Look--There's No Sofa

Grouping four chairs around an ottoman makes an ideal spot for entertaining or lounging.
Alice Welsh Doyle

Every living room has a sofa, right? Not necessarily. When designer Mary Margarett Nevin updated this client's cozy Atlanta living room/library, the couch moved out, and four chairs and an ottoman moved in.

Best Seats in the House
"Usually only two people sit on a sofa, no matter the size," says Mary Margarett. Because these homeowners entertain a lot, the chairs provide more seating than a sofa. They can be moved easily if more floorspace is needed for a large crowd. Four chairs can also be a less expensive, but still stylish, option than a sofa and two chairs.

The ottoman is a functional choice. With a tray, it doubles as a table. Placing it in the center gives everyone easy access when using it for serving. It can also provide additional seating.

When the room is being used as a library, the ottoman makes a great place to put up your feet and relax. Mary Margarett combined two classic club chairs with two Italian armchairs. "I like an eclectic mix, and the wooden legs and wood around the arms of the Italian chairs balances the heavier look of the club chairs," she says. A round wooden table fits between two windows. It's the perfect spot to place books or to put down your drink during a party.

Mary Margarett also added a wooden chest between the bookcases where the sofa used to be. "That's a big wall, so we needed something more substantial and taller than a table," she explains. A large, colorful piece of art hangs over the chest. Smaller pieces by the same artist are stacked on a narrower wall. "Before the makeover, there was art all over, so you really didn't focus on any particular piece. It was too busy," says Mary Margarett.

Pleasing Color Palette
The walls were also a terra-cotta red that competed with the bright art. Mary Margarett went primarily neutral with a little color in the upholstery and rug. "He wanted no color, and she wanted lots of it," says Mary Margarett of the homeowners. "So this was the compromise." The pretty slate blue and creamy taupes are soothing and sophisticated. The patterned rug and velvet ottoman bring a rich touch. With everything so artfully chosen, who would ever miss the sofa?

Sources:
Interior design by Mary Margarett Nevin, Nevin Design, Atlanta, (404) 771-6515.