From Blank Slate to Stylish Abode

When new homeowners had no idea how to decorate an open layout living and dining area, designer Valerie Ruddy stepped in to save the day.
Traditional Cream Living Room With Blue Accent Colors

Neutral Living Room With Blue Accents

A palette of cream and blue sets the mood of this comfortable living space, with the large area rug unifying the style and forming a powerful anchor.

By: Barbara Ballinger and Keri Sanders

A couple had no clue how to furnish their open plan living/dining/foyer in the home they had recently purchased. Their wish list was an updated contemporary look that would provide enough room for their large gatherings. Designer Valerie Ruddy developed a plan that met both functional and aesthetic desires and also fit totally within their budget of $20,000.

Describe the homeowner's wish list.

The homeowners hoped to create an entryway, living and dining room in their open concept home. The homeowners entertain family and friends often and needed a versatile space that allows for individual activities, but will visually appear cohesive.

Open Layout Decorated for Entertaining

See All Photos

Shop This Look

What was the biggest issue the design addressed?

The biggest issue was creating spaces that allow for many different scenarios – whether they are entertaining formally or casually. We also wanted to make the furnishings comfortable for small or large groups.

How did the end result match your original vision?

I have to say that this design went fairly smoothly. We had an issue getting the wall color right since this room gets sunlight from two sides of the house, and initially the colors we liked appeared too bright when there was full sun coming from the side of the home. We toned down the final selection and came up with great colors that the homeowners love.

Describe an obstacle in the space.

Since we needed to design and furnish three separate spaces, the budget was my biggest obstacle. We were able to come up with vendors that would allow us to accomplish a furniture, lighting, window treatment and accessory plan in a modest way, which still looked attractive.

What lessons did you learn from this project?

We knew going into this project that we would need to be careful with our budget. So, we are still in the process of completing one section of the space as we prioritized the process for the clients. They loved that we started with as a main plan and were able to stick with it over time with a great result. Every couple of months, the couple called, and we would get a few more things done. This worked out wonderfully, so that the clients were comfortable with the progression, and we kept to their price list.

What are the hidden gems that make a big difference?

The long center white bench with pillows, which straddles the dining and living areas, provides seating to both spaces when needed and subtly divides them at the same time. Benches are wonderfully versatile pieces that we use often for this reason and others.

Next Up

Main Bathroom Makeover With a Luxurious Tub

How do you make a bathroom a go-to retreat? Include what most homeowners want most — a tub to spend time soaking in, a shower for quick cleansing, good big mirrors, great lighting and a soothing palette.

Serene Main Bath Retreat

Designer Barbara Gilbert gave this bathroom a fresh, serene look, including a spa bathtub and vintage chandelier.

Old World Main Bathroom

Designer Mark Williams shares how he creates a timeless main bathroom using traditional and modern elements.

Traditional Elegant Main Bathroom

Designer Peter Salerno uses classic cabinetry, stunning architectural details and a creamy white color palette to transform this bathroom into the ultimate retreat.

From Boring to Stylish Bachelor's Pad

Designer Ebonee Bachman transforms a young man's bland space into the ultimate bachelor pad, full of color and stylish accessories.

Cool, Contemporary Bachelor Pad

Designer Hubert May pulls out all the stops to give his client the simple, clean bachelor pad he had hoped for.

A Designer's Home Gets a Contemporary Makeover

Designer Beth Davidson reworks her own living and dining rooms with a colorful, contemporary look, pops of red and original art.

Inviting Living Room in Lake Tahoe Retreat

Designer Linda McCall creates a charming place for family and friends to gather in this couple's traditional Lake Tahoe getaway.

Light, Bright Transitional Home Makeover

In this light, transitional home project by designer Blanche Garcia, the homeowner got her wish for a relaxed atmosphere full of style to share with her two children and dog.

A Lived-In Living Room Update

Learn how designer Tony Stavish gave this Chicago living room a collected-over-time look, making it the perfect blend of old and new.
Valerie Ruddy

Valerie Ruddy

Contact Me
Decorating Den Interiors
local.decoratingden.com/valerieruddy Verona, NJ 973-239-3004