The story of my friends M&J’s new living room continues. I was nervous to share my ideas with them. I didn’t have a lot to go off of in terms of their style preference (this wasn’t something they had spent much time considering before), so I tried to take my cues from other areas of their home. I knew that they wouldn’t want a space that felt overly formal, and that a touch of whimsy would likely be appreciated.
Luckily, after sending them my initial ideas for an overall color scheme (green from their sofas and shades of blue) and an idea of introducing an leaf motif as a way to ease them into a life with pattern, I received some helpful feedback from them. Here’s the initial plan I sent them:
Overall, they liked the color scheme and pattern I had suggested (huge sigh of relief!). Their main concern was that the pattern on the leaf motif fabric was blue on white and with their menagerie of pets, they were concerned about these pillows looking dirty very quickly. J suggested backing them with a blue similar to the curtain color, so only the front part was white, and I agreed that that could be an easy compromise. I also suggested that we construct the pillow covers as slipcovers, so that when they (inevitably) did get dirty, they could easily just be thrown in the wash. And then we were all in agreement.
I then modified the plans slightly based on our conversation. The layering of another shade of green on the sofa made them a little uncomfortable, so I removed the second set of accent pillows. I also realized, after consulting the couch cushion they lent me that their sofa was a more olive-y shade of green than was represented by the previous sofa pic I pulled, so I replaced it with one that matched the color better. Finally, after reviewing pics they sent me of the room itself, I added another set of windows to the mix (I think there are a total of 4 banks of windows, with 8 or 9 total windows to be covered!). They also nixed the idea of having a table runner on their coffee table, but agreed that we could find other ways to use the leaf print in the room. Their new inspiration .ppt looks like this:
I’ll be sure to send them the slide, but luckily we were able to already start talking about next steps. I’ve suggested that they focus on the big stuff first, like choosing a color scheme and paint color, and that we could discuss things like furniture arrangement, hanging art, possibly re-finishing furniture, etc., once they are actually moved into the space and see how the room is starting to feel for them (Too dark? Too light? Too cluttered? Too sparse?). They are going to go ahead and purchase the leaf motif fabric (actually these are curtains from IKEA that we plan to cut-up and sew into pillows), and then pull their paint color for the room from the lighter shade of blue in the pattern. Keeping in mind that one of our main constraints with this project is the budget ($200) I was surprised to learn that they didn’t know that they could easily purchase inexpensive pillow forms (such as these) for this project, so I wanted to make sure to mention that here so that others know this money-saving tip too! Of course, if you have pillows already that you just want to re-cover, then that is even less expensive.
We also talked extensively about how they were going to fit in purchasing all the needed curtain hardware for their many, many windows, into their budget. I made some suggestions of places to do some comparison shopping and wished them luck. They have a lot of curtain rods and curtains to purchase on a tight budget, but I think they’ll be able to do it. I also mentioned that they could always phase in the design over time, allowing them more time to build up their decorating budget. Luckily, the curtains we are leaning towards (also from IKEA) for the room are very, very inexpensive per pair ($20)–and all they really need for this room project is the pattern fabric, paint, and the curtains and rods. We’ve decided to re-evaluate what kind of rug will work best with the space at a later point to allow them to move forward on their tight timeline.
Finally, remember that whimsy I mentioned as being a necessary component to their style? I was thrilled to hear J’s idea for a photo wall that featured family photos interspersed with these whimsical animal portraits. I think the idea is brilliant, especially given their love of animals, and can’t wait to see it executed! Their only concern about their photo wall plan was how to make it seem cohesive, so I suggested using all frames in one color (color TBD). More updates soon as their room comes together at the end of the month!