Transforming an unused nook

I’m having so much fun thinking about the best ways for my friends to transform their living room! Earlier this week I shared some ideas about how they could redesign the main part of the living room.

The living room has a half wall separating it from the kitchen. Usually the kitchen table is on the side of the wall shown in the photo below.

I’m focused on the side of the wall that faces the living room, as shown in the photo below.

As I mentioned in this post, they plan to sand down the hardwoods and replace the carpet with new hardwoods. Eventually all the flooring on this level of the house will look like the photo below.

As you may remember, this is my mood board for the main part of the living room.

I have two fun ideas to help them maximize the half wall on the living room side.

1. Kids’ reading nook

This family loves to read, and I think it would be fantastic to turn this unused space into a book nook. We could easily build short shelves the height of the half wall and paint them Swiss Coffee to match the walls. (I suspect any other color would compete with the brightly-colored binders of kids’ books.) Then we could add the smaller Tillie Chair by Crate & Barrel — perfect for a parent and a kid to cuddle up and read. We’d need a floor lamp as well, and I think this one would work well and match the rest of the space. I’d love to add a cozy throw blanket, too. This golden one from West Elm would add some fun. Plus, it’s on sale and would be lightweight for summer. A faux fur one would be fun when the weather is colder. Finally, I’d add a small side table for drinks or phones. We recently bought this one from Pottery Barn for a small space, and it works perfectly.

If we add these items to the overall mood board . . . we get a crowded mood board! But I think the colors and textures go well together.

2. Home command center

The family has a home office, but it’s upstairs and the husband works from there every day. The wife stays at home with the young kids, and she’s mentioned that she needs a place to park mail and pay bills. I think she’d enjoy a sleek desk with a couple drawers and enough room for some spare greeting cards, stamps, her phone charger, etc. The challenge is to find a space that she could easily keep clean so she’d still be able to relax in the room. I love the card catalog by our front door, and it would be fun to thrift something like that for her.

card catalog

I love this desk for her, but it’s crazy expensive! An easy alternative is to buy a sleek, mid-century desk like this one, paint it with black chalk paint, and add some gold campaign pulls. (They could balance the gold pulls by adding a few gold touches to the bookcase across the room, like this cute squirrel.) She might not need a desk chair, but if she wanted one she might consider a vintage wooden folding chair that she could lean against the wall.

I always find it easier to keep surfaces clean if they’re styled, so she might consider topping the desk with a pretty tray holding a few lovely things. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a plant in a terra cotta planter and a rustic wooden bowl to hold her keys? A cream-colored lamp would look good, too.

Which option do you prefer? I can’t decide!

I’ll be back here soon to discuss ideas for the wall space above their couch. Enjoy your weekend!

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