Divine intervention: L-shaped living room gets functional redo

  • Article by: CANDICE OLSON , Scripps Howard News Service
  • Updated: March 21, 2014 - 2:08 PM

A gangly, poorly arranged open floor plan now works as a sleek entertainment center and library.


After: The ceiling makes a dazzling statement with recessed lighting throughout the L-shaped space, and beautiful detailing with plaster ceiling molding.

Photo: Brandon Barre • MCT,

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The problem

An L-shaped living and dining room layout resulted in clunky furniture arrangements and inefficient use of space.


The solution

Designer Candice Olson refocused and reorganized the awkward space, adding functionality and elegance.


How it happened

• Olson chose a color palette that is both elegant and timeless, incorporating natural tones such as sand, ivory, coffee and pewter. The bottom part of the walls are finished with a family-friendly, easy-to-clean panel molding. For the top, a rich, sand-colored wallpaper incorporates just a hint of shimmer into its timeless pattern.

• The family wasn’t using the space as a dining room, so Olson turned that area into a cozy library, complete with built-in book shelves, a round wooden table, two comfy club chairs, and a small sofa. All seating is finished with nailhead trim to tie it together. Above the table hangs the piece de resistance: a stunning and sparkly chandelier whose design was inspired by the shape of a full, leafy tree.

• A new gas fireplace insert is surrounded with elegant Calacatta polished marble. Above the fireplace hangs a round mirror flanked by two sconces. On either side of the fireplace there’s ample built-in cabinetry, creating storage and display space on one side, and a media center on the other. The TV now extends from the wall on a flexible arm, so it can be angled to face the room’s large coffee-colored sectional sofa. The L-shaped sofa provides seating for both family and guests, with the family’s reupholstered tufted ottoman taking pride of place in front of the hearth.

• Behind the sectional, ivory sheers are framed by new custom draperies in a Wedgwood blue. Their color brings out some of the room’s best accents, including the ottoman fabric and some of the cushion covers.

• The paper-thin original hardwood flooring was replaced with a wide plank, red oak hardwood. The new floor has a slightly antiqued look that injects a more casual element into this space, making it seem warmer and more welcoming.


Best trick

Many times, people neglect the ceiling during a big renovation, Olson says. But in this renovated space, it’s now the crowning glory with beautiful detailing from plaster ceiling molding and recessed lighting.


Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service. Interior decorator Candice Olson hosts “Candice Tells All,” which appears on HGTV.

  • related content

  • Before: Every room needs a focal point, but in this case the fireplace and the TV were in a neck-and-neck competition for attention.

  • After: A new gas fireplace insert was surrounded with polished marble. On either side of the fireplace there’s built-in cabinetry, creating storage and display space on one side, and a media center on the other.

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