Susan Currie Designs

How to Create the Perfect Living Room

Creating the Ideal Living Room 

Building and designing your perfect living room can be challenging, so we’ve pulled together our top tips to help you create your dream space! Whether you’re developing your home with an architect for the first time or are updating a room that has been well loved and lived in for years, we’ll walk you through everything to keep in mind as you put together your living room.

Once you’ve read all the practical advice, be sure to check out our kitchen design tips for a total kitchen-to-living room refresh!

HOW TO ARRANGE THE FURNITURE

Determining the layout is the first step in designing the living room. We’ve found that most of our clients want to arrange their furniture around the TV. Whether you have a small space or a large room with a lot of flexibility for furniture placement, the TV ends up being the focal point. 

We suggest creating ‘purposeful zones’ for the living room. This way, you have some areas for activities other than watching TV, to keep the living room from turning into ‘the TV room.’ Feel free to include a sofa or sectional for the TV watchers, especially if you want to have separate areas for other activities. We’ve found that armchairs, poofs, and other seating options will inevitably be dragged to face the TV, so plan ahead by setting up a couch and coffee table in advance. 

If there are readers in your household, we recommend including a designated reading nook with armchairs. And now that so many of us are working from home, we’ve started including specific workspaces in our clients’ living rooms. We love to utilize space-efficient options like fold-out desks that can be tucked away when not in use, but creating a whole corner for your home office is a great option if space allows.  

Top tip: If you don’t know where to start with your living room layout, use a painter’s tape measure to size up the room. From there, you can sketch out a floor plan and draw a few different ways your furniture could be arranged. If you’re still trying to figure out how to balance between TV vs. no TV, we recommend The Frame TV from Samsung. It looks like a gorgeous piece of art when not in use and comes with a library of over 1,200 pieces of artwork from world-renowned institutions. It instantly becomes a TV when you want it to, and then can be switched back to displaying art when you’re done. 

ADDING YOUR PERSONAL STYLE TO YOUR LIVING ROOM DESIGN

Once you’ve planned your furniture placement, you can move on to the fun stuff – choosing the style of your living room! This is a room you will spend a lot of your time and should be a mixture of your personal style and the comfort level you desire. A formal living room can be a great option, but if this will be the room to kick off your shoes and enjoy a glass of wine each night, we recommend prioritizing comfort over formality. 

Your living room design style may be somewhat dictated by your property’s age, your home’s inherent architectural features, or the style of the rest of your home. However, the space needs to fit your lifestyle, too! In other words, if you have a house full of kids, decorating a living room with ornate antiques might not be practical. A modern living room might be more fitting. 

At Susan Currie Design, we love to experiment with pops of color. Living rooms can be a great place to do this, because you can tie in elements from across your home. Don’t be afraid to mix and match. Doing so will create a less constructed, more relaxed feel, and, after all, it’s the room you unwind in at night, so it should be a true expression of your taste. That said, we love a gorgeous neutral space as well. If you opt for a neutral palette, you have a great opportunity to play with different textures in similar colors. A variety of textures helps create a soothing space without it becoming boring.

CHOOSING A COLOR SCHEME 

We touched on this a bit in the previous paragraph, but before you start purchasing items for your living room, decide on the color scheme you’re going to use. Think about the room’s size and the height of the ceiling when you are making this decision. These tips may be Interior Design 101, but use lighter colors for smaller living rooms to create the illusion of more space and darker colors for larger rooms – especially on ceilings – to create a more intimate, cozy vibe.

If you are lucky enough to have a larger living room, you can be more adventurous with color. Try experimenting with a darker decorating palette, add a striking feature wall, or get creative with wallpaper or a bold paint color.

Bear in mind that the natural light your living room receives should affect your color choice. North- and east-facing rooms tend to get cooler, less radiant light, so warmer shades of all colors, including anything from white to blue to grey, will make them feel more welcoming. South- and west-facing rooms usually get lots of sunlight, so you may want to choose cooler colors to keep them feeling restful. Avoid using dark fabrics if they will be in direct sunlight, as they may get hot and/or fade in the sun. 

FLOORING FOR YOUR LIVING ROOM

The living room floor can be a high-traffic area. Be ready for dirt, water damage, spills, and other stains. If you’re going with a light-colored carpet, make sure it’s a durable fabric that’s easy to clean. All white, monochromatic looks are possible with kids, but the magic is all in the fabrics you choose. We recommend wool and nylon rugs and carpets. Or, if you’re willing to try a pattern, rugs with bold prints can excellent choices for spaces prone to spills. A pattern can disguise minor mishaps because there’s so much more happening on the floor!

If you have hardwood flooring, consider adding a coating to protect the wood, or opt for an area rug. Natural floor covering materials, such as sisal or jute, are another option that looks great on a hardwood floor and can add a layer of protection from scuffs and scratches.

If you’re an apartment dweller, it’s a good idea to add a thick rug pad beneath your living room rug. This adds an extra level of noise protection between you and your downstairs neighbor, as well as a little extra cushion when you’re walking around barefoot. Pet owners might want to consider a carpet that will disguise pet hair (and maybe a robotic vacuum, too!). 

HOW TO CHOOSE FURNITURE

Selecting your furniture can be one of the most challenging steps when designing a living room, but since you’ve already decided on a color scheme and measured your space, determining what works should be considerably more manageable! Furniture will probably be the most expensive aspect of your living room redesign, so be picky about what you need. Start with the basics and assess what furniture your living room really can’t do without – and how you might make it more versatile with hidden storage, for example. 

Also, think about how durable each piece needs to be and what’s worth investing in – soft furnishings get the most wear, so get the highest quality you can within your budget or opt for removable slipcovers that can be thrown in the washing machine. 

Be sure to choose furniture that will stand the test of time, not just in terms of physical durability but stylistically, too. Don’t go with shapes, colors, or patterns that will become dated or that you will tire of too quickly. 

WINDOW DRESSINGS TO ACCENT THE ROOM

Window dressings are important – they offer a feeling of comfort, privacy, light control, insulation, and, if chosen well, can pull your whole room together. 

What you choose will primarily come down to your taste and budget. If you want to add a touch of luxury to the living room, shutters or roman shades beneath lined curtains are a great combination. In a contemporary living room, shutters are an easy-to-coordinate option with plenty of curb appeal. Plus, if you’re on a tight budget, adjustable shade options are a much more affordable option than custom. 

BRING THE OUTSIDE IN 

Plants and flowers to brighten up any space. A few of our favorites for new plant owners are Snake Plant, Monstera Deliciosa, ZZ Plant, Rubber Tree, and Pothos. These are easy to take care of and have also been shown to filter out nasty chemicals in the air, like benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene! You will breathe easier with these potted pals in your home! 

We’d love to help you design your ideal living room space. Email us at susan@susancurriedesign.com with any questions, comments, or tips you think we should share! 

How to Decorate with Mirrors

Mirrors are an essential tool in just about every designer’s toolkit. They’re not just for use in bathrooms any more… Here at Susan Currie Design, we incorporate mirrors into so many elements of our designs, some which may come as a surprize to you.

Susan Currie Jeannette living-4

Photo by: Sara Essex Bradley | Design by: Susan Currie Design

We love using mirrors as tabletops! The offer a bright and reflective surface, ideal for showcasing a fantastic work of art or increasing the amount of light a tabletop lamp can put off.

Susan Currie Jeannette dining

Photo by: Sara Essex Bradley | Design by: Susan Currie Design

We love propping mirrors up as opposed to hanging them and using them to create layers of framed art. This provides additional dimension and interest to a space.

 

Photo by: Susan Currie Design Styling by: Travis & Company ADAC

Photo by: Susan Currie Design
Styling by: Travis & Company | ADAC

Mirrored furnishings are another smart way to use reflective surfaces. They’re a wonderful neutral furnishing option and add sparkle and pizzaz.

There you have it, done the right way, mirrors are a brilliant way to add some brilliance into your home!

Taking the Time to Get Decorating Right

Interior designers are “doers!” We like to take a design idea and run with it.  A good designer listens and helps you plan so you can make the best decisions.  Hasty decisions to satisfy a spontaneous idea can result in pieces of furniture, or painted cabinets, that really aren’t what you wanted. It’s like driving through a fast food window because you’re hungry, and feeling guilty afterwards.

Here are tips to help you stay committed to the “slow design” movement so your home decor makes you feel good, and is an authentic reflection of who you are.

 

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Keep a list. Maintain a running list of things you love and hope to acquire. When you feel the impulsive urge to buy something, check it against your list. If it’s there, great. If not, channel that spontaneous energy into completing or tracking down one of your list items.

 

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Prioritize quality. Don’t buy cheap furniture that might not last. Be patient and save to buy high-quality items that last.

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Be thrifty. Cost is one of the biggest inhibitors to home designs, so start exercising your thrifty muscles. Look for vintage (or free!) high-quality items on eBay, Craigslist, and flea markets. Consider great options like reupholstering, refinishing, and painting to transform discounts into treasures.  Remember that consignment stores can offer high-quality items at a great price.

Susan Currie Design can help you get your New Orleans home’s interior design just right. Call me today!

Designing Outdoor Space as Inviting as Any Indoor Space

It seems like recently homeowners have finally begun to realize that they can use the space outside of their home just like they use the space inside of their home. Personally, I absolutely love the outdoors. However, it can sometimes be difficult to get outside for longer than ten minutes if there’s no design in place. Designing your outdoor space so that it acts as an extension of your home will not only make it more comfortable, it will help draw people outside.

 

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The Labyrinth Garden via Houzz.com The Labyrinth Garden

 

One of the most important facets of designing outdoor spaces is making sure that the space is used appropriately. This means that if you only have a small deck to work with, don’t try to introduce too much in the way of furniture.

 

Sun Room

Susan Currie Design

 

Those of you with larger outdoor spaces can introduce more elements. Organizing your seating around a water feature or a fire pit can help add charm to the area. Many homeowners are even introducing kitchen elements, such as outdoor countertops and refrigerators to complement their grill.

 

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Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchen via HOUZZ

 

I love the new colors that are being offered by Jordan Brown Outdoor Kitchens who recently announced a licensing partnership with Danver Outdoor Kitchens.  Danver was showing us the vibrant range of colors available at KBIS this last weekend in New Orleans.

Some of the Brown Jordan colors available at KBIS 2013.

Some of the Brown Jordan colors available at KBIS 2013.

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Just be sure not to add these elements to your outdoor space haphazardly. You should plan the space just like you plan your interior design.

To find out more about designing outdoor spaces as well as all other aspects of interior design for your New Orleans home, please contact me online at Susan Currie Design.

Cheer Up with Colorful Home Decor

Even in New Orleans when we have a cold spell in March, an overcast day can leave us feeling a bit drab and bored.  While a crisp, clear snowy day can sometimes inspire us, once it melts it leaves us with drab browns and greys.  Color in interior design can bring life back to our homes.  Consider adding pops of color to your home decor to draw your eye and cheer your soul.

  • Sunny citrus colors can lift any mood on a cloudy day, consider adding bright wall hooks or dress up your kitchen and other cupboard spaces with beautiful bright cabinet nobs.

Photo via Etsy

Photo via Etsy

  • Red can bring new energy to any room, why not try a colorful glass knot paperweight or a unique stackable tray to bring a pop of energy to your home.
  • Blue can bring a soothing and refreshing feel to any room, this watercress candle from Jonathan Adler would look beautiful in any room. Needing storage for the little things that may be cluttering up your space, find small storage boxes and paint them vivid blue.

Susan Currie Design

Here are some ways to accent your room with color

If you are interested in bringing color into your home, contact Susan Currie Design at 504 237 6112.

5 Ways to Make Use of Your Bedroom Corners

I am always trying to optimize the space that I have in my home. I have found that one of the areas that is often unused are corners. The corners of all rooms, especially the bedrooms, are hidden gems containing plenty of space.There are many ways to use the space that corners provide. Here are five ideas for you to try in your home.

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  1. Placing a small fireplace in the corner creates the atmosphere that I desire while saving valuable wall space for dressers and other furniture.
  2. Using an L-shaped bookshelf provides the valuable storage and display space that small rooms often need.
  3. Consider using a corner desk or dressing table. It keeps the work or dressing space separate from the rest of the room.
  4. Create a reading nook. This is not only perfect for adults but is also ideal in a child’s room.
  5. Speaking of a child’s room, placing two twin beds in an L with a shared nightstand in the corner, creates the perfect space for two children in a small bedroom. It also leaves plenty of floor space for play.

If you are tired of the wasted space in your home, contact Susan Currie Design for help designing the corners of your bedrooms.

Source: houzz

Color Trends According to High Point Market

Last week I was in High Point, North Carolina, experiencing High Point Market. High Point Market, which is one of the world’s premier home furnishings events, typically attracts over 75,000 industry professionals. As an attendee, I had an opportunity to see tens of thousands of new products from over 2,000 exhibitors.

As I walked in and out of the showrooms, I began to get a sense of what colors will be trending this spring and summer. Four colors that I saw a lot of at Market was Tangerine, Green, Turquoise, Plum and Navy.

Tangerine orange was the “it” color for 2012, according to Pantone. And from the looks of Market, it appears this color will be around well into 2013.

Photo via Pinterest

 

Photo via Pinterest

Green is always a popular color during springtime. It’s the color of nature and symbolizes rebirth.

Photo via Pinterest

 

Photo via Pinterest

I love the color turquoise. It always reminds me of the color of the Caribbean.

Photo via Pinterest

 

Photo via Quintessence Blog

Plum, a hot color for fall appears to be sticking around well into spring.

Photo via Pinterest

 

Photo via Pinterest

The last hue that I saw a lot of at Market was navy. This classic color is always fashionable.

Photo via Pinterst

 

Photo via Quintessence Blog

Which of these colors are your favorites?

Fall Fashion Meets Home Decor: Studs

Punk rock has gone mainstream this fall as studs are showing up on everything from shoes to shirts. These rock and roll elements are showing their kinder, more sophisticated side.

Photo via Pinterest

Here the fashionable Mary-Kate Olsen shows her love of studs in this motorcycle jacket by Givenchy.  We love that runway fashion isn’t always practical and sleeves can be extra long!

Photo via Pinterest

This fall “Stud it Up!” by incorporating this “heavy metal” look into your wardrobe. Go full metal with a studded dress or keep things a little low key with a well-placed studded accessory.

Photo via Modern Jap

This trendy look easily translates into home decor with the use of nailheads and studs in furnishings. Take a look at how these studded looks can transform your home.

Photo via Wallpaper and Scissors

 

Photo via The Zhush

This studded vent hood keeps things cool in this kitchen.

Photo via Abode Love

What do you think of this trend? Are you loving the resurgence of studs?

 

Summer Trend: White Linen

In anticipation of the Whitney White Linen event tomorrow, we decided to feature some of our favorite white linen furnishings featured in interior spaces.
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White linen is a great summertime tradition and you can translate this stylish look into your home decor by using white linen fabrics on your sofas and armchairs.

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This summer go lightweight and incorporate some white linen fabrics into your design scheme.

Sara Essex Bradley

Interior: Susan Currie Design | Photo: Sara Essex Bradley

 

 

Outdoor Décor with Lots of Color

Sure, it’s great to use gorgeous fresh flowers indoors as spring décor, but this is also the perfect time to be decorating outdoors. For designing outdoor areas, think color—and bold color at that!

Personally, I love looking to Moises Esquenazi’s work for inspiration. Bright blues, lime, yellow and orange add pops of fun color to this Los Angeles space in his portfolio.

And this vignette, also designed by Moises Esquenazi, shows the perfect place for lounging under the sun.

Much closer to home, I designed this space for the Sugarloaf Outdoor Living Tour. Place settings with pink, tangerine and indigo could easily be translated to your own outdoor dining table.

These striking Trina Turk Outdoor Pillows from Horchow would dress up a lounge chair or wicker loveseat.

Or if you’re looking for the perfect furniture for your porch, these colorful chairs by John Kelly are my top pick.

How have you started decorating your outdoor space?

Images: 1-2 via leoob.com; 3 design by Susan Currie Design; 4 via horchow.com; 5 via johnkellyfurniture.com