Melissa Summers believes that it’s okay to have a glass of wine during the day, which makes her my kind of gal. She also a fellow blogger and a Detroit suburbanite ‚Äì just like me! However, we have yet to meet in real life. Whether or not we ever get around to it may depend on how well I do with her design dilemma. The pressure is on.
I’m struggling with my front room, says Melissa of her rented town home. It has great bones, a huge window and I love our new sofa. I found a chair and a desk I like at thrift stores we also have a shelf my husband built with his brother. But‚
The mantel is not my taste (very traditional) but it can’t change it at this point. I like the general vibe but it’s so boring. I would like to paint the desk and accent the bamboo on it. What color? My husband is saying white, I’m not sure if it will go with the black bookcase.
Melissa would also like some advice about how to pull the room together with accessories she can take with her. Here’s what I have come up with.
Creating a focal point
Melissa wants to paint the desk as her first step. The problem here is that she’s running head first into my number one rule, which is to choose paint colors last. So, I suggest that she create a focal point with artwork over the fireplace first. Then, paint the desk to coordinate.
There are lots of ways to do this without spending a fortune. My favorite way is with photography. Here I used a photograph from Olya Photography. Her images sell for $70 for a 20 x 30 print. I approximated that size and added a 4″ mat. Other options include taking four close-up photos of flowers, or other colorful objects. Have them printed in a large format at Kinko’s. Buy Fjallsta frames ($19.99) at IKEA and hang them in a grid.
I like the mercury objects on the right side of the mantel. Remove the fruit, divide them in two and place them on either side of the mantel. Focal point accomplished.
Painting the desk
Melissa wanted to do something with the desk that will highlight the bamboo. To accomplish this, paint these features an accent color, such as red or hot pink. Then, paint the entire desk dark brown. (See my post on how to paint laminated furniture here). Then, sand off the brown to reveal the red. BUT‚
This won’t look contemporary. I think the desk would look much better either all brown or painted a funky color that coordinates with the art, such as a burnt orange. The photo, above, is my very bad attempt at depicting the red under brown thing. White will be too loud. Don’t go there.
Melissa mentioned that she likes orange and has some orange accent pieces elsewhere in the house. Because Melissa might move, it’s smart to choose things that can happily fit into different room settings. She can combine them later if need be.
I have a photo of some linen curtains from Restoration Hardware. They‚re a nice neutral in a standard size. This is important if you want to have any chance of using them again elsewhere. However, I had an idiot moment and just found Melissa’s photos which head this post. In the interest of time (and because the above idea is generally a good one) I didn’t redo the image.
But I think inset panels will work better than drapes with this window. Get out the trusty sewing machine and make up some ivory semi-sheer, pleated or gathered panels that will fit into the window casing and rise just above half-way. This will provide privacy and a contemporary look. It also uses a minimal amount of fabric, so the cost is low. You can find a great semi-sheer fabric over at Haberman’s.
I’ve chosen some pillows for the sofa that will tie the artwork in with the rest of the room and add some more color. The long pillows are from Rose & Radish. The square pillow is from Paper Cloud. Finally, hang the mirror over the desk and use the poster over the bookcase. This spreads the color throughout the room. The mirror will look great near the mercury objects.
That’s it. I think these simple things will tie this room together nicely. I hope Melissa likes my ideas, but I invite everyone to weigh in with ideas and resources of their own.