Baby Grand Pianos

By Kate Riley May 5, 2015

I haven’t written much about the baby grand piano that sits in our living room, but you may have noticed it in off to the side in pictures over the years. We owned a basic wood upright piano for a few years but then gave it away to some friends when we inherited Matt’s grandfather’s black baby grand ten years ago. I was again thinking about the baby grand when the bottom of the bench started to bow at the weight of books of music and as I removed them to repair it, I started thumbing through them remembering all the tunes I keep promising myself I’ll learn to play someday.

Matt and my middle daughter are the only two that play, I haven’t sat down in a long time although I took lessons years ago and got pretty good at chords and scales and even learned to play a version of “Silent Night” at Christmas a few years ago, although if you asked me to play it now I couldn’t! Everyone who comes into our home is drawn to the baby grand, especially children. All of the visiting ones want to play it and it’s never off limits, even to my two year old nephew as long as it’s treated gently.

black baby grand piano living room

The piano is a family heirloom and the first thing you see when you walk into our home. It’s in tune but could use a good cleaning and a polish – it will forever hold sentimental value. Of all the sounds that occur in a home in our media and tech dominated world, the sound of piano keys still remains a favorite, whether it’s a child tinkling with the keys or real melodies being played.

A baby grand piano is an elegant instrument, one that adds an air of formality to a space. When I catch the sight of a grand piano in a home or a hotel lobby, I always pause and smile. Do you?

grand piano in corner

 irvin serrano


wood grand piano

rachel belden interiors


living room

owens + davis


burled wood baby grand piano

louise jones interiors

wall gallery baby grand

 joy tribout design


black piano gray chairs

j hirsch interiors

 classic wood baby grand piano

jonathan legate


black grand piano

 whitten architects


black baby grand piano

blair harris

Does your family have a piano or did you grow up with one? Do you play? Is there a history behind the piano in your home?


  1. We have a baby grand in the front room of our home, however, neither my husband or I play. We purchased the piano from the previous owner and she taught lessons on the piano for 30 years. It’s funny to see some people come over to dinner and have a visceral reaction to the piano because they remember being yelled at in that exact spot.

    Perhaps I’ll learn to play some day or our children but it was such a lovely piece, we had no furniture, and the room is meant for a piano.

    Thank you for the beautiful photo sources; I’ve been trying to finish off the room and these photos give me some decorating ideas!

  2. My mother passed away a few years ago and she left her baby grand to me (the only child who played). We live in a smaller home and I desperately want it but am so afraid of it ‘taking over’ our cozy living room. I too love looking at other photos with them and it helps to give me hope we’ll be able to squeeze it in!

  3. Being the oldest, our family piano was still being used at home regularly. So we bought our own upright. The one I grew up on was difficult to tune, so I’m glad I don’t have it (now my baby sister does). My husband will plunk on it occasionally and my oldest daughter has been playing for a couple years. She’s better than I was after that much time playing. Now my younger daughter wants to learn to play. She figured out the Charlie Brown theme song (the simple bits) this weekend.
    You are right, there is nothing like the sound of someone playing the piano in your house. I hadn’t played much when the kids were younger, just not much time. But I force myself (I do really enjoy it though) to practice at least 3 or 4 times a week so that my daughter will see that you have to constantly practice, if you stop, you lose it. I wonder if one of the girls will want our piano one day. I would love to have a baby grand! You’re very lucky!

  4. My coworker just got her baby grand this past weekend. Her husband spent the last 8 months building and finishing a room in their house just for her piano. She’s just a tad spoiled ;-)

  5. I grew up with a baby grand. My sisters and I all took lessons, my brother played by ear (very grandly). I hated to practice and once, in a rebellious fit, bit the ivory corner off one of the keys. When my parents retired and downsized, they wanted one of us to take the piano. My brother already had his own baby grand and we three girls lived in small apartments. Sadly, it was sold.

    Fast forward several years. We are living in a good sized house. Elderly neighbors were moving and downsizing. They gave us their 1910 upright. We did pay movers $250 to bring it across the street. Both our girls played until high school. The piano still sits in our dining room ready for someone to play “Happy Birthday,” or the cats to strut across the keys. It’s not a baby grand, but it still adds richness to our lives.

  6. I grew up with a baby grand that my whole family of classical musicians played on. When my husband and I buy our first house, I will inherit the piano.

  7. I love your piano….sigh…I want one SO badly, but we don’t have room for one! I play a lot. We have an old upright that sounds awful (mostly for decoration) and I have a full-size keyboard that I play the most. You are right, the baby grands give flair to a room. Yours is beautiful!

  8. My husband and I inherited his grandmother’s grand piano and it has a place in our front room as well. My mother-in-law taught piano lessons for years so my husband plays. Even now when you open the piano it smells like “granny’s house.” It’s a wonderful memory to have.


  9. Right now we have an upright that was in my in-laws house. It is used daily by our daughter and whenever our musician best friend come over. However, we really want a baby grand. I keep hoping the house across the street will sell and I can find out what type and condition a baby grand they have and if they want to sell it to us instead of the new house owners.

  10. We’re about to inherit my husbands parents’ upright piano and I’m so excited. I didn’t have a piano growing up, but learned to play a few tunes while in choir through the years. A family I babysat for in high school had a grand piano and I used to love sitting down at it. Although ours won’t be as fancy as that one, I’m thrilled that my children will get to play the same piano my husband and his family grew up with and learned to play on.

  11. Classical pianists have been in my family for generations. I studied classical for 12 years. In my 30’s, I purchased a white satin baby grand. She has moved around with me many times. I call her my albatross because every place I considered living had to have a spot for my baby. My son has now learned to play and it’s so beautiful to hear him play.

  12. We have a grand piano and have had it in several different spaces in our last 3 houses. Although we have the space for it in our new house it is a little more challenging to arrange. Thanks for this post… It has giving me the motivation to do figure out the piano placement and some different furniture arrangement before the truck arrives. Ha! Great ideas! Thanks!

  13. I started playing piano at 5 on an old secondhand upright which was replaced 6 years later with a beautiful new baby grand, it was the first time ever I was rendered speechless from joy. It took up so much space in our tiny apartment we had to give away a sofa. One of the reasons we chose our current home was because it had a light-filled nook to make into a music space. It’s a great icebreaker when a neighbor asks if we’re the ones with the piano that they love listening to. :)

  14. I love baby grand pianos, always have! I always wanted one, even though I don’t know how to play. Except, like you, I once learned how to play Silent Night (my mom taught me at a summer rental with a piano…incongrous for everyone, I’m sure to hear it in July!). Don’t remember. Know, my inherited instrument is the family saxophone. Don’t know how to play that, either, but will start lessons soon! :)

  15. Oh how I wish I had continues with piano lessons. The “contributed” photos you posted don’t do a thing for me. They seem too forced. Your baby grand with your nephew, makes me smile.

  16. I have a client that has a parlor grand in their living room. It’s very pretty and quite the statement. I worked with her on a new paint color for this room -the room went from rag textured walls to beautiful BM Quiet Moments. The piano and the lighting look radiant with this new color on the walls.

  17. I actually have two (black) grand pianos in the living room and neither gets played. : ( One is the piano my siblings and I learned to play on. The other belongs to my grown daughter who inherited it from my uncle when he passed away. It is a 1930’s Steinway. My daughter is a musician in NYC but her apartment is too tiny for a grand piano. So we will have these two beautiful instruments until she has more space. It is an embarrassment of riches. But it is also a design dilemma as they really monopolize the room.

  18. we have a standard grand,which is slightly larger than a baby grand…so, it takes up more room. I took lessons years ago, but about 10 years ago we had it fitted with a disc player. best money I ever spent, I could never make it sound that good.

  19. We have a baby grand and it is perfect in our house but unfortunatly we are in the process of down sizing and cannot take it with us. We are trying to sell it but having a difficult time. For some reason no matter how lowthe price there is no market for it. Hoping someone will see your blog and really want our piano. Thank you for showing how it can be a great decorating element.

  20. I don’t have a baby grand but I DO have a new grandbaby…which is way better!

  21. I grew up with a lovely upright. I was the only one in the family who played. Unfortunately when I moved far away, it was too expensive to move it across the country. In my current home, I don’t even know how I’d fit it in. As a result, I haven’t played in years. I keep thinking of getting a digital keyboard that I could stow under the bed when it wasn’t in use. Maybe one of these days.

  22. I love your piano!!! I have always dreamed of having a baby grand. When I was in Kindergarten, my parents bought the neighbors old piano. I took piano lessons from 1st grade to 12th grade. My parents then gave me the piano and I have had it now for over 20 years. The one thing that is unique about this piano is there are 3 pedals on the bottom (most pianos have 2), the middle peddle, when pushed down turns the piano sounds into a harpsichord. Sadly, my piano has been moved from Kansas to Texas and then 2 more times in Texas and hasn’t been tuned in over 30 years. I would loved to get it turned, but there really aren’t any piano tuners in my area and it would cost more to tune the piano than the piano is worth, but I still hang on to it for sentimental reasons. One of these days I’m just going to bite the bullet and pay to get it tuned!!!

  23. I grew up with a white baby grand piano. My siblings and I all took lessons on it and can all at least play well enough to play in church. It has a great story behind it. When my mom and dad got married, they decided they’d exchange wedding gifts. My mom bought my dad cologne . . . and my dad bought my mom a baby grand piano. Oops.

  24. Just discovered your blog today and will be following and enjoying.

    I am a professional collaborative pianist. i began playing the piano by ear when I was 3-1/2 years old. I have no memories of that event, but have heard the stories from my mother many times. When I was 14, my parents bought me a Steinway Model A (6′), born in 1915. (That means it’s 100 years old this year. I’m planning a birthday party for the end of summer.) I’ve moved many times in my life and have always had to choose houses that would accommodate the piano. It’s an integral part of my life.

    You refer to your piano as a baby grand, but in the pictures it looks larger than that. Is it really only >=4’5″ from one end to the other? I think maybe you’ve got a full grand there. It looks beautiful in its new home. Good look with learning those favorite songs!

  25. I completely identify with the sentimentality of a piano. My parents were generous to give me their piano–the piano they bought so that I could learn to play as a child. This piano lives in our basement. We also inherited my husband’s grandmother’s piano, and it’s spot is upstairs. We have a picture of his grandmother playing the piano with his two brothers when they were younger than 5 years old. Two pianos may seem like overkill, but they’re both so special there’s no way I could choose just one. I love the idea of a grand piano, but I’ll be content with my uprights.

  26. We bought a piano from an old theatre. It is an iron framed cottage piano. It is not as ‘tall’ as a regular upright but incredibly heavy. My husband took the cabinet apart and painted it when we purchased it. Our girls both had lessons and then it went into storage for nearly ten years while we worked overseas. Around a year ago we returned to New Zealand, moved into our new home and the piano came out of storage. It just needs the panels that were so carefully stenciled in the 1980s to be repainted to bring it up to date. I plan to take lessons and make sure it gets plenty of use.

  27. My sister had to put her baby grand in storage so I decided to try it out for awhile in my home since my son was taking piano lessons at the time. While I loved having it, I realized you really need the space for it to make it work. It engulfed my entire living room and made the open LR/DR smaller. Like in photo #4 above, it didn’t work in my space so back into storage it went. If I had the space, I’d take it back in a heartbeat.

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