• Sara AM

Transforming a windowless room into a cozy eclectic family living room



When we were viewing our rental house, I passed by the windowless room upstairs and didn't think much of it. There was a 6 light chandelier fitted with fluorescent bulbs which blasted off lots of light. The windowless room became our family living room. For 2 years, in daylight, the chandelier had to be turned on, blasting harsh light, otherwise we could not read or work. Coupled with the empty walls, the place looked more like a dentists waiting room.


I called on Megan from Roomlift to help me design the room. She helped me understand a few design elements that I had wrong:

1) the rug already in place was too small for the room (I love that rug so I moved it to the guest room). The smallest rug I can use must be big enough so that the front legs of the sofa/chairs are touching the edge of the rug as a minimum. Its possible to use a smaller rug but it must be layered with a bigger rug underneath. In my case I went for an inexpensive large jute rug (9x12') and a smaller fluffy rug above (8x10'). The larger rug also covered the unattractive orange floor beneath scoring a double win.

2) the TV unit I had was too small and the space between the TV and the TV unit was too big. She suggested I replace it with the dresser I had in my bedroom and things look much more proportional and balanced now!

3) having an L-shaped sofa and a two seater does not give the eye a break. She recommended having 2 comfy chairs next to the L-shaped sofa instead. All the furniture in the living room was already in my house except for the pink swivel chair purchased from Pottery barn and the side table next to it from West Elm.


I always thought that dark rooms should be painted white to lighten them up but I was wrong. We painted the walls Linen Grey by JOTUN and they now look much cozier than before as they bounce off a warmer light when the Chandelier is on.

Next I had to address the huge empty walls. After doing some research, I learned that windowless rooms need walls that reflect light to brighten up the space. This could be achieved through framed art as the glass reflects light, mirrors, metallics and lighter wall paint colours. I decided to go with framed art because I have been dreaming of a gallery wall ever since I became acquainted with my dearest friend Pinterest. I hit IKEA and bought about 30 frames from various sizes, colours and types. For a gallery wall to be cohesive, unify one element. For example, all art to have a reoccurring color palette, or all frame borders to be unified in type or color etc. I decided to go with a green and pink color palette and just buy whatever I loved from ETSY or had at home beforehand. My sister Rana helped me group the art before I hung it. She has the eye for perfect design. On 2 of the walls I also hung planters which gave the room LIFE. I chose Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), a trailing vine which is arguably the easiest household plant to care for and can survive poor light conditions.


Then I addressed the chandelier. The original one gave off such a harsh light that we only used 2 out fo the 6 lights. I replaced that with a modern light fixture from West Elm and used light bulbs with a lower wattage. I also purchased a wooden floor lamp from Pottery Barn to give a softer light if we wanted the chandelier off.


For styling the room, I gathered neutral items we had around the house as there was already enough color from the art gallery and the sofa. I went for organic materials such as wooden dough bowl and vase, wicker basket, marble box and glass vase. I pinched a few branches off of the tree outside our house and voila, the room looked so inviting. I will post the before photos and scroll below to see the after ones.






















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