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Decorating & Furniture/How to redeem my mistake


The kitchen
The kitchen  
Hi, I'll try to be brief.  
I had a marriage break up and re marriage, so I wanted a "new look" to help establish a new future...etc...
I started out trying the shabby look and then kept veering into almost an antique look.  I really like the modern streamlined look and the peace of neutrals but when I had finished it, I found it was almost arctic.
We sold of some of the things we had purchased and then I was so annoyed at my expensive mistake!! Now we are surrounded by the left overs of both our homes.  Nothing matches and everything is from a different era.  We have a colonial coffee table that is absolutely huge and dominates the lounge (in jarrah), we have a colonial tv cabinet in golden oak, we have a bookshelf in teak and a dining setting that looks like the fairies eat on it, all wrought iron lace look and a lighter table that almost looks outdoorish.  My husband is laid back and really could live happily in a tent so he is happy with it all, but it eats away at me.  I want to get rid of it all and start over, OR sand it all back.  HOw can I do that?  How can I get a modern look with colours and shades that reflect light and don't absorb it (as a room full of timber seems to do to me)!
We have a huge 4 seater couch that could comfortably seat 7 or 8 and it is difficult to work around, but I love it to pieces, though it would need covering as it is very arty deco look.  What can I do with a bunch of differing styles and colours of wood, a lounge that just fits a wall and nothing else to work with.  Only thing left is my magnificent window display.  Im really saddened at my mistake, what do you suggest.  I love the look that of clean, crisp lines and linens, white, cream, beige, apple green, and aubergines... how do I go about that?  I thought of doing some of the furniture in a metallic style paint to bring it to life and modernise it, or do a deep old style cream (parisian) paint look on some of it.  But I don't want to make another mistake.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.  I see gladly that you have a number of people on this site who have dilemas in making up their minds with colour and choices, which gave me the willingness to sally forth and make public my error.
Thanks for your ideas in advance.


Bless your heart for sharing your dilemma.  Let's start with your furnishings.  If the couch can't be recovered easily, check out slipcovers at (they've come a long way in shapes and styles over the past decade.)  If that doesn't pan out, then let's just work around the color by adding throws and/or pillows in our new lighter, more modern look.  

Any piece of furniture that you have can be lightly sanded, primed (an important step for success) and painted.  Since you like creams and whites, do that.  If everything is the same color, the color will tie the differing styles together.  Add your crisp linens to the table, add a tabletop of glass (even for that oversized coffee table) and accessorize with the beige, apple green and aubergine.  (Take all those exact colors from your china.)  

You can further tie it all together with an area rug that combines all the shades of color.  

The TV cabinet, bookshelf etc. will be big projects - there's no getting around that - but short of donating it all to charity and purchasing new, it's the best option.  Reverting to shabby chic i.e., distressing rather than sanding, priming and painting, for these pieces will not give you the result to desire.  

Number one primer in the states is KILZ which covers anything and does not allow old color to bleed through.  Hopefully you have something similar.  Here are the steps:  1)  light sanding with a medium grit sandpaper or power sander; 2)  remove all dust with soft cloth; 3)  prime and allow it to dry overnight; 4) paint.  If you need more than one coat of paint, allow the previous one to dry completely before applying the next.

Lastly, whatever color your couch is or ends up being, pull that color into the adjacent rooms to tie it all together.  

You're a brave lady!  Let me know how it all turns out.


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Jennifer Taylor Wojcik


Visit my web site at: Decor: I've written about it, planned it, designed it and colored it, and I've never stopped loving it. It's not what you spend, or who made it, it's how it makes you feel.


College, advertising, public relations, marketing, free-lance writing and a plethora of creative endeavors have led me here. As an entrepreneur in decorative product design, I learned the hard way how tough it can be to be in business for yourself. A stint at a law firm taught me humility too. Some three thousand questions ago, I wondered if I could really help. Obviously, I'm still here and still taking your questions. God Bless You!

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BA, Psychology

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