Thursday, April 10

Ask Allie: Abby's Living Room

Next up for Ask Allie is Abby's living room. Abby is a mom of one of my daughter's fiends at school who has an awesome modern design style and frankly when I first saw these pics I questioned whether I could help her since she has her own distinct and really great sense of style. But I love love love a challenge! And what better challenge than to make a great room even better.

So here is Abby's living room today:

And here is what I am suggesting!

First things first….I picked an ultra alternative and somewhat intimidating color for her room….WHITE!  I know, it's like a record scratched (and not in the good DJ way).  Who paints rooms white anymore? Haven't we all been brainwashed into thinking that rooms must be painted a color? But one of Abby's issues with this room is how dark it seemed to her.  What better way to lighten up a room than by painting the walls white and letting the light in. Don't believe me? Check out this before and after from a great blog  The Brick House. It is amazing what painting the room white did right? 

Same room, completely different feel. The white walls let the warm brown wood pieces stand out without competing. It's perfect for Abby's room. So let's break down the design board:

1. By painting the room white, it becomes a blank canvas for Abby's incredible art (more on that later) but also for a stunning chandelier. This sputnik one is from a Y Living and it's really pricey but there are great alternatives like this one I found on Shades of Light. It would be a great focal point in the room. 

2. So now that I've convinced you to paint your room white, I have to break the news to you that there are exactly 4.8 millions shades of white.  I learned this the hard way when we were selecting paint for our house and I found a white that online look FABU but when painted on all trim elements of the house looked yellow.  Ugh.  So picking the right white is important. 

For this design, I did a lot of reading online about what white looks good in a contemporary space and almost everyone agrees that it has to be on the cooler side of whites like this one from Sherwin Williams called Extra White (SW 7006).  It looks cream on the computer, but is a fresh clean white.  Here's the inspiration picture I found it from and the great article on Houzz on how to pick the perfect white. 

3. I love this inspiration room that I found on Houzz because it shows how bold and pretty white can be and because it has a purple couch that is reminiscent of the one in Abby's living room.  Also, because the title of the picture says it's in the "Middle of St. John's" which makes me think of this….and isn't this where we all really want to be? 

4. This is Abby's Picasso lithograph which is gorgeous. I actually think it deserves a place of prominence in the room and that she might consider hanging it over the fireplace. 

5. Speaking of the fireplace, I am going to make another craaaazzzzzyyyy suggestion here and say that I think she should paint the brick a deep grey like the one in this picture from The Brick House.  Abby's fireplace has a wood mantle and I think the grey up against the white will be bold, modern and gorgeous. I like Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze which is really nice and not too dark. I have it on a wall in my house and I love it. 

6.  Ok so right now you are thinking what the hell? How on earth does this fit into the design? Wellll, that is a good question and I am here to help. I thought long and hard about a rug in this room - waffling between neutrals or stripes or chevron.  And then it dawned on me…why not let the rug be the bold pop of color in the room? This is a 5x7 Flor rug that retains for $192 so you could put it in this room and if you grow tired of it later one, replace it.  Genius!  I love it. And I love the way it picks up the color of the sofa and the modern chairs. 

7. One of the things Abby is looking for is a place to put keys and stuff when she comes in the front door.  Since they have a lot of heavier pieces in the room - like the absolutely gorgeous wood credenza, I think she could try something new and different. I love these open shelves and the way allow the white wall to come through while still serving as a practical piece.  I think this next to the front door would be perfect. 

8. I am in love with this white leather Barcelona chair for the corner of the room closest to the front of the house.  From what I read, it is very comfortable and I think would work perfectly. Add a brightly colored blanket and bam! instant coziness and color.  I like this lavender one from One Kings Lane for $99. 

9. Last but not least is this Arco Style Lamp that I found on Overstock.  Again, bringing light into the room is important to Abby and I think this will do that in a very stylish way.  There are loads of different styles for this type of lamp that run the full spectrum of prices, but this one is just around $300 and I think worth every penny. 

So there you go. Contemporary but warm, light and bright.  

Have a design dilemma?  Email me at and I'll create a design for you!


  1. Ahhhhhh, my eyes got incomparable pleasant and contentment and of course super complement. The room looks indeed so gorgeous, so eye-catching. All the items in the room twinkling with their own beauties and features that can't be ignore. The window view also attracted me much. Love your brilliant renovation. Anyway, some bedding items that I always appreciate are Embroidery duvet covers, sweet cotton body pillow cases and boho duvet covers. Home some comfort seekers find these interesting.

  2. I read the above article and I got some knowledge from your article. It's actually great and useful data for us. Thanks for share it.Custom Made Doors in Montgomery County