American Modern Thomas O'BrienTraditional Living Room, New York
ABRAMS/Photo credit: Laura Resen
What Houzz contributors are saying:
4. Painted. Think painted wood floors are only for cottages? As with walls, painting a floor can create as many different moods and effects as there are colors of paint. And if you choose a paint in a durable finish, it will hold up just as well as your wall paint does. For a contemporary interior, consider a painted floor in a simple, natural hue like a muted beige or an off-white, and mix it with anything from antiques to midcentury classics or hip, trendy pieces.
6. Built-in window shelf. In this living space, a decorative grate and built-in shelf fill what would otherwise have been an awkward and unusable window nook where the radiator sits. Completely filling small nooks with built-ins is a smart design move, because it visually expands the space — where your eye would stop at a small, dark area, it now travels along a smooth expanse of wall. The shelf also allows room for a sculpture or other decorative element.
Stick with a serene color palette. This is not to say that homes done in pale neutrals are the only ones that feel calming (it may be that deep, moody colors are what invite you to sink in and relax), but generally speaking, the more colors and patterns there are in a room, the less restful it will feel. So if something feels off in a particular room, a good starting point is to simplify the color palette or try removing a pattern.
6. Keep window treatments simple. Remove fussy window sheers and heavy draperies from the windows in your historic home — gone are the days of elaborate festoons, jabots and swags. By taking down heavy window treatments, you reveal the beauty of the window trim and make the rooms appear bigger by letting in more natural light.
Mix classics from different time periods. A Han Dynasty horse mingles with a tubular chrome chair, a country neoclassical chair, and a Saarinen side table in O'Brien's Long Island, New York, home. Despite being of different styles and time periods, their shades of brown and tan echo each other. And the neutral color of the walls, ceiling and floors provides a canvas against which their timeless beauty can be admired. "Highlight good structure and authentic details," O'Brien advises.