A blog reader e-mailed me (see “Contact” on the website) this photo from Elle Décor Magazine where the reader wanted to use some of these ideas for her vacation home. Loving green on the walls and upholstery pieces she had concerns might be too much of a good thing and what other options could she consider?
This is such a great room with many wonderful design elements…just a little tweaking is needed. Let’s begin with the “envelope” of the room which includes walls, ceiling, and flooring. Beginning with the walls there is the upper green wall in two sections and the ceiling which we are not able to see. The lower wall wainscoting and solid surface flooring are light in color/white while the upper walls and sofa are medium intensity green making the room feel a bit top-heavy …the green color visually “weighing” more than the white. The upper wall white trim piece could be removed making the upper green wall visually one piece with the lower white wainscoting in better proportion to the green wall area….and rather than a stark white paint color…a softer warmer white tone will act as a backdrop enhancing the green color tone.
It is difficult to tell if the floor is painted or has a laminated finish over it. Regardless, the bright white as currently shown is very strong plus having a shiny finish reflects not only the exterior sunlight but also the lighting in the room. If you change the floor material/color why not add an area rug with texture and additional color tones. Bringing in your favorite colors which might include terra cotta, golden colors or rich lavender/plum tones adds warmth and interest to the space.
Lighting is so important for reading and just to create mood to the room. The small end table next to the sofa might be taller with the lamp being more “artful” …adding an element of texture and surprise to the space. How about taking the green throw from the sofa and casually tossing it over a corner of the upholstered ottoman/coffee table?
Now we have a wall behind the sofa that is tall (we previously deleted the top trim piece) and ready for some wall art and creative design. Larger art pieces above the wainscoting (lower white wall trim area) will be more impactful than many small pieces. Since the wall area is quite large several pieces and sizes could be relocated here. Why not add the small art pieces currently on the green/art wall to the top layer of the “squared” wainscoting?? This acts as a transition from the larger pieces of the upper wall to the smaller sections within the wainscoting. Be certain to put pieces about the same size and scale in this location.
A client of mine asked, “Where should I put pillows in my room?” The answer is EVERYWHERE!!! Reviewing the pillow grouping on the sofa additional pattern and color could be included along with those currently on the sofa. Pillow Galleria has two wonderful selections…Animal Whimsey and Brights and Stripes would add drama and color to the space. Should these selections not be right for you, add pillows and accessories with color brights and drama that work for you!!!
Go ahead, be creative, show your inner designer!!!
Many of us are true friends of the contemporary style. The photograph above from Elle Décor shows a contemporary space softened and warmed with neutral materials and rich paint colors. Contemporary styling means clean and simple lines to the room and furnishings. Light and dark neutrals plus glass and chrome evoke this style for most of us…leaving us often with a cool feeling. This room, however, uses clean and simple lines along with warm colors in the room itself and the furnishings for a more updated description of contemporary.
The walls are paneled in a warm toned wood. As you can see by the cuts on the panel faces, each is cut to the exact same size creating a measured and connected feeling to the space. Rather than add another textural element for window coverings the same cut panel size and material is continued on the windows. When the window panels are closed a seamless and consistent look is created.
The flooring is a short nap (height) carpet with a soft wavy line design across the width. The color tone from the wall/window paneling is carried through to create a very warm and color consistent “envelope” for the room. Now with the surfaces designed in a consistent color palette, other elements can be shown attention. The ceiling continues the warm look painted a butternut color in a flat finish which absorbs the light coming from the windows.
Because the room is small, the accessories are themselves smaller in scale and not meant to be the focal point, just an enhancement to the space. Reading lamps are on the wall, the pillows on the neutral colored sofa are also of neutral patterns with just the one piece replicating the color of the ceiling in the trim. The coffee table/bench is perhaps the most visually forward of the accessories with its contemporary squared pattern of butternut and tomato red tones.
The design elements we have discussed above seem very consistent with a contemporary style. However, we might pay some attention to changes of the two chairs. The blue/gray chair nearer the window has a very high back which works well as a contemporary addition to the room. The back, however, would be equally effective if it were 6-7” shorter.
Rather than the traditional style wood frame chair, a textural selection perhaps woven leather in a lighter color and still small in scale would continue the contemporary feeling of the room.
It has often been said smaller spaces are the most difficult to design well to create a unified and cohesive feeling. So, go ahead and create a space where you would love to spend your relaxing and restful time. Enjoy the process and remember, love is in the details.
Paint is one of the least expensive ways to change the look and feel of a room. And yet it is also where people have a difficult time making decisions. Color…what color and where. And what finish…flat, eggshell, satin or high gloss.
If your wall or ceiling surfaces have “skip-trowel” or “popcorn” they will have a texture on the surface. In older homes (since the 60’s and 70’s) this texturing may contain asbestos materials and resembles “popcorn.” Removal of this may require contractors certified to remove the textured material. It might be costly but is truly worth it because underneath will be a surface that is smooth as silk.
People with a vast wall art collection may choose a neutral background for the walls and ceilings in order to showcase the beauty of the design and the colors of each piece. In this photograph from Architectural Digest (link) the owner has chosen high gloss neutral color paint for the room. As you can see a high gloss finish reflects everything below it including the flooring and lighting.
A high gloss finish will require an expert contractor who understands wall preparation work. The surface must be sanded so no ripples or surface imperfections will show when the high gloss finish is applied. High gloss finishes show every imperfection of the wall or ceiling surface.
A room with a high gloss finish also tends to look more contemporary with a little bit of a cool feeling to the room. This is because the light bounces off the surface creating a “slick and glossy” feel.
Go ahead; choose what is in your heart for your paint finishes and colors. After the correct preparation a color can be easily changed. Remember when you are creating your living space that love is in the details.