Today’s Monday Moodboard is for a transitional living room in every sense of the word. With two active kids and one on the way, these clients have settled into their forever home, but they are taking their time (as they should) with the interior design. It’s all about prioritizing. A coffee table is not crucial when an indoor game of tag is a more common occurrence than formal cocktail parties. Designer drapes take a back seat to throw pillows that can add color and pattern without the expense. The room is also transitional in terms of style. With some inherited traditional pieces but with an eagerness to keep the vibe youthful and fresh, there must be a plan in place not just for practicality but for the overall aesthetic. Here I will review with you, floor to ceiling, how I am helping these clients tackle this room one element at a time, thus allowing them to stick to their own pace and budget.
The walls are white and the main colors in the room are dictated by two recently upholstered chairs, one in a kelly-green and white geometric, and one in a textured dark blue. The two colors happen to be a favorite combination of mine, reflective of nature and always appealing to the eye. I used Sarah Bartholomew’s approachable designs as inspiration. She seamlessly blends traditional with more modern elements and the result is always stunning.
My clients’ two-story Colonial has great bones and an array of charm built in. The original wood floors are beautiful as is. The only suggested addition at this stage is a natural fiber rug. Seagrass is durable, classic, timeless, inexpensive and allows for lots of flexibility with the rest of the design.
*For the Future: A smaller decorative oriental rug or hide over the seagrass rug would be a sophisticated added layer, but not necessary at this stage.
My clients have a good head start here, with two existing arm chairs and a neutral colored sofa. They also have two wood tables flanking the opening to the adjoining family room. Finally, a round wood table placed at their front bay window is ideal for displaying family photos. The only pieces needed immediately (for practicality) are a pair of small occasional tables so that guests can set down a drink or small plate of food.
I love these from Serena & Lily due to their shape and style. The height is also appropriate situated next to an arm chair. Another easy option would be garden stools, available in a variety of affordable shapes and sizes.
*For the Future: While the priority now is inexpensive occasional tables, a coffee table will finish off the room when they are ready. My suggestion is a painted or lightly washed finish since all of their existing tables are a medium wood tone. While a glass or mirrored finish would be beautiful, wood is simply more practical when there are children running around!
*Another suggestion for the future would be a table skirt for the front round table. Table skirts add softness and a touch of formality. Ballard Designs offers great ready-made skirts with standard dimensions. The other option is to get one custom-made–more expensive, but guaranteed to fit and a better quality.
My clients’ living room has a lovely bay window overlooking the front yard and street as well as two single windows flanking the fireplace. Privacy is key for the front bay window, so the treatments here take priority. They could technically wait on treating the two single windows to stagger expenses, but they run the risk of fabric dye lots changing or readymade products being discontinued.
The goal here is to add softness to the room while still letting in ample light. Roman shades on bay windows work well for this purpose, as you can control the light with variable lengths on all three shades.
Two proposed options are either Pottery Barn’s white shades with simple navy trim or natural wovens. Either would achieve a youthful, fresh look that will stand the test of time.
*For the Future: Full length drapes mounted on a rod that runs across the bay window will add a nice finishing touch. I always love the combination of roman shades at a bay window with full length drapes at the sides. The more layers in a room, the better.
These are typically the easiest and least expensive way to transform a room. For young families, pillows from catalogues and Etsy are fine.
*For the Future: Spend time with a designer and/or workroom choosing specific fabric and trims. Taking the time to think through the colors, patterns, textures, and passementerie details will set your pillows apart from the rest!
With no overhead lighting, table lamps will be the main source of lighting. If you weren’t already aware, they are my favorite form of illuminating a room. See here for some tips.
A lamp like the one below would be an attractive, interesting shape on the round table at the front bay window. It’s the type of lamp that neighbors driving by at night will notice.
The two tables at the rear of the room do not match, so I encourage a pair of matching lamps on them. It’s a way to add symmetry and balance to an area that otherwise would feel a bit mismatched. Blue and white lamps are an all time favorite so I cannot help but suggest them here.
My clients have made this category easy for me as they are the proud owners of a gorgeous Osterhaus cow. It will look beautiful over their neutral sofa and will bring color to this part of the room. Opposite this wall is the fireplace, over which I suggest a large mirror. I love this one by Made Goods. The shape is interesting, and the finish will blend with anything. It’s also a bit more formal which is appropriate for a living room. Rotated horizontally, it will be the perfect size to fill the space over the mantel.
I have also recently discovered the artist Kayce Hughes and love her work in addition to more traditional furnishings in a room. The blue and white colors are a safe bet, but her yellow or even red artwork would provide a daring punch to the room! I’ll leave it to my clients to decide…
Blue and white pottery in excess is always a win in my book. My clients can have fun collecting pieces over the years in various shapes and sizes. Avoid the “matchy-matchy” look- just focus on the quality.
For the front round table, framed family photos en mass will look pretty. I suggest using the same tone for all frames, whether it is sterling silver or gold. The same finish but different shapes, sizes, and styles is always a great look.
Whether you are designing an entire home or one room at a time, take time to enjoy the transition. Have fun gathering pieces that mean something to you–surround yourself with things that make you happy. Just make sure you have a general plan laid out so that you are only investing in items that you truly want or need. You’ll witness your house transitioning into a home, and there are few greater joys in this world than proudly calling your home your own!