Living Room Reveal and Styling Tips

Living Room Reveal + Styling Tips | Classy Glam Living

Being in a townhouse, there usually isn't a separate living room so to speak.  Since we had the builder finished the basement as a family room, it freed up space on the main floor (and no TV!).  We also didn't need the builder-designated breakfast area, which is in close proximity to the breakfast bar and dining room (c'mon we're only a family of 3).  That gave rise to the idea of a seating area in place of the breakfast area.

After months of anticipation, we finally (!!!) received the end tables we ordered back in October for the living room/ seating area.  I had decor items lined up for its arrival since our purchase, and we can now focus on beautifying our living room.  

It's been more than a year since I wrote about our living room design board, and this was what I had in mind for our living room in that post:

New House Living Room Design Board Christmas Decor | Classy Glam Living

Deals come and go, and so our furniture choices differ from our design board.  We incorporated pieces that we love, while still staying true to our decorating style.  Here is how our living room actually turned out:

Living room reveal + styling tips | Actual design | Classy Glam Living

First to set the stage is of course an elegant and comfy sofa.  We've scoured through stores, but none other than the Nicole sofa by Sarah Richardson was our one true love.  The curvy sides and arms add the touch of uniqueness that distinguishes it from traditional sofas.  Plus, I love its large fluffy seat cushion, so nobody would be sitting on cushion gaps.  

Natalie Hodgins, who managed our furniture order seamlessly at Sarah Richardson Design, suggested we also include the back cushions.  We're so glad we went with her suggestion, the back cushions up the comfy factor of a tight back sofa.

With the statement art piece above the sofa as the focal point, we decided to go with a pair of end tables with acrylic legs.  The tables almost seem to disappear into the surrounding, but the chrome accents and mirror bottom shelf bring out the gleam in them.  

Furniture placement | Living room reveal + styling tips | Classy Glam Living

Its hard lines are a nice contrast to the curvy marble coffee table and delicate arms on the sofa.  We also love how the mirrored bottom shelf reflects the light from the table lamps and creates depth for whatever decor placed on it. 

Living room reveal + styling tips | Classy Glam Living
Acrylic end tables | Living room reveal + styling tips | Classy Glam Living

Instead of using large armchairs on either side of the sofa, as in my original design board, we opted to use a pair of cane back dining armchairs from Restoration Hardware.  It was one of those decisions that was prompted by a deal, and worked out great in the end.   We already had one from our old house's home office, and saw the second one at the RH Outlet while it was running a 30% off lowest ticket price campaign.  It was a no brainer to grab it!  

Their narrow footprint streamlined the seating area, so that the living room appears less crowded than if we had used chunky armchairs. 

Furniture placement | Living room reveal + styling tips | Classy Glam Living

With our living and dining areas being next to each other, we used a silvery blue as a transition colour between the two areas.  The silvery blue tone can be found in the animal print rug, the kitchen stools, and the dining room console.  

Furniture placement | Transitional colour | Living room reveal + styling tips | Classy Glam Living

It's All in the Details

Now that we have our essential pieces down, it's time to beautify and liven up the seating area with accessories!  This is a stark contrast to the year at our rental, which I never bothered to decorate.  It was a boring place to stay at, lacking in character without something beautiful to look at.  

Since moving in at our new house, I've purged through our old home decor accessories and curated items that we love.  I don't really work with a theme, other than a seasonal one.  However, the objects still look coherent, because they all represent us.

With a prominent piece of artwork above the sofa, we picked out neutral tones for the throw pillows.  Pulling a darker tone from the art, in this case the navy, for a contrasting pillow colour helps to ground the space that would otherwise appear washed out.

Furniture placement | Living room reveal + styling tips | Classy Glam Living

We didn't want too many accessories to crowd up the small seating area.  Afterall, if I didn't exercise control, I could easily pile up the coffee and end tables with everything I love ;-)  

In keeping with the spirit of less-is-more for this small space, instead of filling up the coffee table with books, I decided to give it some breathing space by corralling simple accessories on a tray.

Coffee table styling with mirror tray | Living room reveal + styling tips | Classy Glam Living

I used metallics throughout to balance the strong copperish gold tone of the frame.  It helps to avoid washing out the rest of the seating area against the strong piece of art.  

Here on the pale marble coffee table, I used a mirror tray with bronze frame and an antiqued gold lantern:

Coffee table styling acrylic end tables | Living room reveal + styling tips | Classy Glam Living

And at the end table here, with the gold resin shell bowl and beige-gold toned capiz shells tray.  I love how the gold Jonathan Adler Carnaby Zebra dish echoes the animal print rug to subtly tie in the accessories.  

Acrylic end tables styling | Living room reveal + styling tips | Classy Glam Living
Jonathan Adler Zebra Carnaby dish | Living room reveal + styling tips | Classy Glam Living

Just in case you're wondering, no, the seating area is not considered done until the Mr. installs the full-panel wainscoting as in my design board.  He gave me the "I've got a lot on my plate" look when I reminded him about it the other night.  I brought it up, just because...  I'll leave him alone for now, as he's still finishing up with our dressing room.   =)

It was exciting to envision this builder-designated breakfast area to be a seating area when I first saw the floor plan.  Even more fun was the design process, and now furnishing and personalizing it to suit our living style.  

We love how it is neutral enough to not fight with the artwork, and yet everything works in harmony.  This is the first room that we see when we walk into the living area, and it should naturally feel welcoming.  We wanted it to be a focal point without being too formal (ie. realistically livable with a kid).  

I think with the speed the little man dashes to the couch after coming home, we've at least managed the livable part =)

P.S.:  The wainscoting should be a piece of cake for the Mr., since he's done the wainscoting with the chair rail for our old house's living/ dining room.


5 Things to Consider for an "Effortless" Gallery Wall


Now that the Holidays are over, I'm still reluctant to pack away the sparkly decorations and Christmas lights that line our staircase.  Actually, call it a case of mild procrastination.  Afterall, it took quite some effort to lay out the decorations, they should stay out for a bit longer, don't you think?

I blame the delay of packing up our Christmas decorations on decorating the little man's headquarters - his bedroom and playroom.   Not that I'm doing any of the installations...  Anyway...  Little man's working corner in his playroom is finally in place, and I should really unpack some packages lying around that are for a gallery wall in the room.

A gallery wall is an eclectic display of art, giving the room a casual vibe.  For our house, there's no better place than the playroom to have some fun with it!  The. Mr is not a huge fan of gallery walls, but he has reluctantly played along with the idea for one in the playroom.  So to honour that, I promise to keep it small scaled with a somewhat neat demeanor.  My plan is to have it above a future toy storage unit, with a wall space of around 5-feet wide.

I want the gallery wall to look effortlessly casual, but it still takes some effort while taking these factors into consideration:


The width of most gallery walls are bounded by, or just beyond, the width of the furniture below it, if any.  For dramatic effect, you can even go wall to wall, similar to the sample image below.  As for a vertical boundary, a more comfortable grouping would see the bottom of the layout at 6"-8" above any piece of furniture, up to around 2-ft off the ceiling.  You know the general rule of hanging wall art at 60-62" from the ground?  In the case of a gallery wall, treat the whole layout as a group, so that the group's centre is at eye-level.  You don't want to be crunching your neck to look up to ALL your pieces!


Do you have a neat and structured personality, like my Mr.?  Then a square or rectangular shape gallery wall will most likely be your pick.  Or are you more coherently random, like me?

Structured shape via  The Southern Thing

Structured shape via The Southern Thing

coherently random shape by  Lay Baby Lay

coherently random shape by Lay Baby Lay


Using various shapes and sizes of frames for the gallery wall is one way to give it a dose of your personality.   For little man's playroom, I originally planned on using colourful frames.  I'm having second thoughts about that, and I think monochromatic frames would play a balancing role against the pops of colours around the room full of toys.  


A visually appealing gallery wall should have just enough pieces that are grouped comfortably together.  The key is to avoid looking too messy.  Spaced too tight, it would look like too many pieces are crying for attention, and the frames would look crammed; spaced too far apart, then they look like individual art pieces sharing the wall.  

To be easy on the eyes, I find that the optimal distance between each piece should be around 2-3".  There're no hard and fast rules about it, and it all depends on the different sizes and shapes of the pieces.

via RH Teen

via RH Teen


Gallery walls are never boring - display some loved and dearest pieces to let your personality shine through!  A touch of whimsical accessories bring these gallery walls to life!

The next time you see a casually and effortlessly chic gallery wall, you can count on the fact that the more casual it looks, the more effort it required!  A lot of planning goes into perfecting even a seemingly random placement of pieces.  But don't be boggled down by the planning; afterall, the point of a gallery wall is to have fun with it!  Once you have collected your pieces, it's definitely a fun exercise to hone your sense of design and use of space.  Let loose and have some fun!

Top Hardware Picks for Our Dressing Room

Top Hardware Picks for Dressing Room | Classy Glam Living

Have you been following along the progress of our dressing room/ walk-in closet?  It's on Instagram, and the Mr. has been making great progress.  

Just to give you some background of our dressing room, its design is inspired by Carrie Bradshaw's huge walk-in closet in Sex and the City 2 (her side).  Similar to the dressing room in our previous house, we love the trims and moldings details of Carrie's, and the bottom section that's extended just a touch beyond the upper hanging units.  Not to mention, all those bottom drawers!!  One can never have enough drawers!

Carrie's closet in Sex and the City 2, image via  Marks & Frantz

Carrie's closet in Sex and the City 2, image via Marks & Frantz

This time around, we're not hacking any IKEA PAX wardrobes; it would entail too much customization and hacking to fit in our new closet space.  So, the Mr. is building our closet from scratch!  That also means we're free to add all those bottom drawers to suit our needs.  

Here is the most updated status of our custom-built closet by the Mr.:

DIY dressing room walk-in closet progress shot | Classy Glam Living
DIY dressing room walk-in closet progress shot | Classy Glam Living

While the Mr. goes about tackling the design and build of the closet, it's time I busy myself with looking at the little details to complement his huge undertaking.  One such is of course the gems for the closet - knobs and pulls.

The Mr. will be building shaker style doors and drawer fronts for our closet.  With this generic style, we would rely on the hardware to add a personal touch.  Instead of using only one kind of hardware, I would prefer separate styles of door handles and drawer knobs.  Not only is that less overwhelming visually, it also creates a layer of interest.  

Classic and timeless styles of hardware would suit us best.  Nothing too tacky - no rhinestones and no "crystal" knobs that are too diamond-looking.  

There're literally thousands of choices out there, but I'll know what I want when I see them.  And so, I went searching at my favourite hardware online sources:  Lee Valley, Ginger's, Anthropologie, and Etsy.

Drawer knobs

These brass knobs are timeless classics, and their subtle details add interest so that they're not just a blob of metal. 

All from Lee Valley.

All from Lee Valley.

Ever since going with glass knobs with our DIY refinished night tables, I've fallen in love with their versatility. They offer a touch of glam, and are a nice pairing with either intricate or sleek handles. 

1.-3. From Lee Vally, 4. From Gingers Bath. 

1.-3. From Lee Vally, 4. From Gingers Bath. 

Pull handles

The cabinet doors for the closet will be quite high, going from the ceiling to the top of the bottom drawers.  We would need pulls that are at least 6" in length to keep proportions in check, otherwise a tiny pull would get lost in the height of the door.  Anything 4" or less would not do!

The dressing room can handle the traditional look of these brass pulls, which I may not use for a contemporary kitchen.  While their designs are intricate, the handle parts are wide.  Aside from being ergonically friendly, they would also look proportional on a large cabinet door.

1. Lee Valley; 2. Anthropologie; 3. A Rose Rambling Etsy

1. Lee Valley; 2. Anthropologie; 3. A Rose Rambling Etsy

As much as I love classic style hardware, these contemporary pulls have understated details that don't render them too plain-Jane.

Both from Ginger's. 

Both from Ginger's. 

While there's no right or wrong way to pair cabinet door handles and drawer knobs, my preference would be to pair one with an ornate design with one of simple.  When in doubt, pairing both with simple designs would always be better than having both handles and knobs with too much detailing.

Pairing of Handles and Knobs | Classy Glam Living

Perhaps these are details so minute that nobody would notice.  So why put so much effort into mixing and matching of the knobs and pull handles?  Cabinet hardwares can make or break the design of a room.  Carefully chosen hardwares add your personal stamp to your space, and make using them on a daily basis a joy.  Make sure they're ergonomical and in a style that you love!

I'm glad I got this post out, because it sure did help me in narrowing down my choices.  I think I now know which ones I would go with.  Let me just run them by the Mr.!