Ania’s Design Dilemma

Ania’s living & dining room is ready for a major style overhaul. Here’s her letter:

Woohoo! I feel like I won something to score one of your fast selling custom mood boards! I need advice for my living room/dining area. My husband and I dig modern, contemporary, glamorous, and beachy styles. As for stores, we love Anthropologie, CB2, West Elm, Z Gallerie, Macy’s (where we have a major gift card) and Crate and Barrel (where we also have another big gift card). I absolutely want a new longer media cabinet. Between the sectional, coffee table, side table, and dining table, I feel like our furniture is oversized and I don’t like how everything is boxy. Any of those items can be replaced as you see fit. I also don’t like how our sectional is pushed up against the window and I’ve recently developed a crush on white circular pendant lamps and capiz chandeliers. I’d love some art for the walls (the paint color should stay). I LOVE teals, blues, oranges, greens, and yellows for accessories. I really like your use of modern patterns (like the geometric duvet in your master bedroom). I also like white furniture but need help mixing it with my espresso/mahogany stuff. We really want this room to be the starting point for our entire house, so we’d love if you could make a paint recommendation for the kitchen (which is also open to the living/dining area). We’re in the middle of replacing the window casings (which is why our windows have paper on them) but we do have white wood blinds for them. Thanks! We are soooo excited! – Ania

Here’s the plan:

And now for the mood board breakdown.

1. Ania’s brown, tan, umber, sunshine yellow and white color palette is inspired by her love of mixing and matching different wood tones with white and bringing in some pops of one of her favorite accent colors (yellow) in the accessories. We’ll take her furnishings from brown-brown-everywhere to a bit more diverse collection of pieces, and we’ll bring in some breezy patterns and prints to keep things feeling layered and textured and oh so chic.

2. We’d love to see Ania’s large sectional pulled at least 18″ away from the walls (we can ground it on a floating rug to make sense of the new floor plan) for a less crowded feeling (this will also allow Ania to use some of the central space in the room instead of pushing everything up against all the walls). Then tossing a few of these delicately patterned yellow and soft tan pillows around the sectional will further break up all the brown in the room for a more layered and luxe feeling in the space. And for extra credit when it comes to the room’s function, Ania could slide a sofa table like this behind it (since we’re replacing her existing coffee table and removing her current side table it will give her another place for guests to rest drinks and things beyond the new coffee table).

3. Ania was speaking our language when she mentioned she loves capiz chandeliers, and we dug up this super dramatic extra long one for above her new dining table to create a beachy chic little nook to dine with style to spare. It’ll really soften the entire space and the curved shape will be a nice counterpart to the more linear items like the sectional and the flatscreen TV.

4. We’d love to see an asymmetrical wall of frames on the L-shaped wall behind the sectional (check out this video for tips on putting one together). An example of something we’d love among the frames would be this cute yellow and umber ginko print (such a steal) and a few other ideas would be to frame anything else with tan, wheat, yellow and brown tones for a mixed and matched yet totally layered and lovely look (a square of yellow construction paper, some cool patterned fabrics, even pretty honey-toned scarves- the sky’s the limit!).

5. We always love to see something light, round and reflective above a boxy big screen TV, so this capiz mirror (on sale!) will really bounce light around the room and soften the TV corner while tying into the capiz chandelier on the other side of the room.

6. These breezy printed medallion curtains will really dress up the dining nook when they’re hung on either side of each window to create an elegant and enveloping effect- and the texture and interest that the pattern will add to the entire space will be priceless.

7. Ania mentioned that she wanted a longer and more solid TV stand to help her hide those unruly wires so we dug up this extra long one to easily house her big screen TV and hide all of her cords and components behind a chic combination of solid and frosted doors. Best of all, the modern metal legs will tie into the new dining room chairs that we’ll be bringing in, so stay tuned for that…

8. This large 8 x 10 rug will instantly ground the sectional that we’ll be moving at least 18″ away from the wall, and will help fill out the rest of the living room and create a welcoming and warm vibe. We love the tone on tone pattern that it adds to the space, and it even picks up the colors in the curtain medallions and the new coffee table that we’ll be introducing for a mixed yet totally cohesive vibe in the entire open area.

9. We’d love to see a chunky and traditional white pedestal table (a steal from Ikea- plus it expands to seat six!) paired with some modern metal-legged bentwood chairs to replicate the old meets new look that feels eclectic and collected over time. Not convinced? Check out an extremely similar pairing in our sunroom pictured here and here (somehow old with new just works when they’re in the same color palette- and the white will really break up all the other brown pieces in Ania’s space).

10. Ania thought her furnishings were all too dark and square, so we love the idea of bringing in a round capiz chandelier and dining table along with curvy dining chairs and even a round mirror over the TV. The last round element we’ll introduce is this rich walnut coffee table (on clearance!) which is a bit of a lighter toned wood that still ties into the other darker furnishings in the room thanks to the rug (which has both tones within it, thereby marrying everything together). This curvy little addition will add tons of flow in the living area (our favorite pairing with any sectional is always a round coffee table or ottoman), and since the old side table, coffee table, dining table and chairs will eventually be updated, Ania can Craigslist them to make some major loot (which she can put back into the space to complete the room).

Oh and we can’t forget Ania’s request for a kitchen paint color, we’d actually suggest painting it the same color as the living and dining room (since they’re so open to each other it will really keep things expansive and airy) or even sliding one shade darker on the paint swatch and going for that tone in the kitchen which will make for a coordinated yet slightly varied look with dimension and ambiance.

So there you have it. A living and dining room full of chic and modern style. We can’t wait to see what you guys think!

Update: Ania sent us her after pictures and they’re nothing short of amazing! Check them out right here.

Update #2: 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!






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