Help Design My Living Room

Help Design My Living Room August 26, 2014
Our living room

We have recently moved into a new home, and are taking our time with decorating because: a) We have been busy with other home improvement projects, b) We hope to live here for many years and are trying to be thoughtful about how we would like our space to look for the long haul, and c) We are trying to stick to a budget, which takes some time and patience. One room that we need some help with is our living room, which has paneled molding on the walls – we painted the trim white and the walls a grayish-blue. Our major question in this room is how to hang artwork on the walls. We don’t know whether we need to hang something inside of each panel, or whether we can do gallery-style pictures inside one or some of the panels while leaving others bare. The whole room has this trim paneling, so it feels overwhelming to try to put something inside each area. Any thoughts?

I fully realize that there are more important issues to be thinking and praying about right now. However, this is on my mind today, and I know that it is good for me to create a beautiful, peaceful, and well-designed environment for my family to live in. Sometimes, a little advice from friends can go a long way, so thank you in advance for any thoughts you can share!

Many blessings to you and your family on this Tuesday evening. Mary, Queen of Families, pray for us!


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Wow — that is intimidating. I think it would be weird to put something in each panel… and expensive and you’d have major pressure to “match” the size, etc. I think you do NOT go that route, or you’ll fail. The problem is that it’s so uniform and perfect right now. Whatever you add will mess up the sameness. So, you have to intentionally mess it up. I’d say put a rectangle painting up in one, and a circular clock in another. Something like that. And you don’t have to fill each one. Maybe you could put a tall plant on the wall to break it up a bit? I don’t know, but I share in your befuddlement.

  • (it’s gorgeous, though! Congrats on the new house! Love the paneling!)

  • J’

    Hmmm. This would ‘undo’ some of what you just did, but depending on the material may be a fix… is there a way to sever some of the upper panelling wood to make bigger spaces, e.g. leave all the bottom squares (and maybe paint all on the bottom the same white instead of the blue), but take off the upper rims to the others and have it all blue so it ends up looking a little more like wainscoating (*sp?)? Or I’m also wondering if you could leave some of the panel ‘squares’ up around the corners of the room, but take down the rest to give yourself more space to do picture collages, hanging shelves, etc., without it looking off or without you ‘loosing space’ inside one particular panel. I don’t know if I’m making sense. I could draw what I mean but there isn’t a sketch function here. lol.

  • Bethany

    I appreciate this kind of post, Kat, because creating inviting home spaces for our families is a very important thing to consider! My hub and I are always talking about the feel of our home and whether or not it is conducive to the flow, mindset, and values we are trying to impart to our children. We are especially aware of this in the heavily-used rooms like the kitchen and family room because these rooms are where our family spends 90% of our time.

    Your living room is beautiful, BTW! I agree with Nancy’s comment that you definitely don’t need to have something in each one of the “boxes”. I think that if you do put something there, you might want to consider having the object be larger, as in a larger painting or something, so that you don’t feel the need to fill the panel next to it. You could also go with different shapes like Nancy mentioned. Maybe one of the panels (toward the middle) should have a nicely framed piece and then the others could have a sconce or a mirror or something less substantial. I might shy away from having a collage of photos in one panel just because you already have a collage of sorts with the actual room panels.

    I’m a symmetry kind of gal, so I would probably leave the panels by the door empty and focus on the three middle panels on the left wall (according to the picture). Just my two cents! 😉

  • Yes to different shapes. No to filling every panel. Yes to variations for the panels (size, shape, number of objects, and even the number of panels filled on each wall). Mix it up! I think a collage on one wall might look nice. 5 photos like dice (or 7 or three, all different sizes) in the center, then two on either side panel, or something like that. Variety is key or else it will look too patterned. You may also try shelves with photos or other objects if you want to take away from the patterned look a bit.

  • Juris Mater

    That is a beautiful living room! Unique and beautiful features like that make the house so appealing but are the hardest to dress up. We are having the same issue in our new house. So, we still have all bare walls! Happy decorating; all these ladies have great suggestions!

  • Elaine

    I have a very similar living room in our new house. 3 of the walls don’t need art (fireplace, kitchen bar, built ins etc) but there is one wall that needs…something. So I’m thinking of filling only the three center panels. And this totally may not work, but I’m going to give it a try…the center panel will have a large picture or icon print of Christ then I’ll fill the panels on either side with icon prints or pictures of each of the saints our 8 family members are named after. But keep in mind I’m not very good at interior design. 🙂

  • Lisa

    What a beautiful room! The paneling does make decorating less intuitive though! I agree with others that you don’t need to put something in every panel, but I would suggest being consistent – eg putting something in every other, or every 3 panels, and keeping that spacing consistent. Alternatively maybe putting things in the center 3 panels and keeping the rest of the panels on the left and the right sides of each wall empty.

    One thing that may help is to use blue painters tape to mark up a few ideas – just put a few outlines of possible shapes in varying arrangements in your panels. Sometimes seeing it really helps.

    If you decide you do want something in each panel, photos are a great, inexpensive way to decorate. I find excellent frames at garage sales often for 1-2 dollars, including rather large frames. There are also very often groupon specials for photo canvases – you submit a photo you love and they print it on a huge canvas – large enough for one of your panels, easily. We have a “family wall” of pics if our family, and it’s one of my favorite spaces in our house. Inexpensive and sentimental!

    Best wishes in the remaining weeks of your pregnancy!

  • MaryAlice

    That room is so nice and big! It will be great for your family.

    What about something that is same but different, like three large framed art posters in the three center panels on the longer wall? You might do them in very thin silver frames, so that you don’t have an additional frame within the frame, or even just glass and clip frames? I might do posters of colorful modern art, such as Kandinsky. You can order them online and it won’t cost too much. Then, also get some throw pillows to break up the sectional. I know that they are annoying and wind up on the floor, but I also think that the room really needs some punches of color so that the walls and the sectional don’t all feel so big. I would then do a collage of photos on the other walls, again perhaps adding in color by purchasing a mix of frames (home goods or marshalls) and spray painting them one accent color.

  • Katrina

    Thank you so much for all of these suggestions! I will post a follow-up message once we’ve decorated, hopefully soon 🙂