Jennifer and her husband Derick’s living room is bursting with posh potential. Here’s her letter:
My husband and I need your help. Our living room/formal dining room is dark and the fireplace wall feels WAY too busy with the dark brick, white mantel/tan wall and the cluttered, uneven bookshelves. There is a silly window in the wall behind the painting on the top left shelf that has to be covered up in some way (it’s about the size of the painting that is covering it). Things that stay: the big painting (our inspiration), the buffet table, the dining table (though I’ve thought about swapping the chairs for something creamy and modern), the loveseat, the curtains, the sconces. Everything else can go. My husband would like the room to feel “stylish, grown up and cohesive.” I would like the room to feel like a boutique hotel lobby that you could actually live in. Our priorities are getting more seating in front of the fireplace, accent lighting, and the fireplace wall. We’re willing to spend a little more for pieces with longevity. We like equal parts contemporary, mid-century modern, and traditional. Oh and we’d like a new wall color. We like chocolate, orange, citron green, teal, & red. Thanks for your help! -Jen & Derick
This space is primed for a major makeover. Here’s the plan:
And now for the mood board breakdown.
1. We’ll bring in some deep chocolate furnishings (to match the existing table and buffet) along with some softer mocha and cream tones to lighten things up. We’ll also add some punchy pops of orange and teal in the accessories since they tickle Jennifer and Derick’s fancy (and can be found in their inspiration art as well as their other nearby rooms). As for the walls, we’d love to see them get a splash of soft sophisticated teal (Benjamin Moore’s Bali) to create that posh hotel-chic feeling in a snap (and complement the orange curtains to no end). Then painting the bricks and the mantel of the fireplace a sleek and clean white tone (BM’s Decorators White) will draw attention away from the unbalanced bookcases (which will also get a coat of teal paint so they blend in seamlessly with the rest of the room).
And when it comes to the furniture arrangement, Jennifer requested that the loveseat stay but also mentioned that she wanted more seating by the fireplace (so they can really live in this room instead of use it sparingly on holidays). We thought bringing in a proper sofa to face the fireplace while the loveseat is placed on the right wall as you face the fireplace (creating an L-shaped arrangement) was the way to go. Of course this will crowd that gorgeous buffet, so we’d like to see it placed on the opposite wall (where the green painted hutch currently resides) while the lovely inspiration art is hung on the wall where the buffet once was.
2. Since Jennifer and Derick listed two of their favorite colors as orange (which is already in those lovely curtains) and teal (which is in their inspiration art for the room), we thought bringing in some bright teal and orange accessories (lacquered boxes, trays, , candle holders, etc) would be one way to add unified style to the built-in bookcases (adding them between stacks of books and even potted plants and other accents). We also agree that some of the shelves could be removed to create a more unified and balanced look (and because the art in the top left corner is hiding an odd little window, making all the shelves about that far apart will really go a long way. Ideally, the shelves on both sides would fall on the same horizontal line, so doing a little minor construction to create three shelves on either side of the fireplace above the base cabinets (at the same exact height) would draw attention away from the fact that one side of the built-ins is higher than the other.
As for the base cabinets on the right, we like the concealed look (and the added function) that the doors add to that side of the fireplace so we’d love to see similar cabinet doors added to the other side of the lower built-ins for a more unified and appealing look. Of course for extra credit, hiring a handyman to punch out the top of the bookcase on the left so it matches the one on the right would really be the icing on the cake (if the built-ins are every symmetrical Jennifer and Derick could accent them with wallpaper or contrasting paint or even patterned paper for even more interest on that fireplace wall).
3. With soft and sophisticated teal walls and a crisp white fireplace mantel and brick surround, the entire room will instantly feel lighter, brighter and more inviting- but hanging this luxe and lovely above the fireplace will really add soft curves and eclectic texture for a room that feels collected over time and far from matchy-matchy. The round shape will also make the uneven tops of those built-ins a lot less obvious than a square or rectangular piece would. Score.
4. Although the curtains are a rich burnt orange, bringing in some pops of the vibrant orange that can be seen in the nearby kitchen will really add energy and life to the room. These vibrant will look fab on the loveseat as well as the sofa, and the circular pattern in the fabric will add a bit of softness and geometric flair to the entire room (for just $14.95 each!).
5. We love from Room & Board which has classic lines and luxurious details. And although we’ve shown it above in cream (aka: “bone”- which would complement the loveseat and keep things light and airy) something a bit deeper in color might be a little more functional (so going for the “Otter” fabric could be just the thing). Jennifer and Derick might not be sold on our L shaped seating arrangement idea with the loveseat parallel to the right wall and the new sofa facing the fireplace, but it’s amazing how much more use a full sofa can lend to a room- and a rug and a side table will help ground the entire arrangement so it looks integrated and inviting.
6. We also agreed that Jennifer could definitely replace her dark dining chairs for an instantly lighter and more layered-chic look. Two of at the head of the table would be super fabulous (they have striking lines, which mimic the curves in her existing loveseat, and will really play well with the soft teal walls and the punchy splashes of teal in the accessories).
7. This gorgeous feels substantial yet sleek all at once, and it will really add a bit of natural, earthy, and eclectic appeal to balance out many of the other more square and modern items in the space. We’d love to see it connecting our little L-shaped seating area (between the sofa and the loveseat which will be at a perpendicular angle). And you can’t complain about the fact that it’s $150 off!
8. For more of that eclectic collected over time vibe, these will look just gorgeous at the dining table with the steel blue accent chairs at either end of the table. The circular detail on the back will also subtly mimic everything from the shape on the pillows and the sunburst mirror to the round side table in the seating area… and they just happen to be on sale too!
9. Words can’t describe our love affair with . A 6′ x 9′ one will be perfect for Jennifer and Derick’s room because it will instantly ground the seating area and make sense of our layout while adding soft hotel-chic tones to the space and the feeling of luxury and comfort underfoot. The subtle striped effect also makes it lower maintenance (patterns hide stains) and all the tones in the rug will add such a lovely texture to the entire space. Instant ambiance, I tell ya. Oh and the existing leather ottoman would look great in the middle of the rug to further ground the seating area and break up the lighter tones in the rug and the loveseat for a layered and cohesive effect.
10. We’d love to see two of on either side of the gorgeous existing dark wood buffet which will move to the opposite wall. Two statement lamps on either side of a buffet always add interest and style, and two of these babies (in such a juicy and vibrant tone) will really make things feel fresh and fun.
So there you have it. A fresh and welcoming living/dining room full of function as well as form. We can’t wait to see what you guys think- especially you Jennifer and Derick!
Update: We sadly can no longer find the time to take on client commissioned mood boards (we now whip up general inspiration boards instead) but if we ever reinstate them we’ll make a big announcement!