Contemporary Dining Room

Contemporary doesn’t mean cold, as this image shows. The colors, furnishings and accessories all combine to create an inviting space for dinner parties and family meals. Let’s take a look at what makes this room work so well.

Color: The dark brown tones, combined with cream and grey, transition well with the stainless steel appliances from the kitchen while creating a warm space for eating. These colors are neutral enough to allow the homeowners to set the table to suit their mood or the season.

Furnishings: The box-like table says contemporary very well, and the wall-mounted buffet and shelf support the clean lines while staying low maintenance. Large rectangular tiles also suit the modern feel. Notice the chairs, however. Although contemporary in style, the padded seats and backs make for comfortable seating, encouraging people to linger after meals for conversation. When choosing dining room chairs, always factor in comfort before style.

Accessories: The choices made are all modern and some are almost sculptural. The bell artwork makes best connecting piece with the bells echoing stainless tones and the background connecting with the dining room tones.

Altogether, this dining room features the best in contemporary design while still remaining warm and welcoming.

Special Bedroom: Luxurious

In home decorating, often our bedrooms get short shrift. Since they’re only for family or personal use, your focus may be on comfort rather than looks.

With the arrival of chilly nights, this is a good time to snuggle into our bedrooms and make them special spaces just for us. This week, we’re looking at three rooms and ideas you can use to take your bedroom an extra step forward.

It’s the combination of browns and creams that help make this bedroom feel luxurious. Think of it as milk, dark and white chocolate and you’ll understand the appeal. The maroon tones of the floor add just the right richness.

Notice the position of the rug. It’s far enough up to provide a soft place for your feet to land, but by putting it under the bed it doesn’t take over the room. The table and chairs would work nicely for morning coffee and reading the paper. The bench at the foot of the bed would be handy for dressing.

Want to make your bedroom feel more luxurious? Look for opportunities to layer color and texture. The cream rectangle behind the bed up against the dark brown wall, for example, and the brown and cream art over the bed, as well as the ceiling contrasts and the drapes, all provide layers of light and dark.

Layers of textures include the throw tossed on the bench, the rug on the wood floor, and the tray on the bed. Add softness with layers of draperies and throw pillows. With a minor investment in linens and accessories, you can make your bedroom a more inviting and luxurious place to spend your nights.

Thinking about Walls: Pattern

Wallpaper seems like an old-fashioned concept, but today’s patterned walls are anything but dated. Take a look at the image to the left. These oversized leaves create a dramatic and original accent, which is emphasized by the more traditional art.

In most homes, walls serve as a background to the furniture and accessories, but your walls can play an active role in your decorating plans. You are only limited by your imagination.

The room shown to the right demonstrates how walls can take over a room, creating the basis for the total design. This is difficult to do well, but in this case everything works.

To begin, every bit of architecture has its own highlight. The coffered ceiling receives special attention thanks to the dramatic large crystal chandelier. The window nook also has its own wallpaper; the black, grey and white offer an effective but curious contrast to the soft beiges 0n the walls in the rest of the room.

One thing that makes this wallpaper feel more contemporary is the large format of the patterns. The two choices on the back wall – separated by some white molding – complement each other because of the size of the patterns and the colors. Using two different wallpapers emphasizes the separation created by the molding.

Notice how the simple furniture keeps a focus on the walls. The clean lines and pure light tones allow the patterns to shine. The only other pattern comes from the cushion and rug in the foreground – which are also large format and bring some pink and green into the space.

How do you feel about bringing pattern into your home this way? Are you willing to be this creative with your walls?

Design Inspiration – Coffee

Interior designers, and clothing designers, often find inspiration from things that are totally unrelated to homes and fashion. Colors, shapes, images and ideas can lead to unique design thinking.

In this week’s blogs, we’re going to take a look at three different types of design inspiration and how they turn into room designs. By the way, this week’s blogs were inspired by the kind words of one of our subscribers in Winnipeg, Canada.

This designer chose the photo of a steaming cup of coffee shown to the left as the basis for creating several hotel rooms. With a limited budget, he was still able to make an impact. The colors reflect the rich brown of the coffee beans with the flooring. The walls and bedding are represented by the warm light browns and creams of the stoneware coffee cup and saucer.

The designer also used the shapes of the steam rising from the coffee cup as an inspiration for the curving wall murals in each room. The furniture also curves to coordinate with the rounded cup as well as the oval mirror shaped to resemble the top of the cup in the photo. Even the chair looks like a cylindrical coffee mug missing the handle.

Although there is no actual image of the photo in either of the rooms, if you have the opportunity to compare them, the source of inspiration is clear.

What else would you add to this room to make the coffee imagery stronger? How about a jar filled with coffee beans or a do-it-yourself small coffeemaker?

Take the time to look at photos on the Internet. Do any of them inspire you to design your own space?

Making a Great Room, Great

If you enjoy having the whole family together, want plenty of space for parties and gatherings, and want to be able to cook dinner or fix a snack without being cut off from everyone else in your home, a great-room design is perfect for you. But it’s very easy to end up with a disconnected look if you don’t plan your overall space design.

In spite of the roomy space, this room feels integrated and comfortable.  It provides a generous kitchen, an island that allows people to pull up and eat or talk, an expansive fireplace area, and a flat-screen television for entertainment. What elements help this room pull it altogether?

Color: The soft beige and brown throughout, help the entire room feel coordinated. There is a rich rust color on the kitchen wall to the left that is echoed in the niche holding the television. The granite, tile and carpeting all have shades that link together. The dark wood tones of the cabinets show up in the darker elements in the family-room area such as the mirror and table toward the back. Color is one of the strongest tools for integrating spaces.

Flooring: The kitchen floor tiles appear again as part of the fireplace surround, which makes the room feel even more cohesive. The carpeting provides a subtle separation between functional areas with no distracting breaks in the sight lines.

Lighting: The entire room is well-lit with ceiling spots – one of the best tools for providing useful and interesting lighting throughout a great room. The kitchen pendant lights and the fireplace sconces are from the same design group, further helping each room to feel connected with the other.

The architectural features and overall style of this great room helps create a space that really works. Make sure you think about integration when you plan your great room design.