Design Crew

Posted on Sat, 8 Sep 2012 by midcenturyjo

Got a problem? Need some help? Just standing there shaking your head? Don’t know what to do? You’re not alone. Send us a link to photos of your design quandary and let the Desire to Inspire design crew help you…. that’s you lot… the readers! This week’s problem is from Cherie.

It’ll be really great if u guys from the Design Crew can help me with my woes! We are giving the house a make over but don’t know what to do with it/don’t know how or where to start. The walls are white and we don’t intend to change the color. But as you can see, the curtains are ugly and the furniture looks so awkward!  We are thinking along the lines of alot of white with white/black furniture – we would like to keep it modern yet a little quirky/fun. We don’t mind paintings on the wall but we have no idea what colors or what kind of paintings will go well! The floor was tiled with marble and likewise we don’t intend to change it because that will cause a lot of hassle! Thank You so much for reading thus far… Have a blessed week ahead!

Caroline Y says:

For curtains. See la bergerie the nano below

Nina says:

Wow. This could be everything and nothing. I'd say, if you want to keep the white walls (which I wouldn't, I'd do an accent wall) and want to do black furniture, you get rid of everything and first pick out the furniture (and paint the walls anew if they are greyed/dirty). Stick to a certain scheme in picking your furniture (black is not enough of a theme), be it sleek or modern or ironic. You can do accent pieces in different styles, but I'd recommend just sticking to a certain style for now, or else it will look uncohesive. Please consider texture in picking your furniture. If you go all black, different textures keep it from being too cold. But just know that this requires a certain "eye" for design and the big picture to get it right. If you've got the stuff you like, start adding accents in white to tie the white into your black. This may be a well-placed vase or curtains. So that the black and white just don't stand there next to each other like two awkward teenagers. The last step is adding color. Pick a color you like, or multiple colors. It can be any color, as black and white go with nearly anything. I'd recommend a clear or bright color though, nothing too muddy or muted. Add some pillows in this color (at best not exactly matching, but harmonizing) in different shapes and prints maybe. Add art that corresponds with these colors, and at best also with the b/w. The way I envision this, you could absolutely go huge and crazy with the art. Please don't hang just two lonely framed postcards. Good luck!

Cussot says:

Hi Cherie – what a lovely floor! Can you describe how you want this room to function? What would you like to use the space for? Lounging, entertaining, dining, sleeping?

belledame says:

more info needed. what are those white protrusions near the window? they look like floating shelves. can they be removed? is the tv plugged into a moveable outlet? your a/v cart is fine if not. i agree that you need long drapes: hang them from just below the crown moulding down to the floor. one on each side. put blinds up to control light/dark/view. you could go with mini or bamboo. whatever suits your style and comfort. but the blinds should be kept now lower than the window ledge. the curtains will frame the window. have you thought about a rug? maybe put down a large area rug and draw colors for your accent cushions, curtains and artwork from that. or you could just hang a large mirror over the couch to carry light further into the apartment.

Holland says:

What an enviable dilemma! You have a great space — the white walls, that crown moulding and marble floor comprise a fabulous backdrop.

I think your choice to go with white accented with black is the perfect theme. Start by getting the place as bare as you can, eliminating stuff you don't want/need and closeting the rest so you can visualize. Experiment with furniture arrangements. Don't be tempted by new artwork till you're happy with your furniture lay-out (though that mod black-and-white floral is a good start.) Hold off on getting little stuff like accent pillows till your "big picture" has evolved.

Can you do away with curtains altogether? The window outlined in black adds a snappy industrial counterpoint to the place. If privacy is needed maybe you can get it via sleek black mesh shades, or a couple strategically placed potted Fiddle Leafs.

Please post your after pics!

oregonbird says:

I think you have a fabulous space to work with, and getting a modern, funky vibe shouldn't be difficult.

First things first — curtains. Those bars are here to stay, obviously, so they can be the beginning of 'edge' in your decorating style. But you can choose when to include them by taking the curtains right up to the ceiling and down to the floor — if you can afford to use sheers behind a heavy, luxurious sweep of material, do it; white or a light shade of shimmering grey for the sheers, and go with a bold black and white graphic on the curtains.

Half your decorating needs just disappeared, right? 🙂 The white coffee table works with the room, where the wooden furniture simply doesn't. So lose the wood entirely. Put in long, low storage under the TV to emphasize the smooth modern vibe
with a couple of floating shelves to balance it out, either in basic black or go funky

Reverse the living room — it will move the office area into it's own space on the long wall, outside of the lounge area. Where the big storage cabinet is now, put in an office table looking into the lounge. Glass might work, but either a black or white desktop on a minimal, industrial base would work well. This would be a good place splurge a bit, and get something classically modern

Obviously, you need to recover your sofa in neutral grey, but other than that, if you like it, it's a good shape. You can keep the black & grey lounge (or upgrade to an more substantial, upholstered version) and move it over in front of the desk. I really like the bold pop of color the orange flowers add to the room — since you need a color pop, consider using that as a warming contrast — a solid, bright-colored area rug, with a few asymmetrical, eye-catching cushions. You can either use a larger rug to define the seating area or (a more modern touch) use a runner in front of the low storage. All you need then is art hung over the sofa.

I'm going to suggest you avoid "centering" on both walls. Asymmetrical visuals are coming on in a big way; it's a little harder to get the right visual balance, but it's mod, it's hip, it's funky, and all the other words that mean Not Grandma's House. A selection of b/w photography can keep your mono color scheme while offering personal warmth
(obviously, you would matt in your chosen pop color) but you're the only one who knows what one image (or theme of images) you want hanging over your sofa. These days, you can pick *any* image and have it printed up in double-poster size. An architectural detail, a manga scene, a super-realized digital nature scene, a photograph of antique books, 2" of the lower left corner of a Van Gogh painting– anything! Literally. Go with your pop color, and go wild.

You have clothing storage to deal with as well — this is an area that needs to be given a real punch, since it is out in the open and entirely utilitarian. Use the whole space as a dedicated and unapologetic dressing area, define it by placing a dressing bench to parallel the run of the hallway. The style is entirely up to you — don't try to match the modern, fairly stark b/w motif you've got going; try to bring in something that says "wow."
This would be a good area to change things up. Leave the rest of the apartment white, but this would be the place to bring in a dramatic black zone. Black rug, black wall, gorgeous light fixture, color pops.
The important thing is that you make the most positive, attractive use of the space as you can.
in whatever style you want to go with
Just play it up, and go for a more "display" look.

The few decadent, over-the-top touches (curtains, dressing bench, attractive, modern chandeliers) will emphasize up the otherwise cool and monochrome decor. And bob's yer uncle.

oregonbird says:

… just a thought, the sofa would look great in houndstooth.

acpgee says:

I agree with everybody about the curtains, but would suggest putting in higher wider rail and curtaining the entire wall. Add sheers underneath to de-emphasize the bars.

Would also reorient the couch so one side is along the window and the other side facing the TV to open up the space. Move desk area into the room out of the corner along a wall. Also hide the clothing in a closet. For a closet that doesn't look bedroom-y I would get a repro Chinese wedding chest, and mount a bar inside. Put the little cabinet under the TV, and group the porcelain figures on the floor in the corner.

Good luck with your space. Is this Singapore, by the way?

sue says:

an injection of personality & warmth will completely do the trick here… i would find a nice little cupboard with doors that you can pop that computer into & shut it all away with a more ornamental/occasional chair (chinese-style in a bright colour) to accompany it… it also needs to move so it's not the focus of the room… maybe underneath where the clock is, & put some artwork on top to detract from its function… going with the asian theme, why not paint those brown cupboards with a punchy-coloured high-gloss paint to give a laquered effect & group your ornaments atop with a large wall mirror behind to make a feature of these pieces… also consider creating an artwall around the tv to soften the look or place a long, low console underneath that spans that wall entirely & can accommodate your ornaments & hence do away with the cabinet…. i agree with floor to ceiling & wall to wall curtains along the windows & would place an l-shape lounge along this wall & that where the existing sofa already is… a big round coffee table will soften all the angles in this room beautifully… drape the lounger chair with fabric & add lots of layers to soften & add colour: cushions, rugs, etc…

Cherie says:

Thank you everyone!! your advises have been very helpful! 😀

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