before & after: a living room to make you happy

As promised, lovely readers, here's a living room I just finished last week, and I could not be happier with how it turned out. Remember this little preview?

Well, this space started out looking not nearly so colorful or pretty. My client is a stylish, smart, successful, and very sweet single professional woman with a stressful job that keeps her there easily over 12 hours a day. Which leaves not much time for decorating. So, this typical beige boxy condo room would remain boring unless we stepped in. And so, determined not to live without color or style or art on the walls, my client enlisted my help and we got to work.

 What we started with:
{pros} big windows, a few great furniture basics
{cons} overcrowded floor plan, bland color scheme, lack of depth and interest

Because this is a condo and we couldn't paint, I knew the color would have to come from accessories. But with no strong pull in a specific color direction—and just one goal—to make a room that feels happy!—we just started shopping and found this great Anthropologie bowl. We snatched it up and had our starting point for a color scheme of coral and blue. And I won't keep you waiting for big reveal.


Fresh, pretty colors and lively, varied patterns in curtain panels, accessories, a new chair, and art bring new life, depth, and interest to the room. Removing oversized furniture cleared the way for a more balanced feel. Here's more detail on what we did.

Adding a console in dark wood provides contrast and warmth, where the old gray stand left the room feeling cold and industrial. We customized the new console with Anthropologie knobs in bold coral. White slipcovers freshen up the old seating cubes that were upholstered in a heavy cranberry chenille—not exactly working with the new fresh, fun, and light color scheme. Art hung in a random gallery style on the left balances the weight of the tv on the right, and the colors and theme play into the lighthearted, feminine mood of the new space.

The new chair adds lovely color and pattern, and its taller profile contrasts with the heights of the other pieces in the room, moving your eye around and adding interest. Adding just one furniture piece in a different shape or height, and with color and pattern in a room full of solid neutrals, can make a world of difference. The curtain panels behind the chair add more interest—they're from West Elm in a great grey chevron. I adore the subtlety of these drapes and how they let in the light. Oh, and the pop of color in the pillow. So fun!

A seat cushion, originally intended for an outdoor bench, had such a cute pattern and fit the color scheme just so; it just had to be a part of the room and fit perfectly on top of the cubes under the window to create a window seat. Notice how all the colors and patterns in the room coordinate but don't exactly match. Matching is unexciting—almost-matching is where the interest comes in.

We're still waiting on art for the big sofa wall, but in the meatime, I'm loving the layering of pillows and accessories here. Pillows are from Villa Home, Company C, and Etsy. And lest we go too far in the coral/blue direction, a punch or two of green brings everything down to earth. See the bowl that started it all on the tray? It's a perfect finishing touch. My client is so happy, and I'm so proud since this was a true collaboration with her and I sharing ideas and working together. It's so satisfying to have a room come together into a place she can enjoy and feel happy in during those rare moments at home.


Fran said...

Casey, it's beautiful!! Wow! I appreciate your breakdown of your design process. I love your picture gallery on the wall and the curtain panels. Very subtle, but the chevron detail totally makes it. The pillows and window seat are so adorable & fresh! Keep it coming!! Great job!

Erica @ Decorica said...

Looks so pulled together - I hope she loves it!!!

René said...

I really enjoyed this post. Seeing/hearing the thoughts behind the details was very helpful. And that was such a clever idea to use the cubes & add the cute cushion to tie them together. Very nice.


tenia said...

I love the cubes with the cushion - great idea! And I'm glad you explain why things the height of the chair, etc.