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Eclectic Living Room Redo and Framed Photo How-to

Muted hues are the perfect backdrop for this eclectic redo.

Before: Bland Living Room
David is a young professional who recently moved into his beachside house. His living room, filled with modern, Asian and traditional pieces, is more bland than eclectic. After taking David’s design style into consideration, designer Kenneth Brown presents a sophisticated living room design, which incorporates new elements of his favorite styles while still retaining central pieces from his old room such as his beloved Oriental rug. Kenneth proposes that by painting the walls warm, neutral colors and by bringing in a clean-lined sectional, the bright area rug and red lacquer chest will serve as accents rather than oddities.

After: Cohesive and Stylish
Kenneth's design for David's room takes into consideration the bright red, traditional-styled area rug. To bring balance to the room, he neutralizes the intense color with earthtone shades on the walls and furniture. Another challenge for Kenneth is to create a cohesive look out of David's eclectic furnishings. He's able to do so by bringing in a clean-lined sectional and brown leather ottoman, which both serve as connecting elements to help tie all of the varied pieces together. The sofa is covered with a tweed herringbone suiting material that's backed with another fabric for extra durability. The seating is rounded out with a mid-century-styled chair covered in gray flannel. David's Asian-styled red lacquer chest is moved over from the entry and used as an end table. A sleek chrome lamp on top completes an eclectic vignette of modern, Asian and traditional styles. Bringing in an Asian-inspired TV cabinet on the opposite wall helps to unify the eclectic look.

White blinds are replaced with tortoiseshell bamboo shades for an eclectic splash on the windows; the brown tones help to pull all of the muted earthy colors together. In the entry, a modern console table adds a touch of elegant sophistication. Colorful accessories against the muted furnishings brighten the room and help tie in with the multihued area rug.

Kenneth's Tip: Take Polaroids of surfaces that need accessories and write down the dimensions. Bring the photos when you go shopping so you'll know exactly what fits.

cowhide area rug in sunroom — Luggage and Gift Town
dining room light fixture
(Oblong Glass Pendant) — West Elm
table lamps (Robert Sonneman Dome floor lamp, Bliss Modern table lamp and Cube table lamp) — Lamps Plus
(#512, #610, #746, #686, #691) — ICI Dulux Paints
living room arm chair
(Grace Chair in Thicket Flannel) — Room & Board
fabric for draperies and sofa — B Black & Sons
window treatments — Designs by Bonnie Price
credenza in entryway
(Manhattan Sideboard) — Marshall Fields
side table in living room
(Round Directoire table with black granite top) — Ballard Designs
sunroom furniture — Design Within Reach (DWR)
zebrawood drum light in sunroom — Fantasy Lighting

Create Your Own Framed Photos
Above the sofa is a series of framed nature photos that Kenneth and David took themselves--and it's something anyone with a disposable camera can do. Here are Kenneth's photo tips:

  • Look for colorful images and patterns that fill the frame. Like nature prints? Take close-ups of flowers or foilage in your yard. Something as simple as a variegated leaf can be enlarged, cropped, matted and framed for one-of-a-kind art.
  • Find unusual perspectives on ordinary things. One idea: snap close-ups of bicycle parts for an abstract vignette.
  • Do as the pros do — take lots of photos because you never know what's going to work.


    • Lighting supplies from Fantasy Lighting
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