Transforming a room can be easy, inexpensive
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.
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.