Its been too long since I’ve tackled a reader question – so here goes. This one is from Kate in Stockholm:
This living room of mine in Stockholm needs a rug. Here is the question: Do I go dark to draw the space together, or lighter? Fluffy or patterned?
I have a mixture of earthy yet clean style but I love midcentury-mod and want to bring more of that in. Any thoughts overall for this living room?
Ok, you are off to a good start – great gallery wall (I appreciate that it isn’t just a dinky collection right above the sofa) and your sofa/coffee table are really simple and easy to style with.
So you have a few choices and it really depends on a few questions/answers:
1. How energetic do you want the space to feel? Right now there are no patterns, which is absolutely fine because you do have a lot going on the walls. But if you want the space full of energy then bringing in color/pattern would definitely achieve that. But if you want it to feel less energetic, more calm, then keep to a solid.
2. How low maintenance are you? I love a light rug, truly, but I’m not, well, clean enough to deal with them. Lighter rugs definitely make a room feel bigger, and this room doesn’t look that big to me so it could help. But going even more medium toned will be so much easier to care for. I have a white rug in my guest room that is BEAUTIFUL and far away from outdoor spaces, and isn’t used often, so its fine. And then in my master bedroom, where I REALLY wanted a light-colored rug I bought this quilted hide because cowhides are pretty much indestructible. You just wipe them off with a wet towel. They are also not terribly cozy, as you can imagine, but they reflect the light in such a pretty way and allow you to have white without the maintenance of white.
So here are some that I like that could look really nice in your place – some more affordable than others. Again, if you like a big high contrast pattern then these might not be the right selection, but I think that in a small space with all the art on the walls that a big high contrast pattern would make the space look small and busy.
The first group is soft texture without much pattern (so easy to hide dirt/stains, but not busy:
Madison, Wisconsin is actually somewhere I’ve always wanted to go to. A lot of people say its like my college town, Eugene, Or, and just a really fun/liberal little oasis in the middle of a quiet state. Meanwhile, now all I see is some really great thrifting. So lets get on trolling …
1. $50 Vintage Rope Lamp This is awesome and weird and I want it REALLY bad for my house. Its modern and simple, but with rope makes it feel all warm and scandy.
2. $195 Vintage Campaign Dresser Yes, we are still doing this. I have a white one and have used a couple in different projects and I still really love them. This one isn’t cheap but its cheaper than a new dresser and wildly cooler. Plus that is a goooooood color.
3. $50 Pair of Mid Century Chairs Oh, its just a cute little pop of color for your breakfast nook. I’m not wild about the legs, but the shape of the chairs and that bright color make up for them. Plus they are $25 each and thats nothing to be mad at.
4. $95 Hanging Bamboo Chair Great price, classic chair, just overall wonderful. You can buy these new for $400 but obviously that is quite the price difference. I’ve used one in a few different projects, namely HERE.
5. $20 Per Industrial Chair Such a great price for pretty adorable chairs. So perfect for a creative office space.
6. $300 Industrial Desk I love your shape but not your price. Too expensive, but would be such a cute entry table, right?
7. $75 Vintage Settee Pretty darn cute. Expect that to be around 8 – 10 yards of fabric, and probably $600 – $800 to recover. Expensive, sure, but cheaper than most new sofas. I’d take off that skirt, for sure. This could be cute in a poppy color, or go safe with a navy or charcoal.
8. $30 Vintage Hammock So cute. Paint that base white and throw the hammock in the wash and you have a really adorable napping place for the spring.
10. $450 for a set of 6 Mid Century Chairs Beautiful. Kinda expensive, but again, cheaper than buying new except for Ikea. I think if you could get for $400 for the set it would be better, but I’m into them regardless.
12. $150 Mid Century Credenza I’m not freaking out about this guy, but it is a good simple shaped dresser for a really good price.
13. $75 Brass Vintage Table Set Now I AM freaking out about those chairs. Take them away from the table, reupholster them in a more modern color, and maybe get rid of the ‘fan’ detailing in the back upholstery. The shape of the base of the chairs is RIDICULOUS. So simple.
14. $40/ Set of 4 Mid Century Dining Chairs AGHHH. Such a good price for a lot of personality. $10 a chair? Are you kidding? Amazing.
15. $75 Pair of Mid Century Chairs. Yep. So cute. LOVE. At first I thought that the part on the top was an upholstery detail but I now realize its for your head to keep your greasy hair off the actual chair. And that is gross. Just wash your hair and get rid of that guard.
I’m in New York or 48 hours. Literally. Its a quick one for the Target holiday press preview and some editor meetings. Also I slept til 10am, probably because I took the red-eye the night before and didn’t sleep at all, but man it was weird. I haven’t had to set an alarm for 10 months so when I looked at the clock and it was 10 it felt uncomfortable and wonderful.
I’m missing these two already. I faced-timed with Charlie last night and at first he was really excited and smiley but then he got upset that I was in the phone and that he couldn’t touch me, which was at the same time so adorable and touching, and pretty sad. So, I’ve just been watching old videos of him all morning.
You have probably already checked out the studio tour on Domaine Home, but there are one million resources/links/ramblings that you probably didn’t know about. And like Banksy’s real identity (kinda sad, right?) or the revelation of Oliver Queen as Arrow (how did I JUST start watching that show? …you all have failed me), they simply must be revealed.
First: the wallpaper panels. In the name of total flexibility (we need white walls, and need to be able to move furniture for any photo shoot) we decided not to do anything to the walls but instead to hang wallpaper panels from the ceiling for visual stimulation without commitment. Woah, that might be my favorite thing I’ve ever written ‘visual stimulation without commitment’. If I were on ‘Style-Tinder’ that would be my byline. Emily Henderson – I love visual stimulation without commitment.
Right now all the panels are down because we shot on that wall four times in the last two weeks (including huge blocks of painted color). We are prepping a ‘how and why we hung the panels’ post, so stay tuned. But so far it has worked out and its so fun to have these crazy patterns around but not on the wall.
Meanwhile on the other side of the room we have my reason for living – healthy hoards of pretty things that I style and restyle daily as if I were Golum looking for the ring. Picture me, quietly whispering to myself ‘miniature gold monopoly toys look best under domes, wicker goes in ‘organic land’ and why would anyone put thehot pink coasters in the teal world???? I’m a living sh*t show when it comes to organization and yet I like my pretty things looking styled at all moments.
That is the table where we intended on eating our delicious organic artisanal lunches and gabbing about whether or not eyelash extentions are weird or WONDERFUL (have yet to try) but instead this table is often just full of stuff that is either coming or going and we eat grocery store sushi at our desks. Those chairs are from Target ($80) and we had them recovered in some pretty awesome fabric from The Fabric Store (1/2 yard each and labor was $40 each). They are very comfortable and totally cute. We pasted that fabric on one of the panels as wallpaper and loved it so much that we figured we could use it on the chairs, too. Plus we had extra fabric laying around and 2 days til the shoot so decisions were made fast = MY LIFE IN GENERAL.
That amazing photograph of the woman with eyes up there is by the photogapher Stephanie Vovas who is wonderful and will do custom portraits for you. I’m eager to put it in our house, just waiting to figure out the perfect spot. I’m thinking dining room. Its specific (aka, it can’t go over our bed) and totally captivating.
Its upsetting that these things aren’t near me at all times but its comforting to know that they are at the studio, organized, waiting for their next instagram. Also i’m a freak. Hi.
Now you see those miniature 24K gold monopoly figures? Next to the gold mini shoe collection and the brass wrench? You’d be crazy if you didn’t think that they deserved to be under a dome. Like Lord Beyonce once said, ‘If you like it then you shoulda put a dome on it’.
Our little window wall. Technically these colors are more saturated in the photo – that bench is actually a chartreus-ey acid-y green, not gold. Its wonderful and exciting in person. It looks like it has white piping here but it doesn’t – its the same velvet (from Mood).
And yes, that is the most popular house plant in the world that I’m still not sick of: all hail the fiddle leaf fig. It was $90 at our local nursery probably because it was close to death. Luckily I’ve tasked/commanded Brady to keep it alive and he has succeeded. Its like one of those weird hostage movies where the second he lets the plant die, the last leaf will fall releasing a bucket of mud that fills into a weight scale that overfills, propelling a hatchet from the ceiling to plummet chopping off his … pink shoelaces. He knows how does it works (yes, that last sentence full of weird grammar is a private joke … sometimes this blog is for us as well as you).
There are a lot of DIY’s up there for you – the benches and the whiteboard. Stay tuned. The colors are saturated – the floor is actually gray and the pink is actually blush. I wish I could go back In time and remove that floral pillow. There was enough already in that shot. Enough. In person this corner is pretty and fun – not try-hard and insane like that photo is all of a sudden looking like. Ha.
No creative studio is complete without a barcart full of CRISTAL. I think I might have bought the barcart just to display my one bottle of Cristal that someone gave me for my 35th birthday (#killme). Since the opening party we haven’t drank from that cart yet, but we will, folks. We will. Only Cristal, Alize and Dom. But mainly Cristal.
Just for a bit of fun, and since we all know I love a good GIF, here is one we put together to show the process that we started with to get to the final desk image above. It takes a lot of adjusting and moving but that is all part of the styling process.
Whoops. Somehow I didn’t post on thursday or friday. I have my reasons/excuses that have to do with photo shoots, new clients and 10 month old, but don’t worry because we have the studio tour and the living room to show ya this week – come back later today for one of those … I hope. I head to New York tonight so I’m soaking up a lot of family time today.
Meanwhile in Cosmo last month I wrote an article about ‘what decorative lampshades really turn him on’. Also, I’m joking (it pains me that I even have to write that I’m joking). It was actually just a few blurbs about designing a space you love with a lot of affordable furniture/accessories (naturally, I suggested a lot of my favorite Target pieces). In case you are wondering, lampshades will decidedly never turn him on. It actually does the opposite. Boys are such a mystery!!
A bunch of HGTV peeps were there, too. Obviously it’s not a huge feature or anything, but as a home stylist/designer person its harder to get in these more fashion-y magazines that have much bigger followings, so it’s always really fun when it happens. Thanks, Cosmo.
I’ll be back later with a proper post, I promise. Meanwhile happy monday, folks.
HELLO! I'm an HGTV host/ designer, stylist, blogger and general party animal. Perfection is boring, let's get weird.