What We’re Working On: Valerie’s Great Room

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may remember reading a post I wrote a few months ago spotlighting the kitchen of one of the new construction projects we are working on.

Today, I am going to show you how we designed that client’s Great Room and give a some simple tips on how you can make YOUR great room “great!”

The Client

We’ve been helping our client Valerie design a home that is sophisticated and elegant, but also comfortable and livable for her family of five.

Valerie’s Dream Home

Key Considerations

As I mentioned before, one of the first rooms we worked on was her kitchen.

The next space we focused on was her Great Room.

But before jumping into the design process, there were a few things we needed to take into consideration in order to make this Great Room work:

  • The room is very long, and it is separated from the Breakfast Nook by a floating fireplace.
  • The Great Room can also be seen from the kitchen through a large pass-through opening. That means that the three rooms in that line of sight (Great Room, Breakfast Nook and Kitchen) all had to flow and play off of each other in terms of colors, textures and materials.
  • Our clients wanted lots of seating and they wanted the fireplace to be the focal point of the room, so this was the driving factor for how and where we placed seating.
  • Finally, we needed to pull together a color palette that was sophisticated but not so “light” that Valerie would worry about stains and spills.
Floor Plan of the First Floor


Our Solution

We spent time creating a layout for the room that maximized the space of a Great Room. We also created a color palette that was at once elegant and livable.

And here is how WE see Valerie’s Great Room…

Valerie's Great Room
Valerie’s Great Room


The Seating

The foundation of the room design was the seating.

When we developed the space plan, we were careful to pay attention to openings and traffic patterns so that the family could easily navigate around the space.

One of the ways we achieved this was by breaking up the room up into smaller “zones”.

During our client interview process, we discovered that this family likes to watch television, but they also wanted to enjoyed their fireplace. This was critical information because they told us that the fireplace was the ideal focal point for the room.

From there, we carefully selected seating options that would allow the family to enjoy that focal point without obstructing walkways:

  1. We placed a sofa in the area in front of the fireplace so that the family can sit and watch their favorite television program.
  2. For additional seating, we added two swivel chairs so that the seat occupants could easily turn to face toward the fireplace/tv or turn toward each other/the sofa area for conversation.
  3. We also included two wing back chairs near the built-in bookcases for reading or more personal conversation.

Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 1.06.59 PM

The Color Palette

Next, we needed to consider color!

Valerie was uncomfortable with a lot of white in the space (as any mom of three would be!), so we developed a sophisticated color palette and punched it up with strategically placed pops of color!

As you can see from the seating above, we brought in a linen sofa and charcoal grey accent chairs.

We then decided to bring in a rich shade of raspberry as the accent color to prevent the room from feeling too dreary.

  1. We brought in this accent pillow to add some texture to the sofa.
  2. Then, we added some vibrancy with this floral print which is the same color way.
  3. We chose an abstract art piece for the wall space near the french doors.
  4. Finally, we chose this bold floral art piece for the space between the bookcases.

Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 1.09.15 PM

Visual Texture

Since the fireplace was the focal point, we wanted to add some texture and drama to it, so we wrapped it in a grey grasscloth.

We then put that same wallpaper on the back wall of the built in bookcases for continuity and flow.

Design Take-Aways

We will continue to keep you updated on how Valerie’s dream home is coming along, but for now we will leave you with a few take-aways for your own “great” room.

  • Maximize your space! Find the layout that best fits your room, but one provides attractive site lines from every angle! Carefully consider walking patterns and the activities that will be done in that space so that seating and lighting are strategically placed.
  • Find your focal point. Figure out what element in the room you want the focus to be on upon entering that room. Then, place furniture in a way that allows that focal point to be the star of the show without sacrificing the functionality of your space!
  • Don’t be afraid to use a little pop of color! When you are decorating your room with strong neutrals like grey, you NEED to add in some touches of contrasting color if you want to create a space that doesn’t feel drab or sterile. I promise that just this one trick will make for a more inviting space!

Tell me what you think of Valerie’s Great Room or tell me what you want your own “great” room to look like in the comments below!

Author: Arianne Bellizaire

Interior designer, blogger, and public speaker Arianne Bellizaire creates spaces that are beautiful yet highly functional for her clients. She served as one of only nine 2015 High Point Market Authority Style Spotters, and she has been featured in Rue Magazine, House Beautiful Online, GoodHousekeeping, EditorAtLarge, U.S. News & World Report, Roomhints, About.com, USA Today, and MyFitItUpLife!

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