Thursday, July 26, 2012

How to Create a Design with Color and Pattern

Okay doke, campers.......
Today I'm going to do what I said I would do, 
but don't start to think that that is a normal occurrence.

I am going to take you step by step through how I brought color and pattern into what had started out as just a blue and white room.
Here's the finished product.....
No, that's a lie,
I still have to make the cushion and pillow for my desk chair.
Try to ignore them.
Pretend they're done.
I had originally planned on mirroring the blue and white toile of my bedroom.
(Once again, here's the reminder shot, so you can see what I'm blathering on about.....)
So, I used the same rug in both rooms.....
I know, I know.....
I already told you this, but some folks are late to the party.....I
I chose a blue and white wallpaper, with an all over pattern that would create a blue background.....
Then I added a white loveseat, continuing the blue and white theme.....
So, at this point, I was developing a room that didn't really reflect my sensibilities.
This is what happens when you try to reinvent yourself into something 
NO, NO,NO, NO, NO!!!!!
I am a multicolor babe!!!!
Yes in deedy do!!!!!
So this is the progression, from point A (two colors)
to point B ( a gazillion colors).
As I told you, I found the pair of bergeres (French armchairs) on ebay and planned on reupholstering them.....
When I placed the sofa and chairs in the room, it bothered me that the corners of the room were bare looking.
By now you should know that I don't like an empty space, 
it needs to be filled with something!!!!!
I was at an estate sale one weekend, when I came across an old dark beat up and ripped folding screen made from 4 panels out of old leather 
or Naugahyde,
 not sure which, I don't care,
 it doesn't matter, I painted over it.....
I have to show it to you with the screen folded closed, since I forgot to take a picture of it before I painted it, so the front is painted, and I can only show the back to make my point, and the back doesn't hinge the other way, if you understand what I mean, and can deal with this run on sentence.........
So, now I had a blue and white room with big black blobs in the corners.....
oy, oy, oy.....

So, next I painted the screens and decoupaged copies of floral prints onto the panels. 
OOOhhhhh,,,,, I started feeling better!!! 
This is when I realized that I can't deny my
I was trying for a more sophisticated look in my new home.
I was trying to be more grown up, now that I was retired.
I was trying to be 
You have to listen to your heart
 when it comes to decorating your own home.
I am a flower girl....
I am a flower woman....
I am a flower babe.....
I am a flower GODDESS!!!!!
Now, I needed to get more on the walls....
the walls looked TOO BARE!!!
Back TO EBAY!!!!!
I found the pair of plaster sconces and floral 1930's prints, as well as the majolica plates.
I already had the plaster dogs.
(I will be going into more detail about the different elements used in the room in the next few blog posts, so keep tuned. But today, it's all about the transformation from one feel to the next.)
By now, the room was starting to feel more like someplace I would actually live, but I wasn't there yet.
I needed more color.
I needed more flowers.
So, I started working on the toss pillows on the loveseat.
I've mentioned before how important toss pillows are to finishing a space.
Just like an outfit, if you don't have the right jewelry and accessories, a little black dress is just a sad black shmate!!!!
(For those of you who are deficient
 in your Yiddish fluency,
a shmate is a rag.....)
I made a pair of ruffled ones out of left over fabric from a job in Vermont.
Yes, Connie!!!!!
I used fabric from your job!!!!!
And no.....
You don't get any money back!!!!

Where was I?????
Oh, yeah, my blog.
At this point, I stood back and took a long look at what I had wrought.....
So I added some more of both!!!!
I had been accumulating blue toned barkcloth from ebay.
I threw one scrap over the sofa to see if I liked it for a pillow, 
I liked the look of it just draped over the back. 
I've never done that before.
I may never do it again.
Who knew????
I think it's just the perfect touch.
It let me have my white slipcover, but cut into the starkness of the uninterrupted white.
Then I made another toss pillow from another piece of vintage barkcloth, and framed it with leftover trim.
(No Connie, the trim wasn't from your job.)
Now it was time to tackle the pair of chairs.
As I told you on Friday, I made the slipcovers in white, but didn't want a totally white look, so covered the cushions in more vintage barkcloth in blue.
But the chairs still looked like they needed more, so I am going to make toss pillows covered in the same fabric as the one draped over the back of the sofa.....
There's not enough to do both pillows front and back, so I need to figure out what to put on the back. Hopefully, by the time I finish writing about this room, I will have made these two pillows, so that I have
So, here is the before and after, next to each other for comparison 

So, that's how I brought color and pattern to this room.
I hope this was helpful in showing how it's done.
Just one step at a time.
Build on a design.
Take your time and enjoy the process.

Latah Gatah
Partying at:

shabby creek cottageSaturday Nite Special link party via Funky Junk Interiorssunday_button_featIt's Overflowing

its so very cheriDIY project Parade linky party buttonyou are talking too much

mop it up mondays featureBoogieboard CottageUndertheTableandDreaming

MotivatedMondayatBeColorfulBetween Naps On the PorchMakeitPrettyMondayMy Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaA Diamond in the StuffOrganize and Decorate EverythingButtonNo Minimalist HereDIY Tutorial


Katie @ Wildwood Creek said...

Love the colors and patterns in this room! Amazing before and after.

Honey at 2805 said...

Gorgeous! Adore the colors and all of the patterns you used and the way you layered everything!

nancy said...

This room is so you! Elegant, yet warm and comfortable. Especially like the rug. N

Debra@CommonGround said...

Love your step-by-step for this wonderful room. I'm seriously lusting after that great white slipcovered sofa!! thanks so much for joining in for Vintage Inspiration.

NanaDiana said...

Betsy-You are a girl after my own heart- you just keep layering and adding until it looks perfect to YOU...and to heck with what anyone else might think/say. I'd say your room is perfect...just the right amount of girlish adultness! (yes, I made that word up and I don't know Yiddish at all!;>)...Blessings and I hope you have a great night- xo Diana

Janette - The2Seasons said...

I'm thinking' the before looks like my room. Yikes! I have some work to do.

Evelyn said...

Love the after. The before was too bland and boring. Love all the flowers too. I like gingham checks a lot too. My kitchen is papered in a large yellow & white gingham with white trim. I love it....I feel like I'm cooking in a candy store. Makes me happy. Great post.

Connie@Connie Nikiforoff Designs said...

Very, very pretty...although for my own self, I'm pretty much a two color gal. I'm sure you'd call my own personal decorating blah to the max! Hey, whatever floats your boat, right ;-)

You get the award for the best attention to detail! Love it!

SheilaG @ Plum Doodles said...

I love your colors, and the screen is something I would try to sneak out the door if I came to visit. Which will never happen now, I suppose.... Thanks for sharing the how's and why's, very helpful.

Anne Boykin said...

Betsy, It is very helpful to see how you have layered on the flowers. Beautiful! You have a wonderful way with color. Thanks for your lively blog.

laney said...

...perfect...blessings laney

Anonymous said...

You have a wonderful way with colors and patterns and a wonderful, wonderful way with words. I don't always read the blogs I visit but I always read your words. Keep posting - I love it.

Anonymous said...

A really good lesson that I have to do, I'm always afraid to layer and do nothing and my rooms look stark. Love how the room turned out and seeing pictures of the process, thanks!

Janet Metzger, Artist said...

Can we have coffee together????? Or better yet, come be my neighbor!

Janet xox
The Empty Nest

Anonymous said...

Lovvvve it (said as if singing an aria) !! I just want to sit in it and read a book or chat on the phone. I especially love the screen. I think I can do that ! Thanks Betsy, for making me believe I can do anything!

Anonymous said...

You are using my favorite blue! My favorite might be those two lamps though! It looks like you might have decoupaged them! True or false? If true, might there be a post on them?

Cathy and Paul @One Creative Couple said...

It's so nice to see someone else who likes color instead of all white. And someone who does not like minimalist decorating. You're a gal after my own heart. I love your room.

Mari said...

Hi Betsey~
I could sit in your gorgeous sitting room for hours, it just beautiful ;)
Thanks for sharing it with us gals....


Connie said...

YOur room makes my heart skip a beat and I think you have hit upon a great plan for future blogs----HOW TO'S! This would be easier than answering decor questions and would help us all at once.

Anonymous said...

Love love love the after! You are amazing (and funny too!)

cathy@my1929charmer said...

You are a girl of my heart, I love color! The more color the better. Great tips in adding color. So glad you shared your creative inspiration with Sunday’s Best – your creativity helped make the party a success!

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

What a beautiful room!
I love your choice of colors and fabrics!
And I love this style!
Thanks for sharing all your expertise!


Vicki said...

Betsy, this was great--I love how you can show step by step how you develop a room, and your commentary is particularly sparkling in this one!

Jessica @ Stay at Home-ista said...

I think it's clear that you are not a "two color woman" :)


At The Picket Fence said...

Every time I come over here it's like a breath of fresh air Betsy! Seeing your approach to color and patterns reminds me that I'm not a "two color woman" or a "neutral woman" either and I just love everything about this room. Thanks so much for giving us the low-down on it! :-)

Anonymous said...

I so enjoy coming to your blog. Love your sense of humor and snarky vibe. Very nicely done with the room transformation. Now, how can I get you to come to my house and help me? I am soooooo lost with pulling together my living room/dining room. Argh.


Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

GReat post. Fun to follow the transformation. Hugs, Marty

Elizabeth and Gary said...

Hi Betsy,
Oh yes! the more color and pattern the better for me too. I am a floral gal also. I have tried to change my decorating style and always end up right back to my heart and that's comfort, color, pattern and re-purposing. My husband a I still have a lot of work to do on our home step by step. I remember back in the 70's we used wallpaper in almost every room (we sure did) foil paper in the bathrooms, grass cloth in the kitchen, bright yellow and green tulips wall paper in our baby girls nursery (the poor people who had to remove all that wallpaper)
I still love wall paper and have been wanting to use it in the master bedroom and guest room. But I can't seem to find the right pattern. So if you are ever board LOL... and what to visit my humble blog I have posted a few pics of my master bedroom this week and maybe you could suggest a pattern for me :).
I always enjoy my visits with you and reading your books.
Have a sweet day, Elizabeth

Be Colorful Coastal said...

I am sooooo glad you brought some more color into the space. My initial thoughts on those first images were hmmmm looks a bit like a 90's Laura Ashley. I knew that wasn't you. I understand not changing who you are. I tried doing the same thing by doing a totally neutral room. I need my pops of color to be happy. Now your room has a modern coastal vibe that is reminds me a bit of Sister Parish's style and who doesn't love that? Thanks for sharing on BeColorful.

karen@somewhatquirky said...

you gotta be you! glad you came to your senses!

arrielle_p said...

I love the color of the living room. Beautiful and inspiring as usual, thank you very much for sharing! :)

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Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

You and are a flower girls!! I love floral pictures, too! Your room is fresh and the slip covered chair balances the room out perfectly!


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