Monday, October 14, 2013

Dining Room: Earl Grey Mood Board

Anyone that follows me on pinterest, I apologize for the overabundance of pix that I've been inundating your feed with this past month!

My dining room board on pinterest has been stuffed over the last few weeks with pictures I've been pulling from across the interwebs to help me find concrete means of visually showing the vague ideas that have been twirling around in my mind as of late.  I, unsurprisingly, found a lot of what I was envisioning at one of our favorite stores, Restoration Hardware, where we find ourselves foaming at the mouths on every visit and mentally giving ourselves awards for victoriously coming out of the store empty-handed versus empty wallets.  The challenge here will be to replicate a lot of what we like at RH for a fraction of the cost.

But before we get to that, let's go back a bit:

The following mood board was what I came up with for this post nearly a year ago (!) while trying to neutralize the purple color of the walls:

Lots of greys in that mood board with some moss greens.

However, now that we have grey on the walls, we don't need to imbue the room through the decor with a neutralizing grey.  So, I've been playing with emerald green in my mind for awhile now, and then just this past week it hit me that a peacock feather was the perfect inspiration for bonding and balancing a bold color like green with other colors for the room.

Peacock feathers for inspiration:

Nature is gorgeous. ...And it can be used as a perfect example for creating a color palette.

I also knew when going into this makeover that I wanted raw and earthy woods - nothing polished.  With such rich colors, I wanted to downplay the rest of the furniture to keep the tone of the room from going into what I can only describe as "snobby".  Karl and I also both love the "industrial" look, so we're bringing in some natural metals.

It is time!

Mood board:

Key features:
- unrefined wood
- rich gemstone colors in sapphire and jade blues & emerald green (w/ perhaps bits of orange here & there), and keeping the dark colors balanced with additional whites thrown in
- metals of iron, gold and bronze

Key Feeling: natural, understated elegance

Except for a lack of accessories in the mood board to visually show more of the color play, we're pretty satisfied with how this looks.

We've also started assembling one piece of furniture to replicate the bookcase on the board.

He doesn't look like much now, but he'll be top-dog soon.  ;)

Dining Room To-Do List:

- replace dining room table (we have building plans here)
- remove piano
- "rustic-ify" bookcase
- find chairs (the ones we're currently using are borrowed)
- reupholster head-chairs (those are ours, so no hang-ups there)
- curtains
- get sideboard
- accessorize
- chandelier? (hmm, is it worth it in a rental?  probably only if we find a REAL bargain)
- framed art

First up will be the bookcase rehab, and then we'll play things by ear.  May the odds of staying in-budget be ever in our favor...


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dining Room: Finished Painting! (Pt 5)

Two weeks ago we hosted a birthday party right after the dining room was painted...with the green tape still up.  Though it perhaps added a "festive" color to the room for the party, we left the tape up because we still had some touch-ups to do.  We figured it was a step up from our radtastic furniture-less party last winter, so we went with it and, go figure, no one cared or threw a tantrum at us.  We had to wait until the following weekend to do the touchups, so we lived with it for another week like the pic shows below.

We're awesome at getting things done.

showing that in real life, living for a week with green frog tape until we can finish a room is how we roll
But now, I'm happy to report the tape is gone! 

Quick look at the "before":

We have ourselves a whole new dining room!

Really opens up the room, right?  I love the way it looks against the white baseboards and trim.

Oh, but what's this?  A new piece?

Why yes, it is from Ikea.  But it won't look like it is when I'm done with it (mwhahaha).  I have plans for this guy.  You'll get a hint at what they are when I show you guys my mood board, which is in the wings waiting and to be out tomorrow!  I'm excited to get started!

Monday, October 7, 2013

How to Measure & Choose A Rug Size

A month ago we found a rug online for our living room that we liked and was within our budget (we're keeping what the rug looks like a secret until it gets here, mwhaha).  In the same month however, painting the dining room became a priority and our living room became a bit too cluttered, so we've held off getting it until we could get the room cleared and figure out which size rug to order.
the dining room furniture encroaching on our living room's territory - it was war

From some past measuring I did a year ago of how large our seating area was, I had given myself a size range to work within when shopping for rugs, which was 6.5-8 x 8-10.  For the rug we're now interested in, it is offered in a 5x8 and 8x10.  I was initially leaning towards the 5x8...but then last week after we'd moved the dining furniture back to where it belonged, we got into a "feeling impulsive" mood.  So, having been curious to try some different arrangements in the living room, we moved things around in there...and it ended up working awesome-ly.   More on that in a future post.

The new setup opens the room up a lot, and now we're 99.9999999% sure that an 8x10 is the way to go.

How did moving furniture change the rug size, and how do we know the size is right for the room?  Let me show ya.

To start, there is no concrete "right or wrong" way to use a rug in a room...these are more like guidelines.  Ultimately, the style of the room is up to you, but here are some of the basics to get you started:

1- Furniture Placement
In most cases, you want to have all of your sofas and chairs touching the rug; this pulls together the furniture and proportionally unifies the room.

Sofas should have the front legs on the rug, and the back legs off.  A setup which all legs could be on the rug would be if you had a console table behind it, and then that table would only have it's back legs on the rug.

Smaller one-person chairs can either have just the front legs on, or both front and back, or not touch the rug at all.  Play around with the amount of room you have available and eye the chairs from a distance until you feel it looks good.  Don't be afraid to situate the chairs a certain way and then take a few weeks to let the effect simmer in your mind for a bit before you decide if it's working or not.  

Exception: If you have all the legs of all of your furniture off of the rug, it can still look appropriate.  Remaining consistent with your furniture placement works in this scenario.

2- Width
Your rug needs to extend further than the width of your sofa on either side by a good 6" or more.  If the rug is the same width as your sofa, it will make the rug seem too small.

3- Maintain Borders
Allow for a border of at least 18 inches between the rug's edges and the room's walls to let the bare flooring show and maintain the room's balanced proportions.  An exception to this would be if it is in a small room, such as a laundry room or walk-in closet, in which the border's gap can be smaller.

4- Your Goal  
A rug will define a space.  A sitting area, the dining table area, a bed, an office desk & chair, etc.  Too small a rug in a big room, and the furniture will look like it is floating and not appear as cohesive (see a pic of our living room here for an example of what not to do).

5- Details to Consider
The size of your rug will also depend on:

  • the size of the room
  • how much contrast you want between the rug and the flooring (how much of the original flooring do you want to still have showing in the room)
  • budget (the larger the rug, the more pricey).   

The best technique for finding out the rug size needed is to play a little.  If you're a visual person like me, you'll want to especially do the following.

What You'll Need:

- Painter's tape (if you don't have tape, you can use books or toys or whatever else you have to mark the 4 corners of the rug)
- measuring tape

1- Measure your seating area's width and length
Take the measuring tape and extend it length-wise in front of your biggest sofa until there are at least 6 inches on either side of the sofa.  If you have other chairs on the ends of the room that you want touching the rug, keep extending the tape so that they do.  Repeat this process for the width of the rug as well.

I took two measurements when I did this.  First I found out the maximum length our room could handle without losing borders (floor gaps between the rug edges and the room's walls), and then I found the minimum measurements for what would allow at least the front legs of our seating to touch the rug.  This way you have a range to work within when shopping for a rug, versus a very custom or constraining measurement.

Tip: If you've been wanting to move furniture around in the room, do so now, as the dimensions may change.  When we moved our furniture around last week, it took advantage of our space and thus enlarged our seating area's size, creating the need for the 8x10 rug when in the recent past, the 5x8 worked.  That would have been sad if we got the 5x8 and then found we couldn't re-arrange our furniture around it.

2- When you find a rug you like
Once we found a winning rug, I measured out both the 5x8 and 8x10 and marked the four rug corners with painter's tape (frog tape), then stood back and eyed it for awhile, readjusting and re-measuring a bit as I experimented until I got both rugs sitting where I felt they'd work best in the room.

Give it time to marinate if you need to.  I had placed the tape down late one night and then kept that tape on the floor through the next day, finding myself eyeing the floor each time I passed through, giving me time to mull it over. In the evening I found myself standing in the room for awhile and visualizing the room with the rug with Karl, and we both came to the same conclusion: the 8x10 worked best.

3- Wait to pounce
Rugs are an expensive investment.  So naturally, if you can also wait to time your purchase for a holiday sale or subscribe to the store's website to receive a coupon, all the better.  We signed up for the rug store's newsletter and scored a 10% off coupon, which allows us to keep the rug that was at the top of our maximum budget, to now be comfortably under-budget.

Got a question?  Ask in the comments section below  :)

Get updates about our old home restoration, DIY tutorials, and project ideas to your inbox!