How to Break Up with Your Sectional Sofa

I’ve been working with a lovely client from Memphis who recently moved to Nashville with her new husband.  Her husband brought a very large sectional made up of five pieces to their marriage.



It’s hard to break up with a sectional – because they can’t be beat for seating throngs of friends, and they are usually quite expensive.


a typical sectional sofa

In the couple’s new home, there is not a large enough space to fit the entire sectional.  And if you can’t break up with your sectional, maybe you can break it up.  In pieces, I mean.  This room was formerly an office for the former owner.  My client wanted to make this space into a dramatic, sexy den to watch movies and spent romantic evenings.


den before

The cabinets were removed.  My client wanted dark gray walls, which I wasn’t sure would be ideal with the camel sectional sofa pieces we were going to try to use in there.  When she pulled out this dramatic wall hanging that she wanted to use in the room, a light bulb went off in my head.  I don’t usually decorate by theme, but I suggested we go a little bit “Casbah.”  She was totally into it.

casbah den

Rock the Casbah after

Dark velvet drapes, tons of patterned pillows, and a vintage genie lamp were added to the space after we figured out the perfect configuration of the sectional.  Here’s another before from the entry of the room:



All the pillows take the sectional sofa from man cave to love cave.  We fit together pieces on the back wall to form a sofa with a chaise, while we used an armless segment to make a “slipper” sofa on the wall to the right.

breaking up a sectional sofa

breaking up a sectional sofa

There will be a large flat-screen mounted on the wall opposite the longest sofa, so hubby is happy for that reason.  He’s also happy because they didn’t have to replace the large and costly sectional sofa (although we did remove two pieces from the beast).

casbah den chelsea gray

a cozy love nest for the newlyweds

Only paint, drapes, and throw pillows were purchased for this room makeover.  Score another one for using what you’ve got and creating an entirely different look!


  1. Sheila @sZinteriors

    Love it! Great example of working with what you’ve got – nice pick for the wall colour, too!

  2. MK

    I love that you are able to help homeowners get a gorgeous, updated look with using a lot of what they already had. To me, that takes much more talent and ingenuity than just showing up in the Macys Furniture Showroom and picking out all new stuff. It is a better use of resources, and I love a home where pieces (both furniture and accessories) are collected over time rather than one that looks like someone bought them all the same day. You are really good at what you do!!!!

    • Kristie Barnett

      Thank you so much, MK. Honestly, it’s just a different skill. I struggle working with an empty space, starting from scratch – there are just limitless possibilities there. Boundaries are what challenge and inspire me!

    • LibbyP

      MK is exactly right. It is a wonderful skill and honors (yet elevates) the homeowner’s taste. Wonderful “after” – but I can’t believe ya’ll had the guts to take down those cabinets. That would have been the hard part for me – but your vision would have given me courage!

  3. Lorraine

    Wow! That looks great! I love how you work with what people already have and find creative ways to update the look. That’s what drew me to your blog to begin with. When it comes to decorating, I think most people don’t have the budget to replace everything and it’s more practical (and fun) to just revamp things.

  4. Melinda Blankenhorn

    We are moving to Nashville in two weeks and I am looking for a decorator! I didn’t realize that is where you live! What is your contact information?

  5. Melinda Blankenhorn

    Oops, sorry for my ignorance! I wrote this message before clicking on all of your links! I will be contacting you once we get unpacked and are ready to start decorating in Brentwood!

    • Kristie Barnett

      Sounds great, Melinda! I currently have a waiting list for new clients, so contact allison@thedecorologist for availability and wait time.

  6. Kathy

    To my eye, that grey has some blue or green in it, so that makes it work. I wouldn’t have thought of that color, but it looks great. I love traditional tribal textiles and have collected enough in reds for my own Casbah. I love the pinks in this combination, which doesn’t look girly, and if you look closely, the patterns are actually more European and crazy quilt than middle-eastern, but it does channel the exotic feel with the ottoman and wall hanging, lamp and general atmosphere, without overdoing it.

    • Kristie Barnett

      Good points, Kathy – it’s exotic without being authentic middle eastern. We got most of the pillows from World Market.

  7. Beth

    I love how the wall art brings together the grey & camel colors. And the pillows top it off beautifully!

  8. Pamela

    Beautiful! I love the changes made to the room. The pillows are yummy!

  9. Karen

    Kristie’s bringing Sexy Back! 🙂


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