Brownstone Decorating: Parlor Tricks

DECORATING A 19th CENTURY PARLOR  for 21st century life can be a challenge.

Kathryn Scott

Brooklyn Heights / Kathryn Scott

Brownstone parlor floors tend to be:

  • long and narrow
  • dark in the middle

and have:

  • no obvious place for a TV
  • no obvious place for a sofa (the Victorians sat on nothing longer than a love seat, and very stiffly at that)

So what are ya gonna do?  What seems to work best, when a parlor floor is one long (say, 13 x 45 foot) expanse, is putting the sofa parallel to the two front windows, a foot or two in front of them, perpendicular to the long wall.

The other possibility is lining up that 8-foot sofa with the long wall, but that often blocks either the entry door from the front hall (bad feng shui), or the beautiful marble mantel (don’t you just love Brooklyn?)

Boerum Hill / Julia Mack

Boerum Hill / Julia Mack

Take a look at how these Brooklyn-based designers dealt with the thorny where-to-put-the-couch problem: all the same way, as described above.

Cobble Hill / Julia Mack

Cobble Hill / Julia Mack


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