How to Thursday - the empty room

Thursdays at CreateGirl will now be known as "How to Thursdays"! People are always asking me questions like...."how do I find the perfect paint color" or "how do I decide what size rug is best for my room" so I thought what better way to answer those questions than with a weekly post dedicated to the topic. If you have any "how to" questions you would like answered please email me and we will put them on the list! Thanks and hopefully this will help answer some of those lingering "how do I" questions.

First let's start with the "How to design an empty room". Many times I get this question from my new home owner clients. They are completely overwhelmed with where to start and what to buy first. If they are on a tight budget (like most are after a new home purchase) I suggest working in stages. The first stage is the "essentials". For instance in the living room I recommend the purchase of only a few pieces. The sofa, coffee table, lighting and tv area if this is the "main living space". These are the pieces which will make coming home after a long day relaxing, you have something to sit on, a piece of furniture for a book or drink to be set on and lighting to see.

Here are a few examples of Stage One:

The Sofa: above are 2 great options from Mitchell Gold. A perfect size sofa for any standard living room is between 79"w and 84"w. The Chloe on the left is 79"w and has a classic look with the rolled arms and turned legs. The 2 cushion seat and back give off a bit of a modern feel. The Reese on the right is 82"w and also a sofa which will not go out of style in a few years. The more reserved 3 seat sofa is off set with a modern straight arm and clean legs. If you are able to afford to spend a little more on a well made sofa it will be worth it as it will last you years! By purchasing this piece in a neutral or solid fabric you will have more flexibility down the road when you are ready for stages 2 and 3. This will only make it easier to add accents and additional pieces later on as you are working with a neutral base.

Depending on the style direction of the room you could go with either of these coffee tables, each would work perfectly. The Reed Table from Crate and Barrel creates a bit of interest with the steel weave which gives off a wave feel on either end. The strong chestnut finish will anchor the neutral sofa and create a nice grouping. The 44"w size is also a perfect compliment to both sofas.
The bottom option is a clean lined simple coffee table from West Elm. The round 36"dia shape is perfect for most rooms and again interest is created with the cutouts on the bottom of the piece.

Next up is lighting as this is by far one of the essentials since you need to see! The reason I picked floor lamps, is if you don't have an end table right away this is an easy solution and most always can be used in another room if you need to replace it! The first up is the Trenton Floor lamp from Restoration Hardware. This is a fantastic option with the bronze base and turned base. It is classic with more interest than a simple straight base. I would love to see this with the Chloe Sofa and West Elm coffee table. The turn of the lamp base would mimic ever so slightly the Chloe leg. I really like the Perry Lamp from Crate and Barrel since it can fit into many style schemes. The oval shade is simple and adds a touch of softness to the severe lines of the sculptured steel base. In a way it would act as a piece of architecture in the room with its A framed vintage style.

The next "How to" will focus on the Stage 2: area rugs, entertainment unit and window treatments.

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