Click, then zoom, to view larger image of the design board.
Lenoir Table Lamp at Ballard Designs: $229.00
Set of 2 Bird Studies at Ballard Designs: $39.99, sale
Metallic Honeycomb Vases at West Elm: $23 – $39, sale
Textured Peaks Wool Rug at West Elm:
$149.99, sale sold out
Clearly I’m feeling inspired by gardens and spring. I think that’s to be expected after the immense winter we all had around our great nation. If you’re pondering a living room update and want to keep it neutral, but with a few pops of color, here’s a great inspiration board for you. I’ve chosen items that weren’t too expensive, but were of good quality. I checked the ratings to make sure people were loving the products. Also, many of these are on clearance, so if you fall in love with a sale item, you might want to act fast.
*The rug from West Elm is no longer available, though they have many other great options in the same family such as the one pictured below:
Pictured above: Honeycomb Textured Wool Rug – Plaster at West Elm: $129 – $849 Delivery Surcharge: up to $25
Little accessories like the birds figurines are something that I always go back and forth about when assembling these inspiration boards. I’m a resourceful artist who doesn’t love spending lots of money unnecessarily. If I can make it, or a good substitute, then I will. I’ve included the birds, however, because little touches like this are necessary to make a room feel complete and, in my case, a design board feel complete. Here are a few on-the-cheap accessory options:
– You could go to a hobby store and find some paint-your-own-wooden/papier mâché/plaster/some other material-animals and create a rainy day art project. (If you’re not an artist and this scares the living daylights out of you, no problem! Grab some spray paint, wait until a sunny, not-windy day arrives, lay down some newspaper outside, and spray those little wooden birds in your favorite accent color. In a less dramatic fashion, you could buy an acrylic paint tube like the Liquitex brand found at hobby stores, buy a simple synthetic brush and paint a few coats of acrylic paint on the wooden birds.)
– You could also look around your attic, basement, mother-in-law’s home and repurpose a beloved family heirloom. With your mother-in-law’s blessing, that is. A tip for going this route: make sure the colors in the heirlooms are very similar to one or a few colors in the room. The theme of the item should fit as well, but I believe that’s self-explanatory.
Mixing textures and patterns:
I greatly enjoy mixing textures and patterns in a room. To me, a room feels flat without some interesting lines and colors playing next to one another. Admittedly, however, this is the true art of decorating and the point at which a room can either become a shining star or a big, ol’ disaster. It is not easy to know what pattern goes with what texture and whether the scale should be small, medium or large. It’s the reason I went to art school; to figure out problems like this.
And on that encouraging note for every non-artistically inclined person out there, here was my artistic logic with this design board so you can try it yourself. The pillows are floral along with the orchid prints, but I didn’t want every pattern in the room to be floral; if I wanted a modern twist, I needed some geometric design. Enter: the lamp and rug. What I didn’t want was a geometric design that was too large and in charge; that could call too much attention to the geometric print and change the room’s theme. Instead, it was better to go for a print that was either small (like in the lamp) or, if it was going to be a large piece in the room, I needed the geometric print to be monochromatic (like the rug). They have their significant place in the room, but these geometric pieces are the second-string players; you should notice them after the bolder, floral elements.
When art gets expensive:
My final comment on the pieces I’ve selected will be concerning the orchid prints. I think these are absolutely lovely and if I wanted to invest roughly $830 in them, I would buy all six. But when a budget needs to be adhered to, that’s a lot of money to spend for one piece of the room, not to mention the art’s price rivals the total cost of the remaining items. That said, there are some cost-saving substitutions that would look beautiful without destroying the budget:
– Buy a vintage book of great prints, or any book with great, flower prints, and use some of the pages as your art. You will have to purchase frames, which can get pricey too, but you could save yourself $300-400.
– Dry leaves, flowers, or an assortment of natural items by placing them between 2 pieces of wax paper, sticking them in a phone book (or a thick, heavy non-important book if you haven’t saved your phone books) and let them sit for two weeks or more. Once dried, and if you like the way they turned out, buy a few sheets of colored scrapbooking paper or cardstock, glue them to the paper with an acid-free glue like mod podge and place the art in frames.
– If you want to go a different, modern route, you could find leaves such as from a hosta, maple, or another plant with large leaves and make a printing or leaf stamping. To do this, you’ll snip a variety of leaves from your garden (use a variety because not all leaves lend themselves to this process), use the flattest side of the leaf, paint a coat of acrylic paint on the leaf, then press the leaf onto a piece of cardstock/heavy paper, and carefully rub the back of the leaf to ensure the paint transfers to the paper. This is essentially like stamping. It will take some trial and error, but you’ll get a great result.
There are certainly other options I could list such as framing a graphic, floral fabric, wallpaper samples, etc., but alas, I must work on a print I created over the weekend.
I hope you feel inspired from this design board and it’s given you some ideas for updating your own space. If you need some help, or feel a bit in a rut and want another opinion, feel free to reach out to me with some of your design questions. I’m considering offering design help through email/phone, so it would be a good way for me to see what the process is like before jumping fully into the water.
I’ll be posting a new art print for sale soon. Happy Monday to you!