I've been thinking about doing a series like this for sometime now --listing my top five favorite images for each room of the house.
I think I'll start with the living room today. Here are the photos of living rooms that I fell in love with instantly when I saw them. The kind I'd be happy to have in my own house.
I think this one is probably my favorite of the bunch. I adore the bright, white walls, the relaxed vibe, the stripes on the chairs and the yellows and blues mixes together. There is more pattern that I might normally use, but I do love it here. It has just the right touch of wood and warmth to balance the cool white. The beams on the ceiling and the fireplace shape are perfect. And there is just enough asymmetry in the decorating to throw the symmetry of the room off a bit. It feels cozy and casual and anything but pretentious.
I wish there were wider angle views of this room (there is another photo, which you can see here), but regardless, I love everything I see. The overscaled illustration, the casual/natural feel of the furnishings, the gorgeous warm brass sconces, the bright white walls with tons of contrast, even the pattern on the navy blue pillow is fabulous. A room full of texture.
Just as an aside, I do wonder if we are drawn to rooms that feel familiar to us. For the longest time, white walls seemed anything but acceptable in the decorating world (at least it was repeated over and over again in magazines), but I've always loved them. And I think it's because I grew up with bright white walls in house filled with light. My mom painted a huge wall of brick like this in our living room, and we always had wood antiques, which I think think are divine against white.
LOVE. Jessica Helgerson designed this one and she remains one of my absolute favorite designers. The eel traps above the fireplace are pure genius. In fact the entire room feels a bit sculptural, doesn't it? Not a single antique here, but lot of mid-century stuff. Which surprises me since I have very few mid-century pieces in my own house. Then, again, I grew up in mid-century built house, so maybe that's where this love comes from. Anyway, I'm not sure I'd love to get comfy in this room, but it is beautiful nonetheless.
This is one I was delighted to find on Pinterest, as it had been a tear sheet from Cottage Living years ago. This room feels so current, yet I think it was featured at least five years ago, maybe more. I remember that it is a California cottage. I love the rustic wood, the bright white walls, the casual feel of the sofa (I think there's another parallel to this one), and the contrast with touches of black and dark wood.
I think it's important to realize that our tastes can evolve too. Below is a living room that I still love, but it doesn't land in my top five anymore.
Oddly, this living room (also from Cottage Living) is probably more similar in style to my current living room that the aforementioned photos with its dark antiques and floors, classic architecture, beige sofa...
If one pays attention to the advice of magazines (which were my main source of decorating advice before blogs and Pinterest) one might feel the need to follow someone else's rules about decorating. Use lots of color! Neutral is boring! Introduce varying patterns in different scales! Well, folks, I've come into my own when it comes to decorating and I'd say it's clear what I love. Neutrals; lots of natural texture; balance of symmetry and asymmetry; a few overscaled pieces; wood tones against white walls; smalls bits of color in greens, blues, and yellows; very little pattern; and lots of contrast.
But it took years to get here. To get to a place where I can identify what I think it good decorating and beautiful for another's house, but not for my own. That's the key, really. We can admire a style, but how do we differentiate that from our own?