Tricky Windows and Sofa Table Temptations

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I’m feeling really good. Most of my energy is back. I’m rarely feeling sick due to my pregnancy. And it is spring. And Connecticut is gorgeous. In the springtime. It’s beautiful in the winter. Amazing in the fall. I haven’t been here for a summer yet. But spring. Wow, there’s so many flowers and so much to see.


I’ve also been working on a fun creative project that has been on my mind for years and I am excited to finally bring it to fruition. I’m working on a book of personal essays about my interior design career, my journey, the highs and lows as I have been in the industry for 18 years now. If there’s something you want to know more about, please send me an email at be***@af**********************.com with what you’re wanting to learn so I can make sure to include it in my book. 


Without further ado, let’s dive into the mailbag. 


This episode, we discuss…

[5:29] Window treatments for a 60’s home (Monica)

[14:56] Putting the finishing touches on a living room (Stephanie) 

[5:29] Window treatments for a 60’s home (Monica)



Hey, Betsy, thank you for all you do! My husband and I love your podcast and your clear, affordable approach to design. Our style words are “peaceful, contemporary” (+sophisticated, of course). Our colors are white (wall color: Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace), mid-tone wood (honey/beige: oak floor) and blue (sofa cover—I know they’re against your rules, but we eat on the sofa!), with silver metals & some greenery in dracaena plants, (learned about them from your books!). 

What do you recommend as a window treatment for a 60’s house with vaulted ceiling and wall-to-wall windows in an L-shaped living/dining area? I loathe the beige drapes that came with the house, would love white Venetian blinds, as you have suggested in your books (I read them all), but can’t afford them ($2500+ taxes). Would IKEA roller blinds do? Or vertical blinds from Bouclair? I know they’re on your “rest” list, not the “best”. 

We tried out IKEA’s white curtains with the grommets last year, but they looked too billowy and took up too much space. The area is a small, awkward living/dining space because of the L-shape. I need to limit the budget to $500 CAD; I scoured many thrift stores to no avail. These hideous curtains have been driving me bonkers for the past 4 years. Help, please! 



Monica, you did such a good job of describing your style. It’s obvious that you’ve been reading my books, one feeling word, one style word and of course sophisticated. Before I can give you advice on your window treatment, I do need to call something out. 

You mentioned that your colors are white mid tone wood and blue. Now white is not a color, white in color theory is actually the absence of color. Mid tone wood is not a color, it is the type of wood you’ve chosen. The only color that you’ve listed that is truly making a color palette is blue because remember your color palette needs three ROY G BIV colors. 

You have this wonderful mid century modern home and you have this really long wall of windows. And on the wall of windows, you’ve got these bulky beige drapes that are ill fitting because they’re puddling on the floor, probably about three inches. And as longtime listeners know, we only want a one inch puddle but ideally we want those drapes to just skim the floor. 

The other thing that’s problematic for me is that these drapes are individually drawn so that it’s a series of panels. Now, anything that you choose to do here, whether it’s the IKEA panels or something else is going to look bad as well. These windows really need a customized treatment. 

If you own this space and plan on being here more than seven years, it would be worth the investment to keep these hideous beige blinds for right now and save up and do something that’s really meant for custom to this window. 

I would think about doing something automated so that way you don’t have to constantly pull these back and forth every day because that’s just a lot of physical labor. I think there’s also going to be much sleeker solutions that way. 

The problem you’re going to face if you repeat any sort of drape or even with those panels, is you are going to need that center stability bracket situation which is going to cause you to have drapery or panels breaking up this beautiful, expansive view. If you do something custom, say it’s on a track or something like that, it doesn’t have to ever stop in the middle and can go all the way side to side, and you get that beautiful, full, uninterrupted view.

I want to throw one other thing out here that might be controversial if you really don’t want to wait. The other thing that you could explore, that would be temporary, super affordable, and give you a really clean look is something that we do a lot in the city is privacy film. When you’re inside the house, you can completely see through. But when you’re outside the house, it has kind of a mirrored or reflective quality and you cannot see. Now, that’s not going to be a gorgeous, sophisticated long term solution but could work in the meantime while you save up for your permanent solution. 

[14:56] Putting the finishing touches on a living room (Stephanie) 



Hi Betsy! Congratulations on your pregnancy! I am due myself this summer and am working hard to get our newish home furnished before our new baby arrives. I have a question about our living room. We just received our new Crate and Barrel sofa with chaise, which was the last major furniture purchase for the room. I am trying to figure out whether the sofa should be pulled off the wall like it is in the attached photos, and whether we should add a sofa table behind it for lamps/a place to put drinks. 

Someone at CB recommended I do this, as the room is quite deep so it looked a bit odd against the wall before as it was so far from the tv. I also like it because if we had it against the wall the rug would have to move back and there would be a big space of wood between the end of the rug and the tv. What do you think- couch as is and add a sofa table or move the sofa back against the wall? What are the rules for how long the sofa table needs to be behind the couch? 

The couch is large at 112 inches. My second question is your advice on how to style the blank white wall above the couch. I have several pieces of art work/photos in natural wood and gold frames I was envisioning putting here. I don’t think a mirror would look great as it would reflect the tv opposite of it. Should I get a floating shelf to line the photos? If we go with the sofa table route I would also plan to have two table lamps flanking the couch. Thank you for your guidance and help!!! Hope you start to feel better ASAP!



You do have a nice deep room, I can’t exactly size it up but I’m going to imagine this rug is like an eight by 10, just based on my experiences. I bet this room is about 14 feet deep, which isn’t huge, but it’s not small. 

The only reason I would use a sofa table in this particular room is if there was space to walk behind. Because otherwise, you’re really just bumping this sofa up 12 to 24 inches and I don’t think that’s really doing much except creating this awkward kind of space behind. 

Additionally, sofa table with lamps is a really nice look in some homes. The problem, especially with a little one running around is that you’re going to have cords going from the lamps to typically a wall outlet. Not many of us have outlets in the floor and even if we do, they’re oftentimes covered by the rug. We need to be very careful with fire codes and electricity and having layers of fabric over an outlet that’s being used with the plug in it so sometimes the lamps on the sofa table are not the most practical solution. And in this case, we would be seeing a cord or cords leading to an outlet because you would just have this sofa so close to the wall. 

If you moved it much closer to the TV, say two or three additional feet closer, it would look a little odd. What I think you should do is get a bigger TV, this TV is way too small for the space. I would definitely do a 65 inch TV to make the space feel more proportional. 

The other thing that I think would help is moving this rug slightly so that it’s less under the couch. It only needs to be just a few inches fully under the front leg of the sofa. It just needs to be about three inches under that and then what I think would help this room to feel more pulled together. I also think moving the two arm chairs that you have perpendicular to the sofa opposite the sofa, so flanking the TV stand, but at an angle would be really nice. 

Then you’re asking me, Betsy, what would you put perpendicular to the sofa to fill that gap? And it’s in between two windows and I could see a really cool bookcase that would give that space some intention. 

 I really liked the idea of doing some kind of gallery wall above the sofa, especially now that we know that the sofa is going to be closer to the wall. Also the wall that has the windows, you’ve painted this really beautiful deep navy color. The other walls are a stark white, that’s almost the same as the trim color which makes the navy wall look like an accident wall. I highly recommend painting all of the walls navy to make for a more comforting, homey space. 







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