Decorating & Furniture/Living room


My husband and I purchased a high back, black leather sofa approx a year ago when we moved into our new home.  Our living area in its set up really limited what we could buy and simply opted for only the sofa, sofa table (cherry finish with nickel finished legs) and a side table and we already owned a black leather glider.  While the style and color fit our home at the time, we are moving and now looking for ideas for adding some more pieces as space is no longer an issue.  

Our old place utilized cooler colors with a slate fireplace and cream carpets so black leather was the obvious choice.  Simple blinds were put up and are staying here for the new owner.  Our new place is much more open and I am seeing a lighter, warmer feel for our living area but we don't exactly want to part with a brand new sofa and it is indeed black.  I was thinking about adding cloth or microfibre in a lighter color, cream, white or tan leaning on the side of grey either in the way of 2 club style chairs and an ottoman or perhaps another sofa.  We do have a puppy so perhaps I am envisioning a grey microfibre type fabric.  I'm not so concerned about the cooler colors, as long as I am able to lighten that feel with cushions or accessories.   

Our new living area has 18 foot vaulted ceilings, 2 very large windows and is centered by a beautiful fireplace.  However, the fireplace is encased in the finish rather than in stone or slate like our last fireplace.  That focal point is not made warm or cool in the color scheme thanks to the fact that it has been placed into the wall.  The main floor is completely open concept - large foyer opens into the living area which is joined to the kitchen by a dining area...the main floor is basically one open room (living room, dining and kitchen)  Laminate flooring in the kitchen is almost a cherry finish, cabinets are very dark with nickel finished hardware throughout, dark granite countertops, carpet is light cream, entrance way is slate/lightish grey tile...the paint is basic builders paint and we are open to updating that asap.

I love a lot of what I am seeing in show homes and in magazines....any ideas for additional furniture and window treatments for our living area to add to this lovely black sofa would be appreciated.  I want our living area to have a clean yet warm and inviting feel.  Sorry for all the extra information, I just thought that by laying out the open concept of my main floor, it might give you a better idea of what I am dealing with.  I find that since the rooms are not separated but they are separate in their own functionality, it would probably help since it is a clean slate for us and besides the sofa, sofa table and end table, we are in the market to make this living space exactly what we want it to be!  Thanks in advance.


Let me congratulate you first of all for purchasing a solid color sofa.  So often people write and are trying to incorporate a plaid or large floral patterned piece of furniture into a new space, or keep it in an old one because their "tastes" changed.  You are way ahead of the game.  

There's a simple rule to remember in open concept spaces, and that is that "something" needs to be consistent throughout.  That something can be color and/or style, and the color can be wall color or furniture color or accessory color or all of the above.  

Since black is a neutral, it "goes" with everything, and from your description, you still have greys that coordinate beautifully with black.  

Your decision about other furniture pieces should follow their function, and the best utilization of space and function.  Your dining area should be in a style that is your preference, i.e., it does not have to be wood or chrome and glass, but it could be either depending on your tastes.  Your style sounds more modern and contemporary than traditional, so keep style in mind when purchasing furniture.   

Grey upholstered pieces for the living space are a great choice.  Painting the walls something other than builder's white is another great choice.  Don't be afraid of color.  At the same time, consider continuity of color.  Your walls could be anything from pale yellow to dark grey to taupe, and by moving up or down on the color sample card, the rooms themselves could be lighter/darker from one part of the space to another.  This can be accomplished by natural stopping and starting points, i.e., wall corners, half walls etc.

Choose a color or colors that is/are neutral, then accent your black and grey furnishings with a splash of vibrant color in accessories or single pieces like a storage ottoman or bench seat.  With black and grey, red (any shade of red) is a natural as is lime or lemon green, or yellow.  Each gives off a different feel, but it's very sharp and that punch of color that every neutral room needs.

Your dining area would be beautiful in cherry (to coordinate with your cabinetry) or in a sleek black (or charcoal).  Then by adding that splash of (same) color in that space via accessories, you've totally pulled the two rooms together as one.  Carry the accessory color punch into the kitchen as well, and voila, your open concept floor plan is a well-coordinated, beautifully decorated space.

As for window treatments, the most beautiful treatment is simple yet elegant.  Invest in some high quality draperies that hang from above the top of the windows all the way to the floor.  Hang them from sturdy, beefy rods and your window dressing is done.  

I hope this helps you.  Just remember to keep it simple and cross pollinate your color from one room to the next for the most impact.


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Jennifer Taylor Wojcik


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