What Color Do I Want?
When I furnish a house, or even when I move into a new apartment, the process is entirely different.
When many of us move we go through a process of tremendously simplified decisions, lots of trades-offs. What color do I want? Do I want white furniture or beige? Black or blue, yellow or green? Or am I going to recover a few pieces of badly dyed clothing and update them to the warm come-back color of butter avocado?
My first necessity is to make a list of the pieces I want to keep (or really, want to change).
Then I begin to make decisions regarding what to do with the pieces that are ones I might eventually want to get rid of. They get sent back or to the dumpster, taking a little bit of time now, or a lot — but my time I can spend re grounding and repainting and they are back on my shopping list. This usually includes a number of pieces like tables, drawers, dresser, desk, and bookcases.
Then I focus on the remaining modern pieces that I want to add, choosing just the paint color or color scheme, adding in certain pieces that I want to coordinate with and the entire room comes together at this point.
It’s sort of a mind shift, and sometimes I let the furniture and accessories take the lead. Or sometimes the furniture is leading. It’s all in how you see a room and how it makes you feel.
What I also find of great use is in the mixing of furnishings — particularly with a big ottoman and coffee table. You can use one as a focal piece and if the color is right, you’ll perceive the furniture as if the rug or carpet were to take the back seat. And if the rug or carpet were to express should the coffee table and ottoman be certain color in that specific range?
A big pile picnic table will work nicely with a nice painted wood picnic table or mid-century modern coffee table. And remember with the accessories — choose fabrics that go with the upholstery choices, and match the color choices of the furniture and accessory pieces.
And once the room is pulled together, you’re ready to ensure the pieces are cohesive. You want everything to work well in your living room, so choose from one of the big inexpensive hardcovers (or even cheap fabric) that’s super comfortable and go well with any colors in the room. This can save you a lot of time beyond just choosing comfortable off-white with trim.
If you know you want contemporary or modern or even country or ethnic — find a print in those categories that works with your paint color or with a rug that creates that sense of flow. Choose an off-white sofa to accent this neutrals, or if you’d like something less traditional choose in a darker tone.
To pull a room together, couple artwork with an architectural feature, such as a piece of mountagging or a window that suggests a view. And pull your focal point from an architectural feature, even if it’s a window that suggests something different. Put it there. And then repeat that interest across the room.
If you have a guest room, try using contemporary publish pieces with contemporary furniture. The features of those prints will work with the architecture.
And if you have era specific furniture, great, pick out a piece of wallpaper that includes that furniture, then have a period piece of furniture and paper combined to create that important visual flow. But lay the furniture and paper on top before adding the wallpaper. This will ensure a powerful Pull Together of design elements.
A contemporary room should have a focal point. It need only display three things. And those three main pieces should be repeated throughout the room and the space. The three main pieces you choose may be an actual piece of contemporary artwork ( dots, squares, lightning is ultimately a focal point), an accessory piece, or a big piece of furniture.
And remember, if you are choosing colors and accessories for this room, also sort your design collections into two categories. Items that should be highlighted in an accent color (paint color, a decorative rug, a unique tabletop) and items that should be highlighted in just the right color to add the finishing touch. In lieu of a big picture painting, the contemporary designer might choose a cork board where each piece can be snapped or pushed to find the perfect balance of color and lighting.
Or you might just have a functional light that becomes a powerful centerpiece in the room. This design idea is what is called the Color change lighting, and it’s the concept of changing a dominant color on the majority of an interior space through the use of light s (like a chandelier or ceiling light) and art.