My interior decorating service works by you, the client, filling out a questionnaire, sending a basic floor plan and possibly some photos. That questionnaire and information is then emailed or mailed to MyInteriorDecorator.com. Once everything is received, the fun begins!
Below you will find a typical response a client might receive for the Shopper’s Buddy Design Service from the mid 2000’s. Services have changed a bit and now include full details about all accessories to use, colors of lamp shades, book spines, what artwork to use on what wall, etc. Please keep in mind there are typically extra sketches, images and furniture suggestions included in each package. (This is a real project and permission to use this was not granted from the client. All names were removed as to protect them. This is one of my favorite projects and that is why it was included.)
Thank you so much for choosing The Shopper’s Buddy to assist you in your family room arrangements. As I stated to you in the email, the room is very large and was quite difficult to work around. Enclosed you will find two floor plans, one a mirror of the other, some written ideas about what type of furniture, window treatments and accessories I believe you should consider, and lastly some copies of types or styles of furniture and window treatments you should consider.
The Floor Plan
When designing a room, there is always a focal point. It wasn’t difficult to determine that your focal point is your fireplace wall. In the theory of design and decorating, a rule of design is to place your largest upholstered piece directly across from or facing your focal point. That would be your sofa facing the fireplace. Once that is created, you try to place other seating pieces next to the sofa to create a nested grouping.
Since you already have the two mission chairs and ottomans and you need seating for between 4 and 8, I chose to keep those two chairs together. They will make a little bit more of a statement that way. I have drawn in a love seat for the other part of the grouping simply because of the number of guests you would like to seat. My suggestion to you is to consider looking at a very large chair or possibly a chair and a half. They are cozy and will allow you to sit near the fireplace with a nice book on a cold day. If you pull the rocking chair up, you will have 8 places to seat people.
I believe you should place an end table on either side of the sofa, placing a lamp on top of each. The coffee table should be a large fun and funky piece. I don’t believe the cedar chest would make much of a statement. It is just too small a piece. I feel you should add an area rug just around the seating grouping. It will pull the entire area together and make the room feel very cozy. (I will discuss styles, colors and texture later on.)
I would also like to suggest adding an armoire, chest on chest or a table between the two windows on the east wall. It will add a bit of visual appeal to that space. The other added feature I would hope you consider is the addition of a secretary with the use of your Grandmother’s rocking chair. I think it would fill a bit of the space by the kitchen nook, and by using the chair in the design it will add a bit of visual appeal.
Lastly, I am suggesting you consider placing large plants, possibly fake, in either windowed corner of the room. I *DO NOT* have a green thumb, so I understand using fake. It is safer for your pets and they don’t take a lot of care. You can take them outside in the summer time and spray them down with a water hose to clean them.
I have included a few photographs of furniture styles/types I believe you should consider. I feel all of your upholstered pieces should be very neutral in color, possibly with flecks of the cranberry/raspberry or green colors in it but darker than the floors and walls. A nice chenille would be cozy. Make sure the nap is tighter because of the cat’s nails, you don’t want them pulling the fabric. You have already stated your walls are a taupe so you have a wonderful base. The sofa and loveseat should be very comfortable and cozy, possibly overstuffed for maximum comfort. The fabric should be the same on both pieces.
You said the Mission chairs currently are not upholstered. For comfort’s sake, you have to upholster them. I suggest looking at something with a small pattern. A very small plaid, stripe, mini-print or a tone-on-tone texture with a contemporary pattern. Very soft colors, possibly in the light cranberry line.
To fill some of the space in this room and add some interest, I am suggesting you use the rocking chair with a secretary. I have enclosed a couple of photographs of styles of pieces that would work. The same finish as the rocking chair would be best. It is a simple piece to add a lamp to, possibly a small pot of ivy, a book or two or even some picture frames. Very simple.
I am also suggesting you place a larger chest on chest type of piece between the windows on the wall adjacent to the fireplace. It will add a small visual to the room. The height of the piece should be no lower than eye level. The finish should be a little darker than the floors. I have included a few photographs of pieces I feel would work.
The end tables can be anything you would like. It would make the room appear cozy to use fabric skirted tables BUT, I know you probably would not be happy with that. End tables with the same style or theme as the chest on chest would be perfect. The same wood finish is preferable.
The coffee table as I suggested before should be something unique and interesting. What about a large tree trunk with a glass top? A faux painted piece? A lobster cage with a glass top? Find something that represents who you are to your guests. Something that is fun, a conversation piece and will bring you years of happiness.
This is the fun part. This is the part that makes the room. I will begin with the plants. As I suggested earlier, I do believe that you should consider adding a couple of large plants in those windowed corners. It fills some of the space, adds some height and will make the room appear to be “lived in.” If you don’t feel confident you can keep a plant alive, try the fake ones. They live forever! I have included a few photographs of some things you can consider.
The area rug should be basically neutral BUT should have some color in it. Try a kilm or a Native American type rug. Nothing with a traditional type style. I have included a couple of photographs of examples.
You need lighting in the room. I suggest you place two of the same lamps on the end tables. They can be things like clay pots in a neutral color. You may also want to consider a floor lamp behind the two mission chairs. It would add a bit of drama to the room and would assist in reading. A metal floor lamp would be best.
I do not know if you have considered track lighting or not BUT, that would make a nice addition to the room. You can have tracks focused on the fire place and on the built-in unit with the stereo. A nice down light on the coffee table would be dramatic as well.
Consider using up lights in your plants. They are really small inexpensive lights that shine up into the leaves. They add a lot of drama to the room. The little desk should have some kind of small lamp on it for purposes of writing a letter or reading a book.
Art work is a tricky thing. I don’t want you to use too much because you won’t be happy. When I began reading your questionnaire answers, I got a few images in my head for artwork. The really funny thing is you stated you had one of the pieces above your fireplace. You are on the right track!!! The only other two places I would like you to use artwork are above the secretary and above the chest on chest. They should be related to the chair sitting by the open window. Something very simple without a lot of color. The frames should be a light wood color, preferably the color of the floors. You might even want to consider using photographs, black and white or one with lots of sepia’s.
Since you do not like to dust lots of things, which I can relate to very well, don’t use a lot of things. I don’t think you need anything on the end tables but the lamps. The coffee table can have a candle or two, a book or two and a basket of apples or pinecones.
The mantel should have something but candles on each end is sufficient. The chest on chest could have a small pot of ivy trailing down the side towards the foyer and a thing next to it. The thing could be a bird house, a figurine, a carved bird or cat, a pottery piece, a glass bowl. Something that is a bit taller but not a plant, lamp or candle.
The secretary, like I stated before could have a small lamp, a book, ivy or picture frames. The built-in is a different story. You will need to fill these things with something. A stereo and speakers will fill part of it. A CD collection will fill part of it. Books are a wonderful way to fill space. But be sure to add some interest with things like picture frames, small plants, glass pots, pottery bowls, trinkets, figures. I know you don’t want things to dust so don’t use a lot. That makes just as much of a statement as lots of “things.” Have a variety but make books and the stereo the majority of what is there.
For those days when it is cool outside and rainy and all you want to do is curl up by the fireplace and day dream, you need a sofa throw. It should be green or cranberry in color. Throw it over your sofa to add some color.
Look at adding some throw pillows on the sofa and loveseat that will contrast the fabric. They add color, comfort and function.
Lastly we come to window treatments. I know you don’t have to close off the windows because you live in the country but I would like to see something on them just to soften the windows and finish the room. I think something very simple like a metal rod with unlined tab top treatments would be perfect. The fabric can be a tan or taupe color with a linen texture to it. It will make a statement but allow maximum light through the windows.
I hope you are now on the road to a finished room. If there is something you are not happy with, please call or email and I will try to rethink the design. I believe this is going to be a wonderful room and I wouldn’t mind sipping on a glass of wine, listening to a great CD and partaking in good conversation with friends in this room.
Please let me know what you think. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting your home and being given the opportunity to assist you in it’s design. Thank you!!!