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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Castle Consultation: A Great Room with Potential

Jennifer asked for my help decorating her great room, and I was only too delighted to offer my opinions! (I have lots of them, so I am always happy to share.) Her great room is an "L" shape, with a living area on the left and a dining area on the right. She needed help tying the areas together, and deciding on the rest of the furniture, curtains, etc.

Here is what her room looks like currently:

It's a huge room, with tons of space, and isn't that builtin bookshelf awesome?

Jennifer's mother is a muralist, and she wanted her to do a mural of a tree in the dining room. She also wanted to go with taupes and ice blue, and has a glamorous, traditional style. I tried to keep all those things in mind as I designed an inspiration board that would help her pull this room together. Here is what I came up with.

I'm so in love with all the pieces we'll be bringing into this room. I started off finding the right curtains for this space. These striped curtains (1) have all the colors we'll be using; light, icy blue, crisp white, and different shades of taupe. Jennifer should take these panels home (or ones like it) and then, once in the room, match a paint swatch to the lightest taupe shade in the curtains for the wall color. Using one wall color throughout the space will help unify the two areas and make the whole area feel bigger and lighter. Oh and Jennifer should order 6 of the panels, one for either side of the three windows in the living area.

Next up is furniture layout. We'll be moving the sofa to be centered between the two floor to ceiling windows on the left side of the room, but we'll sneak this sleek little sofa table (2) behind the sofa, up against the wall. The deep espresso finish will blend with the chocolate leather sofa, and it will keep the sofa from feeling like it has been shoved up against a wall. These fantastic art panels (3) and (3) should be hung on the sofa wall, in espresso frames, centered over the middle of the table. They have a slightly warmer shade of blue in them, which will help this room to not end up feeling too cold and sterile. Below them, on the sofa table, we'll put two of these crystal lamps (4) for plenty of lighting and a little bit of bling that will echo the stunning chandelier we're putting in the dining room. These ones are tres expensivo, but there are great knockoffs everywhere from Big Lots to the Christmas Tree Shops. Jennifer can keep the crisp white shades, or swap them out for icy blue ones. This funky white vase (5) will look great between the lamps, while still leaving plenty of room for drinks on the sofa table.

On the opposite side of the room, in the right corner, we'll put Jennifer's existing leather arm chair and small ottoman, with this sleek floor lamp (6) behind it for a cozy reading corner. Of course, this little area will need a place to set down drinks or a book as well, so we found this leggy little side table (7) that will fit in perfectly. Icy blue pillows like these (8) on the chair and sofa will help break up all the dark leather, and Jennifer should look for a super soft version like these microsuede ones for an extra layer of luxury. We think two on the couch and one on the chair will look ducky. Oh, and for an extra layer of whimsy, add a white flower pin like this one from Etsy to the pillows.

This lovely little zebra print chair (9) will go perfectly between the leather couch and chair and it packs a solid punch of style. The soft beige colors calm down the busy pattern, and fit right in with our color scheme. Jennifer can keep the matching kidney pillow, or replace it with a blue one for another shot of color.

Jennifer's existing rug (10) has all of the perfect colors, and we think she should position it so that the longest end runs paralell to the couch, with the couch's front legs on the rug, and the legs of the small ottoman in front of the chair on the rug as well. The rug will help define this seating area as a little "room within a room." This painted white coffee table (11) will echo the bookcase behind it, and the little glass panels in the top have so much style. Then the large ottoman (currently against the wall) can be moved to face the chairs on the opposite side of the rug to provide more seating without obstructing any of the view of the rest of the room.

Moving over to the dining area, here is the beautiful chandelier (12) that will add glamour and drama to this space. I am absolutely in love with this glitzy fixture. It should hang right over the table and chairs, which I recommend painting a deep espresso. This geometric rug (13) will look great beneath the table and chairs and coordinates with the living area rug without matching.

The buffet that is at the head of the room should move over to the left wall underneath the white mirror, and it will be getting a makeover with some white paint and brushed nickel hardware. We'd love to see this buffet loaded up with a collection of white vases in varying heights, finishes and shapes. Check crate and barrel and zgallerie for some neat options.

The dining area needs a focal point, and we aim to please! Jennifer wanted a mural like this(14) in this area, and we think it would look great on the dining area wall between the two smaller windows. Jennifer should paint a block of icy blue (matched to the curtains in the living area) that fills the space between the windows (beginning and ending where the window's tops and sills are) and Jennifer's mom can then paint the mural of the tree in a deep chocolate color. We wouldn't want curtains to steal any of the attention from this awesome mural, so instead of the striped ones in the living area, we suggest these natural toned ones (15). But, Jennifer should only get one panel for each window, and then tie them back towards the corners to highlight the mural.

The leggy table on the right of the dining area will also get made over with some espresso paint, and I suggest swapping out the color photographs in the frames above the table with black and white ones for continuity and to make the pictures look more like art.

But what about the builtin bookcase, you ask? Well, I suggest painting the back panels an icy blue, or covering the back panels with a cool blue wallpaper. Either way, Jennifer should load up those shelves with books and accessories. Each shelf should be filled about halfway with hardcover books like these (16), some upright and others stacked horzontally. She can hit up book sales, library sales and garage sales for an assortment of books in blues, tans and browns. A few chunky white candlesticks will liven things up especially when paired with pale blue candles. She has a set of mirrors that will look great interspersed on these shelves, along with some black and white photographs in espresso frames, and a few of these succulents (17) in white pots. These are faux, but Jennifer can pick up a bunch of real ones if she prefers. Then, she should mount a few larger (8x10 or so) pictures directly onto the front of the shelves for some added interest.

For the crowning touch, Jennifer can place this round counter height table (18) in the center of the two areas (closest to the camera) with a neutral colored round rug (about 5ft wide) beneath it. The decorations on this table can change with the seasons, with a large bowl with decorative balls inside, a tall glass vase with lavish flowers, or a collection of pillar candles on a round platter for the holidays. It will lend a luxurious hotel-like atmosphere to the whole space.

So there you have it, a luxurious, glamorous room with plenty of style and lots of light and airy accessories. What do you think?


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