pictured) just needs a new shade. Try black or a beautiful dark gray. Or simply add black trim to the existing shade.

5. This is the rug I mentioned before. Make sure the front feet of the sofa and the chairs are resting on it.

6. This large and inspiring print will look great in your dining area (The current picture is just a bit too dark for the bright airy space). They shown it framed in black but I think you could do dark brown to go with your table, or even white or silver. The pinks will tie in the color scheme from the sofa.

7. One thing your living room lacks is space to put a drink, keep the remote control, or display pretty books or a floral arrangement. But coffee tables can be expensive. This Ikea version has a glass top that's easy to clean. And you could be creative with what goes under the glass. Some poloroids? Or maybe some fabric that matches the soon-to-be-recovered piano bench.

8. This GORGEOUS lamp will add that dash of glamour, modernity, and style to the room. It should come out into the living room from either between the sofa and piano or between the sofa and tv. Try both and see what looks better. It is a little pricier at $200 AU but I think it could really make the room. And it might be hard to find something of a similar quality at much lower of a price.

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