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How We Designed This Tricky Grand Rapids Living Room | Day Session Diaries

Interior Designer Lauren Figueroa Smiles for a Selfie in Her Car

A few weeks back, I spend a couple days in West Michigan with back to back Designed in a Day sessions. The first session was for a family of four who'd just purchased a new, larger home to fit the needs of their family.

The focus of our session would be the living room design, and if time allowed, a few details in the adjoining dining/kitchen.

My clients had contacted me because, while they'd built their former home and enjoyed the process of pulling together that piece of the puzzle, they'd never actually gotten around to designing it—so for this house, they wanted a little support to get the ball rolling on the furnishings and decor.

The Existing Room—Long, Narrow, and Not a Lotta Wall Space

At first glance, this room appeared spacious and not all that complicated, but once I got into space planning, I realized why my clients were struggling. While it's quite large, there are large open entrances on each side of the room, and there's really only one large wall.

In situations like these, you'll likely want to try floating furniture away from the walls, which can be a little tricky to figure out at first.

Another piece of the puzzle was that my clients had a decent sized grand piano to integrate into the room plan. I love a good piano—but they definitely limit your layout options!

a "before" image of a large living room with beige walls, carpet, and a stone fireplace

The big question on layout for them was whether to place the TV on the large wall to the right of the fireplace, or on the smaller wall just to the left of the dining room entry.

Ideally, they wanted it to be visible from the kitchen/dining, so if we could make that work, we'd go that direction.

Both clients had large families who lived out of town, so we also wanted this space to accommodate larger groups during the seasons they found themselves hosting more. We planned that the room should seat 8 on the regular, but be flexible for more seating when needed.

Style Discovery Conversation: Neutral Tones + Lots of Texture

Before each session, I have clients pull together images of a handful of spaces that speak to them.

Below are a handful of styles and color palettes that spoke to my clients—they wanted the space to feel comfortable and cozy, though their personal styles leaned a little more formal. They liked a lot of wood tones, leathers, texture, and symmetrical details.

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 texture, brown and wood tones, mostly neutral color palettes, and a bit of drama to the furniture layouts.

Proposed Living Room Design | Furniture & Layout

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.

I went through a few floor plan renditions before landing on this one, which I felt best matched their needs and style.

We'd float a lower profile sofa, coffee table, and accent chairs in the center of the room around the fireplace. Behind the seating area on the large wall, we'd utilize a taller media console, and mount the TV above. This would allow you to see the TV from both the sofa, dining room, and kitchen.

Beside the seating area, we'd float a large scale ottoman/daybed in the center of the room. This would provide extra seating/a place to lay down, and would be flexible in the sense that you could sit on either side of it in the event you'd like to watch someone playing the piano.

a proposed furniture layout for a living room design in grand rapids michigan

Behind the piano, we'd hang an oversized piece of artwork with a picture light for some soft lighting, and on the opposite wall, we'd place a narrow console table with lamp lighting and a mirror above.

It can be hard to find locations for lighting in a floating seating area situation if you don't have floor outlets, so it's nice to find places for lamp lighting around the perimeter when possible.

Lastly, we selected two lower benches that would sit below the windows on either side of the fireplace to provide additional seating for larger groups.

Living Room Furniture & Decor Selections

After we agreed on the layout, I got back to work sourcing product while my client took a break to continue working on the new house (clients love that they get to take lots of breaks during these sessions!)

For our main seating, I chose a low profile tufted leather sofa that would look fabulous from all sides—remember, with floating furniture, you get to take advantage of pieces that have interesting backs!

The swivel chairs I selected are an off white boucle fabric and truly are just adorable, paired with an hourglass cement side table. Behind the chairs would sit the very large black media console, which has arched cane doors that would bring in some interesting textures and shapes.

Interior design style board for an eclectic, neutral toned living room design with a tufted leather sofa, boucle chairs, and black media console


Behind the piano, I selected this black, white, and taupe abstract painting. I like that it was large, simple, and tied in all the tones we used in the space.

For the opposite wall, the console table had an open base with some interesting lines, and a dark stone top which would balance out the dark media console on the opposite side of the room. Above that, I selected a woven wall mirror to bring in additinal texture, and two matching marble table lamps to bring in a new material.

The coffee table would be a long, narrow reclaimed piece with a bit of storage, and below the windows, I opted for upholstered benches with a metal, curved base to balance out the straight lines of the sofa, coffee table, and consoles.

Finally, I selected an oversized ottoman with a stripped kilm fabric to bring a bit of pattern into the plan.

interior design style board showcasing a modern chandelier, black pendant lights, a cream leather bar stool, and two area rug selections


We also chose a few pieces for the adjoining dining room/kitchen (above), which included these cream faux leather counter stools, a textured grey/blue area rug for beneath the dining table, and new lighting for above the dining table (this chandelier) and island (matching pendants).

The Wrap Up

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. It also lends to quicker decision making, along with coming up with some very creative solutions.

My clients left this session with a fully customized design plan.

This included the style boards for each room to showcase how the pieces will work together, along with PDFs of the layouts so they know how to set everything up when they arrive. Finally, they received a link to their fully loaded shopping cart along with links to the individual items where they are able to source the items I've suggested.


Is "Designed in a Day" Right for You?

Interior designer, Lauren Figueroa, poses for a selfie in her car with her dog, Ruby, in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Designed in a Day has hands down become my most popular service, and it's easy to see why!

It's cost + time effective, and it's super flexible as far as the kinds of projects we can tackle, the range of budgets it fits, and the kinds of styles and functionality needs that clients have.

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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