Mini Makeover: Drama for Jennifer
Jul 15, 2011
Jennifer writes from Texas:
"We moved into our house three years ago and have paid considerable attention to the downstairs, but nothing within our bedroom area (nails in the wall are from previous owner..ha!!). All furniture was purchased for our previous home, but definitely do not want to spend any additional money on large furniture pieces. We would like to get a modern/trendy, maybe lounge-like look.. a look that is a dramatic color splash. We dislike the large traditional shutters, but don't want to tear them out and lose their value. Would love to hear your ideas." —Jennifer
Here's what Jennifer's room looks like now. It has a lot of unrealized potential.
This is a little vestibule leading to the bedroom. I love this feature. Transition spaces are important, and luxurious. It also makes a nice, defined space to make a seriously dramatic statement.
The simple style of Jennifer's furniture is adaptable and fits the look she wants. There's no need to replace it, but I do have some ideas for mixing up the matched look a bit.
There's plenty of space to work with! This room is huge.
Along the other side is a wall that we can make more interesting. The angles at the ceiling and the slight inset are architectural features that should be emphasized.
The Dwelement Mini Makeover
Jennifer, this space has tons of potential! You have a lot of space, a pleasing layout, plenty of light, and some interesting architectural features. Here's how I would make the most of it all.
- The positioning of your current furniture is good. Your space challenges are mainly in filling the space and making it feel warmer.
- You could make the space near the shuttered doors more functional by turning it into a mini-library. Install glass shelves on either side of the doors. Because the window is so close to the corner on the right side, stick with shelves that have an open design on the sides, either etagére-type freestanding shelves with open metal sides or wall-mounted shelves. Glass shelves will look light and allow light to flow past.
- Add a floor lamp next to the chaise to make it a more inviting place to sit and read. Your George Kovacs Needle Lamps have a coordinating floor lamp, available here. Matching would work, or you can mix things up a bit with more of a statement lamp. Try fitting an inexpensive discount-store floor lamp with a high-quality deep red shade for a nice ambient glow.
- Consider adding a storage piece or two. (Not because you appear to have a lot of stuff to store, but because you could use a piece of unmatched furniture in the space to add character amongst the set you already have.) I would suggest a tall bureau between the bathroom and entrance doors. Don't be afraid to choose something very different from your existing furniture. Try a simple but curvy vintage wooden bureau painted in a bold color like Rookwood Red (SW2802), gloss finish. The stylistic and color contrast will be surprising and artful.
- Consider moving the matching bench to another room (or maybe your bath?) and replacing it with a longer upholstered piece to add softness, large scale, and color. Here's one that would add a contrasty accent and some texture and softness, the Sheldon Cocktail Ottoman. Another option would be a pair of slim upholstered ottomans.
- You asked for a "dramatic color splash." That tells me you aren't afraid of assertive color selections.
- Homeowners often associate a dramatic look with bright colors. However, choosing colors that are too saturated usually results in a look that's juvenile, overwhelming, and unsettling. To get drama, color, and sophistication, stick with rich but subdued hues and an analogous palette. (Analogous palettes are composed of hues that neighbor each other on the color wheel, such as purple and red or green and blue.) This palette uses a neutralized purple, a rich red, and a warm, dark neutral to balance. The overall effect is warm because your existing flooring has a warm color. Plus, I can tell from your choices that you lean toward a rich, warm color style.
- Paint the main walls of the room in Sherwin-Williams Stunning Shade (SW7082), flat finish. This grayish plum is dark enough to stand up to your very dark furniture, and there's plenty of light in the room to keep it looking open.
- Paint the trim (doors, baseboards, crown, and shutters) Black Fox (SW7020), semi-gloss finish. I know, you aren't going to paint the trim in the rest of the house. But it's fine to treat an enclosed, private space differently, and you'll achieve the dramatic look you want. If Black Fox is too intense, consider a lighter warm gray like Dovetail (SW7018).
- The inset area around the French doors can be emphasized in a subtle way. You don't want to turn it into a focal point, but shifting the wall color will bring it out a bit. Try painting the walls Black Fox, so that it creates a full wall of dark color to make a perfect backdrop for a large horizontal painting, object, or fabric wall-hanging. Try a long piece of interesting vintage fabric folded simply over a rod. Kimono silks are good for this. Find a variety at Etsy.com.
- The "vestibule" needs its own treatment. It's such a unique space, and it sets the tone for the whole suite. Go with a seriously dark plum: Darkroom (SW7083) on the walls in this small room. To maintain contrast for your sculpture in the niche and to tie with the main room, paint the inside of the niche the lighter color, Stunning Shade. Or make a bigger impact with a pewter-toned metallic paint. Make sure it isn't too shiny. You can tone it down by mixing it with a bit of the flat wall paint.
- Don't forget the fifth wall: the ceiling. Leaving it white in this room would be a mistake. My favorite way to create a cocoon-like effect in a bedroom is to paint the ceiling a couple shades lighter than the walls. In this case: Ponder (SW 7079).
- Watch for your extra-large paint swatches in the mail… it's a free service with your Mini Makeover, since computer monitors are not to be trusted with color. :)
Other Recommendations and ideas
- You asked about the wooden blinds. They are a more traditional treatment, especially in white, but you might be surprised how they fit in once you paint. Another option, if you really can't live with them, is to remove and store them, then replace with sleeker treatments like roller shades in a rich fabric. I don't think that drapes will necessarily enhance this room because you like a cleaner style, and there's not a lot of space at the sides of your windows. I would keep them bare and let the light in.
- A layered area rug will bring in some bold style and help define the center area of the room. Try placing an 8'x10' or larger rug tucked under the end of the bed and reaching to the media stand. The space plan above shows the Spectrum Diamond Rug in Plum. It has a clean geometric design that will help bridge your modern style and the more traditional elements in the room.
- You can bring in a lot of interest with new bedding. It doesn't necessarily have to match your new color scheme, it just has to blend. Shown above is Calvin Klein's Smoke Flower Collection, which includes a variety of patterns and accessories to mix and match.
- Install a recessed light inside the niche to light your sculpture.
- Hang an oversized (really big!) black-and-white photo or abstract painting above the bed. Your headboard is so simple that this wall can handle something very eye-catching. Here's an option I love (22 Hands by James Way, 54"x66", through Z Gallerie), but take your time and find something that speaks to you. Check out local artists and galleries. If drama is what you want, choose something unexpected… like a big horse in a bedroom.
This room is a blank canvas, Jennifer. Have fun making it more personal and exciting! Don't forget to send me "after" photos… when you do, you get $25 off your next Dwelement service. Enjoy your space! —Diane
Want your own Mini Makeover? If you can describe your design challenge in a few sentences and a few photographs, I can design a plan that will give you the inspiration you need to refresh your room. Even if you don't want to buy new furniture! Mini Makeovers are $95 and delivered here on the blog, Room for Inspiration. All Dwelement e-decorating services come with 14 days of unlimited email consultation about the plan after delivery. Curious? Just email me. There's never an obligation.
TAGS: master bedroom design decorating plans budget design plan colorful edecorating e-decorating edecor affordable decorating plans
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Color Love: Kitchen Cabinets in Surprising Colors
May 27, 2011
Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Maybe you're celebrating in your kitchen, and maybe it could use a little festive makeover. One of the fastest and cheapest ways to update a kitchen is to paint the cabinetry. Most people who get past the old adage that "you can't paint wood" choose white or off-white. It's crisp, clean, and classic. It's also safe, which is smart if you're planning to sell within a few years. But if you really want to live in this kitchen and love every minute of it, why not express your personality with an unconventional color on the cabinets?
Here are a few photos to inspire you to go for it! In ROYGBIV order. :)
Red is energizing and in this distressed finish creates a vibrant country feel that works nicely with the oak flooring. Photo: twiceremembered.blogspot.com
Orange cabinets? Yes, in small doses. Amid the white walls and dark grey flooring, it's just enough of a pop of personality. Photo: Kearch.
This soft buttercup yellow creates a welcoming glow in a narrow but well lit galley kitchen. Note the color extending halfway up the walls to create an enveloping effect. Photo: Living Etc.
Paint it like you mean it! Leaf green works with white subway tile, natural wood tones, and a wallpaper effect on the ceiling. Photo: R. Lemermeyer for Canadian House & Home.
Grey-green is a more subtle option that looks fabulous with stainless steel and marble. Check out the stainless mosaic backsplash. Natural textures like the raw wood on the ceiling and sisal rug create an interesting counterpoint. Photo: S. Upton for House Beautiful.
Turquoise base cabinets paired with white up top is a way to enjoy color without totally committing. Accessories displayed in open cabinetry above (hint: just take the doors off) carry the palette throughout the space. Photo: leannhuntington.blogspot.com
Especially when cabinets are few, a powerful color can have just the right amount of impact. Deep grey-blue works nicely in this modern kitchen with a commercial feel. Photo: L. Moss for House Beautiful.
Indigo. You'd have to love it in this kitchen, but what a gutsy move. Navy would be a more manageabe choice. Photo: Q. Bacon for House Beautiful.
This purple-based grey has a very soothing effect in a mostly white kitchen. Photo: M. Burstyn for Canadian House & Home.
French grey sets the tone for a sophisticated monochromatic look. Photo: E. McDermott for House Beautiful.
Black is an adaptable choice. It works with modern, traditional, rustic, and in this case, a French country design. A sage green ceiling keeps the room from feeling too serious. Photo: Country Living.
Remember, you aren't limited to the millions of colors in the rainbow, either. Metallics can create an interesting effect, too. Check out how Theresa used them to fine effect in her kitchen.
How to Choose a Paint Color for Kitchen Cabinets
Choosing the right shade of paint is usually the most difficult part of the any painting project. First consider which elements of the kitchen cannot change. That might be countertops, flooring, backsplash, or appliances. Take a look at those permanent colors and choose a color for your cabinets that either blends or pleasantly contrasts. Do not ignore the colors you're stuck with, even if you hate them. The idea is to have a harmonious palette for the whole room. It can be overwhelming, for sure. If you don't have a natural eye for color or you just can't make a decision from dozens of options, I can help. I offer in-home and online color consultations for $75 first room, $30 per additional room in the same house. It's fast and simple, and my color plan is based on your style and preferences. Want more info? Just email me. —Diane
TAGS: painting kitchen cabinets how to choose color for cabinetry color consultation consultant online traverse city leelanau northern michigan
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Inspired Question: How do I mix whites?
May 12, 2011
Kat recently sent this Inspired Question:
I am redesigning my vaulted family room with white, going for a bright, soft, airy look. I Because I have little kids, I am going to make the fresh white work with light and dark brown upholstered furniture. I have picked a white: West Highland White SW7566 by Sherwin Williams. My question is, how do I mix whites? I have heard that one should paint trim a different shade of white. The trim, two built-in bookcases flanking a brick fireplace, and an iron banister will all be white. Should I use one white or two shades (or more)? In the future I will be adding some white end tables and other pieces. How can you tell if whites "match"?
Thank you for your help,
How to Decorate with Multiple Shades of White
Sounds like you've heard a few decorating "rules." Generally, rules can make the decorating process simpler, but the results may not be as personal and creative as they might have been without. It's a good idea to make choices that work for you and express your style, but if you don't have a natural eye for design, that can be tricky.
In your case, because you want to really make a statement with white and you'll be applying it to so many pieces and surfaces, I'd recommend a multi-layered approach using several shades of white. This will make the process easier for you because you won't have to find perfect matches, and it will result in a room that feels assembled rather than matched. It will have depth that you wouldn't see in a matched white space.
Start with the color you've already chosen for the walls, SW West Highland White. Determining whether it's a warm or a cool white will send you in the right direction for your other shades. This is a warm white with slightly yellowish undertones. For a balanced look you should avoid whites that have bluish undertones. Choose a warm white that's a bit lighter for the ceiling, and lighter yet for the trim. Use the same principle for furniture and accessories, choosing neutral or warm whites. And don't be afraid to mix in a little pale beige or taupe to create a "color bridge" of sorts with your brown upholstery.
Texture and sheen variations are very important in monochromatic rooms. Introduce texture with wood, fabrics, rugs, accessories. Use a satin finish for the wall paint juxtaposed with a semi-gloss or gloss on the trim and built-ins. The brick will automatically give you texture. If you are painting it, use a gloss to bring out the textural variations.
Contrast in small doses can give the room interest and a focal point. The brown upholstery will really become a focal point when it's surrounded by white, so make sure you love it. Consider introducing another color in artwork.
So, the good news is, you don't have to worry about matching. If you need help choosing specific colors to fill out your palette, consider my eDecor Color Consultation. For the cost of a couple of gallons of paint, you know you'll get it right the first time!
Thanks for your question, Kat. —Diane
Here are a few inspirational photos of white rooms that use this multi-layered technique with white. And check out my Color Love blog post, The Return of White Walls, for more inspiration.
This gorgeous living room by designer Brooke Gianetti has plenty of texture: wood paneling, sheer drapes, a plastered finish covering a dated lava-rock hearth, crisp linen, and accessories with personality. Photo: Velvet & Linen.
This room has one shade of white on walls, ceiling, and trim, but variations show up in the furniture. Art creates contrast. Photo: decorpad.
I think I can count at least 6 different shades of white in this airy room. Pale accents like celadon and light grey stand out much more than they would with other "color competition." Photo: decorpad.
White can be interpreted loosely. Pale green-grey walls with bright white trim and toasty white ceilings are a harmonious combination in this modern living room. The natural seagrass rug, wood-plank table, and textural pillow fabric contrast with the ultra-smooth upholstery fabric. Photo: Natural Home Magazine.
Want a little design advice? If you have a single, succinct design question, send it to me with a photo. I'll answer it here on the blog! Your first question is free. Additional questions are $25 each. Just email me. —Diane
TAGS: how to decorate an all white room shades of white monochromatic decor living room sherwin williams sw west highland white 7566 color decorating advice consultation
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Look for Less: Lisa's Beachy Candle Holders
Apr 24, 2011
A while back, we saw what kind of DIY magic Lisa can work when she made this rock cairn lamp inspired by a pricey model from Viva Terra. Well, she's at it again! She loved these candleholders that I included in her eDecor Plan (download Brian & Lisa's Lakeshore Casual eDecor Plan here), but knew she could build something very similar for a lot less money.
Above: Recycled Wood Tealight Holders from Newport Nautical Decor (were $18 each, no longer available)
Here's Lisa's homemade look-alike for pennies! As you can see, Lisa's version is even a little bigger than the original. I love the colors she chose!
Lisa painted and weathered scraps of wood, then nailed them to a plywood base and used a hole saw to drill a space for a tealight in the middle. This is a perfect example of how my eDecor Plans can be adapted to your budget with a little DIY creativity. Great work, Lisa! Can't wait to see the whole room finished.
Do you need a little inspiration for your own DIY renovation? Dwelement eDecor Plans give you everything you need to execute the perfect renovation that fits your style and your needs. You'll have a complete room design plan that you can feel confident putting together as your time and budget allow. Want to get started? Just email me. There's never an obligation. —Diane
TAGS: look for less coastal beachy style candle holders tealight holders diy inspiration how to make weathered rustic wood candleholders
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Design Basics: How to Style a Fireplace Mantel
Apr 09, 2011
I get a lot of questions about styling the fireplace mantel. Often it's a source of contention for my local Room Redesign clients, and RoseAnn was no exception. We did a full Redesign on her Lake Leelanau living room in February, but one aspect of the project that really made an impact was her fireplace mantel. Here's how it looked when I showed up.
The room is spacious and tall, with a cathedral ceiling reaching a peak of about 15 feet right above the fireplace. The fireplace itself has a substantial feel with its fieldstone construction, but topping it off were some very small, delicate objects. This is a very common design mistake. So, as usual with a Room Redesign Session, we cleared all of the accessories out of the space and started with a clean slate. (No pun intended, but did you notice those gorgeous floors?) We first edited and rearranged the furniture. Then I turned my attention to accessories.
This stone mantel is strong, heavy, and rustic. It needed much more substantial decor to become the true focal point of the living room. In the adjacent foyer, a mirror was hanging horizontally. It was the right size to work proportionally with the fireplace, so I leaned it vertically on the mantel to create visual direction toward the peak of the ceiling. You can't tell from the pictures, but the frame of this mirror is plastic— which means it works better in a high position where it's harder to feel or see up close.
In the above photo you can also see the new furniture arrangement, designed to emphasize the fireplace as a focal point. We pulled two matching bookshelves from the closet and storage building to create a console of sorts behind the sofa, making it a welcoming sight from the foyer.
Next I wanted to add some warmth and help ground the mirror on the stone mantel. RoseAnn had a nice collection of three copper vessels that had been placed in front of the fire screen. I moved them to the mantel and they became much more important elements in the decor. The only thing they lacked was height. If multiple items are displayed on a mantel, there should be some height variation to create a descending line or to emphasize symmetry. In this case, I wanted a descending line, so I stacked a few beautiful books underneath the tallest copper vessel.
Now the fireplace has more presence in the room, and the copper collection works beautifully with the rustic feel of the space.
I love how these textures work together!
Here are a few basics you can apply to your own mantel design when using multiple accessories. Want some hands-on help? Just email me! I can work with what you have or recommend new pieces, in the Traverse City area or anywhere via email. —Diane
Design Basics: Tips for Arranging Multiple Items on a Fireplace Mantel
- Scale, scale, scale! This is so important. Consider your room size, ceiling height, fireplace size, mantel width. Bigger is generally better.
- Variation. Aim for a mix of materials, colors, textures, and sizes.
- Line. Stand back and squint at your arrangement. Does it look like a unified shape? If it has many ups and downs or awkward spaces, rearrange.
- Simplicity. Edit items for more impact. Fewer and larger is better than many small items.
- When in doubt, leave it out. You can't go wrong with a properly scaled painting or mirror above a fireplace. Leave it at that. A mantel is not required to be "styled" and often the best solution is simply to leave it empty.
Are you a do-it-yourselfer who feels overwhelmed by design decisions? I can help. Dwelement is a service designed for homeowners who just need design advice. You won't have to pay me to manage the project or fill your space with new things… often your existing furniture will work just fine with the right colors and space planning. Email me for a no-obligation review of your design dilemma. —Diane
TAGS: how to arrange a fireplace mantel mantle design basics tips room redesign sessions grand traverse city leelanau benzie
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