Design Dilemmas | Weeks 9 & 10

Weeks 9 & 10

For the 9th installment of Design Dilemmas, Heather and I focused all our attention on one open plan apartment in Laguna Beach. The owner has been a loyal Frances Loom customer for many years, so it was a real pleasure to offer our advice! Week 10 was back to our usual format; 3 spaces, all with a very different dilemma to address. We'd love you to share your thoughts in the comments, or send us your own query here.

W9 | Dilemma:


"Hi Frances Loom! I would love your advice on my new place - a 1 bedroom with an open floor plan and great vaulted ceilings. I'm struggling with how to design the entryway, as there's a LOT of white walls and floor space. I put an area rug down, and will probably move the cowhide, but this is the set up right now." - @delaneyraiden

"The distance between the wall on the left, and the fireplace is quite large, so I think putting seating against it would be awkward, but maybe a credenza would work? I'd also love to hear any advice you have for decorating the fireplace!" - @delaneyraiden

What a great little spot! It's so California and those ceilings are heaven. You could definitely put a credenza of some kind in here. I think a statement one like this would look great, with some large vases or a beautiful mirror above it. Being in So Cal, you can find some great vintage pieces at markets like the Long Beach Flea!

image source: Originals Furniture

Right now you have quite a lot of dead space and lots of small pieces, which is why it feels so open. To make it more intimate, replace the little bits of greenery with a few large, sculptural plants such a Black Olive or a Fiddle-leaf Fig tree. Putting one behind the chair in your reading corner will be really impactful and define this as its own space. 

Patch plants fiddle leaf fig tree in large potimage sources left to right: Patch Plants

I would move your jute to the living room and replace it with the beautiful Rocco runner you just purchased from us! Pull your reading chair forward slightly and add a couple of linen poufs in front of the fireplace. This will make the entryway feel lovely & cozy, while instantly setting the tone for the rest of the apartment. 

image sources left to right: Frances Loom | Casa Del Caso

To keep things simple and set off the fireplace, I would find (or paint yourself) a big, dark piece of minimal art to fit in the rectangular niche (and hide the half-moon one). You could also layer a few smaller pieces in front. 

image sources top to bottom: Joelle Somero | Vincente Wolf Designs

My final piece of advice for this space is to change the curtains as yours are a bit scrunched up and do nothing for the space. I'm usually a huge fan of curtains but I don't think they're needed in this case as your windows are so nice. If you do want to replace them, look for some that are more billowy and textural

image source: Gust Gust

Living room

"Moving onto the living room, where you can see one of my favorite Frances Loom rugs ;)... I plan on decorating the space above the sofa but don't want to overdo it! At this point, it's feeling  a little cluttered since I have a view of every space, no matter where I stand!"@delaneyraiden

We both agree that your new jute would look better in this space, with your existing antique one on top. This will make it feel really nice and fresh while revealing the lovely floorboards in the entryway. It would also be better from a practical point as it's currently a bit too close to the front door!

Martha Stewart sitting roomimage source: Martha Stewart

I suggest reconfiguring the room by turning the sofa 90° so that it's facing the back door. This will reveal the lovely long window and let in more light, while also creating the illusion of a separate space.

image source: Lucinda Mitra

Here's a very amateur sketch that might help you to visualize it!

Put one or two of these Sixpenny armchairs where the sofa was, pop some minimal art on the back wall, and you have yourself a gorgeous living room!

image source: Sixpenny Home


"& finally, the bedroom. At the foot of the bed, I have another Frances Loom rug and an armoire to the right. Hard to tell from the photo but there's a lot of white space in here too."@delaneyraiden

A tiny bedroom is good in that you only have a few choices. I love the wood doors as the headboard! I would switch out the window coverings for matching roller shades, set inside the window frame, in a neutral material. You can get these anywhere, from Ikea & Amazon to custom places, so it really depends on your budget. I like Smith & Noble - they have lots of natural woven shade options.

image source: House of Jade Interiors

Because it's a small space, I would simplify the bedding to all-white linen and add a pop of color with a throw pillow that complements the little Heritage rug you have in there (one of my all-time favorites). Maybe a velvet bolster or lumbar in chartreuse or Hermés orange from this Etsy seller I love?

image source: Heather's bedroom photographed by Hannah Mae Clark

The key thing to remember here is that simplicity is almost always key. Try to invest in statement pieces that enhance your space, by making a big (yet subtle) impact. 


W10 | Dilemma #1:

“Hi Frances Loom! We’ve been in our new home for almost 1 year & as you can see the living/dining room is still pretty empty. We’re ready to furnish it, but as it’s so long I’m unsure where to start. I don’t want it to be over cluttered, but I’d also love it to wow people as they walk in! I’ve just purchased a linen sofa but would really appreciate your guidance on how else to furnish it!”- @aidesanz

This room has some really impressive features! The square window could definitely benefit from some long curtains, but the others would be tricky to unify and are really stunning without, so I’d skip those.

image source: Amber Interiors

I would add a large wood dresser or cabinet next to the front window, and art above, to balance out the wall. 

 image sources left to right: 1st Dibs | JJ Media Group

As for the new linen sofa, try putting it in front of the big diamond window, with a matching sofa facing it. 

image source: Dreams & Coffee 

Alternatively, you could emulate what Heidi Woodman’s done here, by placing a pair of chairs across from it. 

image source: Haus Love Interiors

For a rug, we would add a big vintage piece, something that the sofa and facing piece(s) could sit on. We love Heritage 0050 or Cohen.

image source: Frances Loom

You have some good big plants, so it would be great to find some oversized planters to put them in. As we mentioned last week, planters are so decorative and impactful!

image sources left to right: Inner Gardens | Jenni Kayne

& finally, for the marble counter, if you’re willing to get a stone cutter to trim the lip to a 2” overhang, you could absolutely make this into a great bar area by putting shelves above it. These CB2 shelves can be lined up next to each other to fit the space. 

image sources top to bottom: Studio McGee | CB2


W10 | Dilemma #2:

“Hi there, I would love your advice with my design dilemma... our master bedroom! We’ve moved our baby into his own room from ours, so now I’d like to make this space somewhere we can really relax and enjoy at the end of the day. As you can see the room is a little flat at the moment & I can’t put my finger on what needs to chance. I would really love to get your take on it!”- @katherinesohail


The fastest way to freshen up a bedroom is new bedding and it’s no secret that we love white linen! I would do a white linen duvet and pillow shams. In the UK, I’ve used Soak & Sleep and Magic Linen.

image source: Restoration Hardware

A room-size vintage rug over the carpet would also make a big difference. I'm guessing an old 8' x 10' would work, but measure first and try to leave a small amount all the way around the rug. Heritage 0039 is a personal favorite. 

image sources left to right: McGee and Co | Frances Loom

We also have some amazing large Weekly rugs coming over the next few weeks, so if you aren't already on our mailing list, you can subscribe here! You'll receive a preview email and exclusive Early Access link every Wednesday. 

image source: KC Design Co.

If you move your bed lights up the wall, you'll have a more streamlined bedside table set up, as Joseph Dirand does in his Paris apartment. I love these handmade plaster sconces, although you would need to paint the wood parts white. 

image sources left to right: Joseph Dirand Architecture | Plaster Studio Lt

These vintage pink lights would also look amazing! The seller would wire the plug in for you if you asked them. 

image source: Art in Life Italy

Or finally, these are a bit more traditional. I have them in blackened brass in my guest bedroom and since they're custom, they would wire the plug in too! Can you tell I love lighting??

image source: Heather's guest bedroom photographed by Hannah Mae Clark

W10 | Dilemma #3:

“Hi Kelly & Heather, we’d love your advice on a rug & accent chair/extra seating for our living room! We’re renting and the layout is a little odd, but still trying to make it feel like home :) Open to any and all suggestions to bring more depth to this space. For reference, the current rug is 5’3” x 7’10” (much too small & generic but was an affordable option that served us well in our previous apartment... very ready to upgrade!) Thank you for your time and excited to hear what you think!”- @hannah.alsip

That’s a great little space! It has good energy, & there are a few key things you can do to enhance the room. We’ll start with the rug first: I would recommend ordering a large jute (perhaps 8’ x 10’) and layering it with a smaller rug. The Noah and Heritage 0057 are my absolute 2 favorites on the site right now. You could try either of those!

image sources left to right: Home Bunch | Frances Loom

I would get white linen curtains for your windows - make sure they’re floor to ceiling like this Pottery Barn pair. You don’t want to shrink the window at all, so the rail should be extra wide so that the curtains hang on either side of it, rather than covering any of it.

image source: Pottery Barn

It’s hard to tell from the space, but if you can fit it, you should get a small chair for the corner diagonal from the door. This one is small and sleek, and would look really sophisticated in here!

image source: West Elm

Alternatively, you could do some floor seating. One of my best friends started the Wolf Nest, which are technically dog beds, but I love them as floor cushions and she carries the best colors!

image source: the Wolf Nest

To add a bit more coziness to the space, get a sheepskin to throw on the end of the sectional, or on the chair if you get it! I would also drape a thick wool blanket over the sofa.

image sources left to right: Nordic House | Alyssa Lenore for CB2

Lastly, I always like to bring a bit of greenery inside, so if it doesn’t impose too much, you could put a small tree in a basket near where the leather pouf is. Jessica Sara Morris has made a great dipped basket tutorial to give an affordable planter a luxury look! If that’s too big you could put something smaller on the TV credenza instead.

image source: Jessica Sara Morris

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