Designing a Living Room and Warming Up the Farmhouse Style

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Last month, the Uploft Interior Design team and I all got together and it was amazing! We met in New York City and we had not all gotten together in person since before COVID. We had a photo shoot all day for five hours where we each got head shots, team shots, etc. 

It was very emotionally and energetically taxing because I do not love having my picture taken. My team members are amazing and very self-managing, but you still feel a lot of responsibility to get the shots and that everyone’s comfortable and has the drinks, snacks and jewelry that they want.

Then of course we had to bring props and flowers and plants, and we no longer have our storefront because I moved to Connecticut so one of my clients graciously allowed us to use his office space and it was a really fun day. At night we all went up to dinner and talked, and it’s really nice to get to know everyone on a more personal level. 

We just had a great conversation and it was so inspiring and invigorating and made me even more grateful for our amazing Uploft Interior Design team.

Speaking of our team, you guys know already, but we are hiring for an amazing sales representative and also an operations manager. These are both pretty high level positions and we are offering salary as well as bonus and benefits. So if you are an amazing salesperson or operations manager, then this might be a great fit. 

You can send your resume to he***@up****.com and we’ll reach out to you if you’re a fit for the position with all the details.

In this episode, we discuss: 

[5:34] Designing a Living Room (Megan) 

[13:22] Warming Up a Farmhouse Style (Hannah)

[5:34] Designing a Living Room (Megan) 


Hi Betsy! I’m in the process of decorating my family room and I need your expertise. My style is cozy english country, I love a warm inviting collected look. Right now my family room is pretty neutral, so I’m working on layering more patterns and colors into the room. My room is pretty long, so I have created a few different zones to work with. On one end of the room I have created a little play area for my young children, and on the opposite end of the room I have a fireplace with a door to our backyard. I have placed our sectional in the middle of the room so it faces both the fireplace and our tv. My question has to do with the long wall we have our tv up against. Do you think I need to add artwork to this wall? Should I leave it bare? What should I do to achieve the beautiful look I am hoping to achieve? I have included pictures of both the TV wall and the other wall behind the couch so you can get an idea of the entire room. There is usually a wingback chair where we currently have our Christmas tree.Thank you so much for any suggestions you can give me!


So first of all, pictures are always such a help for me to understand and guide you specifically as I’m providing advice. So thank you for sending those. And guys, if you wanna see Megan’s pictures, all you have to do is head over to YouTube.

I particularly like the chair rail and the beams, all of this beautiful architectural detailing. It really sets the stage, but I completely agree that right now you have a lot of heaviness on one side of the room with the sectional, and then on the other side of the room you just have this TV and a console and eventually a ween back.

The problem with the room in general for me personally is that everything is at a lower level, almost everything in this room is at that three foot height, whether it’s the sofa, the TV console. It’s just all at a pretty standard level. Even the toy storage is at that level, and then when you bring in the ween back, it is going to be back there too.

We need undulation. You’ve heard me say this before, but it’s like a landscape. Nobody’s buying a panorama of Kansas. They buy a panorama of New York City or of Hong Kong. Paris because you get that beautiful undulation, you get those beautiful tall apartment buildings in the Eiffel Tower, then it scoots back down.

It helps the eye to move throughout the space. It’s more dynamic. It makes better use of the height of the space. We need some taller pieces in here. Of course, your floor lamp will count as tall, but even that is not quite tall enough. So I’m going to recommend that you do some bookcases.

You might say to me, with my young children, bookcases just aren’t gonna be that practical because I want them to be able to reach things and they can’t reach those upper levels. Also you’ll need to attach them to the wall so that the little ones aren’t crawling on these and tipping them over.

I highly recommend when you have little ones to have like a bookcase that has cabinets on so that way you can store things down there like their toys and they can open the little doors and pull out their baskets of toys without the toys being so conspicuous all the time. 

The other thing I might recommend that might be a help in your particular situation, is to mount this TV above the chair rail, because right now the chair rail is higher than the TV console and it’s just a lot going on. If you did hang that tv, you will want to conceal the cords by potentially dropping them inside the wall or even putting an outlet behind the tv. Cord concealment is a number one priority for me always, but I do want you to think about highs and lows in this room. Not just on the side by the tv, but also thinking about it maybe on either side of the sectional.

And then of course, I’d be a little bit more intentional with my artwork, but I never even think about artwork. I don’t consider it, until I’ve placed all my furniture pieces. So that’s gonna be your priority, because if you place these tall bookcases and you’ve already hung your art, they may overlap. So I would probably flank my TV stand with bookcases that have cabinetry so that it does make that sort of bigger moment.

The idea of doing a wingback that’s opposite the sectional for that great conversation area and in the children’s play area, maybe we have a similar wingback. Maybe we really just embraced symmetry so then somebody can sit there and watch the kids because right now in this play area, there’s no seating that faces the children. And kids typically like to play in a place where you can engage with them. Make more use of their space and it will also help you to engage with them a bit. 

The Roman shades on the windows are a beautiful touch, and I think they look really clean and nice, but it’s not helping to emphasize that height like a drape would do. Now, you can still put drapes on these windows, you’ll just want to mount them outside and over the Roman so that you can pull them side to side without hitting the Roman shade.

But there’s many, many drapery rods that come with adjustable brackets. I love the Cambria collection from Bed Bath and Beyond because it can project from the wall between three and six inches so it can fall over baseboard radiators falling over the Roman and allow you to have that beautiful floor to ceiling height. Again, to draw the eye up and to provide some visual undulation. There we go. Another room solved.

[13:22] Warming Up a Farmhouse Style (Hannah) 


Hello again. Thank you for answering my kitchen design questions earlier in the year, my new house is now finished and I could use some help with decorating! I would love to know your thoughts on window coverings. I feel like the window above the sink needs something but I still want it to feel light. I am going for an airy transitional/farmhouse. I was going to do side panels on ends only of big windows (not designed to be closed) and nothing on the sliding glass door.

Ideas on where to find stools for the island? I’m looking for something affordable. The dining table I have for the space is dark wood and traditional style. I attached a photo of my inspiration piece for your reference as well. Thank you Betsy!


Well, thank you so much, Hannah. I am gonna dig into these pictures and give you some advice. So let me iInform the listeners who aren’t watching on YouTube about what this space looks like. So you’ve got these kinds of white oak cabinets with a very light stain. You’ve got dark countertops with the black poles, the light fixture above the um island is a three pronged black light fixture. It looks like the island might be Navy with on top and then you’ve got another beautiful linear chandelier on the other side of the room. It is very high. Typically I want the linear chandelier to be, or any chandelier, frankly, above a dining table to be 30 to 36 inches from the top of the table to the bottom of the fixture. You are going to need to lower this fixture if it’s going to ultimately be above a table.

Let me just be clear about, everything is definitely leaning towards that farmhouse style right now, including your inspiration piece, which is of this lovely cow who happens to be sort of painted in this relatively abstract way with blues and purples and a red nose, and a wonderful crown of yellow flowers, perhaps crocuses. 

Your first question is the window covering above the sink. Now above a sink. I like to keep it really minimal because it’s going to get sprayed and gunky and gross, and I just don’t see that you’re needing a lot of privacy here out the window, I’m seeing trees. So if you don’t need privacy, I might dress it with a very minimal slatted blind or in my own personal kitchen. 

Just full disclosure, I have an amazing window that looks out at our wooded backyard and I don’t have a window treatment on it. And I love it because I did have wood sled blinds above the sink on the window in my last place. And then they just got dusty and caked with grease and gross, and they were a pain too. So I prefer having nothing since I don’t need privacy either. The one thing that I think will make this room feel less empty is if you do a backsplash that might add enough color pattern texture, that you don’t feel the need to do a window treatment.

So that would be where I would go first with this window above the sink. Now in terms of stools, if you’re looking for an affordable, good quality transitional bar stool, look no further than Grandin Road. I love Grandin Road. It’s affiliated with Front Gate. Now Front Gate we know is pretty expensive, but they have very similar styles and a much more affordable price point.

Amazing sales at Grandin Road, so that would be one of my first stops. Pottery Barn also has beautiful options that can be quite affordable if you find them on sale. Ballard Designs can have good sale prices and they have similar transitional styles. But my number one thought for you, Grandin Road, all the way, not only will you find beautiful bar stools, I think you’ll also find some high quality dining chairs for that table that you’ve purchased.

You had another question for me: on your other window you were thinking about panels. Definitely put panels on that nice big window. I completely agree that they do not need to close because this window is probably over a hundred inches long, and that means that you would need double wides on each side, which would be nice visually, actually, especially if you mounted them quite far outside.

So outside the window frame, if you did mount them,  a foot to 18 inches, it would make this window look even larger. It would add that softness and that beautiful sumptuous texture that only a fabric can, and then it would look more in scale with this window, that’s what I would do. I would do double wides on this big window, hang them far outside, knowing that you’ll never close them.

I feel like personally, you can do a similar treatment on the slider, however, because the slider is much less wide than that big window, I would do the single panels on the slider, one and one again, hanging them about a foot out or maybe eight to 10 inches in this case, because it’s the single panel and hanging them at the same height as the large window because the slider’s a little bit lower.

But we wanna treat it exactly the same way. Bring in that beautiful texture and it’s far away enough from the kitchen and the stove that is not gonna get greasy and gross, and it’s going to really soften this space. I also highly recommend in order to soften this space, getting, those counter stools that have an upholstered seat so that it adds little color, even if it’s a leather upholstery, right? So you could easily wipe it off and it would be more kid friendly. 

You can add a pop of color, and Grandin Road has beautiful leather colors. Then of course, you’ll wanna do a rug under that dining table, do something low profile that you could easily clean up with a Roomba or even a very attentive dog. You don’t want anything too thick and shaggy where cereal or, you know, red sauce is gonna get mushed into those fibers but that will help to soften the space because right now it’s pretty cold and the farmhouse look in general is pretty cold, austere, somewhat industrial. With the raw finishes we need to soften and make it feel more inviting and homey.




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