Progress Report: Front Living Room

Emma's front living room progress Front living room progressOK, so this is one space in my house that has been pretty awkward since we moved in. It’s kind of a second living room, as we have a TV living room we use most of the time. This space is just across from the kitchen, and that door leads to a laundry room hallway with a small half bath and then access to the garage. We come in through that door often, so this space really greets you when you get home. I wanted it to feel cozy and super inviting, but I’ve had a hard time styling this space for some reason.

And I suspect that reason is the fireplace. Ha! I’ll tell you more, but first, here’s a mini tour of this room.

Emma's front living room progress Piano Emma's front living room progress Emma's front living room progress Leather poufAll we’ve done is paint the walls and trim white, hang curtains, and move all our stuff in slowly. No real renovations have happened in this space. But there is quite a bit of furniture.

First, this is the first home that was large enough for Trey to move his piano from his parents’ house to his house. They had always told him that one day he could have this piano, but it really didn’t fit in our last house. So when we found this house, we knew we’d finally have space to move it. Trey is probably more into guitar, but he plays piano and drums some as well, and I love to hear him play on this now and again. So that’s on one wall. In front of the window is where we put the couch we inherited from the studio house. And those were the main two pieces in the room until recently.

I knew I wanted to infuse a little more color into this space since the floors were brown, the stone fireplace is brown, the ceilings are brown, and then the piano and couch are brown. I love brown as much as the next gal, but that’s just a bit too much! So I knew I wanted a light colored rug with some color – and that’s exactly what I picked out. That has made a TON of difference in the space already!

Coffee table updateI also moved our coffee table into the room but decided to paint/stain it as it was brown and, again, there was already plenty of brown in the room. I’m not 100% happy with how it turned out. It’s OK, but not exactly the color or texture I was going for. I was trying to stain it a bright lipstick red, but it looks more like a poorly painted orange Pepto-Bismol color to me. So I’m OK with it, but I’ll probably change it eventually.

What to do with this fireplaceHere is our fireplace. We found some photos of our home online from before the previous owner fixed it up, and it turns out that this fireplace was painted white before. The last owner painted it a faux stone color. I think they did a pretty good job as I actually thought it was really just stone at first. I probably would have preferred the white to the faux stone, but I don’t think we’ll paint it back as that just seems sort of crazy to me. Ha! But, never say never I guess. 🙂

Guys, I just don’t feel like I know what to do with this fireplace. I had a mantel installed, but I still don’t love it. I took out the insert (but saved it) as we never used it. I need to clean the inside (again, I had it professionally “swept” before last winter) and maybe paint it a solid black. I like the candles, but I need to elevate part of it. And then it has this unpainted edge all around the opening that I have to figure out if I’m going to try and paint to match the faux stone look, or if I’m going to build some kind of frame to go over it. What do you think?

Smile and Wave weavingI did commission Rachel to create an oversized weaving for me that I plan to hang above the mantel area soon. Isn’t it beautiful!? It’s going to look so good when I finally get it hung. Right now I just have it hanging around the house on a photo stand so it doesn’t get dirty or wrinkled. So, I think that will help the fireplace area, but I still feel like it’s just not quite coming together yet.

Emma's front living room progress So far that’s about it. Lots of progress but still feeling stumped about the fireplace area. Maybe I should see if my library has a How to Decorate a Fireplace for Dummies book or something. 🙂 Thanks for letting me share! xo. Emma

Room Sources: Rug c/o Rugs USA, Wicker chair and pouf c/o Joss & Main, Couch/studio house via Fab, Curtains/IKEA, Record table/flea market, Coffee table/DIY, Cactus light/gift from Elsie via Etsy (similar), Oversized portrait painting/my mother’s from college.

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. 

  • I think it’s just because the fireplace is so massive. Maybe if you get a larger mantle like what Heather said or if you put long but thin pictures or weavings on either side of the mantle to cover some of that “stone” it may feel a little more put together. Overall I like the southwest vibe you’ve got going, though!

  • It looks amazing! It feels cozy and warm, I don’t know if it’s because of the fireplace or that stunning rug. Love it! Thank you for sharing the progress! Your blog is great and I love posts like this!

  • Yes to all these suggestions! The mantel is too small, the wrong color and the wrong style for your room. It doesn’t fit in with the southwestern vibe you’ve got going on.

    Love the idea of a live edge wood, or even a rough edge stone mantel. Or do like one person said and remove the mantel altogether, leaving all the focus on the wall-hanging.

  • Sometimes a BIG bold change is what you need. Paint it white! It will tie the entire room together and I know you’ll love how neutral it will become. Everything else will POP! And that ceiling will finally(!) take center stage. It is gorgeous. Also, that wall hanging is magical!!! Wow! So beautiful. It, too, will look FANTASTIC on the white fire place 🙂

  • I think a different mantle could really perk up the fireplace – I can envision a large, wood shelf the sit off-center so it wraps around that left edge kinda like:

  • I think no mantel and just the hanging would be very lovely and have a much nicer impact.
    Repainting the coffee table another colour would help as well.
    I too like the idea of moving the couch closer & painting the entire fireplace would look amazing! Love the ceiling and the piano! And why not use the fireplace sometimes in the winter? Could be so cozy and a great alternative to watching tv.

  • Love the rug, love the whole vibe of the room! Also, this idea came to me as I was gazing lovingly at your fireplace, trying to think of a more modern-looking mantel that didn’t compete with all that pretty stone, and I’ve never seen it done before, but…

    YOU SHOULD DO A LUCITE MANTEL!!!!! That is all. (But how cool would that actually be?!)

  • I agree with the mantle needing some more weight. You could always stain it a darker brown. More colour accents is great, but definitely embrace the brown and natural tones. I like the fireplace that faux stone, it looked real to me. Check out Geninne D Zlatkis Instagram. She’s a great artist working and living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s full of colour but embraces the earth tones of New Mexico. She’s got some fabulous pictures of her house as well. Her handle on Insta is geninne. If you haven’t already heard of her.

    And pulling the couch forward is brilliant. Having the couch closer, might entice you to cozy up in front of the fire place. You could put a sideboard behind it to house the record player and I think maybe a bookshelf or two would be could on either side of the window might balance out that majestic fireplace.
    😀 Sure it will be awesome

  • I am going to apologize now for sounding harsh and snooty….but it’s all out of sheer love and adoration I promise! I love the earthy neutral vibe you have going….the rug is gorgeous! I agree that things are a bit brownish and I agree the coffee table colour is not working….brings out the orangy tones in the wood too much. Maybe a blue/black to tie in with your artwork above the piano. And while that weaving is amazing….I feel the colours are too muddy against the colour of the fireplace. It needs to pop!

  • P A I N T T H E F I R E P L A C E W H I T E ! It’s painted faux stone, anyway…go for it.
    And take the mantle down, hang one statement piece up. BAM!

    I love your vibe. Keep up the awesomeness and keep on sharing!
    (Don’t you love how everyone has an opinion 😉

  • Paint the sucker white, and add a chunkier, more mid-century modern stained wood mantle. The cut of your current mantle looks off somehow – I think it’s too small, and the trim is too something… traditional? Something about it reminds me of the mid-2000s. I’m thinking something like this: Also, I totally hear you about too much brown – I think the way to temper too much brown is with a LOT of white, some glass/lucite, and metal.

  • I love your room! Even if your mantle is too small, a wood or stone mantle is too obvious to me. I would paint the mantle the background color of the portrait or the color of the door. Add something tall and heavy (visually or literally) to the right of the sofa. (Why is it always easier to solve other people’s spaces than your own?)

  • That piano is so gorgeous, and the fireplace is just awesome. I really like how the rustic feel of the thick rug stands up to the fireplace.
    My suggestion? Make this room into a true music room where your husband can enjoy playing with his band mates and friends, as well as it being a second living/entertaining space.
    I’m not talking about a gear room, but a comfy, inviting space for pickin’ and grinnin’ sessions. Your husband could hang his guitars on the walls when not in use. The rug and the tapestry would absorb the sound bouncing off the stone and wood, improving the acoustics. The room already has a masculine, rugged vibe to it with that amazing stone, the lovely wood textures and that dramatic leather sofa. I’d push that a little further by moving the rattan chair and bringing in one or two heavier feeling chairs to balance the big couch, piano and fireplace. I’d also suggest a textural window treatment instead of sheers.
    You’ve done such a great job on the space–it’ll be cool to see how you finish tweaking it! 🙂

  • The woodwork and paintings enhances the beauty of this room. Beautiful!

    Happy Sunday

  • My husband does awesome mantle instillations using huge solid pieces of lumber. wish we lived closer! Check out our instagram! gandjwoodworking. There is only a few mantles there as he does lots of other work. I always love a white fireplace, but not sure about stone being painted white. Its amazing how much it brightens a space, which is why I’m always all for it. We don’t use our fireplace (gas and broken) so i cut a piece of plywood, sprayed it black, and cut a bunch of 1-3 inch slices of a thick branch and glued it to the black plywood to look like stacked logs (that may not make sense), and placed it in the front of the fireplace opening. i can pull it out at any point but i’ve left it there for years.Pinterest: faux stacked logs in fireplace. good luck! the room is beautiful!

  • I like the color of the fireplace. I think the mantel is too small though and may be throwing the whole thing off. A slightly wider, chunkier (heavy and thick) and dark color would look better and pick up the floor tone. Then you could also place a larger item on it to make a bold statement instead of many small ones. Otherwise the room looks very cozy. I have two quick questions 1. who is the artist of the portrait above the piano? And 2. the croton plant on the piano looks so healthy. Does it need lots of light? mine is leggy and drops leaves all the time but I face north and wonder if it isn’t getting enough light.

  • Hey Emma,

    I love how you have been styling your room! I am going to throw in one more suggestion for the mantle- personally I would lose it completely and instead focus on emphasising the vertical height, as you are already doing with the lovely hanging. I would go for twin vertical elements either side of the fireplace: possibly statues of dogs/ wolves, or some kind of decorative tribal pillar.

    I love the idea of animal statues by a fireplace ever since the Anne of Green Gables books where she had those two dogs called Gog and Magog by the fire in the house she stayed in college- I just love the idea of these silent protectors of the home. I know it might be hard to find the right ones though- in fact it could well be a totally crazy idea!

  • I would totally paint the stone white, but I know once you do you’re stuck with it! I feel like it feels mountain cabinish with the stone and that doesn’t fit with the feel of the rest of your house!

  • I love how you are sharing your progress report on here, instead of just the finished product. I love seeing the evolution of rooms…and knowing not everyone gets it right the first try 😉

    So far, I think you have a great space and I’m excited to see how it evolves even more!

  • I think the fireplace is beautiful and awesome. Those rocks though! I would definitely not paint them. I would just embrace the 70’s beauty of the whole thing. My advice is get rid of the mantle and just hang the weaving. I think the simplicity will be stunning.

  • I think the problem with the fireplace is that you installed a painted mantel even though with that rough stone-looking fireplace, perhaps it should have been a big chunk of wood with an exposed edge, something rough and unfinished…

  • My mantle advice: get rid of it. The stone wall is so big that it overwhelms the mantle and all the things on it look teeny-tiny in comparison. It’s out of proportion. I would get rid of the mantle and just hang Rachel’s piece. With large elements like that stone wall and mantle, you need something that can reflect it’s monumental size and not look swallowed up or diminished. Then with the window and sofa on the opposite wall, the two sides will mirror each other to an extent and give a balanced feeling to the room. Also, sans-mantle will give the room a more modern feel.

    Some commenters have suggested a rustic wood mantle, but I think that would be texture overload on that stone wall. The finer texture and color of the weaving would stand out nicely from the stone and give you some contrast. There are always other places to put knick-knacks other than a mantle.

    Proportion is very important. Something small on something huge will just look smaller.

  • You should put in a wood stove insert into your fireplace. That’s what we did and it’s the best idea ever. It covers the fireplace box (looks clean) and it heats your room/house (actually functional compared to a fireplace). Look it up! ?

  • I love all of the texture in the room and the color palette is so lovely! Have you considered getting rid of the sofa or downsizing to a loveseat? I think two chairs/loveseat facing the piano and two chairs flanking, but in front of the piano, would create a nice sitting area. It would also flow well from the garage without having to circumnavigate the furniture every time or feel like everything was squished together toward the fireplace. And to echo the sentiment above, it totally has an Emily Henderson vibe :).

  • Sorry, me again. I wanted to amend my statement. I didn’t mean weight was missing, I meant it seems to be missing a vibe you have in the rest of your house. The sort of sophisticated contemporary rustic relaxed vibe I guess. The room seems very rustic and you have done it beautifully if rustic was what you wanted. If you change the mantel it will just make it more rustic. That doesn’t seem to me to be exactly your style though. The room is lovely, it just seems to be missing an element. The rest of your rooms have some bold piece of black in them. Such as your dining table or your kitchen appliances. Painting the fireplace, the mantel, or piano would add in that element and then balance the rest. P.S. I actually think the mantel would work if the fireplace where a different color.

  • I think there is too much that reads southwest. I’d put the neon cactus in another room and get some modern details or metal accents in there to break it up.

  • I think you need a much bigger mantle. The whole width and thicker and maybe in a raw wood…the tapestry will be awesome with it

  • It looks so cozy! I feel like it’s ready for Christmas! Haha. 🙂

  • I love your house updates so much! I`m currently moving in to a new apartment too, so I`m looking for some inspiration 🙂
    And as the previous ones said already, try to move the couch closer to the fireplace. I think that will make the room much cozier!
    xx Caroline

  • I would skip the whole mantle and just hang the gorgeous weaving piece you’ve got! This way the fire place would have more of that cool Californian vibe you have going on in the room otherwise (the cacti, the rug and the leather details) but still keeping the overall look clean and fresh (without the knick knacks on the mantle). Good luck!

  • The fireplace looks overcrowded. I’d remove all the items and just put your favourite 2 or 3 pieces back on. x

    Erin |

  • Totally agree about the mantel, looks too small.. Also the style is a little off for me – have you considered getting a live edge piece of wood cut for it? It would mean a bit more brown wood, but I think it would blend in really well and soften up the mantel. Of course not a cheap option.
    Love the what’s on the mantel and the piano and couch setup (though agree would probably be even better with a passage behind the couch ?)

  • Ditto on the curtains and moving the couch forward. I think the curtains now just add to the blandness of the walls. You rocked the kitchen with that amazing wallpaper print. Go bold with the curtains and I think it would help make the room feel more you.

  • Yes! Your mantle totally needs the Emily Henderson treatment! It may be extra work — yowzers! — but I would paint the fireplace white and install a larger mantle like so:

  • Love this room! It’s so interesting! Awkward rooms are always the toughest but sometimes turn out to be the best ones once you figure them out 🙂 I have a similar relationship with my giant river rock fireplace. I think about painting it but you can never get back to natural sooo you know how it goes!

    A lot of fireplaces have brick masonry inside a stone exterior wall, mine does (you often see it in the basement). My someday plan is replacing the stone facade with a tile one! Its already a beautiful space and I’m in love with the couch/rug senario 🙂

  • I really love the rug you chose for this space! It really brightens it up nicely. Honestly, if it were me with that particular fireplace, I would have no mantel and just hang that gorgeous weaving about halfway up between the cealing and the top of the fireplace. I really, really love what you have done with your kitchen, too!

  • Hi Emma, all the way from New Zealand!

    While I’ve never commented on posts before, I’ve been following A Beautiful Mess for years.

    Awesome room. For the mantle, I’ve seen heaps of comments about replacing it with a heavier wooden mantle or stone slab, which I agree with. Here’s my extra two cents:

    Would it be completely crazy to drop the mantle lower? It could be quite unique and fun to have a mantle that’s not at the traditional height. Either stone or wood, but if it was jutting out just above the fireplace, then you could even extend the right side over to connect to the wall, providing more shelf space. Then it leaves a lovely huge stone wall above the mantle to hang something oversized. Like a big weave, or maybe some hanging ivy cascading down…

    Thanks for an awesome blog!


  • I think the mantle is too traditional looking for the rest of the room, and maybe to small. Maybe you need something more rustic or industrial looking using reclaimed wood? Maybe a bit darker too. I love everything else though!

  • I like this room- it’s got a very laid back and masculine vibe to it! If I might make a suggestion for the fireplace-
    I’ve noticed that those big mid-century, floor to ceiling stone fireplaces were meant to be rather “brutalist’ accents to the home. They were usually left unadorned. Although, I LOVE that wall hanging you had commissioned! If it is large enough I would hang ONLY that above the fireplace. I would also suggest removing the mantel all together. I feel like the mantel and it’s knick-knacks kind of clutter up the space and end up looking too small anyway. But I think one big solitary piece (like the wall hanging) would complement the sheer size of the thing, while also softening the brutalist look. Best of luck- fireplaces are hard especially if they’re not really functional anymore:-(

  • I would paint the fireplace white and swap out that mantel for an old, slvaged square wood beam. That would look amazing with Rachel’s piece and everything else you have going on in the room. I agree though that the color of the table isn’t quite right. And the lucite feels out of place in this room. xo

  • Emma, this is very beautiful and not a mess ! I liked how you used the space so perfectly !! Keep on posting more like this !

  • I’m a huge Emily Henderson fan, and she does have a great mantel styling post, as well as a similar stone fireplace herself. She has great examples of styling the whole thing (not just a mantel).

  • Instantly thought of a thick, rustic wood slab as well!
    Emma, is there a story behind your house collection? I’ve collected tiny buildings everywhere I’ve traveled since my teen years (bummer because I traveled a lot more before that!) and need to set up a little shelf for them. I don’t have them out right now because I don’t have an uncluttered way to display them. I wondered if yours were the same kind of momento!

  • I LOVE THE COLOR OF THE COFFEE TABLE. It’s unexpected, youthful, and fresh. 🙂 It’s the first thing my eye went to in the photos (in a good way).

  • I have a very similar fireplace in my new place and I’m not sure what to do with it either. Painting the inside is a great idea (I also never use mine). I’m excited to see what you come up with, as I’m at a loss!


  • I was also thinking the curtains could be doubled up. Maybe also one of those wood roller blinds added where the rod starts to the top of the window to give the illusion of a larger window.

  • Just adding to my previous comment, if you painted the fireplace black or a deeper color like forest green black, it may give the weight that seems to be missing. It would also allow the other colors in the room to stand out more. Just musings…

  • Emma, it’s a beautiful room! If you’re looking for ideas concerning the coffee table, I think any of the 3 colors in your wall hanging would work nicely;rich and earthy! Maybe even a round one eventually…great job all around!

  • I just keep thinking paint the fireplace black, but that might be because I am thinking of your previous home. Either way, I’m sure you will figure it out! It is looking great!

  • I agree with everyone about moving the sofa and chunking up the mantle. 🙂 I would also suggest patterned curtains that pull a color from the rug and maybe a colorful throw across the back of the sofa to break up some of the brown. Also, if you wanted to be very daring, painting the piano a color would really add a statement piece to the room, but I totally get it if that’s not on the table at all. What a great room to play with!

  • I love that you’re so down to earth, and ask for people’s ideas! I’m with everyone else about changing the mantle and pulling the couch and chairs in closer to the fireplace. It would make such a huge difference! And maybe go with another curtain color? And more of them for added fullness? Can’t wait to see the weaving hanging above the mantle! It’s beautiful.

  • I agree, the mantle is too small and traditional. But, I like the direction you are going with the rest.

  • I agree on a few things above ^ a big chunky beam for the mantle and move the sofa forward.

    Love that table 🙂

  • I don’t think I’ve ever commented here but I actually have some input- I think a large fern in the fireplace would be a better impact (unless you actually use it), painting the inside black would be a smart move, and even if you don’t paint the fireplace (which I think you should) I think a much larger, flat (no moulding) mantel would fit the space better. I even think some furniture grade plywood left unstained would look good. Otherwise, job well done!

  • Love the room and fireplace potential! I think the mantel either needs to be removed or replaced with a cedar beam mantel. I also think the stone would look better white with the inside painted black. I understand it can be a lot of work though. The mantel change will make a huge difference. I have a similar fireplace, but smaller, and I can’t wait to make the same changes.

  • i think you’re right about the fireplace and the coffee table. the colors just aren’t quite right. (i’d paint it white again! haha) what about yellow for the table? Otherwise I think the room is lovely! Very cozy and inviting!

  • I love this space! So pretty. I definitely agree with the comment about needing a chunkier mantle. Maybe a floating stained wood one that’s the colors as your floor? They do that a lot on that Fixer Upper show 🙂 I also think maybe you need a large piece of art above the mantle. The fireplace is just so huge that I think it needs to be broken up a little!

    Love what you’ve done so far!!!

  • Love that rug! But I agree with the comment about the mantle. Anyway, it’s always fun to see a room in progress 🙂

  • Emma, for your coffee table (when you tackle it again)

    For rich, deep tones on painted surfaces, I’ve had a lot of luck with using a flat paint (not eggshell, FLAT, super porous surface) which I then clear-coat for clean-ability) It sort of has the effect of water on pebbles, you know? Makes the color richer.

    I’d probably bring home some paint chips to find a color that matches the red yarn in the rug. On the bright side, the effort you’ve already put into it was not wasted, red always seems to take multiple coats to really cover.

  • So many awesome things in the room that give it character…love the ottoman, the piano and the record player. IMHO–the fireplace is the focal point of the room. It should be white or off white. The shelf is too small and dainty for the massive stone fireplace. It should be larger, and go to the end of the section where it is hanging. Also, you need some height. I would put a LARGE framed print or mirror over the fireplace and also hang the print over the record player and get some finials for the curtain rod….

  • I, too, have a large living room with lots of brown (floors, furniture) and went the large-area-rug-route and also found it to make a huge impact. I love the one you chose! Also, I’m quite positive that I have the exact same couch as you 🙂

  • I agree about the mantel as everyone else is suggesting but I also looked at that huge fireplace wall and thought, how cool would it be to hang strings of lights from floor to ceiling (kind of a waterfall effect). Love the room though! It seems really cozy

  • this is the perfect reading nook.
    id maybe move the piano elsewhere and use that wall up for nothing BUT books.
    but thats the bibliophile in me.
    i love the space!

    have you thought of maybe painting the fireplace white as well to make it look like a bigger space?

    it would be sooo much fun to paint it white and then do splatters of different vibrant colors! ahh!!!

    i just want my own library lol

  • What a great room! Feels warm and welcoming, which is always my home decorating goal. For my two cents, I think adding more color or a subtle print with the curtains could bring some more depth. Maybe a DIY project?

  • So I might be alone on this, but I totally think you should paint the fireplace wall white again. If you would’ve left it white, then it’s probably what you want deep down. IMO, I don’t think the rustic-ness of this fits with the vibe of the rest of the rooms in your house! It feels dated to me. I think if it were actual stone still I might see the point in keeping it true to the material, but if it’s faux painted… well, I think it’s already been compromised. It’d also help reduce the overall brown feeling of the room. 🙂

    But a white stone fireplace with a larger, reclaimed wooden mantel would look awesome, I think!

  • Emma, well done! I actually love the way the candles are and wouldn’t elevate them. What I think is the problem is the mantle. Its too thin, stylistically different to balance out such a MASSIVE focal point. I would install a wrap-around wood beam/mantle. I think it would help pull together some of the wooden aspects in the room and would balance nicely with the stone (wood/stone combo). I think it would be easier to style as well. Good luck! The room looks beautiful.

  • I was just thinking maybe go with a patterned curtain. Not too busy, but enough color/visual interest to make that wall less plain.

  • I’m on board with everyone else here – the first thing I thought is that the mantel is just too small and too formal on that huge wall of stone. A larger, thick slab of wood would look much more in keeping with the stone. I also agree with the idea of moving the sofa forward towards the fireplace wall so that the path from one area to snother goes behind it.

    I would also be inclined to paint that fireplace wall – probably white with a black firebox – and creating a box that covers the ledge area in front, making a smooth base from which the stone rises behind rather than the stone going all the way to the floor. I would also make it run to the edge of the stone wall rather than just stopping short of it the way the stone ledge does now.

  • I totally agree. That was the first thing I thought of – thick, wood slab for a mantle!

  • Oh no, I like the stone. I just probably would have left it white rather than painted it faux stone (like the last owner did). But I certainly don’t mind it how it is now at all, and certainly not enough to consider removing the stone. It’s quite a statement in the room, I’m just still figuring out how to make it feel more like us in our space. 🙂 That’s all. It’s a work in progress. 🙂


  • I LOVE Emily Henderson’s blog and style—she rules. Glad you mentioned her here. 🙂


  • I was thinking about painting it black (for more weight, but less expensive than replacing) now you’ve given me more courage to go for it. 🙂


  • Love this idea! I’m gonna try that for a few weeks and see how we like it.


  • Love the sofa and rug. Agree maybe moving the sofa forward would help it feel more cosy.
    Regarding the fireplace – controversial, but it sounds as if you don’t much like the stone, so have you thought about just ripping it all out?! It would be the work of a few days and you’d probably need new drywall and plastering after, so it would be expensive, but it might change how you feel about it completely (and prob add to the resale value – there can’t be that many people that love THAT much stone when it isn’t an original wall, just an addition!). Just a thought! x

  • I agree with other people, the mantel is too small, and the furniture needs to be pulled away from the walls…

  • Hey Emma – I agree re: the mantle – it’s too traditional and too small – a white block either made of 1×8 or 1×6 boards to cover it might look better (and cheaper than redoing the whole thing). And I’d paint the inside of the fireplace or make a DIY cover for it – maybe a wooden grate with cactus cutouts to mirror the cactus on the piano? LOVE the rug and the rest of the decor, but I would double up on the curtains – get a second set of the ones you have and put two on each side so that they go to the end of the rods and make the windows look bigger. Also maybe some hanging plants by the window? I just added two above my windows and they have made a huge difference. This is an awesome space!

  • This is beautifully arranged, I love the couch, and the earthy tones you used!

  • The style, size and color of the mantle don’t match the feel of the room. That beautiful wall hanging might not even need a mantle. LOVE the rug! You’re off to a great start!

  • I agree about the mantel. It should be more rustic. The entire wall is heavy. The mantel you have is too small and polished…a chunky wooden beam would look fabulous and create a more cohesive look. Painting the inside black and cleaning up the trim will make it much more attractive too. The room is beautiful and inviting….love it.

  • On Pinterest, I typed in Reclaimed Wood Mantle, and there are a ton of really cool ideas. 🙂

  • I really like what you’ve done so far. I’m hella jealous of that cactus light. 🙂

    Here is my COMPLETELY un-professional opinion (everybody’s got one, right?). I think you need a chunkier mantel. The white molding doesn’t quite go with the natural roughness of the fireplace stone. I think a bigger, boxy, more substantial mantel would be a better fit. Maybe something made with reclaimed wood? I think the texture of a battered, reclaimed wood would be a nice compliment to the “natural” stone and wood elements you have in the space.

    I feel like Emily Henderson would have some cool inspiration if you check out her blog. Your room has a kind of Emily-vibe to me. 🙂

  • I think it needs a much larger, rustic, less traditional mantle. You have great wood on the floor and the ceiling in that room – the white painted mantle doesn’t seem to fit.

  • hi emma! glad to read about all of your journeys moving into your house!

    why don’t you try building a seating area around the fireplace? move your rug, coffee table, and couch closer and add chairs to either side? i don’t know if it will work but the room seems REALLY big even with your furniture in it, and building around that big-ness, using your fireplace as a grounding focal point might help you shape it to suit you.

    good luck!! happy to see whatever you end up doing, regardless!

  • Agree about the mantle. It is far too small for a fireplace of that size. Also, I agree with moving the couch closer to the fireplace. The rug looks like it could be turned 90 degrees so there isnt a worry about getting the rug dirty with the walking path. You could add a sofa table behind the couch as well if there is room.

  • I love your fireplace, the color is great the only thing I would change is the mantle, would try to a make stone one, to match the rest. Your living room is gorgeous.

  • Pull the couch toward the fireplace so you can walk behind it. Love the weaving, it will be perfect over the fireplace. The mantle is too small for the scale of the fireplace. I would suggest replacing it or painting it a color that will give it visual weight. The room has great warmth and needs a bit of cozying up.

  • I think your couch is too far from the fireplace. Can it move forward so that your pathway is behind the couch? It would make the room cozier!

  • It looks so confy and warm…I would spend my vacations on your living room haha. Great job!

    XOXO. Sara

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