A Series from eHow Home
Paint is available in any colour you can imagine, but fabrics will only be available in a few.
Creating a playful and colourful room that still has a sense of glamour and laid back luxury is one of my favourite challenges. You don't always have to choose one theme over another to make a successfully unified design. This living room is a nice mix of modern and vintage with a bold navy, white and orange colour palette.
For this project, my client wanted to make a bold statement. She was selling her quaint home in the suburbs to return to life in the city and wanted an entirely new look to help mark this next chapter in her life. Gone was the shabby chic cabinetry and Spanish tiled floors from her suburban home. In its place was a new condo with expansive rooms and light flooding every nook. Our goal was to transform the existing city dwelling into a sexy pied-a-terre that was still comfortable and inviting.
How We Did It: Color
If you're starting with a blank canvas and the ability to buy most of the pieces of furniture in the room, you'll want to shop wisely! Make a list of what you need based on the layout you desire and start looking online and in magazines for pieces you love.
Since my client already knew she wanted navy and white in the design, it made selecting the colour palette pretty easy. This choice creates an instant statement, as it's half-Ralph Lauren nautical, half-modern glamour.
When working with a bold colour palette, such as this, you want to layer your colours wisely. Meaning, if you paint navy on a wall it's going to be dark, so items that go in front of that wall, like your sofa or side tables, are better suited for a lighter colour or white. If you have a dark sofa in front of a dark wall there will be no contrast. This same rule holds true for items on the wall, like frames. Contrast is key to getting the best look in a room.
This is also why choosing the colour palette for the space first is important before you go shopping, but don't paint first! Paint is available in any colour you can imagine, but fabrics will only be available in a few. So be flexible when you start the project. I chose to paint the long wall in the space in Navy, which dictated I put a lighter colour sofa in front of it. We opted for a light grey, sleek sofa for that reason. I flanked it with two white leather side tables, which provided great contrast against the navy wall. Super glam! Keep in mind where you wish to incorporate contrast in your room as you start shopping for fabrics or furniture pieces.
When selecting an accent colour for your chosen palette, I like something that is going to pop by contrasting with the two main colours of the room. It's important to look for colours that compliment the design. Contrast is good, but too much contrast can create a clashing effect. In this case, we chose an Hermes orange as the accent colour of the room. Not only did we love it, but orange goes extremely well with dark neutral colours. If you're doing a grey and white theme, lavender and mocha or even soft blue and white, orange is a great, bold accent colour. Just keep in mind a little orange goes a long way. Limit it to small accessory pieces, like vases, or one small furniture item or piece of art.
How We Did It: Furniture
When purchasing furniture, and to make the most of your budget, you'll want to invest the most on pieces that are going to be a large part of the room. For instance the sofa needs to be comfortable, but it's also a dominant piece in a living room design, so make sure the style and colour really is what you want. Don't buy a sofa simply because it's a good deal. Every piece in the room should play its role, and be the best choice you can make, especially with a dramatic colour palette like this one. Elements that I wanted to bring into this space included tufting, mirrored furniture and decorative nail heads. All those small elements bring about the "modern glamour" effect and were all elements my client loved. Once you know your objectives, it makes selecting small furniture items much easier.
There were a few pieces that she had in the old house that we kept. The biggest shock to her was her old coffee table. At the time, it was an old Asian-themed piece that had cracked and faded. But I LOVED the shape! Notice the great detail under the legs, absolutely beautiful! With a coat of bold orange high gloss paint, we had the centrepiece for the room. Total cost: £58. If you have an old piece that you love the shape of, give it a quick coat of high-gloss paint in a bold accent colour, or white. It's the shape that counts, as the finish is always changeable! In a room with strong colours such as this, brown or light woods simply wouldn't work well. A coat of paint was needed on anything we brought into this space to keep the colour palette continuous. Keep that in mind when hitting up garage sales or considering pieces for purchase on Craigslist.
How We Did It: Accent Pieces
When it came to choosing a rug I needed to consider that we had a bright orange coffee table. Though it was a great addition, it certainly meant the rug selection was limited, as orange doesn't tend to match well with most colours. Luckily, orange does happen to look great on white. I knew the room would also benefit from a large expanse of white to balance the navy walls, which is why I chose to use a white Flokati rug. Flokati rugs are made from Greek wool and are a great way to bring a mid-century feel to any space. Best of all, they are quite affordable and come in a variety of shapes and colours!
On the shorter wall of the living room, I placed a modern tufted settee to bring in the navy colour to this side of the room. A few pillows from Jonathan Adler added some much-needed pattern. Some Chinoiserie white bamboo framed mirrors reflected the colour on the other wall and filled the space nicely. A vintage Vogue poster print was leant against the wall for that laid-back "I'm so fabulous I couldn't be bothered to hang my art" feel. Trust me, it works. Looks great on a mantle, too.
Believe it or not, these bottles painted gold are a flea-market find, but added a nice touch to the overall look. Quirky and offbeat are my favourite kind of accessories.
How We Did It: More Accents
A white mirrored front buffet flanks the entry to the room and reflects the navy wall opposite it. Mirrors are great for tricking the eye and bringing in colour by way of their reflection.
A few fun profile vases from Jonathan Adler worked perfectly under the art from the Kevin Barry Fine Art gallery. One large piece of art in a room can be a major addition to the overall feel. Make sure it's something you love, and if it is, splurge on it.
Books are great styling accessories, so use them well! I placed a stack for height under the yellow vase so that it was more of a centrepiece for the "his" & "hers" profile vases. When I decorate a room, I pull in a lot of books with the jackets in the colour of the room. White covers are always great, but coffee table books with coloured jacket can add a sure-fire pop of colour. Leave the paperbacks behind closed doors, only hardcovers are good for tabletop displays.
Lighting pieces can be expensive, so I like to shop vintage stores for great fixtures and lamps. In general, vintage and thrift stores can sometimes offer the most unique and economical additions to your interior. In this room I found a tall, white Asian goddess lamp, which was very dramatic. The pendants that we put over the dining table had some crystal sparkle to them, which added a touch of elegance and were a fraction of what they would have cost brand new.