A Sophisticated, Baby-Friendly Living Room

Bold strokes of color and distinctive finishes and fabrics prove you can have it both ways.


Joanna and Al are young professionals who live in a house with an open layout featuring several catwalks and open stairwells connecting different levels. The couple love to entertain, and the house has served as party central to their friends. But with the arrival of a new baby, their place has changed from a haven for late-night parties into a space for late-night feedings.

Soon after becoming parents, the couple realized their house would have to undergo some changes, particularly the sunken living room. They wanted to turn the comfy but sadly outdated space into a modern room in which they could relax and entertain visiting grandparents, but they also wanted it to function as a safe, childproof environment. So I got set to create a room that proves you can have kids without sacrificing style.

Contemporary Open Plan Dining Room With Accent Walls

Contemporary Open Plan Dining Room With Accent Walls


Candice Tells All

Two bold-colored accent walls create drama in this open dining and living room. Designer Candice Olson, host of HGTV's Divine Design, demonstrates how to tastefully use color in this space with bright blues and a jewel-tone magenta through accent walls, furniture upholstery and artwork.

The living room is adjacent to an open kitchen that the couple revamped in black and white. To complement this adjoining space, I used black and white in the living room but kicked up the color quotient a notch. I chose a peacock-inspired feature tile in iridescent black, purple, teal, gold and fuchsia for the fireplace, and I used it as the starting point for the room's color palette.

I painted most of the room bright white, put up halogen lighting and laid down a natural-stained, strip maple hardwood floor. In the living area, I created a feature wall with a fireplace that has a black quartz mantel and hearth and is clad in the colorful feature tile. On one side of the fireplace I put in black, wood-veneer cabinetry for storing baby toys, and on the other side I painted the wall fuchsia and installed a flat-screen TV.

In the sitting area around the fireplace, I installed a variety of lush furniture. A white, easy-to-clean leather-like sofa and matching love seat, a funky teal chaise and a chair upholstered in luscious blue help to create a cool, lounge-like vibe. On the wall behind the sofa I put up wallpaper in teal and gold paisley for an added wow factor.

In the dining area, I installed a chic black table that can expand to seat six or contract for two, and I surrounded it with great chairs in the room's feature colors. I also created a small office area under the stairs that includes a desk with a painted glass top and a funky new chair.

But this room isn't just about style; it's also about substance. With this in mind, I installed some much-needed baby-proofing features. I clad the back of the hazardous open stairs with wood, added tempered-glass panels to the side of the stair railing and put in some functional (and ultra-hip) baby accessories, including a high-style high chair and the world's funkiest baby rocker.

After adding a host of fabulous accents and accessories, including a two-story remote-control blind, a stunning piece of art on the wall and a hanging mobile (for adults and kids), the room was complete.

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