Kim, one of my best girlfriends from college (Go Wolfpack!), recently asked me to help give her some ideas to decorate her townhome in Raleigh, NC. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity to put together my first design moodboard and offer my suggestions. So, here goes...
Kim asked me to use the furniture she already has, so I mainly needed to add decor and address the layout. My design takes her modern furniture and attempts to cozy it up a bit by adding casual, relaxing decor yet still keeping her style in mind. Here are the elements in the moodboard:
1 - The first thing I noticed in this room is that the window treatments really needed a boost to add drama to the room and to draw the eye to the windows. I found these Imperial Stripe Grommet Curtains at World Market for only $34.99 per panel. I recommend getting the Extra Long length (96") and moving the curtain rod up as high as possible above the window while still making sure the curtains fall all the way to the floor. It never hurts to get 2 panels for each side of the window to really make the panels as full as possible. I would also love to see the curtain hardware upgraded to something a little more substantial like this Allen + Roth Bronze Window Hardware from Lowe's. Make sure to mount the hardware so that the curtains can hang mostly outside the window, making the windows look as large as possible.
2 - This Wall-Mount Votive Holder from Pottery Barn is a great choice for above the couch because it helps cover the large wall but is a low price, only $119. I searched and searched for all types of wall decor and this piece gives you the biggest bang for the buck. It's hard to find stylish wall decor of this size at this price. Plus, I like how the circle design is more simple than most iron wall plaques, keeping the look casual despite the candles. I would suggest using battery-operated votives like these from Target to add the ambience without any worries.
3 - I love this Glass Table Lamp from World Market, and at only $69, I might have to get one for myself! This will look perfect on the end table next to the couch, just place one of these round placemats in cream underneath the lamp to add protection and style. While you are at it, get an extra set of the placemats and use them on the dining table as well.
4 - Baskets are one of those decor items that can really add a cozy feel to any room. In this case, I would love to see several of these Tray Baskets hanging on the wall above the TV. It would really soften the look of the TV and also fill up the big empty wall space for a low price. For $71.96, you get a set of 4 of these baskets at Target. To keep it simple, I would just line these up horizontally about 18" above the TV and space them out equally so that they are slightly wider than the TV unit. If you like the look, you can always add more basket trays later - just stick with similar color baskets or similar shape baskets - this will prevent the basket collage from being too much of a distraction when watching your favorite shows. :)
5 - These Button Pillow Covers from Pottery Barn are just plain cute. You'll need 2 of them in Chive Green to add some color and comfort to the white couch and leather chair. I'd also love to see one of these Jute Braid or Chenille pillows in Ivory. You really can't go wrong with Pottery Barn pillows!
6 - This Floral Leaves Pillow from Pier1 Imports fits perfectly with the casual, modern look I was wanting to acheive. Plus, it's on sale right now for only $19.50. Even just one of these can add the color and interest you need to give this room some style.
7 - One of my biggest challenges in this space is what to do with that archway that is currently painted green by the dining area. So, after a lot of contemplation, I think the best thing to do is to use the space that is gained from that slight inset in the wall. With this Holman Shelf system from Pottery Barn, you can really utilize that space and add some character to the dining space. I know they sell these type of shelves all over the place, so you might be tempted to find something cheaper, but I love how these have a built in level to make hanging a cinch. Plus, these are solid enough to hold lots of decor without worrying - they hold up to 70 lbs. I don't have measurements, but I think one 4-foot espresso shelf for $85 should do the trick. Note: You can always add another shelf later to make it look longer, these shelves are completely flexible in that way!
The key to these shelves is the ledge that allows you to lean things against the wall withouth sliding off the shelf. So, I would love to see the mirror that is currently above the couch placed casually, slightly off-center, on this ledge and leaning against the wall. Then take the yellow vases that are scattered around the room, and possibly one of the candles from the dining table, and place them randomly along the ledge (take out anything that is currently in the vases, all you need is the vase itself or it would get too busy). Then over time, you can add other decor items in the same tones of silver, yellow, and maybe cream. Just keep it casual by not being too symmetrical about it. As long as you stick with the same color tones, it will look "put together" without being too stuffy.
8 - The primary element for this entire space and the inspriation for the color pallette is the Luca Ivory Tufted Rug at World Market for an amazingly low price of $279 for a 6' x 9'. This rug will give the space tons of character and will help define the living area.
9 - Lastly, I needed something more to finish out the TV area, and to provide some much needed storage. This Canvas Storage Trunk will look achieve both those needs by placing one on each side of the TV stand. At $59 each, these won't last long on Target.com!! For more storage, utilize the shelf on the coffee and side tables by adding some of these lidded storage baskets from Crate and Barrel and these green storage boxes from Ikea. Not only will it keep things neat and clutter-free, it will look pretty to see these through the glass table tops.
OK, now that we've discussed the moodboard items, let's move on to paint color and layout...
Paint is always tough, especially when you are ridiculously indecisive like me. So, why not make your life easier by narrowing down the huge selection of colors to the Pottery Barn Collection of Benjamin Moore Paint? In most cases, you can find something from their pre-selected colors, or at least get inspiration to help get you in the right direction. I knew for this room I wanted to go with something neutral to keep the cozy, calm, casual, and inviting look. Yet, it had to be darker than what is currently there in order to provide contrast to the couch and to provide a nice back-drop for all the wall decor that will be added.
And the choice is.... Meditation (AF-395)! This color stood out to me because it acheived everything I stated above without being too dark. Plus I like how it has more of a grey/blue undertone, so you avoid looking to "yellow-ey". Here is one of the PB inspiration rooms that has been painted with this color, doesn't it make you just want to cuddle up with a blanket and read a book?
So, we still have to address the archway, which is currently painted in green. I would stick with the Meditation paint color so that the room feels less choppy, but I would add an extra element to give that area some more texture. Try covering the wall of the archway with this paintable wallpaper in the subtle Raffia design before you paint!
For the most part, the current layout works for this space. I just have a couple minor changes that may help...
First, move the shelf to the back corner of the dining area and angle it towards the center. Then fill it with dinner plates, wine glasses, and natural decor. Stick with a simple, neutral color scheme like Crate & Barrel does with this inpiration photo:
Next, try shifting the chaise so that it is parrallel with the window, making it appear almost as a window seat. Then lean a couple pillows against the window to complete the look.
I'd also see if you can shift the leather chair and ottoman forward and over to the right slightly to seperate it a bit more from the dining area. Be sure to put a couple inches of space between the ottoman and chair to give it the right look.
Finally, this is an idea you'll have to test to see if it looks right, but I think you can use that white column as a side table on the right side of your couch. It could be a great spot to set a drink for the person sitting on that side of the couch. To make room, remove the plant in that corner and shift the lamp more towards the corner.
Just when you thought I was done, I have a few final tips that didn't really fit into any of the above sections. Yes, I know you are probably thinking, enough already! But, grab another cup of coffee and stick with me, it will be worth it!
- Remove and discard all fake plants and add a couple succulents instead. Succulents, as I mentioned in my last post, are the perfect low maintenance plant for decorating. And I just noticed that they are all over the latest Crate & Barrel catalogue, here's a great pic...
- Soften up the look of your lighting by replacing the square shade on the floor lamp with something like this Burlap Drum Shade from Ballard Designs.
- Freshen up the look of the dining table with a runner like this Linen Hemstich Runner from Pottery Barn, the circle placemats I mentioned above, and some bolder napkins in these silver napkin rings that are on sale at Pier1 Imports for only $1.88 each. Then use a simple white serving dish like this Oval Baker at Target as your centerpiece and change out the filling for the different seasons. Like use seashells in the summertime, pine cones in the fall, christmas balls during the holidays, etc.
- Finally, to keep college decor around without detracting from your new look, try something like these Wooden Picture Frames and it would be very cool to have this NC State History Paperback on the coffee table.