Before & After: "Lost" Family Living Room to Found

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Nicole Lanteri worked with this family of five to transform this long, narrow space into a beautiful room that is inviting and much more functional. Nicole says the key was to rethink the layout and size of the furniture to create a cohesive feel in this multi-purpose family room.

Nicole tells us more about this living room project:

This awesome family has a beautiful row house in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. with a living room right off the front of their house that was, well, just a little lost. It had a few "symptoms" that needed to be treated. First, it is a long, narrow space that can tend to feel more bowling alley than a cozy living room and it has two large doorways that can't be blocked since they are used all of the time and lead to the dining room/kitchen and entryway. These two problems led to a third problem — all of the furniture was pushed up against the walls that were available, which just made the space seem narrower and more lost.


The room was being used as a great space to build speedways and train tracks but the family wanted to do just a bit more with the room and create a space that was great for having a few friends over for a glass of wine AND one that was still kid friendly. It wasn’t meant to be a “kid free zone”, which just isn’t practical, but one that could be easily cleaned up and ready to use for company or a moment of clarity.

The key to this redesign was figuring out a layout that allowed for conversation and toy storage (and playing!) in a way that made the room feel cozy and inviting but not cluttered and very functional. The key pieces are the sofas which are centered around the firplace and are just the “right” dimensions for this furniture grouping and the toy baskets which fit perfectly in an otherwise hard to use corner of the room and are deep enough and sturdy enough to hold a lot of toys but not too big or curvy to take up too much space – and by not having a lid they make for easy clean up! The ottoman really completes the room too — the roundness of it breaks up the space and it serves several functions — footrest, table, play station. Aesthetically, it gives the room a richness it deserves and plays well off of the honey tones in the fireplace.

Best part of this redesign — we really made the best out of how long of a room this is and created three distinct but cohesive areas out of this room — a conversation space, a workspace and a toy space! And, breathed new life to this room through a mix of fun vintage and new finds that were all great buys.

Thanks Nicole! Readers, Nicole is a decorator in the Washington DC area - see more of her work at On My Agenda.

(Image credits: On My Agenda)

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Main, Family, Before & After, Living Room

As Apartment Therapy's Family Editor, Carrie covers design and modern homelife with children. A lapsed librarian, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids and is in contention to break the record for most hours spent at the playground.

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