A friend from high school reached out to me about a month ago with an exciting design challenge: she and her husband are moving into a new house and the family room left by the previous owners is not. her. jam. At all. There are two fire engine red accent walls. (Opposite from each other, I should add. Yowza!) And a weirdly located fireplace. And a vaulted ceiling. The space has a lot of potential--it's open to the dining room and a partially separated kitchen--but some of the quirky aspects left her stuck. She wanted something with a lot of neutrals (word!) and streamlined furniture, with bits of playful color and pattern to keep things from feeling too stuffy. Blues and grays are her favorites.
That sounds just like my house. I knew we were pals for a reason. :-) Let's see the mood board!
>> My friend and her husband already have seating for the room (a sofa and two chairs), which is a huge score. They only wanted to replace their tables and TV console, and that gives a little wiggle room to the budget. The coffee table ($130) and end table ($53) are both from Target and allow for plenty of basket/box storage underneath. I suggested looking for a cool dresser on Craigslist to use as the TV stand and she already found one.
>> As for those red walls, I suggested painting most of the room a warm neutral and making the fireplace wall the accent. You don't need two accent walls. Slate Blue by Bejnamin Moore would really pop against their white trim.
>> Speaking of that fireplace, it's over to one side riiiight between two windows. There are white mini-blinds up there now, but I suggested dark bamboo shades from Home Depot (from $29) to add a little texture. The spacing of the room doesn't really allow for the TV to go above it, so instead I suggested a mirror to bounce some light back into the area. The beveled edge ($67) and starburst ($40) options are also from Target.
>> The TV and dresser would go on the wall next to the fireplace. Since the surface is pretty big (remember that vaulted ceiling?), I suggested blending the TV into part of a gallery wall to eat up some of the negative space. Here's a great example of that idea.
>> As for the accessories, I stuck with cooler tones in fun patterns to play off the blue paint and balance out all of the warmer tones from the sofa and wood furniture. Chevrons are best in small doses, so a throw pillow is a perfect place for that action. Any of these would be super in the room. From left to right: West Elm ($31), Etsy, ($26), and Society6 ($20).
My friend is still finishing up the space, but when she's done I'll do a follow-up with pictures. Woo!
Have you encountered any, um, interesting design decisions left by previous owners? Or maybe you also have a teensy corner fireplace? How'd you deal with the quirks at your house?