Help me decorate

My former idea of decorating was taking all of our pictures and hanging them up on the walls wherever we could make them fit. But now that we have a real house of our own, I'd like to go beyond that.

This is our family/living/main room. It's the center of the house, just off the front door, the back door, and the kitchen, and you can see it from upstairs.

What in the world do I do with this giant room? First there are those lovely shelves above the doorways. What in the world can I put on them that's big enough and will look good and homey? Same above the mantel. To me, large-scale decorating doesn't seem very cozy.

Second, there is the Wall of Windows. It just looks so . . . big. And bare. I'd really love to cover the top windows, but how in the world could we open and close the coverings? Aside from that, everything we've thought of would look a bit odd. I tell you, this Wall of Windows really has me stumped.

I will take all ideas, frugal or not (but preferably frugal). What would you do with this giant room that we call home?


  1. My aunt has a house w/a situation kinda like yours. And she bought a HUGE clock from Target. They're actually pretty cool looking and put one of those up. Another idea is painting an accent wall - try to match it with your furniture. I'll try to think up more stuff.... I love the high ceilings you got going on there!!

  2. You should visit Antique Mommy over at http://inspired-spaces.net/. She is BRILLIANT! What a pretty room. I love how open it is!

  3. Just a couple ideas:

    1 - I would put some very large and vertical on those shelves - maybe large art or tall floor vases with sticks in them? You can buy art posters and inexpensive poster frames at most craft stores, or if you know someone with basic carpentry skills, have them construct a frame for you. Because whatever you put up there will be so elevated, it only needs to look good from far away!

    2 - I think in a room the size of yours, large-scale decorating is a must and the only way to make it feel cozy. So, as a general rule for that room, I say the bigger the better.

    3 - I'm not great at window treatment ideas, but this blogger is: http://nestingplacenc.blogspot.com/
    Look for any posts where she talks about window mistreatments.

    Good luck!

  4. I probably shouldn't be handing out advice, seeing my issue today is also with decorating. LOL.

    I would 2nd the opinion of having large items on the shelves. You could do a large piece of pottery or a platter or even a piece of art on an eisle would look nice. Over the fireplace you might consider ordering WallWords (wallwords.com). You could create your own unique saying or use one of theirs. Not really a frugal idea but they are the cheapest I have found so far.

    As for the windows? They are beautiful, but I got nothing by way of suggestions. Sorry. :(

  5. I'm not real helpful when it comes to the decorating department, but I think a large mirror, piece of artwork, or TV would look great right above the fireplace. Definitely make the fireplace a focal point of the room (that's what they say on HGTV at least)!

  6. I agree that you are probably going to have to do large-style decorating to fill out your space, othewise it won't feel to scale.

    I think a large wrought iron piece would do the trick in the spot above the mantle. It might even be nice to do a contrasting shade above your mantle and doors to make it not seem so stark (like a chocolate color- still neautral, but to help add some dimension to the space).

    As for the wall of windows...wow! I have not had that dilemma. A girlfriend of mine had an enormous wall of windows and I actually thought it looked beautiful all open like that. If you need privacy though, that might be an issue :)

  7. Ditto on the accent wall.

    The fireplace's frame is white. Is that painted or something? Can you make it a different color? (It's the only white around and it looks odd to me.) Maybe black?

    Also, I would love a mantelpiece over that fireplace, then set a huuuuge mirror on the mantelpiece and some candles, maybe a vase or two, or some pillared candles.

    And ditto on the vase with sticks. It sounds weird but stick-vases look really cool. They would have to be big, though, in that huge room with those huge recesses.

    I was in a house recently where the couple had printed photos off flickr and framed them (artsy flower photos). You could try that--maybe print them as big as possible (take them to a print shop and make them into posters) and frame them for something dramatic and exciting.

    Oooh, here's an idea! Take some of your family photos (the best/your favorites/representative samples of the members of your family) and blow them up, frame them, and hang the frames in a group. Maybe take photos of everyone's hands, or different parts of their faces, or something like that, and blow up, frame, and hang.

    Good luck!

  8. We have a similar living room. It is large and open, but so hard to decorate. A few years ago, I found an wrought iron "door" at Penney's for over the fireplace for less than $100. We have shutters on the windows (not frugal!), but I have also seen houses with long panels hanging down between the windows for the entire height of both windows. Hope this helps.

  9. I have a very large area like that over my fireplace. I hunted around for a VERY LARGE antique frame that had character. I took out the picture and discovered a Rembrandt-sold it-and paid to have my house decorated...back to reality, I took out the picture that was worthless and bought a beautiful piece of expensive tapestry (mine is barn red with brown swirls like a damask pattern) I only needed a yard and I stapled it to the back and removed the glass. It's the first thing people comment on when they enter the room. Go to my website and email me and I'll send you a picture if you'd like!

  10. What a huge room! I do have a suggestion similar to one that has already been left. Kirkland's has huge clocks -my sis-in-law bought one and put it up in her huge room.

    Another suggestion is to visit Antique Mommy's blog, Inspired Spaces. She has tons of great decorating ideas over. Send her a picture and she'll help you out! :)

  11. i agree - it has to be something really big for those niches. i like the iron work idea - or a giant sculpture of some sort. branches in a huge vase could be lovely and maintenance free.

    you can lean a giant canvas or framed poster or something in the niche as well.

    a large grapevine wreath hung on the wall might be nice.

    my aunt hangs quilts in her spaces like that... or puts up thrifted vintage toys like rocking horses, etc...

    if you're not really into PUTTING something in there, how about just painting the niche one shade lighter?

  12. We moved into our first house about 9 months ago. I too feel like now that I have a house I need to do more than just toss random things up on the walls. It is taking me some time to really figure out what I want and how to do it. I look through a lot of catalogs and books for ideas and whenever I am at someone else's house I am always looking for good ideas to steal. :-)

  13. wow, look at all that space above the fireplace!! *drool*

    I would put something like a tapestry or a large painted scroll up there to emphasize the large vertical-ness of it, and then probably paint the two sunken walls a darker accent color that matches the scroll. That will also help make the space more cozy and less airy.

  14. Wow, what great ideas. I think I am going to post pictures of my house and let everyone put up their ideas on my blog! :) I actually have to say that I think the idea of big posters in frames is awesome. And I also love the idea of cool pictures of your family (hands, etc.) that you could blow up huge.

  15. We have almost the same front windows! We do have blinds on the top windows. They make some with extra long handles and pulls. It doesn't look weird either. Just sounds weird.

    I unfortunately don't have much of a decorated home. We try, but no budget and keeping everything out of children's reach... In between the windows though, I hung candle holders. One on each space. It looks pretty. Then we put a tall book shelf on either side. I may have a pic on my blog from Christmas time.

  16. Ok here is the post. You can only see a little bit of the bottom window and the book shelf, but it's an idea.

  17. For a homey look, put a quilt on the wall above both the doors. It would need to be baby quilt/lap quilt size. Maybe some sheer/light fabric for the upper windows would give more privacy and still let some but not all the light in?