Cindy and I receive lots of questions from you guys on a variety of topics. We answer questions about everything from color choices to how high to hang a mirror over a chest to how to get paint off of a brick fireplace. I’ve picked a couple of recent questions and will share an abbreviated version of our emails back and forth. Hopefully you’ll find the suggestions helpful for something you’ve been struggling with.
Chairs or Loveseat Dilemma
Brenda wrote “We have a fairly small living room and plan to buy a blue sofa that will fit along one wall. We then plan either a loveseat or 2 chairs with a table between floating in the room facing the sofa. My question is about the chairs – should the be the same? Match the sofa? Be the same style but different colors? One print and one solid? How do we decide? We know we don’t want recliners, armless or overstuffed.”
The first photo shows 2 matching chairs that don’t match the sofa but the color of the sofa is carried to the chairs in the pillows – much like one scenario that Brenda suggests. The next photo has mismatched chairs but with colors coordinating with other elements of the room.
Brenda, in your living room I’d choose chairs over a loveseat any day. You get the same amount of seating (2), but more design power and interest. I always think it looks less “matchy” and has more personality. Often the 2 chairs match each other (not the sofa) when they are paired side by side but that’s by no means a hard and fast rule.
Designers mix chairs all the time but to keep unity in a smaller room, I’d suggest the chairs have at least some elements in common: color, wood arms, a solid color that is present in the print of the other chair, etc. It’s definitely more difficult to create the right balance using 2 very dissimilar chairs. A solid club chair paired with a more open rocking chair would feel heavier on the club chair side so you’d have to counteract that by adding a stool or hefty floor lamp near the rocker.
The best way to decide is to browse pictures in magazines and online. Look for rooms with unmatched furniture and decide if it just looks messy and jumbled to you or is it charming and eclectic. Your comfort level is what’s important, not what design “rules” say.
Wall Decor Dilemma
Virginia wrote to say, “I have 2 large walls I don’t know what to do with – one next to the fridge and one on our inherited ugly orange wall. I need some wall decor ideas and I’ve been thinking to paint the kitchen and dining room one color and a different color in the living room but I don’t know what colors to choose…maybe something in the sandy beige range.”
Virginia shared a couple of photos:
Virginia, it appears that most of your existing art is horizontal, including the mirror so I’d suggest changing it up a bit and adding some different shapes. Since you have a mirror so close, perhaps something round and metal to introduce another texture. There are lots of metal art sites – try affiliate Art and Home or www.metal-wall-art.com .
Instead of art you could use stencils to create a wallpaper look or just a single large design for interest; consider a monogram – they’re hot in the design world right now and would be easy to paint over when the fad passes. There are lots of oversize stencil options available too – I bought mine at ETSY.
In the kitchen, the same ideas could apply or you could go with something more practical like a wall wine rack, a message center or a chalkboard.
As for colors, I like the idea of lighter more neutral colors; my only caution is that since you can see into the dining room from the living room, the colors should be related. Also, be careful of the undertones and make sure they’re compatible. If you choose a warm undertone for the dining room, use a warm yellowy undertone for the living room. For maximum impact without using bold colors, use different intensity of color in the 2 areas. Whether from the same or different color strips, you’ll get the most WOW if you make one area noticeably darker than the others.
What do YOU Want to Know?
What’s your dilemma? What’s driving you up the wall because you can’t figure out a solution? Cindy and I would love to help so drop us a line by email (and include photos if possible) or leave us a comment.