Inspiration.  When we first moved into our apartment in San Diego, I was adamant that we pick a color scheme and paint the walls before all of belongings arrived from San Diego.  After spending countless hours on the Internet, I finally decided on Liz Claiborne’s Extrovert Peach Blossom.  I loved the big bold pattern and variety of colors.  My plan was to use the fabric throughout the entire house, but emphasize different colors in each room.  In this Living Room, I planned to emphasize the orange by using Liz Claiborne’s Soane (suede-like fabric) Piquant.

We started with a blank slate:
And ended here!

Pillows.  We purchased this sectional couch from West Elm, and each unit came with two pillows.  To add a punch of color and introduce our theme fabrics, I covered each pillow.  3 of the pillows were flowered on both sides with custom orange piping around the rim.  The other 3 pillows had flowers on one side and plain orange on the other, also with the orange piping around the edge.  Adding the solid orange on 3 of the pillows was a great way to tone down the “loudness” of the flowered fabric across the whole couch!

Curtains.  The fabric for these curtains was an absolutely score!  Although I wasn’t looking to introduce another pattern, the combination of orange, green, yellow and taupe was a perfect match to the flowered fabric.  I found this fabric on the clearance table at JoAnn’s; it was $6/yard plus an extra 50% off.  I bought all that was left on the bolt, which was only about 6 yards.  Because our sliding class doors had hanging blinds, I didn’t necessarily need curtains that closed so these curtains became purely decorative.  With the fake cornice, however, I was dumbfounded on how to actually hang the curtains.  Do I hang a rod above the doors?  Do I replace the blinds with fabric?  Then I had a stroke of genius!  I simply put adhesive Velco on the inside of the cornice and put the other side of the Velcro on the top of my pleated panels.  These hung perfectly without the hassle of hanging rods, and they provided a perfect pop of color to complement our color scheme.

Art.  These are the same frames that hung above the futon in my husband’s lounge in Okinawa.  We replaced his Iraq pictures with our favorite snapshots of our travels while oversees.  We then purchased poster-size cardstock in taupe, orange, green, and yellow, and cut out mats for each frame.  We then (painstakingly) hung the pictures in an arrangement that not only altered the layout of the photos (landscape versus portrait) but also altered pictures of scenery and faces.

Track Lighting.  This room had no overhead light, so we purchased these track lights from IKEA.  Although they were a pain to instal, they really did highlight the pictures nicely (ignore the crooked frames and mess of a couch!).
Tables.  Our two garden stools, one blue and one green, made quaint and contrasting end tables (difficult to see in the picture).  Our coffee table was a light yellow painted trunk from China.  Inside the trunk was our DVD collection!  Love using trunks with built in storage as tables!

Accent Wall.  We painted the opposite wall a fabulous orange (Lowe’s “Clay Pot”).  I would have never imagined painting a room orange, but this wall was small enough that it worked and brought such vibrancy to the space.  We got so many complements on our orange wall!  To finish this side of the room, we purchased this modular entertainment center (also from West Elm), and orange lanterns from IKEA.

The orange wall extended into the (tiny) kitchen.  We hung our copper pots on flat wall brackets (also from IKEA) over our butterfly console table from Hong Kong.  Like the orange lanterns, the copper pots against the orange wall provided a visually interesting monochromatic look!
Lessons Learned.
  • Although bright and refreshing, using such a bold color as orange made it very difficult to decorate for other seasons.  For example, it was awkward to use red at Christmas and Valentine’s Day because it just looked busy and uncoordinated.
  • It pays to spend the time finding a fabric that really works with your space and your belongings.  We already had the yellow trunk and blue and green garden stools.  Although our color scheme became orange and yellow, the fabric still allowed us to use pieces we already owned.
  • Both the couch and the entertainment center are modular.  It becomes very easy to buy furniture for the space you’re in, but we knew this furniture needed to work in many other future homes.  Having units that separate give us the flexibility to make it work in any space we find ourselves in!
See You Soon!