Reader SOS: Living Room Layout

Today we are back with another “DIY Playbook, Save our Space!”. You guys have been emailing us about your Reader SOS and we’ve been able to get a little glimpse into some of the dilemmas you’re having when it comes to decorating. Our plan for #DIYPlaybookSOS is to take a reader’s space and (virtually) offer tips & tricks on how to improve it.

We figure sharing a ReaderSOS is a good idea for a few reasons…

  • You may have the exact same design dilemma as one of the featured spaces, so hearing some decorating advice could help you tackle your own home!
  • We can showcase various styles that may be different from ours.

So today, we are excited to introduce you to our new friend Heather!

Reader Design Dilemma

Heather reached out to ask for help with the layout of her living room and some overall tips for this space. Here’s a look at the room:

Now that you know what her space looks like, let’s dive into some of the tips we offered Heather.

Our Advice

We always love to start out by identifying what we already love in the space. For Heather’s family room, the room has gorgeous bones… already! That fireplace, wainscoting, crown molding, dark floor, can lights, and doorway (with all of that natural light) are all stunning! And that paint color?! LOVE!!

Now let’s chat about our advice. We will first address the problem in Heather’s room (share a photo of the problem) and then provide a few photos/links for inspiration. Hopefully this format will allow you guys to get a glimpse into what we envision.

Less Furniture

This room has so many gorgeous elements, but because there’s so much large furniture inside, you can’t focus on all of the great stuff. We advised Heather to cut down on the large furniture. Taking out the two-set sofa would be the first priority because that would open up the walk-way to the double french doors.

We think the dark recliner could also be removed and replaced with something more slim in its place, so it still provides function but isn’t as large in this space.

Purchase a Few New Items

She mentioned she was open to buying new items. Our recommendations would be a tailored couch (love this one from West Elm) so it is not so heavy in the space. Also with the 2-seat sofa gone, she could go with a longer couch if she still needed the seating room.

From there, we think Heather can remove add two chairs looking across at the couch for seating that is fashionable and functional. We love this inspiration look from House of Jade Interiors.

We also suggest buying a lower, more sleek console (like this one or this one), which could offer a lot of secret storage for her kid’s toys (like our girl Mandi from Vintage Revivals did in this living room). And if she got a console without glass doors, the items in there would be neatly tucked away and out of sight.

Heather already has the TV mounted and requested that it did not move, so we’re confident that the new set-up would fit within these parameters.

Breaking Up the Straight Lines

The coffee table is adorable and looks like it adds a lot of secret storage — genius! If Heather is looking into replacing it (although we definitely don’t think that’s necessary), we told her to consider choosing a round one. We like this marble and brass one, since she already has a few brass accessories in the space.

The round shape of a new coffee table could be an easy way to break up all the straight lines in Heather’s space, just like the talented duo at Chris Loves Julia did in their basement.

Replacing Bulky Chair with Function and Fashion

We do think it’s important to remove the two-seat sofa chair in the corner of the room because of its large size. After that,  we think it would be a great idea to add a console table over there and even add two stools under it. Since the wall is white, a wood console like this one might do the trick.

Image via HGTV Home

Image via Decor Pad

Image via DecorPad

Doing something like one of these inspiration pictures would allow Heather to use the stools as extra places to sit when she has company over. We also love the idea of adding a round mirror (this one is gorgeous) above that console. It would not only add another round element, but it would make the space look bigger and brighter!

We think this space is starting out pretty amazing already and has such great “bones”. With a few small tweaks and investing in a couple new pieces Heather LOVES, she can really take this space to the next level… and fall in love with it all over again!

Thank you so much for reaching out, Heather, and allowing us to share your space with our readers!

We Want to Hear from You


We wish we could come to ALL of your homes to hang out, drink coffee, and help solve your design dilemmas (#dreamjob!). Sadly, we can’t BUT that doesn’t mean we still can’t drink coffee and help solve some of these design dilemmas from afar!

If you want your space to be the next #diyplaybookSOS feature, all you have to do is share a photo on Instagram, tag @diyplaybook and use the #diyplaybooksos. Tell us about your design dilemma and your space could be our next feature! Or feel free to email us some pictures and information about the space to [email protected]


  • Erin

    i think all your suggestions are great! even with taking away some of those bulky pieces, you’ll add back in more streamlined pieces that will actually add more seating and set the stage for conversation versus, awkward conversations where 2 people are sitting awkwardly in the back corner of the love seat. while getting ottomans that you can move around. As well as having 2 chairs flank the tv is great!

  • These are great suggestions! I agree that this room has great bones, it’s so pretty! The console in the back corner is a great idea and that mirror is beautiful!

    • Thanks Kerri! We’re glad you agree that this space has such amazing bones! It’s gorgeous!!

  • Yay! Thanks for featuring my room! I have already made quite a few changes to the room, since I submitted it. That second couch was moved to another room and some chairs I refinished flank the tv. We bought a new (glass-less) tv stand and soon I am going to add some accessories! I would love to share with you again when I make another big dent!

    • Suzanne Larson

      We’d love to see your updates so far!!

    • Yes, we agree!!

    • I will!! We have to hide the cords inside the wall and i will take pictures!!

    • Yes, definitely keep us updated!! We would love to see the progress and can’t thank you enough for allowing us to share a peek into your home. We’re sure others can relate and we love sharing ReaderSOS’s because it’s such a reminder that we’re all in this together!!

  • Said Byboth

    Love this room and the suggestions! If Heather adds a mirror over a console in the corner, then maybe hanging that neat vintage window horizontally over the mantel might be a way to keep it and add dimension to the mantel. I love the sweet photos and art up there, but think some slightly asymmetrical variation might look good, too. Like, vintage window horizontal in the back, larger canvas art layered in front on one side, scooched slightly center with a little window peeking out on the outside edge, then some of her frames and that vase sorta staged in front of that. Hope that makes sense!! Kind of as shown on this pin:

    • Love these suggestions and the example you shared! Thanks for your input!

    • OOOh I love this idea! The mantel sort of became the “just throw something up here” spot when we were unpacking. I have that long horizontal window from my wedding you see in the corner of some of those pictures I could play around with!

    • Said Byboth

      What a neat piece to have! A memento with visual impact and emotional ties, such a neat thing to have on display! Thanks for sharing your space, and @diyplaybook:disqus, I love this series so thank you for your always-great advice and inspiration! I live in a smallish 1BR apt, but I always glean something new from these posts!

    • Awww, you are so sweet Said! Thank you for the support, we are so happy you enjoy this series!!