To have and to love series: Downtown Townhouse

This charming room stole my heart the moment I laid eyes on it. I mean, how could you not like a room with that wallpaper?!

But there are a lot of moving parts and pieces to this design -which make it all the more wonderful and complex. By including it in the series, I want to break down how the different elements are used and “decode” it’s complexity. Therefore, making it easier to include in our homes!

Plus, finding an excuse to put bold wallpaper on my walls is music to my ears.

Photo courtesy of Blair Harris

Photo courtesy of Blair Harris

  1. Let’s start with that wallpaper-amazing right? Even if you don’t care for it, it’s important to understand the role it has. By using such a large pattern on all the walls, it creates a texture and color that immediately sets the “cheerful feeling” of the room. Paint would be able to accomplish some of that, but not nearly as much as this wallpaper. I also love that the furniture is a soft neutral that quietly lets the walls take center stage. If you are thinking about doing something different on your walls, pick a paper that you are absolutely CRAZY about. And if you’re scared that it will go out of style...well in 20 years, yeah. But by then you’ll need a refresh anyways and you will have lived happily in a room for 20 years. So, it’s still worth it :)

  2. You forget about window treatments in this type of room, but I want to point them out here. The designer, Blair, could have put heavy roman shades or drapery on the windows. However, that would have made the room darker than she wanted it to feel and the drapes would have covered up that stunning wallpaper. Bamboo or linen shades (like the ones in this room) let in light while still allowing like you have some privacy and making the room looked finished. I highly recommend this option if you want something other than mini-blinds, shutters or sheer drapes but don’t know what to put that will still let light in.

  3. The deep violet rug is another element I love in this room. But, you might ask "How do you know what type of rug to put with a room like this with that wall paper?!". First, since the wallpaper is so busy, you have to tone down the rest of the room to make it work. The rug is needed because it grounds the neutral furniture. Then, you pick an accent color (that is found in the wallpaper) that you like. In this example, it was best that it was a darker shade to contrast with the furniture. She could have picked a green or a red...but I think that the deep violet almost recedes into the floor and keeps the room looking more youthful. I also think that a solid color is best for a large patterned wallpaper like this, but if you want a pattern in the rug, it needs to be on a small scale.

Photo courtesy of Blair Harris

Photo courtesy of Blair Harris

  1. I love this light. It’s simple, modern and keeps the room less formal feeling. The designer could have put a chandelier or some drum shade, but I love that this light will let out a bunch of light but it’s not fussy. Again, when you have bold walls, you have to make sure the rest of the room balances out. I think that this light doesn’t distract you from the wallpaper and it isn't boring. If you want a light in your home that is simple, that’s totally fine! But there is a difference between simple and boring. Get something that has a little bit of detail to it or does something slightly unexpected. Because great design has great details :)

  2. What a great coffee table. I love that it’s dainty and modern feeling but isn’t glass. Glass can be such a pain to clean (all the dust, finger prints, coffee cup rings...I can go on if you want..) but it's easy to use in a room like this that has a lot of elements going on. The main think I like about this table is that it’s a round. Since the room is centered on the fireplace, the round shape creates this visual flow from one side of the room to the other. It might sound weird, but if there was a square or rectangle in the middle, the room would feel a divided and wouldn’t feel as open. When you have a smaller sized room, try using a round table or ottoman in the middle. It should help the room feel less restricted and give it a better flow.

  3. The first thing your eye goes to in this image, is this beautiful black built-in. I love that it’s black! The designer could have made it an off white to go with the background of the wallpaper, but black is so much more dramatic. I also think that this is a great way to make the room feel not so “girly”. This bold black wall really contrasts the feminine feeling the paper gives off and makes the room more mature.
Photo courtesy of Blair Harris

Photo courtesy of Blair Harris

  1. I am such a huge fan of this desk arrangement. It doesn’t seem bulky and yet has plenty of storage and work area. I love that you can still see the wallpaper and that it doesn’t go all the way to the floor but hangs off the wall. If you need an desk area in a space that is also a living area, I think this is a great idea. It serves the same function as a built-in but doesn’t intrude on the space the same way. Since the opposite wall has those black built-ins, this is a great way to visually balance out the weight of that side of room while still remaining functional.

  2. A simple chair like this is perfect for this desk area. There is a lot going on in this room, and since they already have this simple hanging desk unit, it’s best to keep it simple with the chair option. I also like that it’s leather instead of something else. Leather is smooth and sophisticated and any other material wouldn’t have looked as polished.

  3. Let’s talk about the floor in this room. I love this antique parquet floor! (parquet is a type of wood flooring that is laid in squares and is found in older homes a lot). I also love that they don’t put a rug on this side of the room. This room is smaller than it seems, and because that violet rug takes up ⅔ of the entire space, having another rug in this area would have made it seem crowded. If you have a small space and you’re putting two different functions in it (eating area and a sitting area, desk area and a sitting area), it’s best to use a rug under just one part of it. The lack of rug on the other part will help define that space, almost as if another rug was under it. 

You might have noticed I didn't talk about the art. I do love the art in the room- it's modern but not too feminine (even though it's hot pink!). And it has a lot of negative space which makes it pop against the wallpaper.  But what made the art impactful was all the "supporting" elements. When rooms that we love are really complex, it makes it hard to know how they put it all together. My hope is that you feel a much better about how to repeat certain parts of this room because of the design behind it. 

Do you love this room? Are there elements that you want to use in your home, or are there parts about this room that still seem confusing to you?