Design Dilemmas | Weeks 1 & 2


Weeks 1 & 2

For those of you who follow us on Instagram, you'll know we've been answering your Design Dilemmas every Friday. Heather and I have loved delving into these and it's so good to hear that you've been enjoying them too! Here are the first two instalments - please share your thoughts in the comments, or send us your own query here.

W1 | Dilemma #1:

"I've been wanting to reupholster this sofa but I'm color phobic... Any suggestions?"
We love this sofa! It's mid-century & a little Harvey Probber. As you're color avoidant I would go for a cream nobby wool bouclé like this one from Dedar Milano. I think it's perfect for this style of sofa; a nod to the inspiration period but very now!
Dedar Milano bouclé fabric and sofasource: Dedar Milano

Dilemma #2: 

"I'm moving to this unfurnished apartment. Beautiful floors & bones but I'm worried about the lack of light."
a rental apartment with white walls, and 1970's furnituresource: @jacrev
Your new apartment looks great. The ceiling adds lots of character and the black trim can be a real feature! As someone who needs lots of light, I totally understand wanting to keep it bright in there. My first suggestion is to remove the roman blinds and replace them with linen curtains. The Ikea Aina curtains are inexpensive and the material is great. 
a bright white room with black accents, high ceilings and long linen curtainssource: Maison-Hand
I would also scatter floor, wall and table lamps throughout. To simplify turning them all on, I'd get an Alexa with the new smart plugs they offer - you can set it to respond to "Alexa turn on the living room lights" and suchlike. I did this with my Christmas lights and it was awesome!
a dining room with white, half-panelled wooden walls, black painted walls and a rich red rugsource: Suburban B's
 Finally, I would make sure all of your big surfaces - sofas, rugs etc - are all light & bright! The Kade rug would be a really good addition!

Dilemma #3: 

 "I'm keeping the couch and getting rid of everything else. Starting with the rug! Current size is 10' x 14' - open to suggestions for this room!"
a living room with a large white linen sofa covered in throw pillows with a couple of ottomans beside it via: @joboh5
The white linen slipcovered sofa is a classic - such a great base for so many directions! I would look to Amber Lewis & Jaclyn Peters for inspiration on this one! You could replicate Amber's red tones with Camille
 Or go for a softer, more muted look like Jaclyn's with Heritage 0038 or 0039.
You can also change the whole vibe with throw pillows, like ours, which are made from antique linens & rug fragments!
Frances Loom antique throw pillows upon two linen sofas
And, while a 10' x 14' rug would work perfectly, you could absolutely move down to an 8' x 10', providing the sofa feet are on the rug all the way around. We also love a layered look - a larger jute, sisal or solid wool rug underneath a smaller vintage rug.
an antique Heritage rug layered over a neutral wool rug

W2 | Dilemma #1:

"We have a long narrow living room with a big custom sisal rug. Each end of the room measures around 7'11" x 10'6" on the sisal & I'd love to layer vintage rugs over it. I was also thinking of getting some upholstered chairs to replace the temporary set."

a large, neutral living room with large sisal rugs, a sofa and two armchairs. A large potted plant adds green highlights to the fairly bare roomvia: @annaemosch

For the layered rugs, I think anything between 5' x 8' to 7' x 9.5" would work well. The size and colors in Heritage 0064 would be perfect! Vintage rugs come in odd sizes so it helps to know your "max" size.

a neutral living room with a large fireplace and potted plant in the far right corner. There is a long thin bench-like coffee table amidst a white linen sofa and two grey armchairs with wooden backssource: Amber Interiors

I agree that some heavier upholstered chairs would help to balance out the space - you could pull them a bit further into the middle of the room to create a bit more, well, space! 

The vintage rug will be a pop of colour and pattern, so you could keep the chairs neutral or pull out one of the rug colors & run with that.

two neutral sitting rooms with large pieces of artwork visible. Both rooms have a white linen sofa and accents of brown leather or wood sat upon an antique rugsources left to right: Alisa Cristine Interiors@ccandeminteriors

It's always good to keep a bit of black for contrast too. This big Pottery Barn lamp would look great alongside a couple of dark throw pillows.

a large ceramic based by Pottery Barnsource: Pottery Barn

Dilemma #2

"It needs something ... more than just a coffee table & mantle. I was thinking about painting the fireplace. Thoughts?"

a predominantly brown living room, with an exposed brick fireplace, dark floorboards and large wooden cupboard. There are two light brown sofas and a blue/grey arm chair sat upon an antique rug. A wood pile and potted plant are visible in the far right hand cornervia: @rachmikol

What a great room! I am playing off the cabinet, shiplap wall and a few rustic accessories. I would paint out the brick to a flat soft black like Lamp Black by Little Greene to create a look similar to this one by Jake Alexander Arnold.

A living room with brown tones and a pot of hyacinths, designed by Jake Alexander Arnold and a painted black brick wall with an antique portrait of a woman leant against it.sources left to right: Little Greene Paint Company | @jakealexanderarnold

I recommend scooching the sofas a bit further out & adding a big upholstered cream Ottoman like this one by Kim Salmela. I would also add a few sheepskins to soften the sofas!

a living room with large, black built in bookshelves across the far wall and a log burner in the left corner. 3 pieces of brown leather furniture sit upon a monochrome rug. A separate image of a large linen ottoman is layered abovesources left to right: Article | One Kings Lane

Dilemma #3

"I'm dealing with a very brown room. What color rug should I go with to shake up the space?"

a predominantly brown living room with a large white fireplacevia: @adenahefets

They're great pieces so an antique rug will be the icing on the scale! I would say there's options: you could get a larger jute rug and layer a smaller rug on top. If you want to explore color check our Heritage 0057 (my personal fave) or Ramsey.

a bright living room with lots of natural light shining through an open window. An antique rug layered over a jute is the focal point of this room. A large armchair and sofa is positioned around the rug, with a small wooden coffee table in the centre.source: Pinterest

The other option is to buy a large rug. Something on the lighter side like Heritage 0039 or 0022 would really help lift the room!

a living room designed by Studio Mcgee, features a large white linen sofa and two midcentury armchairs. A large coffee table with fresh flowers sits on a large neutral antique rugsource: Studio McGee

Dilemma #4

"I'm back living with my parents and hate their interior taste. This is our snug but it seems very bare! Would you recommend any wall colors or quick hanging arrangements I could do to brighten the room?

a predominantly brown living room with lots of brown leather furniturevia: @eleanorcmason_

Since it's your parent's house and you probably don't want to invest too much, there are a few things you can do. The rug is too small for the space, so I would get a large oversized jute rug, then layer your beautiful rug on top. You can get really good value jutes in practically any size on Etsy.

a bright red and blue antique rug layered over a brown jute. A large brown leather sofa sits above it and a library ladder is visible at the backsource: Studio L Interiors

If you have a garden it would be great to get some greenery in there! It's so easy to go outside and cut some branches to put in a vase on the fireplace or side table. I would also suggest putting a mirror like this one from Rejuvenation above the fireplace - it will really open up the room!

two photos both featuring large photos and round metal mirrorssources left to right: Craft Berry Bush | Rejuvenation

Finally, I would purchase these Ikea linen curtains, along with a couple of their sheepskins to throw over the dark chairs. This will make the room feel much more like a cozy snug!

a cozy snug has been built into a staircase. Throw pillows, a pile of books and a sheepskin rug add warmth to this compact cubby hole. A small fabric sign reads "the magic is in you"sources left to right: @wild_run_farms | Ikea


Leave a comment