Design Advice: A Cozy, Cottage-Inspired Living Room

When my client contacted me to create a custom design plan for her living room, she felt totally lost as to what to do with the space.  Soaring ceilings, builder basic finishes, a wide-open floor plan and tired furniture had her worried that the living room could never become a cozy and inviting room that was perfect for entertaining both adults and a neighborhood full of kids.

Design Advice: A Cozy, Cottage-Inspired Living Room

Design Advice: A Cozy, Cottage-Inspired Living Room

Design Advice: A Cozy, Cottage-Inspired Living Room

The task of overhauling the living room was even more daunting to my client because she loves to change her decor with the seasons, from spring greens in the summer to deep burgundy in the winter months.  But not to worry!!

Taking her budget and design style into account, here is the fun and flexible cottage-inspired design plan for my client’s new living room:

Living Room - Modern Cottage

You’ll notice that this space incorporates oodles of pattern and texture, two hallmarks of cottage design, while the furniture pieces are largely constructed in traditional designs.  Warm browns and creams and bright white are accented by pops of fun and fresh color – green and yellow are depicted in the design plan for summer, and my client can quickly (and affordably) switch the accessories out in winter for an entirely different look.  Let’s take a peek at how this gorgeous room came together!

~ Wall Color & Paint. This creamy beige is the perfect backdrop for this space, and should wrap around all of the walls to the vaulted ceiling.  The underside of the soffit, which is currently painted white, will also be painted in this neutral tone to allow the eye to move continuously up to the high ceilings.  Although it will take time, the golden oak woodwork (including the stair risers) will look lovely painted in a crisp white.  The bannister, however, will ultimately be stained a rich walnut tone to match the new hardwood floors.

~ Flooring. As my client’s ultimate goal is to add hardwood flooring to the space, this pre-finished oak flooring in a deep wood tone will look beautiful and provide a great contrast to the furniture in the space, without breaking the bank.

~ Furniture. At the client’s request, the major pieces of furniture in this room are being replaced with durable and comfortable pieces in neutral tones so that the look of the room can be changed to suit the season.

~ Sofa. This cream slipcovered sofa is the perfect combination of traditional and cottage style, with rolled arms, comfy cushions and a skirted slipcover that can be thrown in the wash as necessary.  Placed against the long wall where the existing sofa is currently located, this piece will anchor the seating arrangement and provide a focal point for the room.

~ Coffee Table. The rich wood of this coffee table will be striking against the creamy beige sofa.  Placed in front of the sofa, it will be the perfect place for the family to kick up their feet or play a board game.

~ Pair of Existing End Tables. With a quick coat of chocolate paint or stain and flanking either side of the sofa, the existing pale-toned end tables will fit right in with this new design scheme.

~ Slipper Chairs. Who says neutral has to be boring?  This pair of slipper chairs is upholstered in a traditional damask pattern, in modern shades of chocolate and cream.  By simply swapping them out with the loveseat that is currently placed against the railing, my client will have an intimate conversation nook that can easily become part of the larger seating arrangement.

~ Side Table.  The loose trellis pattern on this unique side table is just stunning, and the warm wood top adds the perfect rustic touch.  Sliding this baby right between the new slipper chairs will provide whoever perches on those beautiful chairs with a place to rest their book or drink.

~ Existing Console Table.  The console table that is currently positioned near the top of the stairs is already in the perfect location, and after it receives the same paint/stain treatment as the end tables it will blend perfectly with the rest of the new living room.

~ Lighting.

~ Pair of Chandeliers.  This pair of chandeliers serves two functions in this space.  First, they add a touch of whimsy to the space, hanging from the soffit and flanking either side of the sofa (at about the height of a traditional table lamp).  Second, these chandeliers will have a dramatic effect and immediately draw one’s eye to the height of the room, which is a fabulous feature that should be accentuated.  These handy converters will allow my client to adapt her recessed lighting for these cottage-y chandeliers.

~ Lamps.  Every room can benefit from multiple lighting sources, and this spacious living room is no exception.  This swing-arm floor lamp in an oil-rubbed bronze will bring some lovely ambient light to the corner of the living room by the slipper chairs, and also provide a little light for some late night reading.  Another lamp like this placed on the console will greet my client’s guests as they enter the living room from the stairway.

~ Rug.  This simple striped rug in an 8 x 10 epitomizes the cottage feel of this room, and it is also an absolute steal.  It will anchor the seating area while breaking up the carpet in the living room – and once the hardwood floors are in, it will add a little visual texture and coziness to the space.

~ Curtains.  The beautiful window will look fabulous framed by these breezy white curtains.  I would love to see them hung as close to the ceiling as possible to take advantage of this soaring space – and they would look best with the panels hung wide, just barely covering the window frame so that the window looks as large as possible.  Some simple bamboo blinds hung just below the curtain rod will complete the look and add even more texture to the space.

~ Artwork.  The long wall behind the sofa is just begging for a little pizazz.  A series of four large frames (in the 27.5 x 39.25 size) hung in a row above the sofa will be fabulous – especially when they are filled with these gorgeous fabrics: 1, 2, 3 and 4.  With just a yard of each fabric, this feature wall provides a huge bang for your buck and can easily be switched up as the seasons change.  It is amazing the dramatic impact this simple artwork will have on my client’s living room.

~ Accessories.

~ Throw Pillows.  With just a few throw pillows, it is a breeze to add splashes of color throughout the room.  These beautiful embroidered pillows add dashes of yellow and green to the sofa and look amazing with the fabric on the focal wall, while these simple yellow pillows will add even more interest to the slipper chairs without competing with that fabulous pattern.

~ Glass Jars.  Simple accents like these recycled glass jars add interest to the room – they will look fabulous on the console table and spread the color scheme throughout the space.

So there you have it!!  A brand new living room from head to toe.  What do you guys think?  Stay tuned for the design quickies that I created for this client’s kitchen and dining area . . .

Click on the following link to snag some design advice of your very own – Interior Design Services.

This post is shared with DIY Day on A Soft Place to Land.

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  1. Jill says:

    LOVE This room! ;) Wow! Amazing!

  2. Kristina says:

    I am digging the yellow, green and white combo. Nice choices! And of course, how can you not love the chair. I still go and daydream on the Target website about these chairs. I love them all :)

  3. Tonya says:

    Wow! What a beautiful design! I can’t wait to see the end result!!

  4. Averill says:

    Great job, Liz! I think you’ve hit cottage style on the head.

    I think it’s SO hard to decorate large, open floor plans (a bit ironic since everyone, including me, seems to want one)…I totally feel your client’s pain right now as I work on my own family room….

  5. Kim says:

    Like that sofa a lot! I’m totally having a covet-party for it. =)

  6. julie says:

    What a great idea for the artwork! I’m totally doing that.

  7. christy says:

    Fabulous ideas Liz. I love the fabric in the frames idea – seems doable! And those chairs are just lovely! Great ideas – I hope the client writes back with After pictures!!!

  8. stephanie says: