Design Dilemmas | Weeks 11 & 12

Weeks 11 & 12

The 11th and 12th installments of Design Dilemmas featured an 1800's farmhouse and a converted London loft. We recommended some gorgeous sectional sofas and discussed how to disguise a TV. We'd love you to share your thoughts in the comments or send us your own query here.

W11 | Dilemma #1:

"Hello! I had a question on how to make a focal point in a room that is fireplace-less? I don't want to highlight the TV but my living room is a converted loft on top of a Victorian house in London. Space is scarce, so it's doing double duty as a dining and living area. Any pointers would be gratefully appreciated!" - @amberparkin

Hi Amber! I understand your reluctance to focus around the TV, while definitely wanting one in the room. Your current layout looks like the best solution, so you're faced with staring at a blank wall and need to take space into consideration. One option would be to create a faux fireplace. It's a pretty easy DIY job & adds loads of character.

image source: Becca Interiors

Another option is to purchase a Samsung frame TV. I've used one in my family room, seen here. The art mode is genius, either on its own or in a gallery wall set up.

image sources left to right: Blogga i Bagis

The last option is to put in a great armoire (try to find a low profile one) and hide the TV in there, a la Brady Tolbert.

image source: Brady Tolbert

Finding a cool vintage one like Brady's would be a fun hunt. Alternatively, Ikea used to make the immensely popular Stockholm Ratten Cabinet, and there's currently one for sale on Ebay. 

image source: Ikea

W11 | Dilemma #2:

"I would love your advice on how to lay out this narrow room so it's a functioning office/sitting room. We have an 1800's farmhouse with unique features that don't necessarily lend itself to modern functions! This room is off our main living room and it's such a cozy nook! The trouble is each wall has a design feature, so it feels a little busy. I've painted it green and am wondering if it needs a lighter color? We also plan to refinish the floors in a more natural color. While it's a farmhouse and I appreciate authenticity in decorating, I still want it to feel elevated, rustic, and modern." - @garenday

I love an old farmhouse! But I know they can be tricky, so here are some suggestions: Layout-wise, I think you've done a good job. But I have a feeling putting the sofa on the window wall, with the chairs opposite, will help the flow of the room a bit. 

image source: Jacey Duprie's home, designed bu Martha Mulholland

As far as rugs go, you'll definitely be able to find an antique one that works, as the sizes are abnormal due to their handmade nature. It may just take a bit of digging! I would probably do an area rug that connects the sofa and chairs to make the room feel cozier.

image source: Jean Stoffer Design

If the room is dark, I would definitely paint it lighter. I love a deep green like that, but I know when it feels too heavy. I did the exact same thing in my bedroom - painted it dark green, and even though it looked great, it was too weighted, so I changed it to a light gray.

image source: Studio McGee

I also love that you're going to lighten up the floors. That will completely change the room and make it feel more modern. Overall, I think you have the right idea; Lightening the space will open it up, getting your furniture placement just right for good flow, and lastly, finding a rug that fits the space.

image source: Amber Interiors

W11 | Dilemma #3:

"The Design Dilemmas are one of my favorite things y'all do! I'm struggling a bit with my space - I would like a large area rug to go around the living space and am potentially looking to get a new couch and chairs, but I can't seem to land on a combination I love yet!" - @char_amalie

The space is great! There is a ton of potential here. I would definitely replace the sofa. The room is large, so I would get something big, cozy, and deep. There are lots of options, but the Restoration Hardware Cloud sofa is an all-time favorite!

image source: Nioby Trivett

We also the Devyn sectional sofa by Sixpenny Home. All of their furniture is gorgeous, and really high quality too!

image source: Chelsea Lyn Glattman

Rug-wise you have two options: I would recommend bringing in an oversized jute - shock! You could probably go for a 9' x 12', and then find a great antique rug to layer on top of it. Or, you could get a large neutral antique rug. Our Heritage 0038 would be an absolute dream.

image sources left to right: Frances Loom | Loloi Rugs

I think in this scenario, with a larger sofa and a nice big rug, you can keep your accent chair. I would just get a cozy throw blanket to texturize it a bit. This one from West Elm is lovely.

image sources left to right: Jenni Kayne West Elm

My final suggestion is to find a pair of paintings or prints to go above the sofa. One of my favorite places to look for original art is Tappan Collective. You could also check Etsy or Society 6 for something more budget-friendly.

image source: Jenni Kayne 

W12 | Dilemma #1:

“Hi there! I absolutely love your rugs & everything about your design ideas. I'm moving into a new home with a very big, open layout on the first floor. I'm excited to make it my own, but not sure where to start... should I get two sofas to face each other, and what do you suggest for rugs/color scheme? None of the existing furniture is mine, so I'm looking to source new pieces that work well with the flow. Thank you!”- @lianamar18


Hi Liana - the space is great, open, and bright, which is a good start! It's traditional, so I'd mix some other styles to layer it. I also like a bit of contrast, so I'm suggesting some dark here and there. This is the overall vibe:

image source: Darryl Carter

For the sofa, I'd find a big sectional as it will help separate the living and dining spaces. I would keep the sofa light and then add some dark chairs as accents to complete the U shape. I'm currently focused on comfy so (once again) I'd recommend the Cloud by Restoration Hardware.

image source: Restoration Hardware

The Crate & Barrel Lotus modular is a good alternative. 

image source: Crate & Barrel

As for the chairs - Chairish is our favorite to source reasonable vintage items. This pair would look gorgeous. 

image sources top to bottom: Chairish | Veneer Designs

While these two are an absolute steal and would also work well! 

image source: Chairish

Add some great textured pillows. These tan leather ones from Etsy are gorge...

image sources top to bottom: Etsy | Katie Hodges Design

And you know we love a rug pillow! I've linked one of ours that would look amazing in here. 

As for the rugs, I would mix one of ours, like this Heritage runner with a graphic black and white one in the living room.

image sources top to bottom: Frances Loom | Ebay

Finally, I would get some raw black pottery, platters etc for the kitchen, and maybe some dark textural art and a big black pot with a tree (classic FL advice), et voila!

image source: House Beautiful

W12 | Dilemma #2:

“Hello beautiful ladies! I’m finally moving into my flat in Amsterdam and I’m super happy. Buuuut also totally stumped on how to decorate it and lay everything out. I need to get all new/old furnishings and well, your aesthetic is my inspo, so I thought why not pick the masters’ brains to get a starting point. Much love, Maja. PS. the flat is empty apart from the plants which I get to keep!”- @maya_moliere

Hey Maja! Since you’re in Amsterdam, we’ll stick to mostly Ikea and H&M home products! Starting with the living room/kitchen - the floors are great, and you have enough blank space that you’ll be able to make up for some of the outdated features. The first thing I would do is move the large tree to where the small tree is, and then move the small tree to the corner next to the front door. Unless you have privacy issues, remove the window curtains entirely. To soften the space a bit, you could get a black curtains rod...

image sources left to right: Natalie Walton | Ikea

... then add some of our favorite floor to ceiling white linen curtains to help hide the pipes along the windows.

image sources left to right: Mae Woven | H&M home

Get a black TV bench to go where the hanging shelves are for some storage, and of course your TV! The black will bring some nice contrast to the space.

image source: Ikea

I would then get a big, white comfy sofa - this one is a great shape. Have a look in the markets for some vintage pieces to add character and texture. I’d look for a nice vintage coffee table and an oversized piece of art to lean on the kitchen counter (left of the stove) to bring some color in there.

image source: Grace Oak Designs

Finally, add some vases, a throw blanket, some cushions and perhaps some art or a mirror behind the sofa and this room will start to feel homey!

image sources left to right: H&M home | Serena and Lily

As for the bedroom, if you can paint it, definitely get rid of that green color behind the bed. If not, then try to get a large headboard to cover it. If possible, center your bed under the window - to do this, you’ll have to rotate the armoire 90°.

image sources left to right: Ikea | REFINEnDESIGNS

Remove the curtains here and do the same curtain rod/ linen curtain situation as in the living room. The trick is to extend the rod wider than the window so the curtain is also covering some of the walls. It will make the window appear larger than it is. Get some really cozy linen bedding...

image sources left to right: The Grit & Polish | H&M home

... and perhaps a large mirror on the left wall to open the space up a bit. 

image source: Heather's bedroom photographed by Billy Bolton

Last but not least, throw in a small floor lamp next to the bed for nighttime reading, and you should have a cozy little space! 


Disclaimer: We endeavor to always credit the correct original source for all the images we use.
If you think we've made a mistake, please contact us at

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

Shop now