These homeowners wanted to let their guests be the color to their space, so they painted all of the background surfaces, including the brick fireplace, a clean shade of white. A vintage advertisement and an Arkansas license plate hang on the wall. The casual furniture is covered in washable slipcovers for easy cleanup when inevitable spills happen.
In the living room of designer of textiles and interiors Kathryn M. Ireland's compound in Santa Monica, the custom sofa is in a linen velvet from Ireland’s fabric collection; the armchairs are covered in an Otis Textiles linen slipcover (left) and a fabric purchased in Marrakech (right). The rag rug is from Amadi Carpets, the steel-framed sliding doors are by Chateau Domingue, and the wall hanging is a 19th-century suzani.
Materials that connect to the location are key to character building. Sisal hints at the marsh grasses in an elegant way and is also durable, easy to clean, and ideal for layering. The alligator skull speaks to the local wildlife, while palms in antique glass and fern-patterned pillows are additional nods to the room's Lowcountry vibe and provide a carefree polish.
Front and back doors open directly into a two-story-high living room, where spruce-planked walls and wood beams salvaged from an 1890 Tennessee barn reflect the home’s rural setting and give the space a refined, barnlike feel. Interior decorator Phoebe Howard balanced the rustic elements with color. “I added an air of elegance with a soft color palette that reflects the surrounding sky and hills,” she says.
In home design, one practice that novice designers avoid is mixing and matching patterns or textures. Many beginning designers stick with a uniform and consistent look in order to play it safe. While that isn’t necessarily bad, this room shows how rewarding it can be to get creative and take a few risks. Leather, glass, metal, wood and even water join forces with lovely neutral tones, zebra print, jagged stripes and a spectacular art piece to create a small living room sure to get guests talking. There is so much going on in this room, but it isn’t overwhelming, either.
There are several ways to save on flooring costs for a living room remodel project. Ceramic floor tiles, for example, may be regrouted as long as their surfaces are still in good condition. Wooden floors that have light scratches may be re-sanded and reapplied with stain to give them a more fresh look. Natural stone floors may be rebuffed and resealed, while carpets may be industrially cleaned. For a minimal amount, these minor improvements can instantly transform the look of your living room.