Thursday, May 31, 2012

Anatomy of a Home: The Living Room


I'm going to start this post off by stating that I have a serious love/hate relationship with formal living rooms. I love, LOVE that you can basically decorate a room like it's a museum and know that pillows will stay fluffed until I decide to refluff them. I HATE that formal living rooms are rarely ever actually lived in. And that makes me really sad faced because you should enjoy all the beauty queen rooms your home has to offer! Maybe I also hate them because I'm supes jealous that I don't have a formal living room situation in my life. So, all you fools out there that have one...well, please invite me over so we can have tea and crumpets and sit in your formal living room and talk about all those sad people who don't have an amazing formal living room like you do.

That sweet lassie pictured above is one of my super all time favorite formal living room experiences. Large artwork, a sofa that you know has never been sat on, let alone lied on, a coffee table that you clearly can't prop your feet on...I know because I have one exactly like it and it's not looking too hot because I have in fact, slammed my feet on it. Multiple times.

Anatomy Lesson #1: Put every single gorgeous piece of furniture in your formal living room because let's be honest, you're going to break it everywhere else. How clumsy of you!  

Habitually Chic
Oh this sassy girl is the epitome of sterile non-inhabitant perfection. If I walked into this home I would think, "this homeowner is not only the boss, but they mean bidness." I would definitely have to use a coaster in this room. No red wine allowed. Or crackers. Or breathing.

Anatomy Lesson #2: Style a formal living room in such a way that the thought of digesting anything in the room will send chills down your guest's spines. Fear is the ultimate form of flattery after all.

Patterson Maker

To be perfectly honest with you, I pass by one too many formal living rooms and say, "oh, how lovely" and really mean it...kinda. But "lovely" a formal living room shall not make. Not for you, anyhow. Your formal living room must scream, "HEY. I'M HERE. DON'T FORGET ABOUT ME...OR I WILL CUT YOU." How does a formal living room do this? By some big, bad A art. That's how.

Anatomy Lesson #3: Buy big art. Or else your living room will cut you.

Steven Gambrel
Another strong to quite strong formal living room decorating tactic is using a light neutral scheme. I like to think of this is a mommy's defense mechanism. I don't have children, but if I did, I would "accidentally" decorate my formal living room in light colors. I will then fence it off from the tiny aliens and shall sit inside my child-free den and laugh as they peered inside with sticky faces and dirty fingers.

Anatomy Lesson #4: Accidentally create a space in which you are stared at like the fierce snow leopard that you are by doting onlookers. Also, give them a camera to take photos of you posing in your perfectly primped leopard den.
Ashley Goforth Design

When all else fails in your formal living room decorating attempts, throw something in there that's so ridiculously awesome that you really don't need anything else in there. Like this lovely photo. Guests clearly aren't allowed to touch the Hermes. If they are, in fact, allowed to enter the room that houses the Hermes, and be fortunate to sit near the Hermes, well, that's like being invited into "the plastics". Coolest kid in school.

Anatomy Lesson #5: Just buy something Hermes. Because there really isn't a reason other than everyone should have a little Hermes in their lives.


Unknown said...

This post made me laugh! It's all so true! Nevertheless, I DREAM about having a formal living room someday.

xoxo, Emily

Prippy Handbook said...

Hilarious post!

I was petrified of our formal living room growing up... if I was punished, they easily could have straightened me up by making me sit in there for a few minutes. Had there been an Hermes blankie in there, I'm sure it would have been a different experience ;)

Sara said...

I literally laughed out loud at your "tea and crumpets" comment, because when looking at magazines and websites for ideas to furnish our new living room (not formal), I was always drawn toward French antiques, and pretty, frilly things. My husband would say, "what are you going to do, have tea and crumpets in there?".

I opted for a more eclectic look so I could mix in a little of my pretty, frilly things with our more practical furnishings.

Chelsea said...

What I wouldn't do for that Hermes blanket! Great post :)

Mimi Wadsworth said...

Anatomy of a Home is fantastic! Design can be stressful and enigmatic, sometimes smothering our creativity. Not here, love this blog...and Hermes?!, such perfection!

Modern Declaration said...

So hilarious...and true! Formal living areas can in themselves be works of touching! Great post.

Unknown said...

This is a fun list and I agree with the criteria. I really want big art!!

Elizabeth @ The Little Black Door said...

Its funny AND true. I love it all. I think I may bookmark this so I can re-read it from time to time. :)

Diane said...

I actually like all of your formal living room photos and would not be afraid to live in any of them -- all those sofas look great and pretty comfortable! Our living room is light although we have children, and has been through teenagers and school projects(off-white leather sofa is very forgiving having removed marker, pencil and gum so far). Enjoyed reading your post!

Laura - Elsee Blog said...

This post had me in stitches!!! Big fan of your blog. I don't have a formal living room either and I am jealous too. But if I did have one, I would invite the girl friends around for tea and scones.

dervla @ The Curator said...

I totally agree, i like the look of a formal living room but I'd still want to actually live in it. I hope to find that balance some day.

Anonymous said...

Hi Paloma
The last picture you source with the Hermes Blanket is Ashley Goforth Design
I know her work well and I am sure she would be thrilled to be sourced from such a great blog"

Beautifulosophy said...

I really enjoyed this post! True in many eays!

Unknown said...

So funny, love it! I didn't even realise that people still *had* formal living rooms?! Couldn't imagine having space to just leave and look 'pretty' (it's awfully tempting though)... I do have a velvet sofa, a glass/brass coffee table (which my OH is NOT allowed to put his feet on lest he feel my wrath)and a white cowhide rug. Hmm. The makings of a 'don't touch me' room but the cushions are ALWAYS squashed so that's something right? xxx

Anonymous said...

Great post. Where did you get the great coffee table? I love it!

Anonymous said...

have a wonderful formal living room with original 1919 moldings and beams etc... we are making it into a game room so we can enjoy it all the time.. its too cool to waste... now we just have to save up for that pool table