Last week I went to a cocktail party at the home of my cousin and her husband. For the last three years they have done a lot of work to an already beautiful house which has large rooms, tall ceilings and a nice floor plan for entertaining. Some of the projects they did were paint their kids rooms, decorated a formal living room and made the cellar into a wonderful man/woman cave for the two of them to enjoy, and a place for their two kids to have fun and bring friends.
Even after all of that, I’ve noticed they have one problem, a kind of problem they share with millions of people who purchased a pre lived in new house… That problem is, they’ve inherited (bought) some of the left over decorating style of the previous owners. In this case, it was burgundy-cranberry-red toile de Jouy wallpaper which is in a formal dining room that is part of, and opens into a grand stair-cased entry hall. They also inherited a coral-terracotta paint color on the walls of a large kitchen which opens into a spacious family room. The family room came with off-white-beige carpeting and beige walls. They put a stone brown sofa and love seat in that room.
As with everything, Rome was not built in a day, and with time constraints, the cost of products, etc., some projects came first, while others had to be put on the back burner for the last three years.
The day after the party, it came to me, why not incorporate all the wonderful things they had done, with what they have inherited (bought) from the previous owners. The objective would be to give the illusion, for the time being, that all of the interior decorating was their idea.
I thought, with the purchase of some inexpensive items, that could be bought in an afternoon, they could do some Quick Fixes that would tie the old and new together, until they had the time to make more changes.
Interior Decorating Quick Fix One…
When you enter my cousin and her husband’s house, you are in a large front hall with stair case. Open to it, on the right is a spacious living room, they have tastefully decorated with rusty-brown leather sofa and chairs, end tables, etc. The room is a tobacco kind of color. The dining room is directly to the left of the stair case on the other side of the front hall. The upper part of the dining room walls have been papered in a wallpaper that has a cream background with line drawings of flowers and leaves on it, in a burgundy-cranberry-red color. There is a burgundy-rusty-red valance over the windows. The toile de Jouy wallpaper and valances were installed by the previous owners of the house.
To unite the two spaces (dining room to living room) the predominant dining room color burgundy-cranberry-red must be introduced into the living room as an accent color. Pillows for the sofa, a throw for a chair, a silk flower arrangement or two, possibly a patterned area rug, the color story of some paintings (art works) and some decorative vases and knickknacks in burgundy-cranberry-red should be distributed around the room. (see living room illustration)
Next, to tie the living room color to the inherited color of the dining room, the predominant color, rusty-brown , from the living room, must be introduced into the dining room, as an accent color. A large silk flower arrangement in the colors cream, burgundy-cranberry-red, and rusty-brown could be put on the dining room table. Candles in the rusty-brown color could also grace the table in fancy holders. Drapery panels in a shiny, or kind of metallic brown fabric could frame the windows, hung under the burgundy-rusty-red valances bought by the previous house owners. The inside edge of the new brown drapes could have a tassel or ribbon trim added, in a rusty-red, to give an extra designer detail to the room. (see illustration of dining room).
Interior Decorating Quick Fix Two…
Taking the predominant inherited color from the kitchen, a peach-terracotta, it should be introduced into the adjoining family room as the accent color to tie the two spaces together. To the neutral beige of the walls, off-white-beige for the carpeting, and stone-brown color of the furniture; pillows for the sofa, a throw for a chair, a flower arrangement for the mantel, and some knickknacks and other decorative accessories in the color peach-terracotta should be added. In front of the sofa, on top of the off-white-beige wall-to-all carpeting, a 4 x 6 foot or 6 x 9 foot inexpensive patterned area rug could be laid, in the colors beige and peach-terracotta. A beige, peach and pale green rug would be another option. If something were found with green in it (or another color), an extra throw pillow, vase, etc should be added to the mix, to then work that green color around the room.
So now, if you have some time, read my 3-7-2011 post titled “Pick (Use) four colors when decorating a room” it goes more into how to pick predominant, subordinate, and accent colors, how to work them around a room, and from one space to another. (like the living room, front hall and dining room in quick fix one). My 4-2-2011 post titled “ADD color to a Beige Room with Accessories” will also give you some more ideas about working color around a space.
So now I hope I inspired you to look outside the box a bit. To think about how you can marry the new with the old, for at least the time being. I think as people, we want to make our own choices, even if they are subtle changes from what others have chosen, to say “I picked this myself”. But, sometimes a pre picked element might get you going down a road, that you would never have traveled, and at the end, you would like the outcome. An inexpensive Quick Fix, that you thought you would live with for a year or two, might be so attractive to you, that you won’t even want to go any further, because you like the way it turned out. In a way, this post could also be about combining two households, his and yours.
So tell me, have you ever had to marry the old and new? What kinds of colors did you have to combine? Did this post inspire your?
Companion Post ..Interior Decorating is ALL about Equal Balance 2-27-2011, The Right way to Hang Curtains and Drapes 5-3-2011, Arranging Your Decorative Accessories (Knickknacks and Collectables) 6-7-2011, Hanging Pictures Around a Room 8-3-2011, Two EASY Projects..Cleaning your Bathroom tile and Grout..Caulking the Tub like a Pro 2-25-2012