Welcome to Design track mind by Melissa Gulley

I am an interior designer from Newton, MA having a lot of fun writing this blog between client appointments, kid stuff, kid school stuff, dog stuff, husband stuff, husband's company stuff (http://www.fueldog.com/), life stuff, old house stuff, family stuff, extended family stuff and the rest of the detail stuff. I am not a writer (clearly) so please ignore the typo's, spelling mistakes and desperate need for proofreading.

What makes for the best living room?

“The chicest, most inviting living rooms spark lively conversation, yet never sacrifice comfort for style”  Elle Decor

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Melissa Gulley Style

So what makes the perfect living room?  This is of course, different for everyone.  Maybe we should start by looking at what the living room is, and what it’s used for?

People are far more casual today than ever before…but many people already have a family room which is very casual.  So what to do with the living room?  For myself and most of my clients, it becomes another, nicer (by adult standards) family room where TV is not necessarily the focus (but not completely abandoned, either).  Concept introduction: Living Room as the adult sanctuary!  Basically the adult family room.  I know the term “family” room means family togetherness - Please, don’t kid me.  You need to escape those little buggers as mush as I do (especially teenagers, who pretty much hate you anyway). 

The fabrics may not have to be as stain proof or durable (indestructible for my house) as the family room, the carpet can be more expensive without the worry of it being ruined.  You can also have some accessories and art that may be valuable and not worry that the errant football (banned in my house yet still found constantly) could break and ruin the things you so enjoy living with. 

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Cote De Texas

So what are the components of the Living Room going forward:

1) TV

I find for most people (not you people who won’t admit to watching TV – as if) placing a fabulous TV in a clever or hidden spot is important in the living room.  This becomes the luxurious place to watch something adult and escape the blare of cartoons emanating from the family room (the place where my husband can nap quietly on the super comfy sofa and watch the ball game in peace).  I find when there is no TV in this room, it gets used far less- if at all.

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Melissa Gulley Style

2) Amazingly comfortable furniture

I recently splurged on a 110” all down sofa in a yummy velvet - best money I’ve ever spent!!!  This sofa makes my husband and I so crazy happy - who knew all that down was the key to happiness!?!  Gone- really LONG gone (in fact banished) are the days of the uncomfortable, uptight furniture for perching with guests who you want to impress (can you imagine - kill me now – how did our grandmother’s do it?) 

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Melissa Gulley Style

3) A completed seating area designed for lively conversation

This usually means comfortable seating for 6-8 adults, placed facing each other around a coffee table.  This can be two sofas and a few chairs, or one sofa and a couple pairs of chairs.  One secret weapon that I find very handy (I personally use them on an almost daily basis) is a pair of upholstered stools that are super comfortable and easy to move around.  Keep in mind that you need tables to set drinks down on, every seat in the room needs a table handy enough to set a drink down on easily.

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4) Great lighting

Do not- repeat after me DO NOT - put only ceiling lights in a living room (or any room for that matter).  Lighting in living rooms needs to take a layered approach.  First, outfit the seating area with warm, soft lamps.  Three way switches and dimmers help for multi-function (reading vs. soft glow for conversation)  You should be able to read from any chair or sofa in the room.  Then, softly light the perimeter of the room with a combination of sconces and art lights (either wall or ceiling mounted).  Sconces are great to put in pairs on either side of doorways, windows and fireplaces.  Art lights can add tons of drama to your fabulous art or even great window treatments.  Add over head lighting as needed after all above has been accomplished. 

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Melissa Gulley Style

5) Your stuff

Stuff that represents who you are, what you love, where you’ve been.  People look for social cues when entering a house - who lives here, what are they like?  You need to show them, and most important, you need to live with things that really make you happy.  Without this stuff or social cues, your house looks cold, like a furniture showroom…..Boring!  By stuff, I mean decorative accessories - pictures, books, magazines, instruments - anything that you like.

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Jane McGarry

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