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Decorating & Furniture/Introducing Colors in a Room with Few Color Options


My family room is a large room with a cathedral ceiling and hardwood floors (with a natural stain).  All of the walls are a shade called "Navajo" that is a few shades darker than off-white.  The chair-rail (all around the room) and base-boards are white.  All window and door frames are also white.

We have a very large dark wood entertainment center flanked by two large dark wood book cases, which are flanked on either side by a corner book case unit.  All pieces fit together and look like one massive unit.  This entire unit is on the largest wall of the room, a wall with no windows and no doors.  To understand the structure of the room, pretend you are standing in the room and facing the wall with the entertainment center.  We'll say this wall is the front of the room.  The wall to the left has two archway entrances to the room, evenly spaced.  The wall to the right has two sets of double windows (almost floor to ceiling), with a marble fireplace in between the sets of windows.  There is also a small white mantel above the fireplace and a half moon window above the mantel.  On this wall, there is also a door to our back deck (if facing the fireplace, there is a set of windows to the right of the fireplace and then the door to the right of the windows).  The wall serving as the back of the room is solid except for an archway leading to the kitchen (if facing the back wall, this archway would be on your left, next to the deck door on the adjacent wall).  The archway takes up almost have of the wall.  In the center of the solid part of the wall is a dark wood decorative table with vases and pictures.    

There is a large oriental rug in the center of the room.  This rug is a deep wine red with a very loud golden yellow criscross pattern over the entire rug.  This rug is the largest problem in the room (I'll explain later).  Our furniture is dark brown leather.  The sofa sits facing the entertainment center at the back of the rug, toward the back of the room.  The chair sits to the the left of the sofa, on the left wall, between the two archways, at an angle, facing the entertainment center.  There is a dark wood coffee table in the center of the rug, in front of the sofa.  This table matches the decorative table described above.  Both tables came with and match the entertainment center and bookcases and are very elegant.  I currently have no curtains.  

Please allow me to explain why I hate this room. I feel like it looks like a museum.  There are only three major colors in the room (dark red and golden yellow rug, dark brown furniture) and they are all dark, making the room feel like a museum.

Please allow me to describe the pictures we have hanging.  These pictures were my attempt to add color to the room and, quite frankly, I don't think they work.  They don't even seem to belong to the room.  All of the pictures have the same "museum" frame.  This frame is a dark shiny red color (almost looks like wood) with ornate gold decoration.  All of these pictures are oil paintings of an Italian-type (Venice) scene.  They show canals, boats, and villas.  The main colors are cream, dark orange (roofs of the villas), blue (water), and brightly colored vines and flowers of yellow, pink, green, red, orange, etc.

We've been in this house for two years.  I would like to put curtains on my windows, but I have not done so because I feel like my only color options are white or off-white, or red and gold curtains to match the rug.  I would also like to add different colors to the room so that the rug is not the only thing driving the colors of the room.  I now hate that rug and would get rid of it if it were not so expensive.  It's a beautiful rug, but I feel like it restrains me from being creative in the room.  We cannot purchase new furniture either.  I love the pictures, but I currently don't feel like they work in the room.  Is there a way to add color, add SOMETHING, to change the feel of this room and make the pictures work?  What are possibilities for curtains?  Rearranging furniture is also an option if it helps.  However, please keep in mind that the entertainment center is massive and might, but most likely won't, fit on the back wall.  I want this room to feel comfortable.  I don't mind all of the colors being dark, but I want it to look elegantly designed and comfortable, not like a museum.  I am willing to spend $500 immediately to fix this room.  Of course, I can spend more than that over a period of time, up to $1000.  Help please!  I am so frustrated!  If it would help to have a diagram of the room, please email me to request it and I will draw it up for you.  Thanks so much for your help.  

Dear Lyndsay Harris,
      Thank you for your patience. Please go to the link below to see design images of your space.

Adding long drapes that would gather on the floor would look very beautiful and right for your space. I chose a paprika red color that will blend nicely with the wood and the gold tones. I also added big ocean blue pillows for sofa and chair. Choosing white marble decor to the table behind the sofa would balance nicely with the marble fireplace. It is hard to imagine your space without seeing it but I hope I have given you a good example. You will eventually find the right decor for your space to feel completed.

If you would like a second concultation then please go to the link below for more information.

Rachel Mallon

Decorating & Furniture

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Rachel Mallon Allied Member ASID


I will answer any questions concerning interior design and decorating. I can help with color, furniture placement, material choices, and much more. I am more than happy to help people. Please email me with questions and concerns. Decorating may not be as easy as it looks and with a little help from me you can improve your living space. Check out my decorating blog Room in a Book Blog
If you are looking to redo an entire room in your home and want professional design assistance please visit Room in a Book


Experience: I have a bachelors degree in Interior Design. I have worked for West Elm and Kitchen Kaboodle and I recently worked for an Interior Design firm in Portland, OR. I currently work as an Interior Designer in Maui, Hawaii. Room in a Book

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