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Condo Living Room Decorated With Comfort in Mind

A lifeless living room is energized with a subdued color scheme and updated furnishings.

Homeowner Michael Holmes hasn't had time to decorate his space since recently moving into his new condo. After a busy few months getting settled, he's ready to make his living room inviting and comfortable for himself and his two children who visit several days a week.

Before, nook

The Dilemma

Kristan Cunningham and design coordinators Dave Sheinkopf and Spencer Anderson discuss the design issues at hand and determine what needs to happen in order to turn the lifeless living room into a masculine, contemporary space. Here's what they're up against: white walls, no defining style, an unsuitable furniture arrangement, unsightly electronics in full view and a lack of accessories and sufficient storage.

After, living room

The Solution

The design team delivers on its promise of a contemporary masculine space with subtle color — here's how they do it:

  • The walls are painted a soft beige-green hue to complement the existing furniture and set the stage for the subdued contemporary look.

  • The furniture layout is reconfigured to make better use of the space. In doing so, the sofas are positioned opposite each other eliminating room for Michael's existing coffee and console table. Dave decides to build two new pieces to custom fit the space. He cuts the tops out of a 4x8 sheet of 1-1/4" birch plywood and applies a walnut veneer tape to the edges. After adding a semi-gloss polyurethane to protect the top, he attaches squared-off parson's legs to the coffee table and aluminum legs to the console.

  • Kristan purchases a new entertainment unit to house the TV and miscellaneous electronics — a shelf underneath provides even more storage without adding too much weight to the design.

  • Since Michael is an amateur photographer and has a stash of good-quality images of his children, the team frames a sampling of them in frames with crisp white mats.

  • Michael's stand-up bass is taken out of the case and used as an accessory in one corner of the room. Other decorative elements include greenery, a collection of throw pillows on the sofa and a basket of apples on the coffee table for additional color. The room is lit with two standing paper-shade lamps.

After, living room

  • Additional seating and storage is brought into the space with upholstered rolling storage cubes with hinged lids. Spencer constructs the boxes out of mdf (medium density fiberboard), paints the insides and bottom of the top black, staples batting and fabric to the sides and over the top and adds casters to make it roll. The tops are attached with small metal hinges.

  • The sterile vertical blinds are replaced with a light-colored bamboo shade and two dark blue curtains.

  • After, nook

  • The space under the stairs is currently underused, so it's turned into a reading nook using Michael's favorite chair, a new side table and his refurbished lamp. Kristan simply wipes on a pewter polish to tone down the brass finish and embellishes a plain white shade with black grosgrain ribbon to bring the look together.

    The Cost

    Furniture - $639

    • aluminum legs (for console table): IKEA - Inge, #90037853
    • legs for coffee table: The Home Depot - #98453026650
    • media cabinet: Cost Plus World Market - Paler 1A, #328115
    • side table: Cost Plus World Market - TL PSTL Gothic 1A, #340201

    Accessories - $241

    • pillow: Pier One Imports - Boxed Stone/#1816397
    • shadow box frames: Aaron Brothers - #689398
    • clear frames: Aaron Brothers - #84659
    • curtains: IKEA - Gullmaj, #00046625
    • curtain finials: IKEA - Deci, #90018637
    • curtain rod brackets: IKEA -Deci, #20018631
    • small picture frames: IKEA - Ribba, #90019825

    Paint and supplies - $75

    • paint: Benjamin Moore - Yorkshire Tan HC-23

    Lighting - $42

    • lamp: IKEA - Skyar, #10325310

    Project Total - $997

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