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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Living/Dining Room and Kitchen updating

I'm struggling with a decorating issue. Our Living Room, Dining Room and Kitchen are all one big, plain, boring room. All the same tan/grey wall color with lots of white. 

I packed up our gold and crimson "winter" drapes which hung in the dining room and kitchen last weekend in a fit of "I-just-want-something-different rage." Too heavy for summer. Too wintry-colors.

Here's the view most visitors get when walking in our front door:

Bland. Boring. With all of the color below your belly-button. Seriously, can we get some visual interest in here?

View from the kitchen:

I'd like to get this space into a place where I can change out a few accessories every spring and fall and shift the room. That means any paint colors need to be neutral, but not boring. I'm open to adding color with curtains and accessories. The "winter" look for this room is currently the gold and red curtains and gold and red throw pillows.  

I think I've identified the issues I want to address. First, the space needs some damn color. It seems my go-to answer for introducing color to a room is paint and curtains. Two fairly cheap solutions, with low labor costs (I'm the laborer).

Second, we need summer curtains, probably sheers or cotton/ canvas in the dining room and kitchen for a bit of privacy. We also need to address some kind of temporary curtain in the windows in the dining room and living room; the late afternoon sun streams through them from the west, both heating the room and blinding anyone trying to eat at the dinner table between 4 and 7 pm. 

The high dining room windows give great light in the winter so I *think* I want these window coverings to be for summer use only. 

Lastly, I need to replace or find a few new furniture pieces and accessories. Specifically this media console has got to go. The TV used to sit on it, but now it goes above the fireplace. It's also too big for this space. See how the edge of it goes over the fireplace? And that you can't open the door on the left because of the window trim?

We're debating finishing the fireplace this summer. We put it off after tiling the entryway, and were supposed to do it last fall. But we can't seem to make up our minds about what tile to go with, and truth be told, I don't really like our mantel (which they built exactly from my design. oops). I'd like to take out the mantel and have bookshelves built on either side of the fireplace and then a smaller mantel above it built. But... that's a lot more expensive than just tiling around the fireplace. So in the interim, I'm not really pushing for anything. 

Right now the only accessories are framed photos in the entryway; I'd like to branch out into artwork or some kind of antiquey/ salvage thing. Also, lamps, although with the dimmer lights in the living room we really have no need for lamps.

Have I mentioned before my obsession with symmetry? I can't deal if something is "off"; it bothers me.

We need some kind of round artwork between the windows in the living room. Everything in that space is so square. A big round red plate would do, but I don't seem to have one handy. 

So what's my plan of attack? Well... hm. First I'm going to sew long curtains for the Dining Room and Kitchen. I'd prefer something with an interesting and colorful pattern in it, but I can't seem to find either curtain panels or fabric that I like. So they'll be a cream colored sheer in a checked pattern. Simple. Cheap at about $50.

I should mention that we have the double-cell, top-down/ bottom-up blinds in the living room and staircase windows. You can't seem them in these photos because they're pulled all the way down. I don't really want to add any kind of valance above them, though I could be convinced... 

But what about curtains for the high dining room windows? Well... that's tricky. You see, I have a compulsion with symmetry. I'm afraid that if I add curtains to the dining room, I'll have to add them throughout the space, which continues up the stairs too. But that's a lot of windows, and I don't really like matchey-matchey. So I'm afraid to think of curtains for the space. I'm tempted to order and have installed more of the roller shades that we have in our bedroom; they "disappear" into the top of the window when rolled up. 

If not that, I'm leaning towards some kind of canvas Roman shade that I could sew. 

Maybe white with a red pinstripe? Or white with red ribbon to reel it up with? I think I could figure out how to sew a Roman shade

I'm also inclined to paint the inset in the dining room. Just this one little wall as a way to add color to the entire space while not throwing the whole room off balance. Maybe a darker brown/ grey, which wouldn't clash with the existing paint but would make the book cases/ sideboard pop a little? Or a gold color which would play off the gold winter curtains while still adding color in the summer?

I could change out the lamp shades above the dining room table, into something colorful. 

I also considered painting the bookshelves too. Maybe a brick red, since red seems to be the color which will stay in the room throughout the seasons. But painting the bookshelves would only serve to keep the color on the lower half of the room. Boring. 

A tall and skinny lamp on either end of the book cases would help move your eye vertically up, and I could change out the lamp shades each season. They should have rounded shades too. Anything I can do to relieve the squareness of the room would be good. 

That said, I'm still pretty uncertain about the whole thing. I dislike starting a project without a completed vision. Have you seen a decorating idea that I should copy in this space? Are you nuts about symmetry like I am? Is your husband scared of color too?

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