Our living room suffered from "exploded furniture syndrome" and we are radically altering that. The old Victorian style sofa (see hallway below) is on its way to the building janitor, as is the Empire style chandelier that sat in the hall closet for five years. The rest of the upholstery is in the workroom and wont be back for weeks which means that we have one lamp table, a sofa, one armchair, a rug and a coffee table in the living room - nothing else.
The feeling of calm is palpable and I finally understand why people sometimes want minimalist interiors and to have space unfilled by yesterday's fads is wonderful. It immediately became clear that once the TV was gone from the living room, the layout of the room made no sense.
I am attempting to create background without making a focal point - after all, a living room in my estimation is about conversation and entertaining, and dens, libraries, and family rooms are the rooms where the TV should be. Not having a TV seems not to be an option nowadays, but we rarely watched it (we both read) so have banished ours to the library which is going to be used as our winter room. Having said that, when True Blood begins again later in the summer we will both be glued to that big ol' flatscreen wherever it is located.
So, my experiment is to create an "art wall", a wall that begins in the hallway with the Turgot map of Paris and continues into the living room. I gathered all the photos and drawings we own, and whereas I like the idea of a gallery of pictures, the photo, (always a good idea to photograph or look at a reflection in a mirror to be able to judge) shows all the faults of scale, relationship and proportion. I like drawings, works on paper I suppose, and I am coming to understand photos as art and they are nothing if not works on paper. Scale and proportion are of the essence.
It is not my idea that we and guests sit on the sofa facing the wall as if it were conversation starter - hell no - I want a static, illustrative, reflective, graphic but contemplative background that is well-mannered and reticent.
What you see in the first photo is just the beginning for we have two drawings at the framers and there is a photo I'm toying with buying. If the wall works, and with some modifications it seems as if it will, then a low, contemporary cabinet will likely stand underneath and chairs will stand in front. People will gather, admire (or not) the wall in passing, sit and begin a conversation about anything other than what is there in the background.