Carolyn’s Family Room Redesign

Hello! I thought I’d share one of my consultations today, since the guest bathroom won’t be ready for another close up ’til tomorrow.

A while back I got a letter from Carolyn. She purchased one of my Photo Consultations and wanted my advice on how to re-work her family room using items she already had. She was looking for some fresh, easy-to-implement ideas to help pretty up the place pronto!

Here’s an except from the letter she sent me….

Dear Layla,

I think I’ve arrived at a furniture arrangement that I’m happy with, but that leaves me with a HUGE blank wall. And for the life of me, I can’t figure out what to do with it.

Most of the pieces in the room are inherited (sofa, hutch, sofa table, large chest, mirror). I’m a huge fan of using what has been in our families. That’s how I ended up with a blue sofa, and a chair & ottoman that are mostly green. (we bought the chair/ottoman before inheriting the sofa) I’ve tried to pull the blue throughout the room, and it’s ok- but I think some color on the walls would really help. And perhaps either new window treatments or something to spiff up of the current ones would help as well. I threw together the things in the hutch using items I already had. I’m also open to suggestions here.


So keeping all of her requests in mind, I emailed her a slew of suggestions and put together the following photo drawing for her to use as inspiration to get her creative (re-design) juices flowing…

(hover your mouse back and forth over the photo to see my suggestions)

A few days after I sent my email to her, she sent me this updated photo of the room:

She said she plans to continue to add things to the room over time, but boy did she do a great job of shopping the house in a hurry, eh? :-)

I asked Carolyn if she would send me some more updated photos of the room so I could share her “Before’s and Now’s” here on our blog. She said yes, and was sweet enough to send over the ones shown below.

In my consultation, I suggested she try swapping the large chest that was up against the wall between the windows with the smaller-scale table behind the sofa. Considering the width of the back of the sofa, and the width of the wall space between the two windows, I thought it might be nice to switch the two pieces.



I also thought she might try placing a large mirror over the fireplace and a grouping of smaller, framed prints above the piece of furniture to the left of the fireplace.
Carolyn made the switcheroo, and here’s how it looks now…

Over on the other side of the room, for a little contrast, I suggested that she use a bunch of lighter-colored items inside the dark wood, corner hutch. I also suggested that she try using some books as “lifts” to create more visual interest. Lastly, I suggested using baskets to add some texture and offer a little hidden storage. (I keep extra light bulbs, candles and small extension cords in the baskets in our living room!) Here’s what Carolyn came up with…



I love that she was able to incorporate things from around her home into what turned out to be a dashing little display of accessories here. I also like how she staggered similar-shaped/colored items from one side of each shelf to another.

(Click on this photo to see what I mean)

Here are some more shots of the room that Carolyn sent me…

Before, the large chest between the two windows felt a little too big…

Now, the drop leaf table feels just right!

She used a collection of things she found around the house on top of it…

She decked out the top of the large chest, shown here in its new location, with a variety of recycled goodies too…

She even already had a monogrammed white pillow to use on the side chair, just like in my drawing!

I also had the pleasure of helping Carolyn with her kitchen, so if you’d like to read/see more about that room, stop by her blog, “Lettuce Be Glad”.

I’m so honored everytime someone allows me the opportunity of collaborating with them on their personal spaces. This particular consultation really spoke the re-purposer in me. When Carolyn first contacted me, I could immediately relate to her request to work with a lot of the things she already owned. Re-doing our house on an almost non-existent budget has become a way of life since Kevin and I left our small, but stable, paychecks to chase our dreams last year. We knew it was risky, but we were compelled to follow our hearts nonetheless.
Since then, a few things have worked out, and a few things have not. And let’s just say the things that have not have made life…uh….interesting around these parts as far as finances go. (You may have noticed that Kevin is now at home more than he is on the road touring, and you will soon notice that Lettered Cottage Home will be closing it’s virtual doors.)
The honest truth is, without our Sponsors, a handful of new clients, and our True Value gift card, there may not be a whole lot to even blog about. It’s not fun to think about, but like they say, sometimes the going gets tough. If you are going through something similar, and I know there are a lot of people out there who are, our hearts go out to you. For me, writing about our experiences here at TLC has been very therapeutic this past year. There’s nothing like having a great group of great online friends with similar interests to bond with! :-) So we’ll continue to blog our little hearts out, and share as many shoestring budget-friendly decorating tips and tricks as we can think of along the way. Our hope is to inspire, and to be inspired in the process.

Hey! Speaking of inspiration, stay tuned for some updated photos of the guest bathroom tomorrow. The built-in shelves are coming along great, and with a little bit of (okay, maybe a lottle bit of) caulk, our guests will never know they weren’t built by a professional! Ha! :-)


Wanna hang plates on your wall like Carolyn did? Check out these incredible invisible plate hangers from!

Guest Bathroom Reno - Day 9
Guest Bathroom Reno - Day 5

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