Thursday, October 9, 2008

Can You Give Your Decorating Advice For A Friend?

Hi All,

My friend, Beth, has a blog called, Greenstew Recession Inspired Shopping and she wanted my advice on a couple of areas in her I thought instead of just one person's input, it would be nice to have several ideas instead...won't you please help her out??? Thanks!!!

Here is her living room and fireplace and this is what she writes:

"The fireplace was very 70’s rock going the whole length of the wall, it was bad.

So we knocked all the rock out, re-dry walled the whole area, painted it to match the rest of the room, and left it…for over a year.

As you can see, I need a hearth and I know that this is going to require a bit more conduction.

So my question to you:

What should I do with it? I like the less is more look, but this is too plain. I have no idea what kind of hearth, or if I should add a mantel. Any suggestions would help."

Now let's move on to the second area that she needs advice on, her hallway.

Here she writes:

"The previous owner textured the top half of the wall so the chair rail has to be there. There is a sun tube, and that is the only natural light in the hall.

In my dreams, I would like to have black and white photo’s in my hall, with black frames. I don’t know what paint colors would work for this.

I am not afraid of color, so any suggestions would be great.

Thanks, Beth.
PS: The color of the hall does look fine, but I think there is to much of it, I would like the top or the bottom to be a different color."

Here are more of Beth's likes and dislikes:

"I like the simple look, but I like some stuff too. I like dark woods and color. I don't like dark rooms. I love the colors yellow and blue, but not that country look."

I don't know about you all, but I love that color in the hallway and think it would work great with black frames and black and white photos!

So, what do you all think? What decorating advice would you give her? Please let her know, don't hold back!!!

Thank You!!!

PS: Have you entered my Pillsbury Savorings Giveaway yet? Well, what are you waiting for??? I will pick the winner TOMORROW!!! Good Luck!!!


Darlene said...

Hmmmmm, I am not a decorator so I am just going to watch the comments and see what everyone else says.

Happy @ Home said...

Thanks for your recent visit to my blog. I see you live in my home state of Michigan.

Your blog looks very pretty and I am going to explore it some more.


Debi said...

Bella dear...
These are my suggestions for Beth...I would like to remind you... I am not interior decorator either... BUT my suggestion would be to paint the top white... to make the picture frames pop... and go for it!!
As for the mantel... I love the ones that have a just a little more trim around the box... to make a rectangle around the legs if you will, and the same at the top... with a white mantel with molding to enhance the look.
I hope this will help some anyway...Good luck.

Hope you both have a wonderful day!!

CaraM said...

First the fireplace: The print hanging above it is way too small for the fireplace. She needs something bigger - more to scale with the fireplace. I would suggest bringing more focus to it with a faux-finish - maybe plaster-ish. because the fp is the same color as the walls it's lost.I would also suggest a mantle - love these because they are an easy peasy area to change accessories for the seasons.

I'm not sure about the hallway. I really like the way black pops against blue so I wouldn't change the paint color up top, but maybe change the bottom. Make it darker or add some stenciling. The real thing that is needed is light. Is there anyway to add more or to make the current lights larget?

Libby said...

I'm no expert, but here are my thoughts.
If you like the less is more look, paint the fireplace a contrasting color from the wall (black would be elegant). If you want a mantel, just add a simple long shelf along the top so you display some things.

The hallway: I picture a gold/khaki color here ( I love this color). It is dark, but is really bright and rich at the same time. Dark frames or black frames would look great (hang them lower than the frames you have hanging now). The chair rail could be painted a rich chocolate color
to compliment the gold. Hope these suggestions will help!

Bo said...

Hi Bella...since I am a more is more kind of gal, I'll leave the suggestions to the rest of you...
but I'll check back to see what the consensus is... ;-) Bo

Angie said...

Hi Bella,

Well, I would suggest a mantle for one...and maybe try painting the fireplace a slightly darker shade than the wall so it pops. For lots of color, maybe hang a tapestry over the fireplace...something with more substance if not putting a mantle there...

For the hallway, I would leave the top blue the color it is...then I would paint the bottom part a shade or two of darker blue and add the black and white photos in a group!

Kim's Treasures said...

I really like the color of the frames would look great there! I do think she needs some sort of mantle on her fireplace though. Maybe a black one...hmm. I would say that the fireplace front needs something like trim since she likes nothing too fancy or a texture.

Wouldn't it be fun to get a bunch of Michigan bloggers together some day? There seems to be a lot of us!

Have a great night!

Ginger said...

Without pics of the rest of the room I have no idea what the feel of the room is. I'm assuming you are starting from scratch.

I love my mantle. It is a beautiful place at Christmas when it is all decked out. I have the same situation with the hearth...there is none. I want to put a slab of marble in front of mine to give it some character.

Above the mantle of choice, a big fat plasma TV if this room functions as the living area. If not, get a much larger scale print in a beautiful frame. My fav idea over the mantle is a large mirror in a nice frame. It really lightens up a room and makes it seem larger. What ever you do, think scale. A large clock, large vase with large stems in it etc.

Get a really gorgeous fireplace set. If you aren't going to burn wood, clear out the firebox and set up tons of candles in it to burn.


Bella Casa said...

Ok, I will chime in now, too :)

I am currently loving the black, white and green combo. Would love to see a white mantel on the fireplace with some black marble tile around the hearth, and then green walls, any shade of green that you like. I would go with a warm toned green, not cool, but any green would work.

I love that blue in your hall! And I think black and blue and white go great together, so if you are happy with the blue, just leave it, why make more work for yourself, I say :) You could go a darker shade on the bottom or maybe a white or black beadboard would be nice. You can buy that in panels at Home Depot or Lowes and just nail it on the walls, then paint it whatever color you like. Not too hard to do.

For more mantel ideas, see Rhoda's post here:

Can't wait to hear everyone else's much fun to get ideas on projects :) :)

Thanks everyone!


rkdsign88 said...

For the hallway top, white color works best. Black frame with black & white photo will be great too.
Thanks for stopping & leaving lovely notes at my site. Your website looks wonderful.

Queen Bean said...

For the fireplace could tint joint compound and trowl it on for a textured effect.Deana

nikkicrumpet said...

I'm at a loss on the fireplace. I'm sure you'll get great advice from all these brilliant women here. I love the look of the black & white photos in a hallway. I've seen it done and it works out wonderfully. If she is going to do that...I'd keep the color change above and below the molding very want the photos to be the focal point not the walls. She needs to pull a color that will look good with the paint colors in the adjoining when you view it all together nothing clashes.

Michelle said...

If it were my fireplace, I would find a big mirror the same width as the fireplace and about as tall, but then, I just LOVE mirrors for decorating, but I HATE looking into them! LOL! In fact, I'm going to buy one today for my kitchen!

As for the hallway, I'll just wait and see what she decides. Coming from a girl who has no color on her walls, I don't feel qualified to comment. My colors come from accessories, and lots of them!

Layla said...

Ooh! Fun!
I will do a post on my blog about this today!

The Lettered Cottage

Anonymous said...

Hi Bella! Hope your friend doesn't get too confused with all the suggestions but here is my 2cents. The fireplace I would do the hearth and surround the same with a simple mantel ledge. I can see simple slate/white mantel and pale colored walls (blue? but not knowing her style???) The hall I love the idea of blk/wht photos;I would leave top that pretty blue and paint the bottom white;(my first impulse was white on top/blk bottom but she doesn't like dark?) she could also do a horizontal lg stripe where the frames are going for a gallery style and place the pics within it or just as is blue and do an arrangement using all the same frames or even mix the shapes up one wall only! I would even throw in a few silver accents? Lots of possibilities here. Thanks for the lantern tip at Homegoods; I may stop there tomorrow - Have a great weekend - Sincerely, Jeannette

Miranda said...

I'm not much of a decorator but the fireplace would look amazing with one of those art canvas prints of her family and some really cool vinyl wall words.. and like a previous poster has said some molding around the fireplace might help jazz things up a bit. How fun, I can't wait to see all the great things she comes up with.. you're gonna have to post pictures when she's done.

Anonymous said...

Paint can do magic so I would paint that one wall where the fireplace is in a darker color that makes sense with the rest of the decor, then the fireplace can stay the way it is, just hang a picture or a mirror above it that is proportional.

Layla said...

Alright...I've put together a design for Beth's hallway...come check it out and let me know what you think!

The Lettered Cottage

PS...I'll do one for the fireplace next!

Carla said...

I see Layla posted last, which is funny because I was going to suggest checking out her fireplace. LoL I really like her simple wood mantle. And defintely a bigger picture or mirror above the fireplace. I like the blue in the hallway, but would consider either white paint or white beadboard for the lower half. And hang the pictures a little lower. They seem too high.

Suzann @ Lavender and Roses said...

Well, I can start out by saying that I LOVE Layla's suggestions for the hallway. As for the fireplace,
I would do a very simple tile, perhaps a slate mosaic or subway tile and paint the top part of the fireplace a complimentary color, but something different than the walls. i would go for a nice chunky mantle, but simple in design. Perhaps painted black? And something larger on top. A mirror or an iron piece or a large picture or a grouping of some kind? But, I am NO decorator. But, I am a simple gal too who prefers a bit less, so maybe she'll like something I suggest? I know she'll get amazing ideas from blog-land.

Fifi Flowers said...

Simple mantle for fireplace... GREAT colour painting above mantle... a few small framed photos... vase on mantle ledge... not too many items... and NOT symetrical... a faux finish or darker colour than the walls around the fireplace opening... some fireplace equipment... logs in a carrier!

Hallway... leave blue colour on top... add the black and white photos you suggested... paint stripes or a brocade wallpaper or stencil on the lower half of the wall.

Those are my suggestions! Please show us a follow up when these two areas are complete.

KarenB said...

I agree with most of the comments already given. One of the first things I see that is a distraction in the hallway are the plain doors. If she could afford to put in panel doors that would be gorgeous, or paint them to look like it. You could even do it in an irreverant, cartoony way to give a whimsical look. Once you figure out one, the rest would be easy. If she likes the cottage look, I'd suggest the beadboard in white along the bottom of the hallway. That would tie in all her doors. Her pictures should definitely all be framed in black with black and white photos preferably. The suggestions for the fireplace are right on.

Jennae said...

I'm no pro decorator, but I love to decorate, so here are my suggestions:

FIREPLACE: Paint it a contrasting color. In my mind, I'm seeing dark gray (preferably a low- or zero-VOC paint). If you really want to make it pop and create a focal point, take the gray all the way up to the ceiling.

For a mantel on the cheap, find a long, simple wall shelf, which would create a ledge to use for display. It also would create a sleek, modern separation from the top of the fireplace and the gray wall above. However, one of the mistakes a lot of people make is covering their mantels with clutter. I'd suggest one large, framed piece of art or a mirror. If it isn't very heavy, you can rest it on the mantel/shelf and lean it on the wall. If you prefer to hang it, add maybe one simple, narrow vase with some bamboo shoots or twigs.

HALLWAY: I'm in agreement with some of the other commenters about the blue in the hallway. But if she really wants a change, here's what I think. A pale yellow on top, with a deep gray (perhaps the same color as the fireplace to keep some consistency) on the bottom. These two colors will really make the white chair rail pop without looking country. If she really wants to make a statement she could try a lime green on top. Not too bright, but a bit muted.

Use black and white photos in black frames lined up on the wall on top. Gray or green, yellow and white is a great combination, and black and white would look awesome with either.

Hope that was helpful!

- Jennae @ Green Your

Mrs. B said...

I love mantels, so I would definitely instal one. Maybe even some type of wall treatment above the mantel, like a faux panelled look or soemthing. I have no idea about a hearth. The only hearth I've had was brick. The blue in the hall is pretty (I had a half textured wall in my old house too... what a pain!). If she wants to change it up, she could do a lighter shade of blue on the top. Another idea would be to do chocolate brown below the chair rail (love blue and brown together), but that wouldn't look as nice with black frames.

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