First, I wanted to let you know how much I LOVE your blog. I have been neglecting my kids/husband/house to read your posts ever since I discovered you. Thank you so much for all the great tips and ideas!
Secondly, I'm writing to ask (beg) for your help. I am struggling with my living/dining room and hope you can point me in the right direction. I've enclosed pictures, but as you can see they are two rectangular rooms with a large opening between them. We are in the process (thus the lovely tape and missing baseboards) of painting all the woodwork "white". I've also announced to husband that I would like crown in both rooms and wainscoting in the dining room. (He wasn't very excited about either project!) We purchased this house almost four years ago as a foreclosure and it has needed a LOT of TLC. It is a center hall colonial but doesn't have much character -think golden oak on every possible surface - yuck! - and we are in the slow process of making it over. I love modern, clean, lines, but with some warmth, and I'm not afraid of pattern (not that you can tell it from these rooms). Also, I have two girls under the age of 3 which explains the tea party in progress on the coffee table. These rooms are more for grown ups, but they need to be somewhat kid friendly.
Here are my problems:
1.) Fireplace - it is giving me fits. I've tried a bunch of different things with no luck. Nothing seems to look quite right. You can see my most recent acquisition in the pictures (a sunburst mirror that I love) is still mounted on the plywood it shipped on!! I think it would look awesome in my entry way so I'm not too worried if you don't think it should stay.
2.) Ceiling - don't know if you can tell from the picture, but we have a small tray. I made poor husband spend a week of vacation scraping the popcorn off the ceilings (who sprays popcorn on a tray ceiling???), but now I don't know how to treat them, so they've just been painted white. Should we add additional trim to the tray? It's only about 2" deep. Obviously when we add crown molding in white, I'll need to paint the ceiling, but which part?
3.) Pulling the color scheme together - I somehow ended up with purple/grey/green in the living room but have purple/red/green in the dining room. The red/green with orange continues in the kitchen and family room which are through the door of the dining room. How do I tie these rooms together? I know part of it is pattern and that my curtains probably need to be replaced. I just can't figure out what would work in both rooms - the windows should match, right? I found some artwork that I like, but they are only purple/green/grey. How do I pull the red into the living room - do I need to??? Also, I would definitely be open to wallpaper in the dining room - as I love the look of wallpaper with wainscoting. I can certainly repaint, this was our "we need to paint the walls before the floors go in" color. (I know, I know - pick paint last)
4.) Furniture arrangement - I feel like I'm close on this, but not quite there. I would love your input. I do have chairs for the dining room that I plan to reupholster and two China cabinets that I am refinishing that could be used in either room. I can augment my furniture, but don't have the budget to replace everything and would prefer to spend on curtains, accessories, etc. I think maybe I need a new/bigger rug for the living room. The cream just doesn't seem to be doing it for me.
Thank you in advance for any guidance you can provide. Please feel free to be brutal and frank! I promise to follow your suggestions and send after pictures.
Thank you for the kind words. I hope you will still like me when you are done reading this post. ;-) I have 12 things I need to share with you. The writer in me wants to be concise, but this time, at the risk of boring the readers out there, I need to say all 12.
1. You have two sunburst mirrors in sight of each other. That is at least one too many.
2. Ditch the drapes. (See I am being concise after all!) They are far too traditional for your contemporary furnishings. Replace them with a simple drapery panel. Green is too much for your walls, and purple would be too much purple. I would use the neutral color in your chairs and then add a trim in purple. I woud also add a drapery panel on the windows by your fireplace. On those windows use drapery rosettes instead of a rod to keep them in place and pull them to the sides, working with your rounded shape. I would hang them higher, and use four panels in the living room and four in the dining room.
3. Accessorize the sideboard and table better. That is what your dining room needs more than anything. (Along with new drapes) ;-) On a rectangular table, either use a rectangular centerpiece, or use three items, which gives the arrangement a rectangular shape. Can you see how adding the two candlesticks in the photo below works so much nicer than if there was JUST the plant?
(photo from A'LaMode)
4. Replace the round coffee table with a square. It should also, and more importantly, be larger.
(photo from Southern Living)
5. Your lighting is terrible. Add can lights. See this post on a lighting plan.
6. Yes, trim out the ceiling tray. Yes to the wainscotting (3/4 way up) and yes to the crown. Yes to painting all of it a glossy white.
7. Your fireplace decor needs some color to really be connected to the room better. Use the 40 x 40 purple flower picture that you sent. Your current fireplace decor is way too formal for the room. Your fireplace mantle is shallow; I would take off the candle sticks. Keep it simple. Your modern look is more simple and clean. Move that miror to replace the mirror in the dining room. I would get rid of everything red.
8. The sconces in the living room are way too modern for your house. In general. all of your decor is too modern for your architecture. You can get away with it more in furnishings, but once items start being attached to the room, you should maintain architecutral integrity. I do however, appreciate that you have sconces. I love and applaud the all too infrequent use of sconces. ;-)
9. Your living room only has one strong pattern. Your use of pattern is too weak to really look pulled together. I picture a look more like this in your room: Notice the strong pattern in the chairs, rug, and throw pillows? In your case, add some pattern in the drapes as well if you'd like to.
10. It is too small and too open a space to have two separate color pallets.
11. If you don't want to replace your chandeliers- change positions. Personally, I'd say they were too modern, and too formal for your architecture and your space, but they are also the wrong shape. Put the rectangular one over the dining room table, hung much lower, about 30" above the table, and put the one in the dining room in the living room. I think those blingy chandeliers are something that we as a society will look back on in 10 years the same way we look back on the shirts that show your belly that everyone was wearing 10 years ago, but they really only looked good on anorexic people.
I do know that they are very popular right now, and every store is selling their version. That's just my opinion. Now I just offended all of my friends with chandeliers like this... I might have to come back and delete this section...
12. Too large of a disconnect. The big overall probelm is simply stated one of a disconnect. You have a traditional home, with traditional trim, right down to the rosette in your woodwork. Then you have this very blingy modern thing going on in your chandelier, and everything in between. It's like you wore these earrings:
With this outfit:
The thing is, sometimes it's really great to mix things up. Some of my readers are saying, "I love the idea of those earrings with that outfit. " I will say that mixing like you are doing is something that some people can do amazingly, but honestly, it is a hard thing to teach. It is so very instinctual. Your silver candlesticks and buffet lamps belong on a Downton Abbey dining room table, and the dining room table belongs in a Pottery Barn catalog. Consistency is what you need.