LIVING ROOM DESIGN
Since mid-summer, I have been working on the new home of a long time friend. She recently bought a house for herself and her adorable toddler, and she was in a rare position to move into a place without any furniture. It’s a nice way to start a project for a designer. I can select furniture and finishes that will fit perfectly into the new home, but for a homeowner it can be daunting and overwhelming. I've been on both sides of the equation. In addition to empty rooms, after working and mom-ing all day she didn’t have the time or energy to work on her home. Luckily, she had the foresight to hire me before the papers were signed on the house. It enabled her to focus on the things that really matter, and left me to design a comfortable and cozy home that she and her daughter crave and deserve.
The project included an open floor plan living room, kitchen, breakfast nook, and dining. The kitchen will be getting a facelift and the walls a new paint color, but the ceramic and wood floors were staying. I’m currently working on the dining space, and the furniture is starting to be delivered for the living area. For this post I wanted to give an overview on the design for the living area.
Here are a few before photos of the room and how it looked prior to moving. Immediately I knew the wall color had to change, painting it a fresh color would go a long way to making the room appear more contemporary and youthful. Getting rid of that yellow was the single most gratifying change to the space. It changes everything, and allowed the homeowner to better visualize how the other elements would come together. I always start with a full deck of paint colors and quickly whittle my way down to the same wonderful grays and taupes I always use. They just work well in so many spaces.
I ask all of my clients to set up an inspiration board to give me a starting point with the overall look of the space. It’s good practice for them to see connections in their likes and dislikes, and helps when making decisions for the space. After reviewing, I brainstorm and find a few images that reflect their style and the direction I want to take the room. We were going for a mix of neutrals, as kid friendly as possible (we took a few risks on things we just couldn’t pass up), and with splashes of smoky blue. The color palette was derived from the abstract artwork going above the media unit.
Deciding on a sectional to ground the space was by far the most difficult part. Above are a few of the pieces we considered during the hunt. When you have an idea in your head of what you want, sometimes it can be very difficult to locate that specific piece. Budgets, fabric selections, sizes, configuration, and comfort are all deciding factors, and we had a hard time locating a sectional that ticked all of the boxes. We went back and forth for weeks, finally settling on the Blake Sectional from West Elm, which happened to be my original choice. Once it was selected the rest of the space seemed to fall into place.
Just like any other project, it's the accessories and artwork that bring in the personality. Deciding on a large piece of art early on in the process dictated the color scheme for the room, and helped to select the paint color. I use this artist often, and she had a great inventory of affordable prints. I pulled the light peachy pink from the print and found a Moroccan pouf for the floor, to be used as foot rest or seat for her daughter. In addition to providing reading light, this shell lamp has a pretty sheen and texture while incorporating some of the blue and metallic tones found elsewhere in the room. The affordable polka dot pillow adds a little pattern and shine to the sofa. We tried to incorporate non-precious pieces that if destroyed by a toddler wouldn't completely devastate mom.
No project is without problems, and the theme of this space seems to be "Backorder or Out of Stock." As soon as a piece was selected and decided upon, it would go out of stock. We learned to order quickly, and order more than you need then return the extras. Where we missed opportunities, I was able to source something similar from another retailer.
We have changed a few pieces since this stage of the design, but the overall look and feeling are the same. It’s a space where she can lounge with her daughter, entertain friends, and create a life for herself. It’s so great to have a client who has complete trust in you as a designer, and let me run away with a few ideas. It’s also a lot of pressure and involves a good bit of second-guessing, but it always works out in the end. Overall, I love this final design and I’m crazy excited to see everything delivered and installed. I'll update soon with progress on this project and the final photos of the living room.