Design rules exist for a reason. They are guiding principles that help to achieve good design.
Rules like balance, harmony, how far the coffee table should be from the sofa, how big the rug needs to be, how high to hang the artwork, how high the end tables should be....and so much more!
But sometimes, rules are meant to be broken. The key is that you must first understand the rules to be able to break them with great success.
Our Richmond Texas living room was designed for a family of 4. They lived in Nigeria and Kenya for a few years for work, and they returned home to the United States with a treasure trove of artwork and accessories.
These existing pieces were inspiration for the Afro-inspired living room that we designed for this special family
One of the key requests my clients had was to have ample seating for when they entertain family and friends.
I am a big believer in doing that anyway, and this was all the more reason to bring in as much seating as possible.
We were fortunate to be working with a good size room and we were able to include 2 long 108" sofas, chairs, ottomans and benches.
We could comfortably seat about 12-14 people in this room!
The piece that inspired the mood in this room was that super rustic coffee table made from an old door that my clients already owned. It even had the original nails and hardware! I was in love. It had to be the centerpiece in this great room! Even better that the fireplace mantel had the same hefty, rustic feel
Another one of my favorites from my clients' existing collection is this set of 9 art pieces depicting African women in daily life that we hung above this chest. I was so inspired by them.
I decided to make the color scheme fairly neutral and bring in some pops of earthy hues in the textiles.
I found the amazing hand-knotted wool rug with all the colors I wanted to work with. It was a traditional style with an aged, vintage look. This was the perfect direction
I brought in my signature mix of patterns and textures in the textiles I chose for the room. I incorporated rich velvets, mohairs, wool, linen, woven fabric and leather, and of course beautiful trimmings for a custom and unique touch. If you look closely you will see several patterns, but they are all cohesive and calming with enough pop.
I also brought in plenty of textures in the furniture and accessories - caning, faux shagreen, wood and metals
So it all sounds amazing, how did I break the rules here?
It was the end tables I used on either side of one of the sofas. Instead of end tables that would typically be 24-25" high or so, I used a long console table on one side, and a chest on the other.
Console tables and chests are usually around 29-30" high.
Taller tables would mean that you lose the function of having a place to comfortably reach to rest a glass of beverage, but the scale needed for this space was important, and that rule had to be broken
Using a long console with an open base also allowed me to slide two ottomans underneath for additional seating, as well as to add some unexpected texture and a bit of whimsy with the leather fringe ottomans.
I was fortunate to find this particular style of the console table with a "Greek key-esque" silhouette. That "step-up" detail on the ends allowed the transition of the height of the table to work much better with the arm of the sofa
On the other side, the cane front chest balances it out
You will notice that they do not match at all. There's no symmetry on this wall and that was very intentional to balance out the room and the two seating areas
With the furniture layout, we created a "main seating" with the two sofas facing each other and the coffee table in between
This main seating is separated by a bench and another seating area with two chairs and an accent table in between
On the outskirts of the room we anchored the walls with two matching chests on either side of the doorway into the room
These mosaic front chests create more storage in the room. You can never have too much!
All the beautiful accessories that we incorporated help to create personality and anchor the Afro-inspired feeling of the room.
I love to add greenery for a natural element. They are faux, but we always use high-quality, handmade ones.
You can head to our online store to see a wonderful curated collection of greenery and pillows that will inspire your new living room decor. Click HERE to shop now. You can shop the look of some of your favorite rooms
Wishing You Beauty And Inspiration!
Photography By Colleen Scott Photography