Today’s moodboard was created for a U.S. couple who recently bought their first home. They have put a lot of love into their quaint historic East Coast abode and are approaching the finish line with final touches to their main living area. The wide-plank pine floors have been refurbished, the furniture is in place, fresh gray paint on the walls, and full-length white drapes frame the windows. Even their prized collection of black and white photos has been hung on the wall in a sophisticated gallery format. The feel of their home complements them: classic, refined, and elegant. What remains is throw pillows and accessories to add details reflective of their personality while maintaining the peaceful, cohesive feel of the room.
While this couple clearly loves neutrals, they were open to a pop of color that could be changed out without breaking the bank. This can easily be done with throw pillows and accessories, but the challenge lies in introducing an accent color that they can both agree on. A walk in Paddington (a favorite suburb of Sydney) this weekend provided the main inspiration behind the proposed accent color: sunshine yellow.
With the walls a warm gray and floors stained a medium amber tone, this lemon splash supplies the refreshing touch that the room needs. Together with the neutral furnishings already in place, this addition of color creates a unique, sophisticated color palette that suits them both and adds some cheer. Have I mentioned they are two of the funniest people I know?
I am fairly certain that the female counterpart of this couple will be a fan (she once painted her New York City apartment yellow on a whim) but the challenge will be convincing her husband. This is where compromise comes in. She prefers stripes, florals, and color; he prefers geometrics in neutral tones. After some serious searching, I came across a viable middle ground in these pillows from Williams Sonoma Home. I love that the yellow is happy without being cheesy; I love that the pattern is reminiscent of a Greek Key but more updated and youthful. Thus the beginnings of making lemonade out of lemons…!
Moodboard in Review:
- Black and white photos – the subject matter of the photos is her family’s farms; the black and white is masculine, resulting in an ideal focal point in the room. The couple displayed these special photos en mass, a classic look that never fails.
- Sisal area rug- the clients already had this area rug. We all know I love sisal, so I encouraged its use. In this case, it helps brighten the room; the new yellow pillows will work with the golden hues of its natural fibers.
- Gray paint- Benjamin Moore’s “Gray Owl.” This color is a beautiful neutral gray that is not to green, yellow, or tan; luckily this was a color they both adored so it was a no-brainer.
- Refurbished wide-plank pine floors– the couple avoided the trend of dark ebony and stayed true to their home’s Colonial history. There is no better combination than newly stained floors brought back to their original hue.
- White ottomans with a modern brass base- I found these on One King’s Lane; the gold tones work well with the yellow pillows and sisal area rug; the white upholstery is equally sleek and pairs well with the simple elegance of the rest of their home. Since the space is fairly small, the ottomans will be used in lieu of one large coffee table and can be used as extra seating when needed.
- Wood burning fireplace – they are lucky to enjoy this stunning feature original to the home, especially during the cold winter months. The interior is painted black so that soot does not become an eye sore, and I love the look of birch branches nestled in a bunch when the fireplace is not in use.
- New mohair throw – to avoid the room looking too “matchy-matchy,” I suggest a patterned gold and cream toned throw; it adds an extra pattern and texture but is practical for cooler nights. The sofa is ultrasuede, ottomans a textured vinyl, and pillows an embroidery on cotton, so mohair adds a welcome (and cozy) new texture to the space.
- New yellow pillows– reminiscent of the front door of the Paddington row house, these embrace the color she loves and the more refined pattern that he gravitates toward. They are sure to be a hit.
- Gray sofa– its skirted base and plush cushions contrast nicely with the ottomans. The color complements the wall paint and is an ideal backdrop for the pops of yellow.
Below are some ideas for additional accessories depending on how much color my clients want to incorporate into their room.
- Art displayed on side tables is a safe way to introduce color gradually into a room. I love this still life of lemons found on Etsy. The modern art is from Target (!) but if displayed on a small easel on top of smart coffee table book (see below), no one will ever know it was a steal.
- Coffee table books are crucial to adding personality to a room. There is a reason why this Tom Ford book gets around…it is a great size and the black and white font adds a strong, masculine vibe.
- Lamp shades are a creative way to add color. I love love love these from Fermoie.
Finally, I leave you with a few rooms that provide some helpful visuals as to why this color palette works. These spaces would be beautiful decorated completely with neutrals, but the added boost of yellow takes it from pretty and ordinary to memorable and sophisticated.
If my clients grow weary of yellow, they simply have to replace a few throw pillows. When or if that day comes, it will be an easy change. For now, I am confident that this sweet couple will embrace this cheerful change and make many happy memories in their new living area for years to come.