Monday, June 2, 2008

Earthy/Contemporary Family Room Makeover

close-up of shelves and artwork in the room "after"
This has been one of my longer-term redesigns, so I'm happy to finally be able to share some "after" pics with you! Here's the background on this room: the family uses it primarily as a media room - thus the long, black leather couch. (It was a recent purchase and had to stay.) This family also loves the outdoors and wanted a warm, natural feeling in the space - almost reminiscent of a lodge resort.

I wanted to find a way to merge the contemporary stylings of the large black sofa with the natural look they were going for in the room. It seemed the best way to do this was with paint and a new area rug. The very traditional area rug was primarily red and blue and was doing nothing for the space.

I recommended a more transitional-style area rug that combined black (like the couch) with warmer, more natural tones. I also gave them a range of colors to choose from for the walls and wainscoting that would bring in warmth and coordinate well with the rug. Here's a tip: If you're thinking of changing a room's color and purchasing a new area rug, I actually recommend getting the rug first. It can be really difficult to find a rug you like, with all the right colors, pattern, etc. It is so much easier to match the wall colors to your rug, than try to match the rug to the wall color. (Does that make sense? It does in my head, never know...)

In addition to paint and the new flooring (which actually doesn't show up well in these photos - sorry), the biggest change in the room was the addition of four electric wall sconces. The room had almost no light sources before, which was fine for TV and movie viewing; but when it was functioning as a family room, it needed more light. The problem was, with the family's young sons, lamps were often getting broken, so the client had given up on lamps. My solution: sconces - up high, out of the boys' reach (for now); durable, and don't take up any floor or table space.
The clients are actually still working on this room, with a few more pieces to be purchased, but the real grunt work has been done. They deserve loads of credit for all the hard work, all done themselves: new paint, new hardwood floors, and new electric sconces. They already owned some really fabulous artwork, too. I was just able to provide them that extra guidance they needed as they made color choices and design decisions on each aspect of the room.
TIP LIST - ways we "brought the outside in":
  • vase with river rock and branches
  • artwork of various outdoor scenes - photographs, drawings, and a painting
  • warm earth-toned colors on the walls
  • leaves printed on the rug
  • added natural elements with baskets and earthy pottery


  1. That's a big improvement. It's amazing to me what a difference just the new rug made in the room. Everything is much cozier. Love their floors! -Julia :-)

  2. that looks really great! It makes me want to go shopping... or yard sale-ing. :)

  3. i would love to know brand and name of this wall coloring. We have the same type brick fireplace-but larger-and i am struggling to find just the right wall coloring.

  4. Looks awesome as usual!!!Jen R

  5. Ah, yes, much better! Good work, dear!


  6. Searching for contemporary area rugs at reasonable prices, then log on to


thank you for commenting, dahling! I can't wait to hear what you have to say. :-)