Thursday, December 9, 2010

From Formal to Relaxed...In No Time.

I read an interesting article on Oprah's website (O At Home) which discussed how accessoricies can really transform the feel of a space.  Now for all you designers out there, this is not new news, but for a lot of stay at home moms, new home owners or design enthusiasts, there are some key tips here that can be carried forward to fit any space.  The above is a picture of a family's dining room.  They loved it, but the truth be told, it wasn't practical especially for their toddler aged children.  They quickly realized that they needed to change things fast so their whole family could enjoy it.  So, they hired a stylist to help. 

So, what did the stylist do to make this space more relaxing?  First, he started with the rug and drapes.  Do you notice the sisal rug? - a family friendly option that brings instant casual chicness to the space. He then added  linen shades which immediately softened the room.  These 2 subtle changes transformed the space immediately.  Then, he added a linen PB table runner, an oversized centerpiece to break up the intimidatingly banquet - like dining room table and a lot of greenery.  Yes, plants do bring life to a room!  Personally, I also like how he broke up the symmetry and hung a painting below one of the wall sconces; it immediately adds interest and brings down the formality a notch.  The lucite console brings in the fun factor and modernizes the room while keeping your interest level up!! All in all, I think it is much more inviting and welcoming room. Let's take a look at their living room, shall we?
Beautiful furnishings, but a little sterile, huh?  Let's see what the stylist did to add some life to this space.
Ahh..much more relaxed!  I like it....again, he started with the rug and window treatments.  He decided to add a geometrically Jonathan Adler patterened rug on top of a sisal rug.  The sisal rug brings in the casualness and the geometric rug adds interest.  He hung linen shades to soften up the room.  He changed the coffee table which is a better fit scale-wise. Notice how he hung abstract paintings  below the sconces?  It adds more depth and sophistication to the room.

My favorite part is that added some animal prints to bring some 'fun' in the space.  The great things about animal prints is that they are great neutrals and will look in a lot of spaces. The room was given a more "lived in feel" by adding a couple more pieces of furniture - the Stella shelves by Oly and a Jonathan Adler floor lamp. 
What I love about this family's living and dining room transformations is that it has gone from formal traditional to casual tradition by just adding accessories.  I mean how easy is it for all of us to take away some of these tips and apply it to our own homes?  The best part of the article was when the client said she is 'shedding' her textbook ideas of how a house should look!  Amen, to that!  A living and dining room is not just for company - it is a place where your whole family can and should enjoy!


  1. This was really fun to read and think about--whether you wanted to make your space more formal or more casual!

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Totally agree! Great post--it's so important to be reminded of the power of accessories. To be totally cliche, they truly make a house a home. Love the abstract art under the sconce too!

  3. Fantastic post Fran! I think there are some really good ideas for all of us to use.

    Amy R.