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Decorating & Furniture/L-shaped living room and dining room paint


Here is my dillema:  We have just bought a new home (we haven't moved in yet) and it has an L-shaped living/dining room.  In our current house we have walls that make all of the rooms closed off from each other.  Our current living room is a gorgeous deep burgandy color.  The furniture is all black leather with chrome accents, our tables are glass with chrome legs.  I have an area rug that is cream with 3 white grey and black stripes.  Our kitchen is painted a olive taupe color and our table and accessories are mahogany.  My question is this: How can I paint in the new house so that the furniture which we have never put together (the black leather and the mahogany) will look like it is supposed to be together.  We really like "wow" paint colors with a warm feel but that are really dramatic.  My black laquer china cabinet is going to be in the dining room with the mahogany table in from of it and then the black furniture will be in the living room.  I am afraid that the table is going to look out of place and chop up the flow of the house.  Also, the lr and dr share a long wall, is it a no-no to use paint to separate the areas?  Can I use the same color in both rooms and use a faux finish in the dr?  Please help, this is stressing me out!!


Dear Jill,

Your areas of concern are traffic flow, the mahogany table, painting the walls and defining two spaces-your dining room and living room.  Let's start with traffic flow:  Many books and magazines will tell you that you should not place any furniture in the middle of a room because they may interfere with people walking directly from one side of the space to the other.  This is nonsense.  Don't be concerned if someone can't walk directly from the southeast corner to the northeat corner.  So what?  In fact, this may actually make the space more interesting, just as curved paths are used in Japanese gardens to produce a sense of surprise.  The only rooms which should have direct lines of traffic are hallways and foyers.

The mahogany table:  Yes, mahogany is a very traditional wood which would be out of place with the rest of your furniture.  Here are some options: a) You replace the table b) or, using your black lacquer china cabinet as inspiration you could have it painted black with a lacquer finish and have an asian inspired motiff painted on it by a professional c)or, as a strictly short-term choice you could cover your table with a beautiful peice of fabric that reaches the floor.  You, then, could have some throw pillows made out of the same cloth for your leather couches in order to tie everything together and soften up the look.  If you decide to paint the table you could have pillows made up that echo the design on the table.  

Defining spaces:  A safe and harmonious look is to use different area rugs to define the living room and the dining room.  One with a pattern (the one you already have will do just fine) and another without a pattern, preferably white.

Painting the walls:  We took the liberty of choosing 3 exciting and dramatic colors manufactuered bu Sherman Williams.  The first is called Artifact SW 6138; the second is Mossy Gold SW 6139; and the third is Socialite SW 6025.  If you decide to paint your table make sure that the color you choose for your walls makes it onto the design you paint on the table.

I would paint the all the walls the same color; in no way would I try to divide the spaces by using a different color or differnt finish.  However, before you go out and buy a gallon of paint first buy a sampler.  Paint a large peice of cardboard that can be moved around the rooms and see how the color looks in a dark corner of a room as well as on a sunny wall.  

And lastly, if you're looking for drama in your space be very careful and strategice when you plan your lighting layout.

Good luck with your decorating,

P.S.  I apologise for taking so long to respond my internet server had crashed and there was no internet access in my area for some time!  Thanks for your patience...

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Cindy Pagiatakis


I can answer questions about proper furniture placement, decorative painting, creating light ledgers and choosing the right fabric for for window treatments and furniture coverings.


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