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Modern white walls contrast rich mahogany-colored furniture.

This kitchen is a great example of a popular interior design trend.. one in which traditional style gets cleaned up… and modern style get warmed up. It’s a new style trend driven by color as much as by style.

With just a hint of molding, the dark mahogany-colored kitchen cabinets look nearly contemporary. But it’s the mix of this classic furniture finish with modern white paint on the walls, black furniture, black-and-white pictures and stainless steel appliances and fixtures that create this interesting  new look.

It’s an unexpected, high-impact mix of classic and contemporary colors and finishes, modified with a warm fawn-colored flooring and countertop that helps bridge the extremes.

What’s not working so well is the kitchen table and chairs.  Black was a good choice… it works in classic or contemporary rooms. The glass table also works to lighten the look. But the thin, promotional metal on the dinette is disappointing, espeically when seen against the rich mahogany kitchen cabinets. A more substantial dinette (or at least dining chairs)… maybe in wood rather than metal, would have maintained such a chic look.

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Rooms to Rave About

There are a few things about this living room that are working just fine.The furniture and colors feel casual and comfortable.

But there are a few problems. The room looks disjoint and too big for the furniture. But all can be fixed without spending a lot of money. Here’s how…

1. Move the two black-framed pictures together over the fireplace mantel. Hang them 2-3 inches apart and 2-3″ above the mantel. This will create a strong feature wall and tie together the room’s white and black features. Take down the vases on the mantel – they’re too tall for the room and push your eye up to the ceiling rather than down to the seating area. The might work on the floor, on either side of the fireplace.

2. Move the end table closest to us to the top right corner. It’s awkward and in-the-way where it is now. If light is needed, add a floor lamp. In its new corner location, pair the table and lamp with an extra armchair or large dining table chair. Or place it between two extra dining chairs; it looks like there’s room. Hang the mirror (currently above the fireplace) with the group at eye level (when seated)  to create a comfortable reading corner.  This will fill the empty corner, cover up the white outlets and balance the sofa on the other side of the room.

3.  Purchase some good quality toss cushions for the sofa. Choose blue cushions that tie in the wall color, or mix blue with the fawn color of the sofa.

4. Add a large tray on top of the ottoman. A black tray would work, as would a woven or bamboo tray that ties into carpet color. Place a few books or some candles inside it. The tray will add interest and create an easy place to put a drink down.

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Blue BedroomBlue is a popular color for bedrooms. It’s said that America’s favorite color helps us relax.. maybe that’s because it simulates the sky and encourages us to blue-sky, or dream, happy thoughts all night? But blue is also a good bedroom c hoice for another reason – it’s inherently darker than most other colors… making rooms seem darker at night.  

But it’s the way the blue is used in the room that’s most noteworthy. Notice how the color of the blue accent wall behind the bed is repeated in the bed lines, the lamp shade and the wall art above the bed. The effect is quiet and slightly sophisticated.

Blue’s complementary color, orange, is used in pillows and window drapery. White trim on the windows keeps the blue fresh and clean-looking, and adds a nice contrast against the dark wood on the bed.

You can achieve the same effect with any color… just extend your accent wall color onto the bed linens and accessories. The effect is quiet and understated, but also elegant and chic looking!