Sunday, August 21, 2011

Outside of my comfort zone

My sister-in-law Ann recently asked me for some help in re-designing her apartment. Yes please! As you know, I love to nerd out over this kind of thing. But the catch is that Ann has a totally different style than me. I prefer neutral shades and soothing tones. Ann loves color and contrast and drama. So it was a pretty fun project to work on.

Ultimately, Ann decided to wait on purchasing any decor or furniture since she has accepted a teaching position in France. With moving and all, it didn't make much sense. But it will still fun (for both of us) to share links and ideas and plan for future apartments.

Whenever I help anyone with a home design, I ask them to send me some inspiration photos. Just photos of things they like. This helps me figure out the best way to start building a design. Here are some things that Ann sent me.

Ann liked this frame wall (photo is from the SATC movie set):

Photo source

This painted side table from Etsy:

This pretty awesome coffee table, also from Etsy:

The colors and pattern shown here:

Photo source

Patterned chair from Overstock:

This entire room from HGTV:

Another accent chair from Overstock:

This desk from Target:

And a bunch of different art pieces from Etsy (I won't post them all here).

I got to work creating a colorful design that included as many aspects of the above photos as possible. Here's my first stab at it:

I used Ann's existing futon and newly purchased gray Ikea rug (very inexpensive at only $19.99 for a 4x6). I found an accent chair to tie in with the gray rug. I threw in some colorful pillows, a photo/artwork collage (with painted turquoise frames), some painted green side tables, green tile curtains for the kitchen (to tie in with the green in the attached living room), a yellow striped rug to ground the desk area, a candy apple green chair for the desk (retro and cool), some matching turquoise lamps for symmetry, and finally a colorful tea pot (just for fun).

You'll notice I left wall color out of the equation. Since my sister-in-law is a renter, painting the walls is not always an option. Therefore I looked to furniture and accessories to really bring in the pops of color.

Ann thought it was a good start, but wanted even MORE color and contrast. Wow! So back to the old drawing board...

This time, I put a loveseat with neutral couch cover instead of the futon (Ann has an older floral patterned loveseat). I put in a red accent chair and some more colorful pillows. I made the photo collage a little less symmetrical using different sized frames. I added a dramatic damask pattern rug for the kitchen and some painted red stools. And I kept the colorful tea pot, but made it yellow this time instead of turquoise. I think Ann liked this design quite a bit.

Of course this design building was all just for fun anyway since Ann is moving to France, as I mentioned. But it was a pretty interesting exercise for me - designing a room with bright colors rather than just safe neutrals.

Here's some other design boards that I've made for readers and friends.

Bedroom design for Jordana:

Living room for Jessica:

Kitchen design for Jamie:

And probably my favorite design board, a bedroom I designed for another blog's "Mood Board Monday" contest:

By the way, if you're into making collages like this (aka if you're a nerd like me), then you really need to check out Pinterest. I know it's all the rage for bloggers right now, but it's with good reason. For visual people (like yours truly), it's a super easy way to grab/bookmark inspirational things for later. I absolutely love it. You can check out my pinboards here. And if you're already a Pinterest user, please leave a comment below so I can follow you.

Bye for now!

someone else's words

"Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others." - Buddha

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