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A Warm, Modern Living Room & Reading Room for Two Corgi Parents | Day Session Diaries

a corgie snuggles next to a woman while his head rests on her knee

This past winter, I headed to snowy Ada, Michigan for a last minute Designed in a Day session. I'd had a client reschedule, and to my delight, these clients snatched up the opening!

The task was to help a lovely couple—parents to two adorable corgis—select furniture for their newly renovated living room and piano room.

I have to say, day sessions are exceedingly more enjoyable with an adorable little doggie snuggled up on the couch with you!! It was basically like having a personal heater keeping my warm on the blustery day that it was—highly recommend!

The Living Room and Piano Room | Before

When I walked into the living room (below—sorry so grainy!!), my first thought was, wait, this is pretty cute already!

But upon hearing my clients' woes with the space, I realized there was a lot we could build on. They'd already installed a cool oversized pendant light, and a handful of their existing pieces were items I wanted to keep in the space (rug, side chairs, and plants for sure!).

They wanted to add a more substantial bar/sideboard piece, and the sofa wasn't particularly comfortable for them. Aside from that, they were open to layout ideas, and wanted me to keep in mind that the slider is where the dogs are going in and out all day.

three "before" photos of a living room in grand rapids about to be made over into a warm modern living room

The piano room (below) was more of a blank slate: aside from the baby grand, we were essentially starting from scratch in this room.

The challenge here was that this space is the only way to access the front door, so it is very much a transition space, as well as serving as the first impression when you walk into the house.

Ideally, they wanted someplace to store their books, and a space that would feel cozy and welcoming when guests arrived. One idea they had was to create a space for reading that was separate from the living room.

three "before" photos of a reading room in grand rapids about to be made over

Style Discovery Conversation: A Warm, Modern Living Room

Before each session, I have clients pull together images of a handful of spaces that speak to them. This particular client went above and beyond and sent me some beautifully put-together inspiration boards, which I've shared here below.

a collection of design inspiration for a warm, modern living room design

We sat down together and talked through each of the images and what they hoped for in their own space.

Consistent themes within the inspiration images were rich warm tones—auburns, reds, wood tones, greens—lots of textures (boucle, wood, fibers), interesting mixes of patterns, and spaces that felt beautiful but not fussy, and eclectic while still feeling minimal-ish.

We also noted the spaces leaned a bit more masculine, even though they they incorporated feminine design elements.

a collection of design inspiration for a warm, modern living room design

Creating the Floor Plans

Once we had an idea of the general style direction and their needs as far as functionality, I got to work measuring the space and putting together a layout. Location wise, the piano room is on the front of the house, and you pass through the kitchen/dining room to get to the living room.

The existing floor plan in the living room wasn't terrible, but it had a few challenges—the TV was currently in front of two windows, which can be done, but isn't generally ideal for viewing. I also felt like it was distracting from the view.

Second, the layout as a whole felt a little squashy to me personally. I wanted to see if I could open it up and take full advantage of the amount of space the room provided.

Existing Living Room Layout

the original floor plan of a grand rapids living room before making over the space

A few new elements they wanted to incorporate included a larger bar situation, storage for glassware, and a new round coffee table to mimic the shape of the oversized pendant light.

As I thought about the space, I wanted to have the TV in a location that didn't detract from the view but also allowed them to sit forward facing on the sofa when watching TV. The largest section of wall was to the right of the sliding doors, so I proposed combining the TV and bar areas there.

You know me, I love a frame TV, so I suggested we mount a 55" Frame TV above an oversized sideboard. This would be home to their large collection of bourbon, as well as a small table lamp. The sofa would sit opposite these with the two matching accent chairs on the far wall when entering the space.

Proposed Living Room Layout

suggested furniture layout for a warm, modern living room makeover in grand rapids, michigan

The small accent chair would then float on an angle facing the middle, and everything would center around a large round coffee table. I kept the rug in its existing position so it would run longways with the sofa, and added in some additional accent tables.

I planned for floor to ceiling stationary curtain panels on the three large windows in the space, as well as a large piece of artwork and mirror for the two open wall spaces.

Finally, I chose a tall cabinet to sit on the wall behind the sofa which would house their glassware. Functionally, I liked this position because it's located right by the dining/kitchen, so it would be easy to load in glasses after you wash them.

Proposed Reading & Piano Room Layout

In the piano room, we briefly threw around the idea of builtin bookcases, but quickly decided against that idea. This is a home they will likely stay another five years at max, so they didn't want to invest a lot of money into something they couldn't take with them.

suggested furniture layout for a warm, modern reading and piano room in grand rapids, Michigan

Instead, I decided to create a sitting area using two accent chairs, a small scale coffee table, and a smaller area rug, which would sit in front of a small sideboard with a large piece of artwork above.

To the right of this area would be two matching bookcases, and below the window, we'd round out the sitting area with a long narrow bench.

We'd add an oversized piece of artwork behind the piano, stationary curtain panels on the window, and a long wall-mounted mirror by the door to easily check your outfit before taking off.

The Furniture Selections

After we agreed on the layout, I got back to work sourcing product while my client took a break for a little home workout (that's the great thing about day sessions—clients get to take lots of breaks!)

The Living Room Furniture

To create a warm, modern living room, I chose a velvet sofa in an auburn tone as my grounding element off of which I built the rest of the design. I loved the way it paired with the existing area rug, as well as with their existing accent chairs.

I always like to bring in some black elements to add depth to all-white spaces, so for their glass where storage, I chose this tall black wood cabinet with cane doors for added texture.

The media console I selected was a rich dark wood with simple geometric feet, and the entire front has a lovely texture that I can't seem to get enough of. I've used this one a few times lately 😚

Interior design style board for a warm modern living room with an auburn sofa, lots of texture, and funky accents

I knew the coffee table was an important element for my clients, so I decided to give them three great options to choose from. The first (above) was a chunky white-washed x-based table, the second (below) was a bit smaller—though not much—black oak table with interesting legs, and the last (two below) was perhaps the most distinct table with a unique arch effect in the base.

Interior design style board for a warm modern living room with an auburn sofa, lots of texture, and funky accents

For accents, I chose pieces that felt particularly artistic: a quirky scalloped mirror, sculptural lamp, cement hourglass table, and a framed abstract print. I specified two small drinks tables (first option/second option) to sit by the accent chairs, and for the curtains, I chose a warm golden velvet panel with two finger pinch pleats.

Interior design style board for a warm modern living room with an auburn sofa, lots of texture, and funky accents

The Piano & Reading Room Furniture

Here, I repeated the auburn velvet element some funky accent chairs, which also felt very sculptural, and centered these atop a jute woven rug with a subtle pattern. For the coffee table, I chose a small scale leather bunching table with a brass base and tied in the brass with two architectural book cases on the side wall.

Behind the sitting area, I chose a light oak sideboard which would be home to a cement style table lamp, and over which a large framed abstract canvas would hang. I very much liked the way the artwork subtly tied in with the tone of the chairs.

Interior design style board for a warm modern reading room with velvet chairs, lots of texture, and funky accents
Two pieces of oversized abstract art for a design project in grand rapids, michigan

In this room, I chose to use the same curtains as the living room, but in a charcoal blue tone to create some variety, and I suggested two dark nickel drinks tables beside the velvet chairs. Below the window, I chose a chunky wood bench with some interesting geometric legs in the same light oak finish.

Lastly, I gave them two options for large, oversized artwork (option #1; option #2) which would go behind the piano, and the mirror beside the door was a simple iron frame rectangle, but with a little shape to the frame at the base.

The Wrap Up + Item Links

All in all, this space came together so beautifully! And the best part? We were able to create this entire design, which my clients could then execute on their own timing, all in a single 5-hour session.

I find that setting aside this focused, limited amount of time helps my clients to get really clear on their desires and come to our session very prepared, and it also lends to making decisions more quickly, along with coming up with some very creative solutions.

My clients left this session with their fully customized design plan. This included style boards for their two rooms with the exact pieces I recommended, a to-scale floor plan so they know how to set everything up when items arrive, and a link to their custom online collection of furniture that allows them to order their items via a one-click checkout.

We typically take on about four day sessions per month, so to find out if this is a good fit for you, simply click here to fill out our project info form, and I'll reach out to schedule a call. And if we're not a good fit, I can at the very least get you pointed in the right direction.


Is "Designed in a Day" Right for You?

Interior designer, Lauren Figueroa, poses for a photo on Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Designed in a Day has hands down become our most popular service, and it's easy to see why! It's incredibly cost + time effective, and it's super flexible as far as the kinds of projects we can tack le, the range of budgets it fits, and the kinds of styles and functionality needs that clients have.

BUT. Because these days generally require travel, as well as being fairly energy intensive, I offer just four of the session per month—for my own sanity :-D

If you'd like to find out more, you can click here to view the service, and then complete our project intake form here and I'll reach out to schedule a discovery call to discuss your project. Can't wait to help you create a space that works for you!!


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