the switch – living – dining room

Right before Christmas, I mentioned that we switched our living room and dining room. While the thought has been in my head for awhile I always hesitated because it meant losing our white oak credenza on the main floor. It might seem hard to believe but the only wall it fit on downstairs was the one it was on. After some measuring and some cajoling, I convinced my husband that it was time to try the switch and move the credenza upstairs.

The front room of our house is a very awkward space to put furniture in. With two doorways, a cast iron radiator, a bay window, a fireplace and a maximum width of about 12 feet across creating a comfortable seating area is difficult. It’s fine when there are only 2-3 people there but once you add any more guests it becomes difficult to communicate.

Luckily, the sofa I bought when we moved functions as both a sectional and as two separate seating areas. I always thought it would work well against the long wall in the dining room with one or two of our Bertoia wire chairs facing it. I’ve also always loved the idea of having a dining room that also functions as a library or study. I could easily imagine lining all the walls of our front room with bookshelves and really making using of all the vertical height would have. (Not to mention that it would be nice to finally get all of our books out of the basement.) If we decide that we really like these two rooms this way than I’ll think seriously about getting some bookshelves put in.

To date the change has worked really well for us. There is definitely more circulation space between the two rooms which makes life a little easier. I also really like collapsing on the sectional with the whole family at the end of the day. It’s a little more informal and relaxed than our old set up. I’ve also added a bit more colour to the living room through some new pillows and a flokati like rug (from the lovely Mrs. Huizenga). I originally bought the new rug for Henry’s new room (it might still end up there) but threw it down when I bought it home and it hasn’t moved since.

What do you think of the switch? How about the splash of colour I’ve added to the living room?

By the way, don’t forget to enter the Big Tinsel giveaway to win a Fox Necklace. You can do so on last Thursday’s post. You have until Wednesday night to enter. Good luck!

Filed under house projects


  1. Posted February 6, 2012 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

    Love it. The new living room looks so cozy!

  2. miss crowland
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

    Your house is gorgeous…love all the soft textures everywhere.

  3. Posted February 6, 2012 at 9:57 AM | Permalink

    the first layout was already beautiful, but i really love the switch! the pillows make the space so vibrant, yes and definitely more cozy. Your sectional is super, love the groove for the back pillows.

  4. Posted February 6, 2012 at 9:57 AM | Permalink

    I LOVE it! They look beautiful switched….when we first moved into our house, we flipped the rooms as well. What they were using as the dining room we made our living room, etc. Sometimes it just makes sense that way and yours looks gorgeous hun. It doesn’t hurt that everything you have in both rooms is swoon worthy! :) That rug?! eep. LOVE it!

  5. Shiralee
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

    Love it – as usual, your eye is uncomparable!

  6. Posted February 6, 2012 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

    Hmmmmm – interesting that you should post this. I have been thinking about making the same switch in our home for the last year or more. We did it temporarily (all of one day) for a wedding celebration and I loved it. Your switch may be the poke I need to finally do it – it looks great!

  7. Posted February 6, 2012 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

    Looks amazing and super cozy at the same time, I love that rug!!!

  8. Posted February 6, 2012 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

    Looks fantastic Emma!

  9. Posted February 6, 2012 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    it looks so comfortable..loving that splash of colour.

  10. Posted February 6, 2012 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

    I never would have thought to do this! Your setup before seemed so perfect, I was wary to see the transformation, but it looks wonderful! Great job!

  11. Posted February 6, 2012 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

    I love the change and the colour you have added. Your dining table looks really at home in your living room. Just wondering – are you considering lowering the chandelier (which I love) or keeping it at that height?

  12. Posted February 6, 2012 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    Usually I’m pretty opinionated about these sorts of things, but I actually cannot decide which setup I like better! They both look absolutely amazing.

  13. Posted February 6, 2012 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    @Vanessa@DecorHappy – I’d like to lower the chandelier. I asked my husband about it this weekend and he’s afraid there might not be enough electrical wire. (I was hoping we could just add some more chain!) Obviously, it’s not impossible but may require some rewiring. It’s also extremely heavy!!

  14. Kristen S
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    I loved all the white oak of your past dining room, however with the swap and relocation of the credenza both rooms seem to be brighter. The painting in the now living room pops more above the sofa than the credenza, it has a larger presence, perhaps as the wall is less broken up.
    The pops of colour in the living room also add a lot of depth and texture; very cozy!
    I also like the complementary tones in the dining room with the mantle mirror and the dining table. The fur accents add a whimsy reminiscent of a European ski chalet.

  15. Posted February 6, 2012 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

    I LOVE your living room…especially that fabulous painting over the sofa…where did you find that gem?
    Beautiful splashes of color everywhere, and layers…fantastic!


  16. Posted February 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM | Permalink

    Good change. And a much more practical way to use the space. The front rooms in those old Victorians are hard to work with, but you’ve done something smart/beautiful.

  17. Posted February 6, 2012 at 11:45 AM | Permalink

    It looks lovely. i like the more substantial use of the sofa. Do you miss the ‘serving’ space the credenza offered next to the dining table? And how worried are you about the art above the sofa with the little ones?

  18. Posted February 6, 2012 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

    @Giulia – To be honest, we never really used the serving space on top of the credenza. If anything, I miss having another surface to display objects on! As for the art, so far so good. It’s just high enough that no one hits their head on it when they sit on the sofa and Henry is pretty good when we tell him not to touch things. Definitely, no more jumping on the sofa though!

  19. Posted February 6, 2012 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

    What a gorgeous switch over, Emma! I love all of the colour…both rooms look so warm and inviting! Thanks for sharing :)

  20. erika
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

    I know I am in the minority but I prefer the original layout. This way seems more busy and cramped (in the pictures, at least). I also don’t love that the fireplace is taken over by the table. Sorry. Still love you Emma!

  21. Laurie
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

    beautiful! the layered textures and colors are yummy :) i love your soft, welcoming seating areas

  22. Posted February 6, 2012 at 2:59 PM | Permalink

    @erika – no problem – i like hearing all opinions! definitely merits and drawbacks to both layouts.

  23. Posted February 6, 2012 at 3:07 PM | Permalink

    Love the new layout, Emma!

  24. Posted February 6, 2012 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

    Emma, it looks perfect, I love the change too. Well done!

  25. Posted February 6, 2012 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

    It’s so fun to see these rooms switched up since we’ve seen them so much the old way! I’m sure it makes the whole house feel new!

  26. Olatz
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

    I prefer the other layout. This way the fireplace is always behind the table.
    I would like to know what you did with the baywindow.

  27. Posted February 6, 2012 at 6:43 PM | Permalink

    Seriously, it’s amazing. You never disappoint.

    And that rug so intrigues me. It’s fabulous. I have two matching and very similar wool throws, or what I presumed to be throws, from my childhood that are stored at my parents’ house. I’ve been trying to come up with a way to use them as it is simply too warm here in the South for them to make an appearance as bedding. You’ve just inspired me!

  28. Posted February 6, 2012 at 6:44 PM | Permalink

    P.S.- I’ve forever had dreams of a dining room-cum library. Do it, please!

  29. Andrea
    Posted February 6, 2012 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

    while I usually come to your site for inspirational design ideas perhaps it should be for parenting advice!! I have been unsuccessful at trying to convince my 2 yr old son to not touch/destroy our art, candles, plants etc. Perhaps your son has a better grasp on the importance of design and allows things to remain in their peaceful place ;) I love that your house is a work in progress it gives me the patience to not try to finish our newly reno’ed house too quickly!

  30. Posted February 6, 2012 at 8:49 PM | Permalink

    I love your house, somehow it always look gorgeous, both layout works! I have to say though I love how the bright cushions bring out the warmer tones of Napoleon hands, I LOVE this painting. Also the rug is beautiful, it would look really good in Henry’s room too, it is just so fab!!

  31. Posted February 6, 2012 at 9:03 PM | Permalink

    @Andrea – They’re such little explorers at 2 years – it’s a hard age to keep them away from all the things they find curious. We definitely had to keep things out of Henry’s reach for awhile but now he is much better. He’s part of the reason why things are always changing around here!

  32. Posted February 6, 2012 at 9:05 PM | Permalink

    @Olatz – The bay window still contains a big plant like it did in the previous layout.

  33. Mary Anne P
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 1:32 AM | Permalink

    Love it Emma! The added cushions and rug look great! I think I prefer it this way – not sure if it’s more practical for you guys to have it this way or the other way. Another job well done!

  34. Sandy
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 2:01 AM | Permalink

    It looks fantastic! Thank you for sharing with us.

  35. Posted February 7, 2012 at 7:11 AM | Permalink

    it looks fabulous!

  36. Posted February 7, 2012 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

    both ways look lovely, a testament to the strength of your style. You could witch our bedroom and dining room and still have it look perfect!

    I how in both you manage to have so much color and interest while still making it appear so serene and uncluttered. That’s such a feat!

  37. Posted February 7, 2012 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    I love the new layout. Especially the living room because of the snuggle factor. It just seems like the way the sofa is now is perfect for lying around and relaxing together. I’m curious though Emma, do you have your TV in there? I just wanted to see how you would work around that.

    You have a beautiful, warm home:)

  38. Posted February 7, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

    Oh and the painting really pops more now above the sofa.

  39. Posted February 8, 2012 at 11:57 PM | Permalink

    I love the coziness and color of the new living room. My question was whether or not you’ll miss having the fireplace in view. Do you use the fireplace? Its always so calming to sit and stare at the fire. And C brought up an interesting question about your house… where is your tv? Do you have one? If so you must have it well hidden! Any Emma tips for disguising a tv?

  40. Posted February 9, 2012 at 9:35 AM | Permalink

    @S@sha – Unfortunately, our fireplace doesn’t work. You’re right our setup would be very different if it did. It was bricked up years ago so they could run the ducts for the heating up through it. No fires to stare at in our house :(
    And yes, we do have a TV but we’re not big TV watchers. We got rid of cable about 2.5 years ago now and don’t miss it. In December, we got Apple TV and on a Friday or Saturday night we will use it to watch movies or a TV series however we rarely turn the TV on during the week. At the moment our TV is across the room from the sofa on a small stand. It’s not a big thing and doesn’t take up much room. As you can probably tell, I’m not a big fan of TVs in rooms. I always do my best to make sure they are not the focal point of the room. I think if you can throw the focus on a fireplace or stunning piece or wall of art than the TV just naturally fades into the background.

  41. Posted February 9, 2012 at 10:23 PM | Permalink

    I am so in love with your home!

  42. Cindy Brewer
    Posted February 10, 2012 at 10:08 PM | Permalink

    Love the style!

  43. Posted February 16, 2012 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

    The spaces are amazing, so much character and style. Janell

  44. Sara
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 6:58 PM | Permalink

    Can I ask where the coffee table came from? I have been searching for one as long and high as this for an infinitely long time!

  45. Posted March 26, 2012 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

    @Sara – the coffee table is from Commute Home.

  46. Posted March 28, 2012 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

    GOOD HEAVENS this is fabulous. i love it all!!

  47. Heather
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

    I love the cozy feel of the white rug — I’ve been searching for this exact thing. Can I ask where it came from?

  48. Posted March 28, 2012 at 10:08 PM | Permalink

    @Heather – The rug is from Design Within Reach – it’s called the Thatch rug.

  49. Aida
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 3:38 AM | Permalink

    Am I the only one to drool over that pendant light? Where oh where can I buy one?

  50. Posted April 8, 2012 at 8:02 PM | Permalink

    @Aida – I think you are probably talking about the Moooi Non Random Light. I believe Design Within Reach sells it.

  51. Beth
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    Love the clean lines of the sofa- do you recall where you got it?

  52. Posted May 21, 2012 at 8:40 PM | Permalink

    @Beth – the sofa is by Bensen (a Canadian line) and we bought it at Quasimodo in Toronto.

  53. Posted June 14, 2012 at 5:55 AM | Permalink

    beautiful, i love.
    so clean and fresh!

  54. Angela
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 11:36 PM | Permalink

    I love the combination of colors in the room and the rugs layering make it so cozy. Can you please tell me about the small ethnic rug, the one with red and green diamonds. What kind of rug is that, what origin? I have been searching for it online unsuccessfully. It reminds me of Ukrainian Gutsul rugs where I am from originally. Please tell me where the rug is coming from. Thanks so much!

  55. sandra
    Posted November 24, 2012 at 6:28 AM | Permalink

    really like your style

  56. Rebecca
    Posted February 1, 2013 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    The room looks great!
    I am in love with the pendant chandelier, any chance you can tell me where you picked this up?

    Thx Rebecca

  57. Posted February 1, 2013 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

    @Rebecca – It’s the Non Random Pendant by Moooi.

  58. Posted June 1, 2013 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    Hi, I love this room I included it in my Friday inspiration post yesterday




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