My living room\dining room

I need help on colors to liven up these two rooms. My son says my brass lamps and shades are passé. Thank you.
q my living room dining room, home decor, living room ideas
  42 answers
  • Your pictures are what I notice and I would group them to make an impact. I would even consider painting them to update as well. If you like red accents as seen on couch, then carry that through the whole room with pops of color. If you are not attached to the brass lamps, then I would use Rustoleum's hammered spray paint and paint them, If you like brass, then leave them but consider new lampshades. I do not know your whole room but I would consider moving the couch with its back facing the dining table to separate the two rooms. There is no rule that couches have to go against a wall. I see you have your shelving unit filled to the brim with stuff. It looks a bit too full. Plus I would consider moving it to where the end of the picture is in dining room on right.. you need to separate the two spaces. I would even think about updating your curtains to something with some texture and color and maybe a pattern with the red or other colors in your pillows and accessories. this chair looks way out of place too. 18" is the space between furniture when walking around a space (for average people). You room lacks a bit of cozy but you have some great furniture and accessories they just need to be reworked. So if the sofa can go as I suggested I would angle the chair to the right where it is now and make it a seating arrangement with the sofa (if you can). you need to bring your living room together and furniture position is first. I also would think about more pictures with some color too or a gallery of family photos, words, and maybe even a shelf to make a statement. I would keep arranging the furniture until you find a seating arrangement where company can talk and share conversation. Good luck

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    • @Joanne I would put a chair, they do not have to match either but one chair could go on that wall with that small round end table. If that is a wall you see when you walk in the room, then I would make an impact with pictures on that wall. I have never had my couch against a wall! I just cannot handle what a lot of others do- I like to be different.

  • Joanne Joanne on Jan 15, 2015
    Thankyou very much .

  • Kayo Frazier Kayo Frazier on Jan 15, 2015
    Would need to see more pics of your living room so we can help you figure out how to move furniture around the room. My suggestions for the room...Your walls & ceiling are stark white...I would change the walls to any of the following grey colors because they are neutral & would make any artwork pop off the walls. Iced Cube Silver, Pebble Beach, or Stonington Grey all by Benjamin Moore. You could go a little bolder w/ the grey & get Antique Pewter also by Benjamin Moore. Artwork is really subjective so I won't suggest anything in particular other than to say pick something bright w/ your favorite colors. In the space between the pictures I would add some decorative pieces like several mirrors from ornate to simple in different sizes. Hope this helps.

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    • Kayo Frazier Kayo Frazier on Jan 16, 2015
      @Joanne Can you stand in front of the couch & take a pic directly across the room...Once you post that I will be able to help you out more w/ changing up the furniture in the living room.

  • Lori Lori on Jan 15, 2015
    Joanne, you have some great bones here and that's important. I wish we could see the other end of the living room and a picture of the livingroom from the dining room. Assuming there is a big window at the other end, I might turn your couch to face the window, and backing on to the dining room, pull the chair over to the big wall but move it down closer to the window and facing into the couch area. I would buy an area rug big enough to fit under the couch, coffee table and the chair which will mark the conversation area. I would make that carpet full of colours, bright colours that you love, not one that is okay, find one you are crazy about. That's where you can ick a colour for the walls, accents, paint to paint the tables and chairs if you eant

  • Lori Lori on Jan 15, 2015
    Sorry(hate when that happens) s/b you can pick a colour for the walls and furniture if you want to paint it and change the seats to something brighter. Group the pictures on the big wall, edit stuff out of the curio and put it on the wall, not kiddy corner. You will get lots of great ideas for lamps and paint etc. Remember the value of spray paint. The window treatments could be changed to simple side panels but you didn't ask about that. Hope some of these ideas might pique your interest. Good luck.

  • Ashley Mann Ashley Mann on Jan 15, 2015
    You might browse and bookmark photos of living rooms with color schemes you like that fit your style and match the things you already own and love. It's a great way to get ideas. That's how my husband and I picked our wall colors. And I agree with the person who mentioned spray's a cheap way to upgrade outdated accent pieces and fixtures. My favorite is the kind that looks like hammered metal when it dries.

  • Joanne Joanne on Jan 15, 2015
    Thankyou everyone for the great suggestions.

  • Joanne Joanne on Jan 15, 2015
    That is my problem, I am afraid to take chances . I will move my couch around and see what it looks like. I need to add color on the long wall, possibly bright art work. Thankyou again for your great ideas.

  • PattyV PattyV on Jan 15, 2015
    I have a simple suggestion. I would move you dining table (if possible) so it is running the width of the nook it is in. I would then group the pictures together over the sofa as one poster suggested and I would get an area rug for the living room. It is amazing how a simple rug can ground a room. It doesn't have to be anything fancy - maybe just a rectangle with a strip around it would be adventurous. The run would have to be around a 9 x 12 so it would run the lenght of the couch and extend past the coffee table. I would move the two chairs in the room to the opposite corners of the rug to create a conversation area. Also, yes, brass is a little outdated for the young generation but if they are not real brass, you can either paint them or leave them as it and get a round shades with red and gold to complement and tie in the brass and the pillows on the sofa.

  • Connie Beatty Connie Beatty on Jan 16, 2015
    i think i would add a pretty area rug. this would cozy it up and bring in color...

  • Vetinia gorman Vetinia gorman on Jan 16, 2015
    Use bright red cushion covers and maybe get yourself a very tall plant to add height to the room. Group the pictures together to create a gallery-type look and move the couches together to give the feeling of a different 'room' within the room. Turning the 3 seater couch so that it's back is to the dining area. [Can't really see the other side of the room - I'm supposing there's a tv somewhere in the room]. Move the couches to face the tv (if there's one - or a fireplace). Use the tv or fireplace as a feature. Use bold colours. Your floor and furniture are almost all the same colours.

  • Country Design Home Country Design Home on Jan 16, 2015
    Hi Joanne! Gorgeous floors you have there! Without being able to see the entire room, I would say that the major issue is that it appears you do not have a defined seating area in your living room space The furniture seems to be pushed against the walls. I would add an area rug in front of the sofa and pull that matching chair (in the left front corner of the photo) over to face it. Then I would add another chair (doesn't have to match, just co-ordinate) to the other corner to create that defined area. Since your furnishings are neutral, you can add a colorful rug, then find a larger art piece to hang over the couch for your focal point. And, you can spray paint or chalk paint your lamps in any color : )

  • Debupp Debupp on Jan 16, 2015
    Two large area rugs, one under the dining table and one in the living room area will help define each space as well as an opportunity to bring more color

  • Kathy Heimann Kathy Heimann on Jan 16, 2015
    Krylon makes a paint color called Anodized Bronze, a pretty architectural brown . I spray painted several shiny brass decor items and lamps in my house that color. Amazing how current it made everything look and the brass took the paint very well. It's been years and no chips or fading. Also I think you should group your seating closer together. People like to sit near each other in a cluster. Add red and or green with your brown tones to pop the color up. Like someone else said, this room has great bones. Most of all Have Fun!

  • Diane Diane on Jan 16, 2015
    This room looks pretty big and kind of awkward for arranging the furniture. An area rug would help the coffee table to not look like it's floating alone in the middle. Move the chair closer to the sofa, to the edge of the big colorful, highly textured area rug. Or even move the sofa with the back to the dining are to separate the rooms. Spray paint the lamps and add a drum shade to go with the ones on the chandelier. Change out the art to something colorful and add a textured throw to the back of the sofa.

  • Patricia Goodnough Patricia Goodnough on Jan 16, 2015
    I agree with an area rug at least under the coffee table. area. Maybe some bold pattern pillows would help too..

  • Gwen Rose Gwen Rose on Jan 16, 2015
    Take down the small pictures and add BIG ones - a few large items make a statement where small ones tend to look like clutter. Put an area rug in the living room, and paint the walls a darker neutral color. The couch fades away against the light wall.

  • Dawn Dawn on Jan 16, 2015
    Your sofa wall needs some color and two area rugs would warm the space and define it as LR and DR.

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jan 16, 2015
    Son is wrong! Brass is back. Can't beat it for warmth and a luxe look. Am finally able to buy replacements for taps in a half-bath. Take the red from your sofa cushions for the wall or a dark blue which will suit the colours in your art down to the ground.. I'd group all 3 pics over the sofa and not hang them as high. Agree that an area rug and moving the chair in closer to sofa would help define seating area. I'd get one of those Middle Eastern rugs with the jewel tones in dark blue, deep red, etc. to tie it all together and help ground the room.

  • Sydney Ladd Sydney Ladd on Jan 16, 2015
    Area rugs under the table and in the living space would completely anchor your rooms and bring the chair into the seating area with the couch. The dining table you could turn and the cabinet should go on the wall. I would find some different art work that liven up the room better. You could spray paint the light fixtures.

  • Sydney Ladd Sydney Ladd on Jan 16, 2015
    Just make sure when looking for area rugs that you get a LARGE size. I have seen many homes where they put in small rugs and it hinders the space instead of helping. The chairs in the dining room should be able to be pulled out with a rug underneath and in the living area anchor the couch on the rug by at least a couple inches and enough so the chair fits it too.

  • Josephine Howland Josephine Howland on Jan 16, 2015
    It looks like you have great bones there, the furniture is classic and the hardwood floors are wonderful. I agree with others about the area rugs. I would paint the large wall a wonderful cheerful color. Go to a fabric store and check out the upholstery fabrics. Pick a fabric that you absolutely adore. Buy maybe 3 yards. Then recover your dining room chairs (easy peasy with a staple gun) and make a couple of matching pillows for you loving room. That that fabric to the paint store, their computers will match one of the colors and use that paint for the accent wall. It will be dazzling.

  • EmmaO EmmaO on Jan 16, 2015
    I would move the dining table to run the width of the room, paint the long wall red to match the 2 cushions & a medium size printed area rug in front of the couch with a bit of the same red would add a warmer feel to the room.

  • Carol B Carol B on Jan 16, 2015
    Agree with Marion Nesbitt, brass is back. Changing the lamp shades would make the lamps up to date. People have made great suggestions about color and lay-out. I would like to add some about details on the side and cocktail tables. Reduce number of "items" on side table down to three. One item could be a small pile of 2 books, topped with a small box or decorative figurine. The next two items could be photos. Other items to consider in a group of three could be a small house plant, a small framed piece of art, vase of flowers. Layer items. On the coffee table, a decorative tray filled with the same kind of items adds interest, and is easy to pick up and move away should you need the space for a light snack. Coffee table books work well too. You could place the current bowl on top of a selection of books. Decorators often choose books that match the room color scheme. You can find them at thrift shops! There are probably some things in the china cabinet that you could rotate onto your tables to admire. Finally, agree with everyone that you've got great stuff and you can switch it up a bit turning your room into a true gem!

  • Becky Jeffress Becky Jeffress on Jan 16, 2015
    If you like your lamps, don't be real concerned if someone thinks they aren't up to date. Maybe an area rug with some red in it. Also, if you don't want to change the wall color-I don't like to paint so I would leave it-change the color of the mats on your artwork, that will bring some color to the walls. Bring in colorful accessories and maybe 'loosen' up the placement of furniture...pull a couple of the dining chairs out from the table, maybe a different coffee table if you have something else that would work. Think outside the box for where you use pieces. Play with it, see what you like, it is all changeable...

  • Joanne Joanne on Jan 16, 2015
    Wow! Thankyou everyone for your great ideas. Wonderful suggestions.

  • Judianni Judianni on Jan 16, 2015
    Hi, Joanne! Everyone has different opinions and that's what you are looking for, so here are mine. I would NOT paint that long wall red! I think thats' been done a bit too much. Your rooms are lovely and traditional...the floor is exceptional. I agree completely with Sue's furniture placement suggestions. As for the decorative touches, these are my thoughts: 1) Wall art: A starburst mirror would be a fun update either above the couch or in the dining area (and if it is gold, keep the brass lamps. Drum shades perhaps in a bit darker shade will update them.) 2) A grouping of same size prints on the wall without the mirror (4/6 in DR or 8/9 inLR). 3) Add a couple of complimentary smaller pictures or sconces with plates on them to either side of the picture over the couch. 4) OR group several pictures of differing sizes above the couch. Use a very updated style of large area rug in the living area and add a green plant to the coffee table. Enjoy trying new colors on pillows and table runners..its inexpensive and not permanent! Have fun!!

    • Joanne Joanne on Jan 16, 2015
      Thankyou Judianni. So many wonderful suggestions. Someone suggested grey for the walls, also gave me suggestions for paint colors.

  • Dolores D Dolores D on Jan 16, 2015
    I, too, think you should get some area rugs to define the separate areas. I you're gong to paint, stay neutral. Pick up colors from the rug for wall décor, knick knacks and pillows.

  • Colleen Schake Colleen Schake on Jan 16, 2015
    I agree with most on the area rug in the Living room. Size it to your sofa Like one suggested, the corners of the sofa should fit on the rug or 1" over each size defining the space and give "warmth". You don't need to go with a mixed color if you like the red in the pillows pick up one of those tuffed red flower rugs in Pier One. (I have it and it's beautiful) textured too so it plays 3 rolls. Also the corner shelf in the half window half wall area .... bring it to the center of the table to give that area it's focal point. then use colorful smaller prints along the sides if you like the prints use the matts, but a nice set of candle sconces with the colors you choose would add the color to bring the shelves into the "focal point". The choose either the same color matt for your print or get updated art with colors to match the rug, and pick up another color from the print for pillows. Also agree with the others on bringing the side chairs into the living room "grouping" on the rug edge too. I'd like to see the other angle of the room.... I don't believe the table would suit nicely turned the other direction as one suggested. Leave it for the 'walk around space" around it. The drapes go all the way to the wall edges, and I'd bring them back in closer to the windows to define them more and create even more of a focal point. If like the lamps do the drum shades in an accenting color (one of the smaller colors in the print you choose for the wall) Add a couple of large colorful dining pieces on the wall shelves with smaller accenting colored pieces. If your tired of the lamps get something fat and colorful and use only a few accents or a candy dish on the table.

  • Genia Kanipe Genia Kanipe on Jan 16, 2015
    Area rug, paint wall behind couch red.

    • Michelle McClish Michelle McClish on Jan 23, 2015
      @Genia Kanipe I love red! That would be an amazing accent wall. One thing i have learned though in all my years that might help. If you paint a wall with window(s) the darker color, it makes a room look cozy, but if you paint a wall without windows the darker color, it can sometimes make it feel smaller. Does that make sense?

  • Carole Carlson Carole Carlson on Jan 16, 2015
    I might tend to move the sofa across the room dividing DR and LR, group your pictures, leave the hutch on an angle, hang a large wonderful mirror in DR to reflect family dinners. Yes put a large area rug with "your" colors in it in LR area so the coffee table is anchored, leaving about 4 to 6 inches of space between it and sofa front, also add some touches of black as an anchor, one cushion and a coffee table accent and some black in the area rug OMG Lovely. Think in odd numbers please for your accents. Most important. Do not paint the wall red, way over rated. P.S if you change the lamp shades they would draw the eye. You want people to love and feel comfortable in the whole area including DR. Also do not need a area rug that would collect food bits under the Dining table. just one in LR.

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    • Colleen Schake Colleen Schake on Jan 18, 2015
      Is there another chair? If so try placing them facing the sofa floating in the room like the table does, it might just be what it needs to cozy it up.

  • Arlene Arlene on Jan 17, 2015
    I would definitely move the couch away from the wall and place it in the room facing out. By doing that, it gives the room more dimension and interest. Area rugs should have some color. Pick some bolder colors, like red, blue, green in the pattern. Also, the coffee table should be bigger or put an ottoman or 2 in front of the sofa. You have very nice furniture, but the room needs some color with rugs and/or pillows. Even some new artwork or putting new matting in the existing pictures. If you haven't yet visited the site, go to for more photos. Good Luck.

  • BusyBeeEmily BusyBeeEmily on Jan 18, 2015
    Your comment: "That is my problem, I am afraid to take chances." Well it's your house, so take a chance! If you don't like what you've done after a week, then make some more changes! PLAY a little and re-invent your room! My suggestions: 1) Your son is right, but keep the lamps because their shape is classic and they will look great spray painted in any color of gloss that you choose. But get new shades in a color to match the rest of your decor. 2) Some of your artwork looks like it's dated...I would dispatch anything from the 80's, and bring in a great mirror instead. You can even paint it to match the lamps. 2) Your floors are great, but man do you need area rugs!! Under the table for sure, and also in the seating area to anchor the furniture. 3) Get the couch off the wall! Your husband is needs to move! It's not looks like a dr.'s office. :) How about putting your corner display hutch slightly offset on that wall, and then place your couch at a slight angle with the chair opposite and the cute little table next to it? Then your hutch is a conversation piece that people will see as they enter the room, and not an afterthought over in the corner. I'm sure you'd like to show off your pretty things a little more anyway, right? You can still have your coffee table in front of the couch, and then add a wood chair of some kind next to the hutch, by the coffee table. Maybe one of them from your dining set to make that area look less crowded. You can move it back when you need it. So, place your couch to face the window in the dining area, and the chair to have it's back to it, but still slightly open to the entry. 4)Whatever is right to the left of the opening that looks like a big black box on top of a stand needs to go. Somewhere else. What is it? Is it decorative from the front? If so, put it over in the corner where that hutch/display cabinet is right now so that it's not blocking the entrance, both visually and physically. 5) Your plant is lovely, but she looks lost....Like a girl with headgear at the dance who no one wants to stand by. Put that beauty up higher...maybe on a stand next to the hutch if you move it to the other wall. If she needs to be closer to the window, then get her on a stand in one of the corners, but off the floor. She's not tall enough to be on the floor. 6) I can see you have some family heirlooms and antique photos on that little table. How about getting a pretty tray for your coffee table to group some of them on? Good luck!

  • Marinda Boydstun Marinda Boydstun on Jan 22, 2015
    Has someone mentioned swapping the living and dining areas? In a couple of previous houses, we put the couch in front of a sizable window. I'm quite the reader, and I like to lounge on something to read, like the couch. I also like to be able to see out(it frustrates me that I can't do that in this house). So, try the sofa in front of the window, where the DR table is now. That would give more importance(depending where the doorways are?) to the DR furnishings, and more room for the table.

  • Marie R Marie R on Jan 22, 2015
    Don't be afraid:) Most decorating rules aren't about color and more things...if you can get the layout and the flow...that's a HUGE part of the battle for changing up a room or two...sometimes just figuring out how to balance the area with the right furniture placement...thin out cluttered areas....make impace statements by grouping things... have many cool ideas here!!

  • Marjo Marjo on Jan 22, 2015
    If you really would like new lamps then its lots of fun to buy new styles and a pretty room size rug too. You can always box up the lamps and store them if you think you'd use them again in the future or use them in another room. Have fun with your house, you only live once. Updating everything will make you feel younger and joyful looking at your new room. Remember if you purchase something and in a few weeks just really do not like it, don't hesitate to return it and try something else. Most stores have great return policies these days, how can you go wrong?

  • Joanne Joanne on Jan 22, 2015
    This is what I have done so far. I haven't decided on a paint color. Thankyou everyone for great ideas. I wouldn't of done this on my own.

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    • B. Enne B. Enne on May 21, 2015
      @Joanne Hi I would move the couch forward so the legs are on the rug, it would also leave more space for walking behind. The black shades look so much better.

  • Marjo Marjo on Jan 23, 2015
    Ahh you've had a fun shopping trip I see :D Love the black shades on the lamps, the picture placement, rug, and new pillows, oh and the dining room mirror too. What do the hubby and son think?

    • Joanne Joanne on Jan 23, 2015
      @Marjo Hubby likes it Marjo. He has been telling me for years to rearrange the furniture . My son hasn't seen it yet. Thankyou to all, for the wonderful ideas. Once I got started there was no stopping. haha

  • Carole Carlson Carole Carlson on Jan 24, 2015
    Love it, so pretty, good for you, it all ties together so nicely with your purchases. Can I make one more suggestion?? I would move the "left hand side end table and lamp" to under the pictures, the chair could then go as you have it "angled" inwards to the room, but in the corner out from the wall where you now have the second end table.,Perhaps to balance things, maybe move the second chair into opposite corner with the other end table OR put a large palm or other corner type, bushy (Peace lilyfor example, plant there. Also a plant to the left of the table under the pictures would hide the plug in and some of the cords perhaps.

  • Carrie Krumrie Carrie Krumrie on Feb 07, 2015
    Spray paint the brass.....I used a dark finish and updated the brass. Husband had to be convinced it would be great....check out Pottery Barn for examples of metal tables. Cost was about$20. Enjoy!!

  • Connie Connie on Mar 20, 2015
    Joanne, I came late to the party but I have enjoyed the comments and your pictures so much . You have taken the plunge and it's looking beautiful. You had great basics in furniture and fabulous floors it just needed pulling together with a rug and rearranging your seating area. In looking at your pics, I'd like to see you snug up the end table to your sofa on that end where you have it. Try moving the chair a little further over and put the other end table on the left side of it. It's alright if it's somewhat in front of the window. I think your Son is correct about the lamps. You need lamps with a heftier base. Go to Kim's blog and look at her red lamps on her sun porch. They added a knock out punch to her room. Buy where you can return if you're not happy with them. You are doing a great job. Your Son will be impressed. E

  • Miriam Miriam on Mar 20, 2015
    Joanne, I like the way you originally had it set up with the sofa against the wall because the space is small and it needs an open area. I agree that an area rug would serve well either under the dining room table or a large one in front of the sofa (but not both at the same time). I would try moving the chair toward the window by the sofa (if you have another chair, move it there too). Perhaps two or three picture frames (same size) running one below the other over the end table that is between the dining room and living room to create an subtle divider; or a larger picture frame over the sofa (or set of frames) would fill up some wall space and give it a cozier feel. I really love the color scheme, very subtle and relaxing. I love the brass lamp and shades. I can't wait to see what changes you make. Please post pictures as soon as you're done.