Before & After: Living Room Corner

One of our favorite assignments for our redesign business is to help someone redo a photo wall. For this particular job, we also tackled the bookshelf below the artwork...

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We know that many of you grimace at the sight of color-coded bookshelves but in certain circumstances we're fans of the approach. But first things first, here's what we did to the photo wall to make it work better:

• There are a lot of right angles in this client's living room so to soften the space with some rounder lines we shifted the overall shape of the photo wall from rectangular to oval.

• To bring more unity to the collection of photos, we removed the number of disparate types of frames, whittling the collection down to only three types of frame styles.

• We added two larger framed pieces to diversify the size of the frames in the grouping; the larger pieces help ground the entire grouping.

• To add some surprise and break up the seriousness of the grouping we added three non-photo pieces to the collection. These three pieces also pop from the wall and create a nice connection to the pops of color in the rearranged books below.

Here's how we approached the bookshelves:

• To avoid an overly precious look, we didn't put books in rainbow color order. We distributed the chunks of colors in a way that creates a pleasing rhythm and connects to the surrounding objects (notice that if you connected the dots of the chunks of blue you start to see another round or oblong shape.)

• For the top of the shelf, we display a few memorabilia books that the client really likes.

• We removed standing frames from the bookshelf so that it's clear that there is one place to look for photos - on the wall above. By relegating the photos to only one place, they make a bigger statement.

• We consolidated the stereo to one end so that it claims one zone instead of spanning three zones the way it was set up before.

• By placing a tallish plant on the end, it helps define the edge of this zone in the living room and creates a line to follow up the grouping above.

Sure, there is a lot happening in this living room corner with the grouping above and the color-popping bookshelves below, but the client has a small apartment and craved a more vibrant, personalized nook.

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