I have received a few Ask Maria questions recently and some of the answers are too short for a whole blog post so I’m grouping four of them together in one.
So here’s the first one:
“I have oak cabinets that I can’t afford to replace. I need a smaller table for my kitchen.What color table Should I look for?”
Normally, I need a photo in order to give the right advice but I think this question is all too common because let’s face it, there are still lots of oak cabinets out there, right?
More oak will most likely look 80’s, and espresso brown tables and chairs (while certainly abundantly available) will look too much like “Dated kitchen, new furniture”.
via Emily Clark
You can purchase a table that looks just like this Saarinen table (above) from IKEA here.
If that’s too modern for your taste or too small, then this white one from the Pottery Barn (above) is a great kitchen table. Goes with many chairs that you can tie into your existing colour scheme.
Here’s the second question:
I fall into the not a design/colour natural category for submitting a few pictures for “what is wrong with this room”.
I inherited a fine oriental rug from my parents and put it in the dining room of our turn of the century house. Somehow it doesn’t look right.
I wonder if the rug would go better in the adjacent room (living room).
The wall colour there is BM butte rock. We think that color may have pink undertones and the rug may have yellow undertones. In that case, it wouldn’t go in the living room either!
But we don’t know if we are seeing the undertones correctly.
Would sure appreciate your expert “eye” for helping us to figure out what is wrong with our room.
This is such a great question because I have been in MANY homes throughout my career where clients are trying really hard to work with this persian rug because it cost $10,000 and up or it was inherited, as in your case.
Unfortunately, trendy expensive furniture and furnishings dates just as fast as inexpensive home decor.
Here’s the thing, this rug will NEVER be beautiful no matter what you do with it. This is NOT an undertone/colour problem, it’s just a dated rug and we’re just not doing this anymore.
The trend with area rugs now are larger scale patterns. Your navy blue walls look great, but I hope you won’t be too cranky when I say that your rug has to go.
Here’s a watery one from Anthroplogie that relates to your sailboat painting.
via Stacy Bass
Your chairs should be upholstered in white or you could paint them the same colour as your existing trim and fireplace mantel.
Here’s the third question:
I found your Ask Maria column on your blog and figured I would see if you could help us. We just moved into an awesome new house but our living room is still unfinished because we are STUMPED. We painted the walls Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter and bought a sofa (radley sofa from Macy’s, chrome) and now we are feeling drab and monochromatic.
We have no idea what colors will look good now and bought this green rug today to test out– lets just say we are not sold. Can you please help? Do we need to sell this sofa and just start over ? Thanks in advance. Signed: totally not a designer 🙁
First, don’t worry about not being a designer, we all have our gifts!
Here’s what’s bothering you, your area rug is almost the same value as your taupey coloured sofa and there’s not enough contrast. You might have liked it more if it had your sofa colour in it but it doesn’t, so then it’s much harder to like it.
Should you nix the sofa? Well not for that rug because it’s not beautiful enough to keep.
Here’s a rug and some pillows that would work better with the taupe undertones of your sofa (below).
If you wanted green for this sofa, it needs to be a much brighter, fresher green which would feel a lot more current.
Then I would consider replacing your sofa because it’s starting to look too beige to work with a green this fresh.
Here’s the fourth question:
I’m happy with everything I’ve purchased to date except for my fatal error of pinky taupe dining chairs. They are very comfortable to sit on for long dinners but the colour offends me every time I see it.
The room lacks soul and feels cold even to minimalist me. I’m at a loss and don’t know how to proceed because I’m totally out of my element in this look.Would you please help me?
Okay so I have bad news, your chairs are too big for your Duncan Phyfe dining table. And you’re right, the pinky taupe chairs will never look right. You need to inject some yellow in this room to pick up the accents in your living room and the art in your dining room.
I would repeat the yellow in lamps on your sideboard too. Something like this inspiration photo below:
via Victoria Smith
If you have a room that’s bothering you and you can’t figure out what it is, clean up the space, take some photos without flash and in good natural light, and email them here.
If you would like to transform the way you see colour, become a True Colour Expert.