My sister and her husband Tim bought a new house in May. Here they are out front with their dog Monty.
(Forgive the bad lighting. I didn’t have my blogging hat on when I snapped this photo.)
You may recall the mention of their new house from this post. Lindsey and Tim both endure a major business busy season in the summer and not much decorating has happened since they moved in. Now that their busy seasons have passed, they set bathroom decorating aside to turn to the living room. There is no coat closet and the weather is getting colder. Lindsey emailed for help:
I’m getting my summer bonus after Labor Day and we want to paint the downstairs and add finishing touches to the living room. We are between two shades of light grey for the walls, but the walls are definitely going to be a shade of light grey. We don’t have a coat closet, so I want to make a little entryway type thing next to the front door. We definitely need a bench with lift-up storage for shoes, because having shoes lined up by the front door drives me crazy! Any advice you have on decor would be EXTREMELY helpful – I like your style I feel like I’m kind of going in circles until I find the right bench/hooks.
A compliment and a chance to help out my sister! Girlfriend, I’m so in! Plus, this lives-in-an-NYC-studio gal is also anti-clutter. Game on!
Sidebar: while design experts would probably agree that you start with the bigger portions of the room before you get to the small details, I can totally understand how an organizational issue would make one want to start a design there. It’s being at peace with the little things that make you feel happiest and at home. Thus, starting with an entryway in a side of the room it is!
We live in different towns so my sister snapped a couple of before pictures for us. Here’s the room from the back left corner:
And from the side:
The couch faces that wall, so if you are watching TV (in front of the window), you’ll be able to see the entry area.
Lindsey and Tim would like the coat area to be to the right of the front door (if you were looking head on) and underneath the air conditioner. They really want coat hooks because the front door is the main door and they don’t want to trek wet coats through the house.
Here’s the part where I got nervous that it might be anxiety provoking to look at a mess of hanging coats while watching TV. And that’s the part where my sister told me that practicality and pragmatism need to beat looks. In the well-styled blog world, you still have to hang up a wet coat. Touche!
I started a pin board and pulled a lot of photos for inspiration for the entire room. These were my four favorite coat hook solutions:
For styles ONE and TWO, I really liked the storage benches complete with storage on top. I would stick baskets in all the compartments to up the storage capacity and hide the clutter. But that would still leave an upper shelf to style. And we all know I love to style!
For styles THREE and FOUR, I liked the sparser look of the styled bench (even though that would mean no shoe storage). I also liked the two different takes on areas above the hooks. Lindsey and Tim have a lot of great family photos that could be displayed, or we could do baskets for more storage.
No sooner did I start writing this blog post than did my sister text me. Lindsey and Tim decided they didn’t want to look at hanging coats from the couch after all. Go figure!
And then a second text came: Do you have other ideas for that area? Do I ever! Don’t worry sister! I’m on it.
Three totally different thoughts immediately popped into my head.
ONE: Place a small piece (so as not to compete with the media unit the TV is on) near the door. This is a great example from Target (Target Avington Entryway Table, $171.49). I would put shoes in the bottom baskets and use the drawer for Monty supplies (leashes, etc). I would style the shelf as a space to collect incoming reading materials like magazines and newspapers. On the top, I would put a bowl for keys, a bigger bowl for mail, a charging station for phones and iPads, and a lamp. Over the system, I would hang a mirror so you can quickly check your appearance on the way out the door.
Sidebar: upon second examination of the orignal photo, you may already have something like this. Perhaps it is worth painting a fun, glossy color for a look that stands apart from the media unit?
TWO: I would place a colorful bench for a fun pop of color in that nook. I would hang artwork over it with a hook or two for when guests visit. I would also add fun pillow or two, as well. This would increase seating for parties and give you a place to sit to put on and take off shoes. You can put a drip pan underneath for wet shoes and/or baskets off to the sides for other shoes. You could buy one at a yard sale and paint it your favorite color. Here’s an example from Crate & Barrel (Crate & Barrel Sonny Yellow Bench, $499):
The bench will also help put a different shape on the wall, so you don’t have two boxes (media cabinet and storage unit) next to each other.
THREE: I would buy an acrylic console table so that the table becomes a light item in the room (rather than a heavy item). Underneath, I would put two fabric-covered storage cubes to corral items. The top could be styled nicely for keys, mail, and the like. With a pretty painting hanging over the table. This also allows the media console to be the heaviest item on the wall without the entire wall feeling heavy. Here’s an example of the table against a grey wall (hey, just like your living room!) from CB2 (CB2 Peekaboo Clear Console, $379):
Lindsey and Tim have heard no part of the new ideas because she called yesterday afternoon with a change in tunes. Welcome to my brain, good sister! So I will tell you not to fret about what is and is not in the price range. If you like the look, we can hunt for items that match your budget. Promise.
And you? Have you ever had a house with no coat closet? How did you solve it? Which design solution would you pick or would you propose an entirely different route? We would all love to hear your thoughts! This is very much a design in the making.
Feel free to leave comments/ideas on the Pinterest inspiration board, as well.
Until next time!