I went to M's house Tuesday evening and she's right - it is a difficult space to decorate. It's a really cute house, but small. You walk in the house and are immediately in the living room, which is a skinny rectangle. To the left is the powder room, a sliver of wall and then the stairs going up. Then there's a doorway to the eat-in kitchen and a wall with an opening between the two rooms. The kitchen is a nice size with enough space for a 6-person table.
It has clearly been a bachelor pad. The walls are still depressing builder-beige. The ceiling fans are wicker-ish. The faucet in the powder room requires force to fully shut it off. The kitchen cabinets have weird porcelin hardware. And the living room furniture is overstuffed black leather. Cliche and a half.
I could redo everything.
* paint EVERYTHING. All walls, all ceilings. Banish the ugly beige, even if it's just replaced with a prettier shade of beige.
* new furniture in the living room - a sectional, a more streamlined (yet still comfy) chair, new coffee table, new TV stand (well, maybe), curtains, blinds
* storage unit in the kitchen. New hardware for the cabinets. (If I were really getting imaginative, I'd paint the cabinets and buy new appliances.)
* new light fixtures above the sink
* new faucets in the kitchen and powder room
* new mirror in the powder room
But the living room is the biggest issue. It's the room you see when you first enter the house. The current set-up has the back of the couch creating a hallway upon entry. I totally get why they have it this way, but it's not good. You are funnelled straight back to the kitchen or upstairs. It's like the room doesn't want you to stay and visit. You have to force yourself inside.
But you can't have the couch along the long wall because then there's nowhere to put the TV. And J. said that he loves being able to watch TV while washing dishes. I totally understand this!
What I finally ended up with was putting the couch along the short wall, under the opening to the kitchen. Then the TV would go on the opposite wall, over in the corner. Hang some curtains to cover the window just a bit to mask the fact that the TV would then cover part of the window. And replace the couch with a sectional. It will give more seating for entertaining and one person can spread out on the L like it's a chaise. Perfect for hanging out and watching movies. Then replace the black leather chair with something like a streamlined club chair, preferably one that reclines and swivels.
It's not perfect, but I think it will be good. It will make the room warm and cozy and definitely more welcoming.