An interior design blog with furniture reviews, interior decorating tips, DIY projects, and home furniture guides.

Posts Tagged ‘living room’

From Coast to Coast – Coastal Style Living Room

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Coastal style is becoming more popular than ever due to its versatility and casual savoir faire. While furnishings reflecting a coastal theme don’t possess one definitive style per se, coastal living room furniture is distinctive with its relaxed profiles, lighter or more exotic finishes, louvered accents and fabrics that echo marine life or a day spent by the beach. Aside from its many faces, coastal style is inspired by the lifestyles and objects closely associated with the different coastal areas found throughout the world.

Pick a coast. Because each one has its own unique flavor, mirroring a particular region and its social trends, you will want to focus on only one coast for the emphasis of your living room interior design. This choice will play an important role in the color palette you choose. For example, the Eastern Seaboard is more closely associated to moody grays, misty whites and paint-washed blues. But the Pacific Coast, especially California is linked to brighter colors like marine blues, sandy neutrals and sunshine yellows.

A coastal style living room borrows its color scheme straight from the sea. Fabrics range from rich earth tones to the vibrant colors of reminiscent of the sun, sky, tropical fish and coral reefs. Furniture designs commonly create visual interest with textures borrowed from natural fibers or panels of woven or inset organic materials like wicker, rattan or ceramic tile. Throw down a woven area rug of sisal or sea grass.  For a casual seaside resort holiday atmosphere, select a coffee table set with a white or soft pastel milky finish for a touch that is light and festive. This style of living room can also accommodate larger showy pieces like a TV armoire or a curio cabinet, especially if it includes beadboard or louvered panels.

When accessorizing a coastal style living room, you want to evoke the feeling of a summer holiday by the sea or a life lived by the ocean. Place a braided rug under the coffee table or in front of an electric fireplace. Put a row of woven baskets on a bookcase shelf; this little decorating trick will not only add an organic element to your coastal style living room, it will also make the space more functional. Group found objects together, such as a handful of shells or other little treasures from the sea to create secondary focal points throughout the room.

British Colonial Style for your Living Space

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

 Black Island TV Stand

At the height of her reign (from 1887 to 1901), Queen Victoria ruled over the British Empire which spanned several continents. Because of the infusion of Middle Eastern and Asian cultural influences, Victorian style was extremely eclectic, displaying the elegance, opulence, drama and romance of these other more exotic cultures. By the same token, those British subjects stationed in the British Colonial outposts of the Empire that included Singapore, East Africa, India and the British West Indies, brought with them their language, principles of government, architecture and furniture. 

But because they were so far from their beloved Isle, when new furniture was needed, the styles and designs that reminded them of home were adapted to reflect life in the tropics. Furniture in the British colonies of Asia and Africa sported traditional tribal motifs and animal prints like leopard and zebra. In the British colonies of the West Indies, beds, sideboards, tables and chairs often incorporated local materials including rattan and leather. Motifs, particularly floral ones, and even some of the furniture pieces themselves, took on fanciful aspects and elements. The British Colonial Style that emerged from the habit of British Colonials adapting the comforts of home to their new surroundings is richly traditional, with touches of whimsy and the exotic. 

British Colonial Style for the Bedroom 

3 Piece Bedroom Set

When decorating a bedroom, the bed is the natural focal point of the room’s interior design. Start with the Tommy Bahama Home Island Estate West Indies Poster Bed 3 Piece Bedroom Set in Plantation. The canopy bed in the middle of the room will command attention, especially if draped with mosquito netting-like canopy top and side curtains. Traditional arrow feet and finials are paired with simulated bamboo posts and cane panels, perfectly illustrating classic British Colonial design. 

Especially in the colonies of the British West Indies, color palettes for walls and window treatments typically reflected the lush colors found in nature: the vivid blues of the ocean and sky; the deeper greens of tree foliage and the rich pastels of flowering plants; and the varied yellows of sand and sun. Botanical prints are common fabrics for bed benches, curtains, bedding sets and upholstered occasional chairs. 

British Colonial Style for the Dining Room 

Rectangular Dining Table

When British Colonial officials of Her Majesty, Queen Victoria entertained head of state or the officials of local government, the meals were naturally lavish and the surroundings sumptuous and luxuriant. 

Wall colors are muted jewel or earth tones to provide a suitable canvas for the richness of traditional teak and mahogany dining room furniture. 

Swag curtains with ornate valances were commonly used window treatments. The heavy fabrics used for curtains often included gold thread and tie-backs were made of braided and/or tasseled cords. 

The matching dining chairs to the Tommy Bahama Home Island Estate Grenadine Rectangular Dining Table in Plantation are elegant and refined, incorporating organic elements such as rattan for the frame and abaca for the backrest. 

British Colonial Style for the Living Room 

boca coffee table

Living room furniture British possesses substantial profiles but with lines and curves that are relaxed by tropical and native influences. 

Arms of chairs and legs of tables were carved, often with motifs that reflected the region such as palm leaves or pineapple tops. Shutters, which kept rooms cool, were integrated into furniture designs as doors or side panels to keep the interiors of cabinets fresh and ventilated. 

In addition to curtains, window treatments also incorporated louvered shutters to keep out the noon heat. 

Living room accessories could include heavy candlesticks made of wood or porcelain; sisal area rugs; hurricane lamps; potted plants in oversized pots; and trunk style tables. 

British Colonial style has an appeal and allure that stems from adventure in exotic lands. While still retaining the dignity of Victorian style, British Colonial furnishings branch out into brave new territory; a reflection of British subjects recreating the comforts of home in unfamiliar lands.

Dining Room in the Kitchen

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Kitchen Island Table

Today, many condominiums, apartments and lofts have an open concept design where the kitchen flows into the dining area and the dining area merges into the living room. Even when building or designing their own homes, some people prefer to skip the formal dining room that they might only use, at the most, twice a year. Putting the dining room in the kitchen really makes the kitchen the heart of the home, transforming cooking, serving and eating a meal into a connected and more interactive process.

Cream & Boylston Brown

It makes sense in contemporary homes to dispense with room that will be under-utilized and often the dining room is an extension of the living room, the family room or the kitchen. It relates to the ever-growing trend of building homes with as many multi-purpose rooms as possible. However, to be practical, functional and esthetic, a successful kitchen dining room design requires a little extra planning and ingenuity.

To visually ground the dining area and blend it seamlessly into the kitchen environment, select a tabletop for your dining table that matches or complements the kitchen counters.

When working with a limited amount of space:

  • Select furnishings that are compact or smaller in scale
  • Choose a dining set that is not “solid”; a dining table and dining chairs that have an openwork design will open up the area
  • Adding mirrors will “throw” light around the room, giving it a more spacious appearance

Because this is a dual-purpose room used for both preparing and eating meals, especially if it’s smaller-sized, lighter colors like white and pastels paired with light-colored furniture will make the appear larger.

Dining Breakfast Nook by Linon

Choose casual furnishings such as a table with benches instead of dining chairs. For a casual yet somewhat sophisticated look select a table with a glass top and pair it with leather chairs. Or buy the table separately from the chairs; deliberately opting for a dining set that doesn’t match will also help to create a less formal feel.

Since you will be cooking, pick window treatments for your dining area that will be easy to clean.

Should you desire a formal dining atmosphere, there are ways to create a separate and intimate atmosphere even in an open concept area.

  • Paint one wall a bright, bold accent color, one that has not been used in the kitchen. You can use the same trick on the dining chairs, by selecting a fabric for the seats in a color to match or complement the accent wall.
  • If it’s an option, use different flooring materials; this will clearly differentiate the dining area from the kitchen.
  • Choose furniture in darker colors. A wood table and wood dining side chairs have a tendency to appear more formal than lighter colored furnishings.

The Casual Cure: Making your Living Room User Friendly

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Klaussner Furniture Conquest Sofa Set

Maybe it was a design idea that didn’t turn out as planned. Or you somehow inherited furnishings more traditional or formal than you would have chosen for yourself. But now you’re left with a living room that is…dare we say the word out loud…stuffy and not overly appealing. Don’t despair! There are some simple ways to make your living room user-friendly and guest-ready without having to start over from scratch. 
Lexington Hancock Park Hillcrest 8 Drawer TV Armoire in Cognac Wood Finish

You can accomplish a lot just by simply removing one or two pieces. Having too much furniture in a room, especially if the style is more traditional or formal, can make the room feel cramped and unwelcoming.

Move the furniture around. By mixing together furniture pieces of different heights, you will avoid the overpowering effect tall furnishings can have when grouped together in one place.

Homelegance Barcelona Love Seat

Create a more casual atmosphere by making the furniture as comfortable as possible. Adding a bolster pillow to the sofa and a number of differently shaped accent pillows to the sofa and armchairs, will make the room a more inviting place to sit. Wherever possible, place a footstool or ottoman in front of the couch or an armchair. Drape a cozy throw over one end of the sofa. 

Pay close attention to the way the furniture is arranged. Forming conversational groups around a focal point like a fireplace, entertainment center or even the coffee table is a guaranteed way to convert your living room from stuffy to user-friendly without too much effort or expense.

 Shady Lady Antique Chic Floor Lamp

You can lighten up your décor while giving the room a more casual, relaxed feel by replacing dark colored or outdated lamps with floor lamps or table lamps or lampshades in lighter colors. If you choose to replace the entire lamp rather than just the shade, consider selecting lighting fixtures that are more contemporary in style, but ones that don’t compromise or disrupt with the room’s existing classic or traditional look. Add several different types of lighting fixtures to make the area as bright as possible while preserving the room’s warm atmosphere. 

Zodax Modern Thai Wooden Decorative Pagoda Box

Dressing the room with knickknacks and personal items that have meaning for you and your family, like photos or mementos from vacations or trips you have taken together, will add a casual, lived-in look to your living room. Pick one table to display a group of photographs and reserve one or two other areas of the room for memorabilia. Limiting the number of groupings will add character and personality to your décor while avoiding the risk of making the room feel cluttered or untidy.

Color Your Home with the Shades of Fall

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Looking out my window today I noticed the trees – the leaves are a riot of different shades of reds, from deep burgundy to fire engine red. Ditto for the trees whose leaves turn yellow; gold, butter yellow, soft lemon and flame orange. Fall colors are everywhere, bringing with it a wealth of tones and shades. Here are a few simple ways to bring the colors of fall into the rooms of your home.

Bring Fall Colors into the Living Room


The living room is where you relax; spend time with your partner; watch TV with the kids or just sit and do nothing for six seconds before you have to make supper. This is the one room in your home that will benefit the most from a pick-me-up of fall colors. Give the room an inviting feel with lots of pillows, a cozy throw or an accent rug in a warm autumn palette.

Lawrence Home Fashions Enchanted Decorative Pillow

Make a comfy armchair or favorite recliner shout “Sit here! Sit here!” with a selection of decorative pillows from Lawrence Home Fashions in rich wine and earth tones.





Daniadown Utah Berry Throw

Drape the end of your sofa with the Daniadown Utah Berry Throw. Having a warm blanket close at hand will be a perfect way to keep toasty while watching TV when the nights become a little chilly.



Brink & Campman Area RugsEven if your living room is carpeted, especially in a solid or neutral color, adding an area rug like the Brink & Campman Area Rugs- Himali Collection Aqurel 93303 in front of the sofa featuring the colors of autumn will warm up your toes, as well as the décor.

American Drew Dining Table Set

Bring Fall Colors into the Dining Room

Change the look of your dining chairs to match the season by adding chair covers in oranges or deep reds for a bold  statement or rich neutral colors like taupe, light brown or gray.

Create a centerpiece from found objects straight from nature or place a vase of seasonal flowers like chrysanthemums or carnations in the center of your dining table.

turkish red

Dressing your dining table with table linens in reds, browns or yellows is an inexpensive way to color your dining room in autumn. The richly toned Daniadown Sateen Turkish Red Tablecloth is a perfect example.

Bring Fall Colors into the Bedroom

Bringing autumn from the outdoors into the bedroom adds a naturalistic element to the place most of us think of as a sanctuary after a tiring day. Mixing rusts and soft greens introduces a calming aspect to the room. Oranges and blues with warm undertones give the room punches of color. Medium to dark browns, especially a comforter or duvet, are particularly soothing.

cozy kids 3 piece bedding set

The Cozy Kids Elk River 3-Piece Twin Bedding Set manages to include all of the major colors associated with fall.

Southern Texttiles Bed In A Bag Set

Ideal for a master or main bedroom, the Southern Textiles Elite Collection Wilmington 11-Piece Queen Bed In A Bag Set uses oranges, browns, subtle reds, greens and golds with stunning effect.

Liz Claiborne by Nourison Modern EleganceWith its wine tones and green accents on a neutral background, the Liz Claiborne by Nourison Modern Elegance LH01 Area Rug Collection in Oatmeal creates a look that is textured yet restful and inviting.

Bringing the colors of fall into your home, with autumn’s signature earthy browns, sunflower yellows, pear-tinted golds and pumpkin oranges, celebrates the change of season and mentally prepares us for Thanksgiving and the colder temperatures of winter.

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