Trans­form­ing a room can be easy, in­ex­pen­sive

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - CON­NIE OLIVER

THIS lovely din­ing space (photo cour­tesy of Du­lux Aus­tralia) is a tes­ta­ment to us­ing nat­u­ral prod­ucts in the decor. Earth tones and tex­tu­ral el­e­ments work to­gether to cre­ate a ca­sual yet el­e­gant space.

This room has the look and feel of a beach house in a warm cli­mate; some­thing we could all use right about now. The won­der­ful part about this space is that it’s easy and in­ex­pen­sive to achieve. This style of decor is open and airy and would work well in an apart­ment or condo to help make a com­pact space feel large and sumptuous.

All it takes are two great colours

The colour pal­ette of brown and white in this room is ap­peal­ing. With only two colours, the room man­ages to have a bal­ance and vis­ual har­mony that is both eye-catch­ing and de­mure. While most of the wall space is white, it’s a creamy, warm white that is soft and invit­ing. This is sup­ported by the off-white fab­ric on the chairs and bench, which has a soft, suede fin­ish.

The fab­ric is fit­ted in a tai­lored fash­ion so as to keep an air of el­e­gance in the room. Paint­ing the win­dow, door and ceil­ing trim in a sim­i­lar tone makes the en­tire space flow. If you can pic­ture dark trim in its place you can prob­a­bly imag­ine the sharp con­trast would de­ter from this serene space. The white back­drop makes the fo­cal wall of rich brown re­ally pop. This colour, which re­minds me of co­coa, mim­ics the wood tones of the ta­ble top, shelves on the shelv­ing unit and the floor lamp in the back­ground. The fo­cal wall, while pro­vid­ing drama and adding colour to the space, also helps de­fine the din­ing area, which can be a use­ful trick in an open-con­cept space.

Earthy touches

The nat­u­ral el­e­ments are the fin­ish­ing touches in this space. Hand-made crock­ery pieces line a sim­ple shelv­ing unit, which pro­vides a nice back­drop vi­gnette of shape and form. Jux­ta­posed to the dark, round crock­ery are square, mod­ern vases in a creamy colour, which cre­ate a nice con­trast in shape, colour and style. A con­tainer of tall twigs pro­vides sub­tle drama through height. Ad­di­tional tex­ture is in­cluded via the large, round wicker charger bas­ket, which holds a vin­tage metal cooler.

The dec­o­ra­tive can­vas on the fo­cal wall, in sim­i­lar tones to the rest of the decor, re­minds me of an ab­stract earth and sun, which suits the feel of the space. The size of the paint­ing is ap­pro­pri­ate for the wall. Any smaller and it would fade into the back­ground.

In a back-to-ba­sics decor like this you need tex­ture to main­tain the vis­ual in­tegrity of the over­all look. The chocolate-brown che­nille throw on the bench pro­vides con­trast and tex­ture. The dec­o­ra­tive pil­low in a loose, cro­chet weave is an­other great tex­tu­ral touch. The medium-pile white rug be­neath the din­ing ta­ble is highly tex­tu­ral and most likely very cosy on the feet. As men­tioned above, the wicker pieces and twigs add just enough tex­ture to add in­ter­est to the slick sur­face of the ta­ble with its in­dus­trial steel legs.

Go for com­fort

What makes this space al­lur­ing is what I like to call the com­fort fac­tors. The soft sur­face of the bench beck­ons you to have a seat while the che­nille throw, pil­low and tea ser­vice in­vite you to stay a while. One could grab a book off of the book­shelf and read in the wash of nat­u­ral light while ly­ing on the bench, pil­low un­der head with a soft throw for added com­fort. Even the beach san­dals in front of the bench have a mes­sage; you can run bare­foot in this house on a warm sum­mer day without worry. The din­ing chairs have a sen­su­ous form that looks quite comfortable and invit­ing. The view from the floor-to-ceil­ing win­dow is a bonus while hav­ing brunch at this lovely ta­ble.

The large win­dow al­lows tons of nat­u­ral light into the room, which makes it feel very sum­mery. Hav­ing a sim­ple pull shade in­stead of full draperies keeps the win­dow area clean and care­free and it al­lows the sun to shine in.

I men­tioned in the open­ing of this col­umn that the look of this room was easy and in­ex­pen­sive to achieve. Ba­si­cally, the room boasts one good din­ing room set, a long bench, a plain, open shelv­ing unit, a vin­tage floor lamp, area rug and some sim­ple ac­ces­sories. You don’t have to go out and buy th­ese ex­act items to achieve a sim­i­lar look. A plain, wooden shelv­ing unit could be painted to match your decor. The uphol­stered bench could be re­placed by a large, wooden stor­age trunk, a long sofa ta­ble (of course you wouldn’t sit on this), two or three in­ex­pen­sive cube ot­tomans or a less ex­pen­sive plain, wooden bench that you could re­fin­ish and/or up­hol­ster your­self.

If your din­ing ta­ble won’t fit the look you want to achieve, con­sider pur­chas­ing chair slip­cov­ers in an earth tone and a ta­ble cloth or run­ner that sup­ports the over­all colour scheme of your par­tic­u­lar space. Area rugs can be ex­pen­sive but you can usu­ally find some­thing you want on sale at one time or an­other. If not, you could al­ways make a can­vas floor cloth, which can be left as is for a more rus­tic look or painted in colours to match your space. A large rem­nant of off-white fun fur would also work. Che­nille throws and dec­o­ra­tive pil­lows can be found for a de­cent price in most home decor stores and even some larger gro­cery stores. Stoneware and wicker pieces can be found at places like 10,000 Vil­lages, Wicker World and Win­ners. Don’t for­get the thrift shops and flea mar­kets as well. You may just find a unique lamp like the one in our photo that will add some flair to your space. (En­sure that old lamps are rewired for safety rea­sons.)

A sim­ple decor is any­thing but sim­ple. It’s beau­ti­ful.

The use of just two colours in this room bal­ances

the space and pro­vides a warm, invit­ing feel.

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