I was delighted to visit my childhood friend recently and help her with a living room refresh. To visualize a colour palette before we shopped for a new area rug, I created a few simple design boards (nothing fancy). This is an exercise I think EVERYONE should do before shopping for an area rug, so I’m sharing the process with you.
When my family and I stayed in Miracle Beach in September, my best friend from elementary school posted a comment that she was 20 minutes away in Courtenay. She had just moved and was a first-time homeowner! Hooray!
Nancy and I have seen each other a few times over the years, so I dropped by for a visit. Since I knew we were coming back here again at the end of October for a week with Terreeia and my Mom (attending the health retreat) I offered to help her decorate.
Living Room Refresh
Nancy and her partner’s budget was already stretched to the max buying their first home so I helped out with the lamps. You won’t be surprised to hear this since I’m obsessed and no one ever has enough. 😉
This is what their place looked like the day I was there (also keep in mind they had recently moved). The first thing that had to change was the paint colour!
Notice the matching grey curtains to her grey sectional sofa (I just mentioned this in last week’s post about how not to decorate with a dark sofa).
Start with a Design Board
The first thing Nancy needed was an area rug, so I placed her existing furniture (including two navy leather chairs that were on the way) onto a powerpoint slide and added some throw pillows. THIS is exactly what you should do if you’re looking for an area rug to coordinate with existing furniture.
So often, I see clients paralyzed with indecision about choosing an area rug so much that they live for years with a placeholder shag from Costco (I know you think I’m talking about you, but this just tells you how many times I’ve seen it!)
When you have no idea where to begin, this exercise is a great way to visualize your living room space.
Remember my decorating advice in this post? Your living room should have a textile pattern that repeats your sofa colour and also pulls in colour and contrast. Notice that since Nancy’s sofa is on the darker side, both rug selections are much lighter and fresher to create contrast.
She said turquoise was her favourite colour, so I created two different design boards.
Trendy Cognac and Cream
Here is the first design board in a more trendy colour scheme. We’ve been talking about cognac a lot recently and I love how it warms up grey.
Now, see how easy it is to coordinate a few lamps with your new living room? A design board helps you pull it all together.
Beautiful Blend of Blues
Nancy ended up choosing this design board because she loved the mix of turquoise with hints of navy and charcoal:
Remember what the room looked like before? It needed new paint colours ASAP. Plus, because the colour wrapped onto the ceiling, the dark purple really overwhelmed the space.
And here’s a look at her living room after with a new paint colour, new white grommet drapes (from IKEA), new lamps (Homesense), and artwork in the split level entry.
This is her split level entry (below). I’ll save the tutorial on hanging art precariously on a ladder for another day 🙂
This dome pendant is opaque and perfect for an entry that is visible from the living room. It’s lovely because there’s no glare from the globe. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want an entry light to bother me when I’m sitting in the living room. When this light is on, only what’s below it is illuminated.
Nancy said it was especially annoying in the morning when someone was leaving the house and the other was sitting in the living room having a peaceful morning!
Again, it’s so much easier to choose a wall colour in the context of your furnishings and decor. In this case, Nancy needed a new area rug, so that gave us an opportunity to create a starting point for her living room colour palette – BEFORE we settled on a wall colour. And the design board helped Nancy visualize her existing furnishings with new accent colours.
Choosing your wall colour first, before you’ve shopped for your accessories or created a design plan for your space is one of the biggest mistakes I see. And, it can leave you asking, “What happened to my paint colour?“
Here’s my sweet friend Nancy (below) and her Papillon Charlie (above):
Nancy Rutherford & Maria
Being in Campbell River with Terreeia and my Mom was fabulous and then I got to be the decorating fairy as well as bond with my childhood friend!
If you’d like your living room to fill you with joy when you walk in the door, check out my paint/decorating packages here.