Azure’s Design Dilemma

When we received Azure’s plea to swankify her lofty living and dining area, we couldn’t wait to get our mitts on her space. Here’s her letter:

I’m in need of help so here it goes… lets see what you can do sista! I’m looking for a Restoration Hardware style in my house with a few funky pieces & colors mixed in. Most of my pieces are from Pottery Barn and I would like to keep them. The carpet will become oak wood flooring at some point (hopefully in the near future!) and I feel like the windows are too small for vaulted ceilings so I need to figure out how to fix that. I am open to removing curtains, pillows, rug, wovens, etc and I would love to repaint! Brown is so not me, I like happier colors like blue or green. I love the colors you used in your house :) I obviously need some artwork too but it is difficult because of wall space. Can’t wait to see what you come up with….then I’ll be back for the next room!- Azure

So without further ado, our handy dandy mood board chock full of the refined yet cheerful style that Azure so desires. We call it traditional with a twist:

TraditionalWithATwistMakeoverMoodboard 1

Here’s the mood board breakdown.

1. We’d love to lighten and brighten the space with a sophisticated yet cheerful palette. A few punchy yellow and green accessories paired with a subtle greeny-gold wall color (like Glidden’s Chardonnay White) will really set off the rich oak floors that will be installed, along with the existing Pottery Barn pieces.

2. With so much wall space, we understand Azure’s desire to showcase something really cool, and we loved this stretched canvas with a crisp cool grass pattern. We think a giant 60×34 inch version of this would look amazing over the couch that’s against the wall. Azure also offered up the two wooden wall medallions (on the floor of her second picture) and we think they’d look great painted a crisp white and hung on top of each other on that cool column behind the couch in the third picture.

3. We loved this cute and cheerful pillow that would look right at home in the middle of each of Azure’s gorgeous couches.

4. Azure could also add a splash of sleek nickel hardware over the couch against the wall, in the form of two wall sconces that she could mount on either side of her new artwork for some reading light and some added dimension. And since they’re plug-ins, they don’t call for any major construction.

5. One of Azure’s main goals is to make her small-ish windows appear bigger and more in proportion to her vaulted ceilings. She can accomplish this with ease by hanging one of these white roman shades much higher than the top of each window (around 98 inches from the ground) which will cheat the windows up and make them appear much taller and more substantial. Then four of these gorgeous 98 inch Ikea curtains on one long rod (mounted at the same height as the elevated blinds) will skim the floor, finish everything off and make the entire thing look like one giant picture window (one panel will remain on each end of the rod, and the other two will cover the two strips of wall between the windows). To learn more about cheating a window taller and wider, click here.

6. We also thought more of that sleek nickel hardware (that’s oh so reminiscent of Restoration Hardware) could be added by hanging two of these brilliant mirrored candle sconces on either side of the existing lawyer’s bar, which will add more height (they’re nicely oversized) and fill out that wall nicely. And think about how gorgeous they’ll look when she actually gets around to lighting ’em!

7. Here’s some rich oak hardwood flooring that we dug up for a jaw-droppingly good price of $2.67 per square foot. We think it’ll set off the soft yellow and green tones in the room while adding to the traditional and elegant feeling that Azure’s going for.

8. This über cozy throw would look great draped over one of the couches to create an inviting feel while adding more of our accent color to the room.

9. We think the seating are would look more balanced and comfy with one of these sheepskin floor pillows tossed on the corner of the rug in the third picture. Adding a big piece of furniture there would be too crowded and bulky, but a subtly toned floor pillow (or two) would look casual and cool filling our that seating area and inviting extra guests to plop down on the floor.

10. And speaking of plopping down on the floor, we think rolling out this amazing green patterned rug would lighten and brighten the soon-to-be wood flooring, while adding a splash of almost preppy sophistication in the kelly green shade. It’s a little hip (thanks to the lush color) a little traditional (it’s a bit like a formal lattice pattern) and super practical to boot.

11. And last but not least, sleek and crisp white accessories would finish things off on the coffee table and the dining table alike. We’d love to see two of these white pineapple candlesticks on the center of the dining table for another splash of fun meets traditional (aka: Restoration Hardware with a twist).

So there it is. Azure’s sweet and swankified living and dining room makeover. So what do you guys think? Do tell.

Update: We sadly can no longer find the time to take on client commissioned mood boards (we now whip up general inspiration boards instead) but if we ever reinstate them we’ll make a big announcement!


  1. says

    I love everything about this room – from the stretched canvas to the floor pillow, but your window solution is brilliant. My SIL just moved and acquired vaulted ceilings that she’s terrified of, and I’m going to pass along this awesome tip.

  2. says

    Love the curtains – that was a pro move right there. Great job youngsters! Dontcha think she could use another piece in that room though? Her existing space is HUGE. I would kill for that much room…but for some reason it looks like a chair is missing or something. What do you think?


  3. Kelli says

    Oooh, I love this one! Those colors are bright and cheerful without being too over the top. I also love the brushed nickel sconces, the rug and the throw. And the huge print. Heck, I love it all. Hopefully Azure will let us see the finished product!

  4. Azure says

    Hi Sherry! Azure here :)
    Just wanted to thank you for the great advice and also thank you to your readers for the great comments! Sorry it has taken a day to write but I have been PAINTING! I got the curtains ordered yesterday and I am excited to get them hung! They were out of stock on IKEA but lil miss ebayer found them for $5 for a set of two! Go AZ :)

    I will definitely send far I LOVE the color change!

  5. YoungHouseLove says

    Whee! So glad you guys are diggin’ this design dilemma. We love it, and we couldn’t be happier that Azure is pleased and already done painting! She’s our kinda girl. Thanks for all the sweet comments. And Azure, we can’t wait to see the finished product. Keep us posted!!!

    Sherry (& John)

  6. Jane says

    I was intrigued to see an area rug over the carpet. I’m moving into a house with beige carpet that I won’t be replacing with hardwoods until a year or two. I was curious what people thought about putting a rug on carpet. Does it look redundant? Is it a trip hazard?

  7. YoungHouseLove says

    Hey Jane,

    Ooh area rugs on top of carpets are actually all the rage these days- and we love the look to define a seating area and add a punch of color or rich texture into a space (not to mention cover a stain). Feel free to experiment with the idea and send us pics. In the meantime we’ll try to dig up some prime rug on carpet examples to share in the near future!


  8. Saritza says

    I’m not sure if you have addressed this topic somewhere else in your blog but any ideas for an entryway niche such as Azure’s above? I’ve searched the net for some ideas but there is not much advice to be offered. Thanks!

    • says

      Hey Saritza,

      Maybe check out some magazines at Barnes & Noble or read some decorating books to see what tickles your fancy. There are a lot of things you can do with it so it’s all about figuring out what will look best to you and be your style!


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