In House Plan

Whitney House. The Living Room.

The interior of a historic saltbox home is traditionally dark. Low ceilings, small windows, and exposed wood are common. Trim and paneling are typically painted a muted, earthy color. For Whitney, I want to bring in some of those features, but also incorporate elements that will make her interior feel brighter and cheerier.

Today I’m sharing my thoughts, inspiration, and design for the living room. As Emily Henderson says, “This space is like your home’s business card, so make it memorable.”

My “memorable” design features of this room are:

  • Soft white walls with colorful art.
  • A large, central, stone fireplace surrounded in elegant limestone.
  • One wall with floor-to-ceiling open bookshelves.
  • Windows with deep sills treated with interior shutters with hinges.
  • Beautiful lighting including two statement mini chandeliers and sconces at the fireplace and bookshelf walls.
  • Wall-to-wall natural fiber carpet for an added layer of texture and warmth.
  • A happy yellow sofa.

Here are some inspiration images of those features.

wall color

The easiest way to brighten up a room is to use a light color on the wall. I like Farrow & Ball’s Clunch white. It’s not too modern, but has a soft gray, chalky feel to it that I think will work well with the stone fireplace. It’s a great base for displaying colorful art.

fireplace copy

stone fireplace copy

I envision a large, central stone fireplace for the living room. I like the idea of a limestone surround.


One wall will be floor-to-ceiling open bookshelves, like this.


The two windows in the front of the room will be deeper, like these. I also like the interior hinged shutters.

sisal floors

For the floors, I like the idea of wall-to-wall natural or synthetic fiber. It would just be in this room, and then hardwood would be in most of the other rooms. The texture is warm and sophisticated, and many options are soft and luxurious. I like that it can make a room feel casual and beautiful at the same time.

yellow sofa

These inspiration images have elements that I like, but still feel too dark overall. I think a yellow sofa along with other bright and modern furnishings can help bring a happy smile to this colonial, don’t you think? Exhibit A, concept board:

Whitney Living Room Style|  1. Sofa: “Pitti.” 1st Dibs.  |  2. Wall Color: “Clunch.” Farrow & Ball.  |  3. Side Table: “Rounded Bone Inlay Side Table.” Anthropologie.  |  4. Pillow: “John Robshaw Peak Pillow.” Anthropologie.  |  5. Pillow: “Barkcloth Pillows.” 1st Dibs.  |  6. Art: “2:16:16 AM” by Erik Hougen. Serena and Lily. |  7. Wall Sconce: “Candelabra Double Sconce.” Rejuvenation.  |  8. Trim Color: “Railings.” Farrow & Ball.  |  9. Color Inspiration from Pinterest.  |  10. Floor Covering: Wool Boucle.  |  11. Chair: “Linen Edlyn Chair.” Anthropologie.  |  12. Antique Grandfather Clock. 1st Dibs.  |  13. Floor Lamp. One Kings Lane.  |  14. Sofa: “Atelier Chesterfield.”Anthropologie.  |

So that’s the inspiration for the living room; let’s get to the design. Here’s the floor plan with an idea of how I’d lay out the furniture.


FURNITURE PLAN a. Sofa: 88″w x 39″d  |  b. Coffee table: 42″ sq.  |  c. Sofa: 78″w x 39″d  |  d. Chair: 39″w x 43″d  |  e. Side table: 28″ sq.  |  f. Side table: 21″ diam.  |  g. Rug: 8’x10′  |  h.  Grandfather clock  |  i.  Side table: 24″ sq.  |  j. Floor lamp

I love the symmetry in this room, and how features come in “twos.’ The large window opposite the fireplace. The pairs of chandeliers and sconces. The double doors. The two deep windows in the front of the house. (A perfect place for candles during the holidays.)

And here are the elevations of the four walls, each offering something special.

Model Model

The dark trim color is also used in the kitchen. I am torn about this used on all the trim in here. I love the contrast, but I also wonder about just using it selectively on the built-ins and double doors, and not on the base trim and window trim. What do you think?

At the end of the day, there are always infinite solutions. 🙂 Especially in a dream home when there aren’t any limits!

Happy Weekend!

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