One room, three ways

I mentioned I was helping someone decorate her space?

Well, my client has downsized from a 1900s two-story to a 1950s one-story rancher. She has worlds of beautiful french antiques but so many of them are so big and out of character for her new digs. But we love them and we have to make them work in the new space!! You can’t get rid of French antiques!

She has a range of tastes which has made my job a little tricky– I mean I primarily love a certain type of mid-century. It mixes so well with all other styles. She does NOT like mid-century (womp womp) so it’s been interesting working with a mix of antiques and new furniture that is made to look antique.

2 styles she knows she loves are French Country and Beachy. Her last home was a little more refined so we’re going to hopefully have this new space a bit more relaxed and reflective of her tastes in this new chapter of her life.

She ordered a caned bed from Ballard Designs back in February but after two manufacturing delays has decided to pursue other beds. Cue me! Here are 3 rooms I’ve showed her to get the ball rolling on her bedroom.

She already owns the 2 side tables (or something very similar) and the rug.

To orient you in the space — There are little windows near the ceiling above the bed. If you are facing the bed, there is a large window to your left, a large closet to your right, and patio doors directly behind you. The room is a complete blank canvas: white walls!

These are just first go-rounds! Don’t forget you can zoom in. I always make these things like 30 inches big because I love zooming in to all the details 🙂

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Initially we were talking about a super lady like room. We had this cane bed on order in white but we hadn’t nailed down any details. She has a settee similar to the one shown (smaller) that will need to be reupholstered. It could sit at the foot of the bed with a cute side table for a space to relax/read. We were struggling to nail down the right dresser. She really wants a dresser with a lot of storage (ie lots of drawer space). I love this metal dresser! It has a design printed all over and goes well with the two antique side tables.

The dresser possibly could fit on the window wall or if the right size, on the wall with the patio doors. No idea about bedding at the moment or what the sofa upholstery might be. There are a lot of colors in the rug!

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This room is a little more French Country/ a collected space. Obviously you’d have to go to Provence and collect lavender for your FC room! We have rattan, metal, stripes, an empire dresser that is actually brand new from Ethan Allan, lots of room to layer and layer for a cozy hideaway!

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Lastly, to incorporate more of her love of the beach, and get that caned bed back, I went this route! She has a trumeau mirror like the one tucked away back there. It would not go there but you get it (hopefully). I love those striped chairs!! I was hoping the light wood in the dresser would pick up the light weave in the caning on the bed. Would it be too on the nose to have an ocean picture above the bed? She has a large floral oil painting similar to the one shown. I don’t know, is this room my favorite (prob because of those chairs, hah)??

For blog’s sake, which style is your fave?

Room 1: bed/ dresser/ white table/ primitive chair/ table lamps/ sconces 

Room 2: bed/ empire dresser/ rattan settee/ striped chair/ round side table/ sconses

Room3: bed/ dresser/ chairs/ brass lamp with cloth shade/ brass lamp

My Dream Dressing Room

Don’t you wish our homes still had separate hers and his dressing rooms? I’m content to dress myself  without the help of a ladies’ maid (I wonder if Jim would like a valet?) but the idea of your own little oasis, surrounded by luxurious fabrics and all your lovely possessions sounds nice, doesn’t it?

Maybe only to fashionistas and clothes horses but as someone with a growing collection of dresses and a towering hoard of shoes, I think it’s worth exploring! And since not all of us live in homes with walk-in closets let’s just imagine what a dream closet might look like.

I was approached to create a mood board for my dream dressing room and I knew instantly where I’d store that hoard of shoes. And I went spinning from there.

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(Source)

I’ve had a shoe cabinet in mind since I saw this image in Elle Decor a few years ago. In 2014, I began saving my shoe boxes whenever I bought a new pair of shoes. It acted as sort of a filing system (you can see exactly what you have via the label and branding on the box) and it was a way to protect my shoes from being crushed in the bottom of the closet. It also saved me from digging through a mound of shoes looking for a mate to make a pair. But after a while shoe boxes begin to take up A LOT of closet space.

I am also really guilty of buying high heels just because I think they look pretty. I have several pairs I’ve never even worn because oh my god the pain but I just can’t return them. They’re little works of art! And those are the sort of shoes I’d want to take out of the boxes, walk into my dream closet, and admire. “Hello lover! Good to see you! Lookin’ good in that case!”

I think it’s important to think about how you get dressed. I plan my outfits in the evenings so when my room started to come together I wanted it to look best at night. I chose a wallpaper that I thought would reflect the light in an interesting way and chose lighting elements with prisms to add to the fun.

Here’s what I came up with! A sort of Art Deco meets 1970s, dark, textural space. Jewel tone colors mixed with brass, burled walnut, velvets, and fur. You know– all my faves!

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(click to enlarge!)

The closet: I mostly wear dresses so I want my closet to be a long rod that takes up a large expanse of wall space. I want my dresses to be able to hang freely. I don’t like the idea of folding a lot of my clothing into drawers plus I’d have a dresser in my bedroom for anything ordinary like jeans and tops. This room is for the GOOD STUFF. This system from Restoration Hardware is straightforward and goes right on the wall.

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These are a few of my favorite dresses, a mix of vintage and store bought. You can see I love pattern and embellishment!

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The shoe cabinet: This cabinet is an Art Deco piece with amazing burled walnut wood, 2 shelves, and 3 drawers. It’s currently sold but it is definitely the sort of cabinet I’d want to display my shoe collection! I love the idea of showcasing my prettiest and most colorful shoes on the shelves, and hiding away the everyday flats and sandals in the drawers.

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Here’s a small sampling of my favorite heels I have with me in the garage apartment. I left most of my shoes at my mother’s until Jim and I are in a more permanent residence. I have this one pair of orange heels that are killer (literally) that would be so good in a shoe cabinet like this!

The lighting: Arhaus has a some really great Art Deco inspired pendant lighting. While I like all the dark colors in the room,  I need the dressing space to be well-lit. There is nothing worse than getting ready in the dark. And in this smart phone age of wanting to snap selfies you want good lighting in your dressing room!

I chose one central pendant to hang in the center of my room.
Two smaller pendants to hang over my shoe cabinet to light it up, because it’s the major player in my space.
And a fun Art Deco style floor lamp for added ambiance and illumination.

For my splash of 70s I have task lighting with this tubular floor lamp from Restoration Hardware. I think it looks pretty dang great with that chaise!

Of course I love how all of it is brass! 😀

The wallpaper:  I found this Hygge & West wallpaper and knew it would look  great with all my Art Deco inspired light bouncing off the black and gold when I plan my outfits at night. It’s sort of Moroccan with the ogee shape. I think that sort of adds to the 70s vibe. Maybe it’s that lava lamp effect. But at the same time this wallpaper is modern and fresh so it keeps us in 2017.

The seating: The vintage chaise is so necessary when I think of a dressing room. Plop down and relax with your pretty things. So I surrounded myself with luxurious fabrics like velvet and brocade and colors I find calming like the jewel tones. A chaise is also great because you can toss all your “I have nothing to wear!” clothes on it while you’re getting ready!

There’s an old feel to this space with the dark colors. I needed to liven it up with pops of white and I wanted something modern too.  Why in the heck are teens getting all this lamb fur seating over at RH?  I’m glad I found it because this white fur swivel chair is great!!  A little bit of glam for my dressing room.

I needed even more white so I added a tulip table. It’s good to have table space in any room. I like how much of a knock-off this one is. It’s so chunky! What’s up with that? I’m digging it. This casual piece brings my room down a peg. I don’t want a stuffy space.

The drapery: It’s impossible to say whether your designated closet/dream room would have windows if you don’t currently live in the space. In my dream scenario/world I do! So I need drapes. And I want heavy duty, lined, black out, thick as thieves, brocade velvet drapes. Make ’em puddle on the floor! We’re going all the way. I found this on Pinterest. 15th century Italian brocade. There’s something similar today, I know it.

The mirror: How you gonna see what you look like without a full length mirror! In the garage apartment we’re staying in now, I don’t have a mirror. It’s rough.  I’m not outfit planning. I leave home without knowing what my full self looks like.  For special occasions I’ll have Jim take my picture so I can see my entire outfit. That might work for Cher Horowitz but I’m not so much a fan. The mirror is a better/easier option. I chose the trifold/three panel mirror so you get all angels of your glorious self.

This screen would make a great mirror! I love the shape! Just replace the glass. Super 70s! Oo la la.

The rug: This awesome jewel tone rug sets off the black wallpaper. I also like this one. It’s vintage which I love. The circles somewhat repeat the ogee motif on the wall. Without it the space would be all neutrals but the rug brings it all home.

So there you have it! My shoe cabinet, Art Deco/splash of 70s, moody dreamy dream dressing room! Where I could go gaze upon my favorite dresses, say hi to my pretty shoes, and plan out my outfits for the days ahead.

Here are some shoe cabinets that are available for purchase. Some vintage, some new.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16,  17, 18, 19, 20

Tell me what you think! What would you have in your dream dressing room!?

dreamdressingroom

Inspiration

I am so bad about logging where I save photos from (I don’t do Pinterest) so if you know the sources of any of these, do tell!

I’ve been thinking about dining room plans but until then, here’s some pretty pictures to inspire you.

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When I saw this living room, with the tuxedo sofa and the round mirrors I knew my living room plans were rice krispies (I heard a lady say that today. Isn’t that hilarious!) (Source)

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So many elements of many good things. 🙂

What’s That About Temporary Wallpaper?

Everywhere I look I see wallpaper making a big splash, with removable wallpaper being a major player. Genevieve Gorder has a line for Tempaper. Chasing Paper, a brand I found in a google search, has popped up on Emily Henderson and on the Today Show with Architectural Digest.

Wallpaper in one shape or form will always be with us. Here are 18 removable papers I fancied and hope you do too (I am really digging #1. You’ve seen #2 before, right!).

temppapers

Blues: 1, 2, 3, 4, 56,  Whites/Greys: 789, 10, 11, 12,   Reds: 13, 14, 15,   Greens: 16, 17, 18 

Neutral Living Room Makeover

In my previous post I ended with a drab photo my mother sent me from some kids she knows on facebook. I may have been too harsh (naaah) and decided it would be better as a post all its own! Let’s imagine everything I’m about to say to you actually happened.

Haley and her fiance Josh recently purchased a home in Tennessee. Through the glorious wonders of the internet, they stumbled across my work and asked me to help them spruce up their living room. They just couldn’t seem to pull it together themselves.

They sent me this picture of some newly acquired furniture and decor. Guys, I can’t. And I told them so.

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I could tell Haley and Josh were trying but really missing the mark. From the rug, to the matching sofas (which isn’t a bad thing but why do you need a sofa and a love seat in 2016? in such a small room?), to that clock (just no), to the too many matchy matchy pillows.

It’s obvious the couple was going for chic but not understanding you can mix in so many more colors and textures and still have a neutral space!!

I asked Haley to pull some images off Pinterest of her ideal dream room and together this is what we came up with:

neutral-mood

You wouldn’t know it at ALL from looking at their current design situation that they like a mix of 50s-70s, with a mix of woods, metallics, and heavyweight fabrics.. We decided we needed

  • A new sofa, Danish design, narrow arms,
  • A large ornate floor mirror,
  • 2 vintage chairs (to replace the loveseat),
  • A new square coffee table,
  • A more natural looking media center, more mid century,
  • A shag rug, still black,
  • A fun chandelier

The couple allowed me to lead the way, suggesting vintage pieces I know and love so much. There was no way to use anything they’d previously purchased. So out with the old and in with the new!

This is what I came up with!

neutralspricey

No room of mine would be complete without an animal. The sheep is a vintage ottoman! I need that for my own house!

I jokingly said “Guys, you already love drab paint colors, why not go all the way and paint your walls charcoal?” I mean…  So glad they loved the idea and decided they would go for it!  That paint color was killing me. What is that? No thank you. Please stop accepting all builder grade paint choices people. Paint your walls when you move in. Say no to “greige”. Nothing goes with this awful paint color. Look how sickly their furniture looks in there. Pitiful. I would know. As an apartment dweller I’ve seen this color time and time again. It is the literal worst.

Anyway, I really love dark charcoal rooms and light furniture. The dark walls make everything else POP.  Sunlight from windows doesn’t hurt.

So we’ve got a saffron sofa in a crepe linen. So nice. The luxury of this sofa is it’s a sleeper! So they can pull it out while they watch tv or have guests over. Sha-bang! Its Danish styling is just what we were after, slim square arms, boxy shape, skinny legs. This is not a crazy leap from what they started with. It’s still low to the ground and still boxy in shape (I was inspired to suggest this style because of the original sofas arms).

They told me they really liked their original black and white rug, so I made sure to stay within that color scheme. This cotton jute rug will be soft underfoot, and the graphic motif will give the room added interest. There’s grays, blacks, browns, and creams in the rug…plenty of neutral colors!

Needing an authentic vintage piece, I found 2 1970s cube chairs from a newly favorited Instagram source, Again & Again. The cube shape echos the boxiness and narrow arms of our sofa. The gray stripes from the upholstery pick up the grays and whites/creams in the rug. I liked the walnut base, adding a natural wood layer to our room.

I also found the marble coffee table through Again & Again. I chose a marble top Saarinen tulip table and vintage Italian arc lamp with marble base to sit by the sofa. Marble is fancypants and white always adds brightness. Especially since we have dark walls now. I forget who said something about layering on the white. Do you know? The arc lamp adds to our sexy 60s-70s vibe.  Aren’t they so fun?

Speaking of lighting, I originally thought about something celestial like this, but ended up with a Brutalist flush mount to replace what they already had. I haven’t really decided if I like that trend/style of chandelier. I think a lot of people that use them in their homes are using them in the wrong way — too small. If you have a gigantor room, you don’t want a chandelier the size of a light bulb sticking out from the ceiling. Just my 2 cents.

Anyway, love the Brutalist style. This adds texture through sculpture and keeps with our mid-century style, but not in a cheesy way. With a room as small as Haley and Josh’s, I think a flush mount is all we need.

So we’ve got marble and fabric, we need some wood! I went to West Elm for their console. They can put their tv on it or whatever they please. Just not that hideous clock (sorry, not sorry.) I think the hole in the middle would be great with books, or some sort of collection. If I had my way tv would not exist in any room. But I know that isn’t reality for the majority of American homes.

Lastly, I thought we needed something light in color and still something wooden/natural to occupy space opposite our cubes. I found this amazing Frank Gehry chair and ottoman on Knoll. Perfection.

I thought I was done but then I remembered we needed our mirror. I tried options behind the sofa but ultimately realized the space wasn’t balanced. I didn’t want 2 matching side tables for this room, so the other side of the sofa was empty.  I found a French Baroque floor mirror on Etsy. Now we’re set!!

This room is ready for major sexy party fun vibe let’s hang out all day and night times! And it’s neutral but still so interesting! So much texture and fun stuff to look at. Not just 2 boring sofas, blah blah blah.

All the pillows are from Mitchell Gold. The pillows in the chairs tie in the rug and the pillows on the sofa pull from the rug and the chairs. The fur lumbar is just a bit of fun and for added texture.

Major Players: Sofa, cube chairs, marble coffee table (2), 8×10 rug, floor mirror,  Frank Gehry chairwooden console

The Details:Sheep ottoman, white vase, brown vase, black and yellow vase,  arc lamp, Saarinen tulip side table (Calacatta satin), graphic pillows, circle applique pillow, black pillows, fur lumbar, ram bowl, mannequin head, Brutalist light fixture

Haley and Josh said we love this room! How much is all this?! Is this within budget? Let’s do it!! And I said, oh this room, without paint, is roughly $31, 075. I just wanted to pull a bunch of fun stuff and make you sad! Muhahaha.

But then I pulled a Property Brothers or whatever and gave them a similar room within their $5,000 budget.

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I found a very similar Danish style sofa at CB2, in the color sunflower. Similar to saffron. It’s a little more orange than green but I think it works. Orange is very 70s! The downside here? No sleeper.

I looked for cube chairs but couldn’t find anything comparable to our Again & Again chairs.  There were 2 identical chairs on Etsy but in a red floral pattern. We don’t have money for reupholstery. Skip it! And really we need a vintage item and they’re just so good! So we decided that $850 was a steal and went for the chairs. So happy we did that! They make the room for me. I linked some alternatives below but I’m really not in love with those choices. You don’t want every single piece to be up on skinny mcm legs.

I checked out the Nashville craigslist and right there for $75 was a gold floor mirror. Sure it’s not as ornate as French Baroque, but it’s $75, it’s within budget, and I think it’ll work just fine for these cats.

We got a much cheaper marble inspired tulip table ($188) and a fun arc lamp with large marble base ($256). Still maintaining our pricey marble look but with affordable pieces.

I wasn’t able to find a cotton jute with a fun pattern like the Anthropologie rug (for a good price!) but I did find this black one with great texture on Overstock for $354. The colors are black and browns.

After trying MANY white coffee table solutions, faux marble and other materials, I finally found this marble table on Chairish. Woohoo! I wanted to stay as close to the shape of the pricier option as possible. Atleast it’s a square? Ha! And marble! That was important. Nothing else looked right.

I really couldn’t find a console in reclaimed wood to fit the budget that didn’t look like industrial junk. I hate that look. Definitely not with our mid century-70s mood. So I found this dresser. When you can’t find a console/credenza, look for a dresser or top-opening storage chest. They’re always cheaper! However, it makes the room a little more casual/approachable.  Just depends on what style you’re really going for. Haley and Josh aren’t as froo froo as $31,000 and were okay with the trendy look of the classic MCM chest.

Finding the right wooden piece for the Frank Gehry chair was really hard. Like really really hard. I’m still not convinced I chose correctly. This chair puts us over budget with its $850 price tag. We’ll just have to hope the seller accepts a lower offer. I have linked to some cheaper alternatives.

The brass light fixture is similar in shape but not in the Brutalist style that is so shapely and cool. But this one is mid-century and also reminds me of the 70s. So it still fits with what we’re going for.

The Target pillows look a lot cheaper in comparison to the Mitchell Gold. Go figure. This room, as it is, with no lesser chair offers accepted, is $5,694. I really wish I could have found an affordable sheep ottoman. I think the room really needs it!! 😦

Major Players: Sofa, cube chairs (2, 3), 6×9 rug, floor mirror, coffee table (2), console/dresser (2), rattan chair, (2, 3)
The Details: Arc lamp (2, 3), tulip table, fur throw, black pillow covers, abstract pillows, gray loop applique pillow, faux fur lumbar,  light fixture, mannequin head

I can’t wait to show you the reveal!

joshhaleylayout

The sofa will stay where their old sofa was, but the cube chairs will go where that cabinet and clock was. The media console/mcm dresser will go on the far side of the room opposite the sofa. We’ll anchor everything with our rug, center our marble table between our sofa and chairs, and diagonally sit our rattan lounger. The mirror with lay against the wall on the right of the sofa, behind the chairs. The marble side table and marble arc lamp will flank the sofa. Isn’t that great!

Jk this wasn’t real. But it could be, if you scroll to the bottom, click the contact email, and let’s do business! 🙂

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Hope you enjoyed my stab at neutrals. I definitely prefer color but wanted to see if I could handle the neutrals. I wish I could have gotten a little closer to the expensive room when making the price comparison. I really like it a lot better. I would totally live in that room. Maybe if I looked harder across the internet I would have found a better rattan chair and a better reclaimed wood console. But I got tired of staring at this thing!

Would love to hear your thoughts on this neutral room.

Imagining my next space

I’m sort of obsessed with wallpaper now. I’ve always liked it but rediscovered my interest in it when I was searching for wallpapers for Mom’s living room. It’s funny how tastes change. 5-6 years ago I really wanted a damask wallpapered bedroom with an aubergine upholstered headboard (I wouldn’t be caught dead with that now! :P). At the time I started this blog in 2014 I was really into giant floral papers and still liked touches of antiques. Now I’m way more about the geometrics and mid-century modern furniture. I do still like some of the classics though! The de Gournay Chinoiserie seems to be so fitting with the right MCM table (or a traditional table) and a well-mixed chair.

Seeing as how my next dwelling will be a rental again, I decided to check out the removable paper trend. There’s quite a lot to choose from! I ended up imaging an entire dream room in my Art of the Mix style.

theartofthemixlivingroom

(if your browser supports it, click to enlarge)

Color color everywhere! I started with the removable wallpaper, Rapids, from Chasing Paper. It comes in 3 colorways and I knew blue was the way to go. All this time I’ve been trying to have a blue room and it hasn’t happened (Oh, I’ll just reupholster those chairs in blue. I’ll paint this room in blue…).

I’m still pretty cool with all white walls so if I were to try out removable wallpaper in a rental, I’d probably just do a focal wall like this. Wallpaper is like art on its own, an added little bit of texture. I love that. I love the big announcement of color/design in your face! I’d have to really love it to commit to the entire room. That’s the beauty of this removable stuff. You could change your room as often as you fancy! 😉

In my next apartment, I’m going to have to find a tuxedo sofa with upholstered feet. I don’t know where or how but dang it, I will have one. I love my chesterfield but it is not really the sofa dreams are made of. It’s pretty rigid with the seat cushion sewn in. I want loose cushions that I can sink into. Also, Jim is a tall guy. He would like a sofa he can stretch out on. The Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin sofa (as shown) is plenty long enough for his 6 foot frame. You know my thoughts on buying vintage. Do it to it! The downside is shipping and paying for reupholstery. Whamp whammmp.

Those are my beloved swivel chairs. 2 laptops or so ago I had a photo saved of someone’s amazing chair. All I know is it was green and some sort of animal print. I scoured the internet last night trying to find that dang picture. I think it was of a gay man’s home. A fashion designer or an interior designer? I have no idea! But the fabric was fluffy? Like thick fur. It did not lay flat like crushed velvet. I want fluffy chairs! I don’t know where to find fabric like that. This tiger moss colored animal print is from Lee Jofa and is some $2000 a freaking yard. Uh…. I will be finding a cheaper alternative. If you pay close attention to design magazines/books you’ll notice this print everywhere. I tossed in a blue velvet pillow to tie in the wall colors.

One thing I know for sure, besides that I must have the tuxedo sofa, is I’ve finally realized what kind of coffee table I need!  BURL WOOD! Oh my god. Look how amazing that is. AHHHHHHH. This one is French 1940s Art Deco. A cute little platform. Perfect for all the clutter in my life. 😛

Something I’d like to incorporate into my next home, should space allow, is the slipper chair. I chose these because of their shape, to compliment the upholstered feet of the tuxedo. I colorized them purple to bring out the purple in the rug and in the wallpaper. A little lumbar pillow would be necessary.

Also, I think it’s important to note that this room would still need to be functional without the wallpaper. Purple and yellow are complimentary colors. Purple isn’t too far off from red and we know red and green are complimentary. And blue and yellow are dear friends. At first glance one might be overwhelmed looking at this room but I think once you look around you see that I did put a great deal of thought into my choices.

I like to splatter elements of black and brass around the room. Here we have a black planter for our cactus, black books, and a black plant stand for Buddha. Brass elements include Lassie (I don’t have one of those but I do have a brass poodle!), the task lamps by the sofa, and the tripod lamp between the slipper chairs.

One thing I’ve picked up from the McGrath ladies and Jeffrey Bilhuber, is the use of tiny little lamps by the sofa. I really kind of love that!! I’m not sure if that’s a carry over from Billy Baldwin (both of them heavily influenced by his work).BB def had thing for the tuxedo!

For newness and modern fun, and because I’ve always been leaning towards acrylic coffee tables, I chose acrylic side tables.

I started to do a gallery wall but in all honesty I’m not really a fan. I don’t have a large collection of art so I don’t want to even bother faking it. I’d rather buy key pieces like the tuxedo and the burl wood coffee table and fill in the art gaps later! I do however have the lady and the mirrors are from Target. A cheap fix! Do I like it? I’d have to see it in a real space.

So, removable paper– very doable.
Rug, got it.
Credenza, already mine.
Chairs, mine. Just need that fabric!
Animal decor, I got worlds of that.
Pillows, easy to find.
Target tripod, already mine.
Plants, no worries there. I don’t have the Euphorbia cactus but I got the fiddle!

Need tuxedo sofa, burl wood table, acrylic end tables, 2 Target round mirrors, and 2 task lamps to make this room a reality.

artofmixlook

So, all of these sofas are sold out except for #2 from Jan Showers. But you can get an idea of what to look for! I believe all the burl wood tables are for sale!

Sofa 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Table 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
The Details: Rapids wallpaper, Target mirror, acrylic side table, adjustable pharmacy floor lamp, large black planter, antique rug, brass collie, plant stand (imagined black), Target brass tripod lamp, blue velvet lumbar pillows, Kuba cloth pillows,  lion, horse, similar swivel chairs (mmm, same dingy pink as mine!), slipper chairs 

What are your thoughts on this colorful Art of the Mix? I’m so heavily inspired by so many designers…so many are represented in what I do. I’m eager to move out of this garage and into a space of my own so I can start decorating again!!

 

a confession/ Tiny spaces; a vignette

Oh my gosh, you guys. I apologize for the lack of content. I want to be transparent on this blog like so many wonderful bloggers that I admire but then I don’t want to break my lovely little veil of internet anonymity. I will say that this has been a very rough year for me. I briefly posted that I left my graphic design job in December 2015. 2015 was ultimately the worst year of my life! I received devastating health news February 2015 that I am still processing. It has not been easy. Then the majority of this year I have been unemployed and dealing with depression and anxiety. I ultimately had to move in with my mother in another city, thus my lack of personal home posts. And why I was focusing so much on her space. It was very difficult living with my mother at 31. I haven’t lived with her in 13 years! Our relationship definitely felt the strain after 6 months. I sought healing but only felt worse being in my childhood home, isolated and jobless.

I am back home in Birmingham now, living with my boyfriend again. We broke up in 2015 after the health news created some tension in our relationship. I moved into a house on my own. Remember my bungalow? It was hard living by myself. I couldn’t keep up with the house maintenance, the lawn, the pest control, by myself. I was really really stressed at work. To the tune of losing 25 lbs and a good chunk of my hair falling out. My news in combination with my work stress nearly destroyed me. I just wanted to lie down and die. Just be dead until this sadness passed. But life doesn’t work like that. Life seemed meaningless and sitting in a windowless cubicle was literal agony. So I quit! I quit. I lived off my 401k a while. I moved. I drowned in my depression pretty much up until 2 weeks ago. My boyfriend has been there for me every step of the way, as a friend and as a mate. He and I are much better now, committed to each other. Moving away definitely made me realize a lot about what I needed out of life to have some semblance of happiness. One of those things is him. I am tired of being sad. Nearly 2 years is long enough!  So what if I can’t have children (yeaah, I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Insufficiency with translocated chromosomes for a likelihood of miscarriage)? I am alive. I have my parents. My family. Jim. Jim’s family. Friends. I am still capable of achieving the goal of being a stylist, right? 😀

For now, I’m staying in his garage apartment. Here’s a little styling for ya! When I say little, I mean like…vignette little.

Don’t worry, Jim said I could embarrass him all across the interworld with this photo…

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Before I even knew I was moving back, I came to visit and tidy up his space! You can see my bags/shoes on the dining chairs. He had them in the middle of the room. I still don’t understand why old dining chairs were up there but whatever. That was the only thing I moved before snapping these photos. Granted he and his brother mostly used this garage apartment for bottling their homebrew, he clearly was sleeping up here from time to time. It was NOT an environment I wanted to sleep in nor a room I wanted to spend time in!   A lot of trash everywhere, dirt and grime, dirty clothes, and all around a layer of man funk covering each and every surface.

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With nothing to decorate with but the contents within the room, I moved the dresser from below the window to along the wall. The kilim rug is so good and colorful. I found an old patterned shirt in the closet and wrapped it around the ottoman to add a little more color to the space. I put the 2 dining chairs together and slapped a blanket and pillow on it and called it a sofa! The guys were so messy, that Matisse print was hiding behind the dresser. Matisse should always be displayed! It just so happened to be night time and the nearest visible plant life was a pine tree. I put it in a beer bottle for a masculine touch.

Jim was all smiles when he saw the cleaned up space. Yay!

Then a week later I moved in. All my furniture is still at Mom’s so I could only bring some accessories to make it homey for myself. I brought 2 chairs…and well, here, you’ll see:

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I can’t tell you how much I miss my vintage credenza! Gah that thing is like my pride and joy. This old kids dresser doesn’t compare. But I knew my yellow chair and brass chair with white arm pads would pair well (I know, this is an outside chair but so what?).

I love all the colors!! The rug, the chairs, the white in the dresser, the greens and blues in the art, and then the plants. Gah, it just works so well. Then there’s the touches of brass in the candlesticks,the legs of the Target tripod, the brass elephant, and the chair. Lil bling bling! There’s texture in the leather ottoman, the nubby white and yellow pillow on the brass chair, the velvet on the vintage yellow chair, the grain of the side table.

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Chloe approves! The side table is decked out with Buddha and the cutest brass elephant I ever did see. I got that Buddha for $2 from a friend at a flea and he’s been with me in every apartment for years and years and years. Move after move after move. Where I go, Buddha goes.

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There are pops of orange balanced by pops of black. I’ve come to find that one of my favorite things is to make a not so great situation as good as you can in that moment. To work with what you’ve got. Like what I did with Mom’s living room.

I only brought 3 of my little animal friends, 6 styling books, 1 piece of art, 2 chairs, and 1 rug (not shown). I am h-u-r-t-i-n-g for all my friends! but soon enough they’ll be back in bham too! 🙂

I hope my plants continue to grow here. The backroom at Mom’s house, where my room is now, does not receive much sunlight. My plant Bergita that I’ve had for 3 years bit the dust. I loved her. Oh, Bergita. If Fiddle dies I will be so mad! But anyway, I sit in the yellow chair and put my feet up. For little ol’ me it’s not too shabby. For giant ol’ Jim it’s a lil cramped. Here’s to hoping 2017 means a job I enjoy, financial stability once again, and much needed happiness.

 

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(please don’t encourage me to adopt or tell me everything happens for a reason. i’ve heard it all before and it doesn’t help. i know everyone means well but it doesn’t help my broken heart when you want a biological child of your own with your loved one)

 

Hughes living room refresh (but not a redesign)

I like to think of this as a step along the way to a makeover/living room redesign. A few weeks ago I surprised my mother by rearranging her living room. She loved it. Whew!

When you have 0 dollars to buy new furniture you can definitely breathe new life into a space by moving your current furniture into a better flowing/more logical floor plan! I also wanted mother to get a sense of how the living room might be once we get new furnishings for her. She saw the light and approves!

If you recall, the old space was dark and the full size of the room was cut in half because mom had the sofa sitting in the middle of the space!

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I opened all the blinds, moved the armoir, put in a rug, donated 2 chairs, and the space really opened up.

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I moved the sofa to its most logical position, on the longest wall between the 2 furthest apart windows. Just like mother is short on books for the built-ins (as written about in the entry below), she is short on art. But that’s okay…we’ll get there. I put what I could find above the sofa to fill the empty space. And guys, don’t look at those pillows. HAHA.

I also got rid of EVERY SINGLE fake plant. Now all plants in the room are 100% real. Whew!

The crystal lamps flank the sofa on either side (though the sunlight here washes them out).

This rattan/glass coffee table came from another room in the house. To add texture and mix things up a bit (be not so traditional) I switched out her old coffee table for this one. I could have styled the table with a tray of knickknacks. Lord knows mom has oodles of those fake fruits and those twine balls from Kirklands (anybody?)…but I didn’t care to bother. So…clean space it is! It’s been a few weeks and she still has the vase sitting there.

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The red recliner that was in the room was too heavy and dark seeming so I got rid of it! Having the daintiness of this chair (the open legs) keeps the flow of the room light and airy.

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The poo tv is still in focus but not blocking the built-in like before. The 2 new chairs provide much needed seating for guests. In fact, shortly after she had visitors! And they had a place to sit! How about that! 😛

There was some clutter on the mantle, which I removed, and like the coffee table chose to leave bare.

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Look how big the space is as opposed to before! The rug makes it so much cozier and now she opens the blinds every day. She never did that before. 🙂

Plenty of room for 2 animal print stools in front on the coffee table, switch out my high backs for Billy Haines brentwood chairs, get a new sofa, some sort of coffee table (burled walnut or acrylic), strip the fireplace so the natural wood shows, find a vertical mirror, paint the walls, accessorize, find a boat load of books, add a floor lamp, get new side tables, wallpaper the focal sofa wall, buy some art and presto!

 

 

Budget rooms: Walmart vs. Target. Living Room Price Comparison

 

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I went to Walmart over the weekend to get batteries. As I was walking through, I passed by a bunch of canisters and Tupperware storage items and thought “I bet I could blog about this.” It’s so easy to walk into Target and ooh and aah over all the cute Threshold or Nate Berkus merchandise.

Target has been under fire recently for its new trans-inclusive bathroom policy and many folks are claiming they will no longer grace the aisles of Tarjay. Well…that’s too bad. But this may be especially helpful to them. Can we pull off a cute room with ONLY walmart merchandise?

Of course, there are those who wouldn’t dare shop at walmart. That it hurts local businesses, its foreign child labor, its underpaid employees and poor healthcare offerings. I get it! But let us assume the reader, or you yourself do not care about such and are interested in budget design.

I have never been on walmart.com for anything more than a bedframe so I was shocked to find they operate more like a furniture listing site, carrying merchandise from a multitude of dealers/brands. Much of which is found on Wayfair and Overstock. It even tells you “sold and shipped through Wayfair”. How about that. Target operates the same way they just aren’t as transparent about it. Both sites offer some of the same product, like this sofa w/t).

I was interested in knowing if I could create an attractive room with only Walmart brand merchandise.

If money is tight or you’re a frugal Sally interested in design and having a beautiful living space, you do not have to compromise aesthetics (quality, yah. Not gettin’ that at WM). No matter how small the budget, you can create something beautiful. And don’t forget there’s always the thrift store!

Here is my walmart brand only room, using only Better Homes and Gardens and Mainstay brands. Those are the only brands I know for sure belong to Walmart (like Threshold is to Target). I’m assuming you can walk into walmart and buy most of this stuff right off the shelf.

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This was definitely challenging!! My goodness!! Especially limiting our selection to 2 brands. But hey, I think this room looks pretty good!

It was impossible to create an eclectic room like I would normally create because there really weren’t any vintage inspired pieces to choose from (I guess if you squint real hard, these folding chairs could be super dooper generic knock off Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chairs). So, this resulted. Bonus points if you know what movie is playing.

I hated all the coffee tables so I chose to use 2 accent tables. It’s a  pretty popular trick (1, 2, 3). Our color palette is neutral but we jazz it up with some fun throw pillows and a bright throw blanket. In real life the sofa is brown so you better jazz it up REAL good. The lumbar pillows are technically outdoor pillows but hey nobody has to know. And 2 come for the price of 1. The lamps also come 2 for 1! 2 lamps for $39. Duuuude.

The rug is walmart’s affordable attempt at a Moroccan beni ourain shag. Can’t pay $4,000? Pay $63! It’s only a 5×7 so in a real room you’d probably have all the furniture off the rug. Or maybe if you’re in a small space, the front legs on. I also liked these rugs: 1,2, 3. Not for this room, but in general.

I liked the BH&G runner a lot so I chose that to sit under our tv. I did not like any of the poopoo media stands so I went with a bedroom dresser. Dressers are beautiful and ever so useful/practical storage, why not put one in the living room!

The bookcases come in packs, ready to be assembled. I’m sure you’ve seen those in store.

We’ve got a diamond motif working throughout the room pulling all the pieces together. In the bookcases, the accent tables, the pillows, and in the rugs.

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Bookshelves/ sofa/ chair/ side table/ accent table (for coffee)/ blue pillow/ gold pillow/ blue lumbar/ throw/ drum shade/ table lamp/ bamboo floor lamp/ planter/ tv/ dresser/ rug/ runner

Does this look like a room created with walmart only products? Looking at this room I don’t think you’d ever know it came from Walmart! You don’t have to buy a futon or an mdf desk. So, there ya go…some affordable stuff arranged in a visually appealing way.

Now let’s look at Target in comparison. Using only Target brands.

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Dannnng.  This is completely different from Walmart. I really like the slipper chairs, chandelier (so trendy right now), and those parquet tables! Again, I didn’t care for the coffee table selection so I went with 2 end tables.

I’ve always liked lavender and yellow together. What a pair. And blue and yellow never hurt my eyes either. 😉 All tied together with a nubby 7 x 10 Nate Berkus rug.

Target’s sofa selection is slim pickins. I just don’t love what’s there. This was my first choice, in taupe, but ultimately I decided against it. Who says you have to have a full size sofa? A love seat and a room full of chairs would suit me just fine. I love chairs! Got a Manhattan apartment? You need a loveseat. Don’t have a gigantic boyfriend who complains about sofa size? Get a loveseat.  If you move around a lot, or live in apartments up flights of stairs, a loveseat is great. I wish someone would have told me that the 10 years I lugged around a massive sofa (literally needed 3-4 people to move the darn thing year after year)!

I really wanted more of a muted pillow color scheme of greens, purples, browns, and yellows but that wasn’t available. So, I went with blues and yellows. I also really wanted a beautiful buffet to hang a picture over but the only thing I ended up liking was the green cabinet. I couldn’t settle for any of the generic art so I cheated and threw in a self-portrait of Josef Albers. That and the bust are not Target but everything else is.

 

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Chandelier/ parquet side table/ mid-century table/ loveseat/ blue pillow/ stripe pillow*/ gold pillow/ peach pillow/ slipper chair/ ottoman/ mid-century chair/ blue wingback/ drum shade/ lamp/ mirror/ giraffe/ vase 1/ vase 2/ yellow vase/ basket tray/ tv stand/ cabinet/ tv/ rug

*Not sold in stores, oops.

So, for a difference of only $500 I don’t know why you’d choose to shop Walmart when Target offers a better product. I assume you have your reasons!

I am pleased with both rooms and welcome your thoughts and opinions! Which is your favorite?  Are you more traditional family-friendly with the Walmart room or like me more eclectic and vintage loving and into the Target decor?

Maybe I should have gone one step further and combined both sites! There’s an idea…best of both worlds.

 

 

For fun, and design inspiration for you, I took to walmart.com and target.com and created 3 more living rooms, utilizing the vast array of brands both sites offer (no brand filter).

Our first look is sort of Traditional, with mid-century elements..

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(Benjamin Moore Bridal Pink paint color)

I love those leather chairs, but I don’t know if I could get past the fact they’re not real leather. But the overall shape and cushiness has me weak in the knees. I also really like that peacock rug.

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Red pillow/ yellow pillow / blue pillow/ blue cheetah pillow/ floral slipper/ alternative flax slipper/ copper plate/ woven vase/ blue and white vase/ elephant table/ mirror/ end table/ club chair/ coffee table/ floor lamp/ curtains/ rug/ sofa

Next see a Hollywood Regency inspired living space.

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I am in love with this amazing wallpaper.

Imagine yourself in the 1930s. You’re a famous movie starlet, traipsing about your shiny Hollywood hills mansion in a velvet gown, stirring up cocktails for your nearest and dearest. But wait! It’s 2016!

The white chairs jumped out at me because they look like these Mitchell Gold chairs. But at $277 a piece, not $1000+! This chair style is seen in a lot of designer rooms.

I would totally have a glamorous party in this room, how about you!?

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Red crystal chandelier/ bar cart/ swivel chair/ alternative swivelpython side table/ blue floral pillow/ white fur pillow/ polka dot bolster/ black geometric pillow/ lucite bench/ shell/ bird/ peace sign hand/ chandelier lamp/ alternative gold lamp/ gold side table/ etagere/ lucite coffee table/ alternative coffee table/ wall mirror/ mirror pictured/ black highback chair/ alternative stool/ succulent art/ convertible sofa/ pink rug

 

Let’s see what Target’s got going on!

A Scandinavian Rustic living room.

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I’m digging the blue geometric chairs with the red floral rug. It’s important to have a print and color to balance out neutral pieces. I am not a fan of gray but I think the sofa and other chair work well in the room. I don’t understand Scandinavian style to be very colorful.

Target has a couple credenzas/tv stands (1, 2) but they did not go with this room so I used 2 media consoles pushed together. I was drawn to the long brass pulls and the mahogany finish.

I could spend all day looking at coffee tables but in this exercise I pretty much chose what I was drawn to first for each room and it pretty much worked out each time. This glass table is cut in an organic shape and is held up on hair pin legs. The glass is laid with teak, a popular danish/Scandinavian wood! Tralala! Also, this table is just like those chunks of salvaged/live edge wood coffee tables that are popular which lends to our rusticness.

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Wall mirror/ brass lamp/ side table/ alternative side tableconvertible sofa/ throw blanket/ blue pillow/ plaid pillow/ chevron pillow/ rhino/ wooden vase/ wooden bowl/ white vase/ blue bowl/ gray chair/ pouf/ marble tulip table/ coffee table/ floor lamp/ blue chairs/ red rug/ media console

This was a fun exercise in putting rooms together.

Hope it inspired you in some way! What I learned from the non-filtered walmart search is they list from sites like wayfair and overstock, and list an even lower price. Next time I’m hunting on those types of sites, I’ll be sure to price compare on walmart, too. I also learned Target does not offer much in the way of sofa selection. I was surprised by that!

 

Overall I’d say walmart appeals to a more conservative, older crowd (Better Homes and Gardens) and Target appeals to a younger, hip generation that is interested in current design trends (Threshold and guest designer series).

I personally will continue to shop Target for side tables and lamps. I’m quite a fan of Safavieh. And based on my own preference for mid-century, it is the store that suits my tastes. If only I could get them to send me those Laurel slipper chairs….:D

But I hope the take away from above is that with careful thought and consideration, a die hard walmart devotee could easily create a beautiful room on a budget. There is no need to purchase this or that!

ROY G BIV: Red kitchens

I’d like to introduce a new series, ROY G BIV. I’ll go through the colors, discussing how to use them in a particular room. Or maybe I’ll show a bunch of rooms using that color.

To start, of course is red.

Red is one of those colors that can bring so much warmth to a space, but at the same time, can make it down right tacky and tawdry. Like overusing it in a bedroom because you think it’s somehow romantic to be cloaked in red or pairing it with black because that’s somehow goth. Nope, no thanks.

What is sexy about red is using it sparingly. Like say, the way we love red lipstick, a simple red dress, or a killer pair of red stilettos. Dressing in red head to toe, hair included would be a different story…

The only room I can think of where someone pulled off all red is Diana Vreeland’s Garden in Hell, designed by Billy Baldwin.

“I love red because it’s happy and exhilarating,” says New York designer Alex Papachristidis. “You can also mix a variety of reds and they look great together; I don’t even mind if they clash a bit. Red is dynamic and adds life to a room. I agree with a quote from Diana Vreeland: ‘All my life I’ve pursued the perfect red.’” (Source)
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(Source 1, 2)

Sure it’s easy to buy a beautiful red sofa, to contrast an all beige room, or buy a red bedspread for a vintage iron bed, but what about in the kitchen?

How do we create a pop of color in the kitchen that still reads as warm, inviting, and classic? There are so many sad/bad red kitchens online. Here’s what I would do:

Choose one area of the kitchen to focus on. 

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The red floor in this kitchen and hall was the first thing I noticed in this Spanish-Mediterranean home. Followed by the all white walls and cabinetry. To tie the colors together we have natural wood elements in the table and oranges/yellows/blacks/browns in the art and tchotchkes. Here black is used sparingly and the space remains elegant. I can picture this room buzzing with family and friends!

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(Source)
Another way to bring red to the kitchen is through wall paint. Notice that this is not a blaringly bright primary color red, but a warm rust. It is kept warm and happy as kitchens should be with the mid-century teak dining table and cabinetry.

Paint only the bottom half of your kitchen cabinetry.

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How vibrant and happy is this kitchen! I especially love the red cabinets with the blue tiles. No one ever said you had to do subway tiles or some snoozy backsplash in your kitchen! Keeping the color to the bottom half of the room keeps it from becoming overwhelming and dated looking.

Don’t use primary red.

As I just said, I wouldn’t recommend using bright red. This is how rooms go from warm to tacky. It’s harsh on the eyes and I don’t know why anyone would want it in their home!

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(Color wheel red)

Instead why not go for blue reds, or rusty reds.

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Use red as an accent. A small accent.

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You know white kitchens are super popular. Bring red in with pops of pendant lighting. If this were my kitchen I would have brought some more color in with a rug underneath the table.

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How about highlighting architectural details like window trim? Something unexpected!

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I almost skipped over kitchen islands because all the ones I found online were atrocious looking. There are some sad red kitchens on the internet! Which is totally the point of this entry! Teeeheehaahaaa.  But this red island sits happy in this charming little colorful kitchen. The look is kept clean thanks to the all white cabinets (and fridge!) and hood. It contrasts well with the green and blue checkered floor without being color overload.

Bring in red via accessories.

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Here a stool sits happy in this colorful kitchen.

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In Marisa Tomei’s apartment, she pairs antique 1940s red chairs with her Eero Saarinen. I love the contrast of the 2 styles!

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Most likely in a kitchen or dining room situation, you will need storage. Why not bring color in via a cabinet or a buffet? I love the idea of the bar inside the china cabinet! A great way to show off your glassware collection. I have seen ugly ol’ cabinets for cheap on Craigslist. All they need is your choice of red and maybe shiny new hardware. A customized piece!

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Red Persian rugs are out there by the plenty. Add texture, warmth for your feet, and color with a rug by the sink or under the kitchen table. In this galley style kitchen, it runs the length of the room, breaking up the dark floors below. Also, look at that red rocker! Aw, so cute!

Use red appliances.

I personally prefer the pastel Smegs but seeing as how we’re on red…

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They also carry stoves and other things that may be up your appliance alley!

What do you think of red? Do you currently use it in your home? How about in your kitchen? Any plans to incorporate it in the future?

The right red mixed with neutrals (whites, browns, creams, browns, and black in certain circumstances) will always be pleasing to the eye. But it can also be beautiful paired with its complement, green and its primary friend blue. Just make sure you’re not singing Jingle Bells and the Star-spangled Banner!