Reader SOS: Furniture Layout & Blank Walls

Today we are back with another “DIY Playbook, Save our Space!”. You guys have been emailing us 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.Check out this room re-design to see the before and after.

We figure this 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 Joanna!

Reader Design Dilemma

Joanna reached out to ask for help with the layout of her living room (rearranging) and how to decorate her blank walls. Here’s a look at her space:This living room is dark, outdated, and needs some major updates. The entryway to this home feels empty and dark.

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

Move TVThe before picture of this living room features an outdated couch and old light fixtures. Moving the TV stand to the middle of the room will balance out the space more.

Inspiration via Driven by Decor

First, we would suggest moving the TV & stand to the middle of the wall, instead of tucking it into the corner. We encourage this adjustment because it would make a bigger statement in this space and will also fill some of that blank walls that Joanna mentioned she doesn’t currently love.

Some small decor pieces around the TV would add more visual interest to the living room.Inspiration via Vintage Revivals

We also suggested that she can eventually invest in a larger console to place the TV on. If Joanna was looking to add even more visual interest around the TV, we are always big fans of adding a gallery wall (just like we instructed this reader to do). Next to the console Joanna could add a basket to corral throw blankets and pillows or another plant to add more life.

Move the CouchThe current living room setup is not an open concept.

We suggested that Joanna move the plaid couch along the window to create more of an open concept in this space. Her entryway and room layout is almost identical to one of our favorite blogs, House Tweaking.

Placing couches in front of the windows opens up any space and makes it welcoming. Dana from House Tweaking placed one of her couches in front of the window and we are obsessed with the open and airy space.

We also LOVE what she did with the entryway because it adds a lot of visual interest, extra storage, and ties both areas into one another. We think this exact layout is something Joanna can definitely achieve in her home. But if she didn’t love the idea of open shelving in the entry, we also had another idea for that entry.


This entryway is empty and lacking in furniture. Placing the console behind any couch allows for more storage and space.

Inspiration via Apartment Therapy

Instead of having the console against the wall, we asked Joanna if she has ever thought about butting it up to the back of the couch. This hides the back of the couch and adds even more storage.  She can still make it work as a mini drop zone (love that idea) by adding a bowl, organizer for mail, a frame or two, and some cute accessories.

An open entryway with hooks is great for storage and keeping things clean. Moving the table would open up the entryway and make the back of the couch look like less of an eyesore right when you walk in. Then on the wall where the console is currently sitting, Joanna could add a board and batten treatment halfway up the wall with some black or silver hooks.

Clearly, you guys know we love some board & batten (considering we both have it all over our homes!), so why not add it to this space? This treatment would add some additional style to this large wall and would tie in well with the white kitchen and built-in shelving unit across the space. Plus the white paint next to the GORGEOUS wood floors would look stunning!This striped bench near the entryway makes for a great mud room.

Inspiration via Studio McGee

The board and batten would also make it super functional because Joanna and her family can drop their coats, bags, scarves or hats when they come home (or have guests over!). Then to finish this space off, she can add a large runner to add a pop of color and personality. Joanna can even paint the interior of her front door for more color!

New Items

This large area rug with interesting detail helps ground the entire space.

Inspiration via Amber Interior Design

We also think adding a larger area rug (8×10 or 9×12) could be a good way to bring this space together and make it feel extra cozy. We suggest buying a rug large enough (love this one!) where at least the front legs of both couches are on the area rug. This will really help ground the space and bonus points if you can get all of the furniture legs onto the rug!

And last but certainly not least, we encouraged Joanna to think about adding a new light fixture and coffee table. We don’t think either of her items are bad (not at all!!) but a round coffee table (in a light color) could break up all of the straight lines in this space and make the sitting area feel more open and airy.

The fan could be swapped out for a more updated look/color or for a statement light fixture if she’s not married to the idea of a fan. We think these simple upgrades could really add some serious style to this space.

We want to hear from you!

Transforming your space is easier than you think with these tips. 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!


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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