April 21, 2011

Solid evidence

This is our living room.  I like many things about it, such as the ability to flip a switch and enjoy a toasty fire.  I also like the coziness of the small room, the brown velvet curtains, the ample natural light, the comfy chair and ottoman, the lamps, and the bits of black and white.  But I feel like it is missing something.

Then I ran across this quotation by designer Michael S. Smith in a House Beautiful article on cozy decorating and realized what that something is: pattern.

Here's what he had to say:

"I think you can be comfortable in a room that has no pattern, but it requires more effort.  It's not as cozy or evocative.  You can't convey the idea of Java in a plain fabric.  There can be a simplicity in plain fabrics, which I love, but in a house you really want more of a narrative.  If you don't have strong architecture, you need something else to tell the story.  I think pattern is a shortcut to emotion.  It has all these memories, of a place or a period or a particular dress your mother wore.  It has tremendous power over us."

I know that it may seem really obvious by looking at the pictures above that I only have solid colors in the room, but when you live with something for a while, you get used to it and sometimes it's hard to evaluate it honestly.  There are a lot of textures in this room: the stuccoed walls, the leather furniture, the wool rug, the slate fireplace surround, etc.  But there is no pattern.

I will be trying to remedy this situation.  I already have a muted animal print waiting to be made into pillows, and I think I will be bringing in more green -- I was trying it out with the lone green pillow on the couch!  But this room is open to the foyer with its red and blue Persian runner and the breakfast room with its blue and white textiles, so I really need to tie all these colors together somehow in the living room.

Any suggestions?


Erin said...

What about a large scale pattern on the wall behind the fireplace? I fell in love with the idea of "painted wallpaper" after I spotted the following post online: http://jonesdesigncompany.com/decorate/painted-wallpaper-a-tutorial/

I can't tell from your photo if that fireplace wall continues to the left past the living room, so maybe doing the full wall isn't an option... but it's a fun idea nonetheless! I'm still trying to decide if there's a good wall to try it out on my house. It looks like a lot of work, of course, but seems like a nice alternative to an overly pricey/trendy wallpaper, and I love that you can make the pattern as dramatic or as subtle as you like with the paint choice.

Nicole @ one half world said...

Erin - thanks for the link! I just read through Emily's paint and stencil tutorial, and you're right, that does look amazing! Maybe I will need to figure out a way to incorporate some stenciling...thanks for the idea!

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