Thursday, May 9, 2013

The elephant in the room

Two clients of mine love their flat screen television.   It takes center stage in their living room where wires were carefully threaded through customized metal pipes so it could be mounted on a brick wall above their fireplace.  But this bulky, unsightly electronic completely dominates the space. As their family room is not exactly a formal media room, it does double duty as a bright, airy hang-out area.  Pale gray, soft creams, and timid taupe is about their comfort level.

Funny thing is, I was not called out to help with this room at all.  But as we were finishing up, I just couldn't hold my tongue.

The guilty wall in question

Here's about how the conversation went:

Me: Ack! What's with the black gaping holes in your wall?

Client: What do you mean, holes?

Me: You've got a two huge black rectangles on a cream-colored brick wall. Holes!

Client: Hm, I never really thought about it that way. Okay, soooo, what do you suggest? (eyeing my chips warily)

Me: We've gotta go dark. Really, really dark.

Client: (eyes widening and sweat breaking out at her hairline, she gulps.) Show me what you mean.

Me: (pointing to a deep gray paint chip) Like this!

Client: THAT dark? That's really dark. Are you sure? Hubbie might not be too keen on that.

Me: Absolutely. We gotta get rid of that contrast. It would be like watching a movie in a theater with white walls and white curtains. Talk about eye strain! Just think of it this way- it will create the optimal viewing experience. No competing distraction from the game.

Client: (mustering courage) Well, I did see a really pretty deep blue in this catalog....


Here's what a tradition media room looks like:
Nice dark walls, low contrast, so that the attention is focused on the screen.

No eye strain. See? Nice and dark and cozy.

After some deliberation, we settled on a deep inky gray blue that worked really nicely with the gray blue furniture they already had. Even her hubbie seemed pleased with the results.

Ahhh, so much better! 
Now, the television and fireplace just blend into the background and don't call attention to themselves quite as much. Balance has been restored to the universe.

Next step, painting the bookshelf backs flanking the fireplace.

(quick and dirty photoshop mock-up)
I've got my eye on a fun ombre wallpaper treatment. And some styling help, for sure.

Okay, okay, once baby step at a time...


5 comments:

Kelly Berg said...

That looks great! And I love the idea of an ombré treatment behind those shelves.

Kristie at The Decorologist.com said...

Great solution to a common problem! I love it. And I love the idea of the ombre shelves - nice.

Amy Kim said...

You? Hold your tongue? ;-)

Great suggestion Rachel! I have been pondering the look of our unfurnished "formal" living room. I have been thinking about a navy walls to have our white-framed fireplace pop as well as provide some contrast with our maple bookshelves. And since it's a room that is pretty much sunny and bright all day, I don't think I will mind the dark walls as much. What else do you think I should consider regarding dark walls? We eventually want to repaint the whole house with cooler colors, but thought the LR would be a good place to start.

Rachel Perls said...

Hey Amy!
Yeah, you know me ;-)
I love the idea of the navy walls in your living room. Make sure you use a nice crisp, cool white for your woodwork to set off the blue, and break up the mass of dark color with framed art, photos, mirrors, etc on the walls. Send over some before and afters- it would be fun to see!

Elizabeth Brown said...

Way to go Rachel. Love the transformation.