Okay. All that know me know that I love love love interior design. It, like fashion design, has a science, but allows for individuality in how it is presented and combined to create a look.
This transitional room, traditional with contemporary elements, may not be one of my favorites, but I would like to point out why this room was arranged as it is and remains easy on the eye, although there are different patterns and textures. By the way, this is a room designed by Elaine Griffin. You may also view her portfolio at www.elainegriffin.com/portfolio.html.
First things first, I look at color — the palette; it is what most of us are attracted to and see first.
This room uses sooooo many neutrals, earth tones (brown, orange, olive-green, beige, tan, gold, mahogany). When we are talking design, many designers deem a neutral color one that can be combined with more than any one color of the color wheel. I use this methodology in how I dress day-to-day. Think about it. You can pair navy, olive-green, brown, beige, black, and gray with any other color on the color wheel and you will have built a palette (of course you will need to consider the saturation of colors, but nonetheless it is a palette).
Oh…do not fret about the color of the accessories. Accessories follow their own rules.
I have been wanting to take the color wheel in the Home Depot Paint Department for years. I guess that would not be Good Wife behavior. ; ) However, someone else…
If you would like to, you could say this room consist of all brown with the exception of orange and olive-green. This leads back to my point about saturation. In having a monochromatic palette to begin, Griffin was able to go back in and add color to make the room a tad bit unexpected. The walls are beige. The sofa is beige, quite similar to the wall color, but a tad bit lighter. Also, the lamps are lighter than the sofa. Notice the carpet is darker than the wall, sofa, and lamp, but they are all in the same color family.
The furniture is arranged for conversation. This is to be a mingling room. Why? All seating faces others in the room. You can view and talk to anyone sitting. Whatever the focal point of your room is the seating will be directed toward it. In movie theaters everyone faces the screen, so if you would like people to be social, direct the seating toward one another instead of a TV or random item.
Most of the pieces are bulky. Look at the sofa, chairs, and coffee table. Although you notice their size after reviewing them, the room does not feel bogged down with furniture. Aha moment…there is trick here! The sofa, the largest piece of seating, is light in color and close to the wall color. Therefore it recesses and blends. The patterned chairs, closest to whomever took the picture and probably where you would enter the room, open the room. Imagine those chairs had arms. You would not see the bottom of the sofa, nor would you see the top of the coffee table. Lastly, you would have to walk all the way around just to sit in them.
The color and shape of the coffee table was a great choice in that the sofa and chairs are all round; none of them are modern and sleek with clean lines. So the coffee table is square and dark brown, which allows the coffee table color to ground the room.
I like the idea of the lighter (by lighter I mean in color, size, and bulk) side tables, since all the other furniture is bulky. Had they been dark in color like the coffee table, the room would feel overcrowded, but they almost disappear with their thin brass frame. This also goes for the white, what looks like a wicker basket, that is being used between the olive-green chairs. However, I disagree with their scale. Imagine having to reach over the arm of that sofa to put something down. You would not be able to see it, unless you leaned over before picking it up. With the basket, you would be afraid something fell off of it. Sigh.
I consider accessories anything that is not furniture. I am throwing everything else in the room in this section.
Because none of her furniture is a set she adds symmetry and consistency by using identical lamps and tables. All lamp shades are white for consistency, since there are several patterns and existing colors.
I can not see the picture on the wall because of the glare, but I am sure that it is also neutral.
The striped window covering has a bit of pop with what looks like an orange and gold but remain sophisticated because they are striped. The window panels, the vertical window hangings, like the sofa blend and recesses into the wall making the striped window covering take center stage. The orange is the pop. The gold is the neutral.
Flowers and other table accessories
The flowers are a POW in the earth tone color scheme because they are red and yellow, energetic colors. The blue, if you put your finger over the flowers, very much goes. Literally, the blue is a tiny bit of surprise. Had it been navy, it would have disappeared. If you are on the safe ones, you would have used the same color pillows, which is okay, but add surprise someone like the flowers and the blue.
Misch’s quick tips/rules on decorating Living Spaces
- STAY AWAY from all black unless it is a theater room, even then you can use burgundy/wine and black. Nothing says blah and boredom better than all black.
- Determine the purpose of your room. Then, arrange furniture.
- Make sure it fits in your door frame. If you can’t bring it in the house, there is no point. Measure!
- Pay attention to scale. Do not buy something that is too big or too small. Measure!
- Start with a monochromatic color scheme, if this is your first time out. Any color! Just make sure they are all in the same color family. I guarantee great results. Take a look at the color wheel above for help.
- Afraid of color? Add small amounts of pizzazz with the opposite color of your color palette using the color wheel.
- Take window coverings up to the ceiling; they make the room look taller.
- Spend more money on furniture that you would like to transition into a house. Well, then it should be comfortable and user-friendly. If you would leave it behind, go cheap.
- STAY AWAY from saturated colors for walls. Yes, that True Blue looks great on a swatch, but your room will look like a daycare, once it’s on the walls. Always choose a color with some gray in it to make it sophisticated. Make it a blue-gray or a slate-gray
10. Do not be so matchy matchy. Allow your side tables to match, but choose a different material for your coffee table. Choose two matching chairs that are unlike the couch. Do not buy the accessory set; make your own with things you love.
11. Mix patterns on fabric and the type of fabric. I am going to say at most 3 to begin, until you are comfortable. Make sure they are all within the same color family. Mix a large print with a subtle weave like linen. Then, go for a bold stripe.
Have to stick this in here, although it make my list uneven…
12. Only buy what you LOVE.