A Project with Lana, Santa Monica, CA

The challenge:

There were quite a few challenges that made furnishing my living area seem like a daunting task. Being that there is no overhead lighting, the room is dark by default. I really wanted to make the space light, airy, clean-feeling, and feminine. So, I knew that I needed not only to find the right lighting, but also furniture and decor that brightened the space. I already had the sofa (beautiful, but dark) and the rug — I was very excited about rug when I ordered it online, but when it arrived I realized it wasn’t as bright / light as I thought it would be, especially with the dark sofa. Additionally, I felt somewhat lost in what my vision was. I knew what I liked, but I had a hard time defining what I was going for, which made me second guess every potential furniture/decor purchase. I needed help defining my vision and finding pieces that would work with what I already had.


Work with existing pieces to create a living space that feels bright, feminine and fun, yet sophisticated on a tight budget.

The Process:

When I met with Lana for the first time, I knew this project would be a fun one. (My sports-loving hubby would never allow a color palate like this in our own apartment, so I was excited to live vicariously through Lana and her feminine tastes.) To begin, Lana had her great gray couch to work with and the purple in the rug - while it wasn't exactly what she was expecting when she bought it - gave us something to go off of for the color palate. However, we needed to find a complimenting color; the hotter pinks in her existing pillows just weren't quite right. So, after chatting with her to understand her likes & dislikes, I also checked out her Pinterest profile to see what kinds of things she gravitated to. We even pinned some ideas together on a private board we created to really hone in on her style. 

Lana's Pinterest Page

While I noticed Lana loved a lot of pinks and grays - just like her sofa and rug - I also noticed that she liked some great hues as well. (PRO TIP: Pinterest can be super-helpful to help you identify your color preferences; after pinning a bunch of things that catch your eye, zoom out in your browser, just look at colors alone, and you should start to see some trends.) To give the sophisticated balance she was looking for, we needed to go just a little bit darker with the hues. It sounds a little counter-intuitive because she wanted the space to feel bright, but in order to do that, first there needed to be a color that grounded everything to give a completed look. I found some great images as inspiration for the color palate (below) that combined purple with richer peacock blues. 

I love how moody yet bright the colors are together and, most importantly, Lana did too. Once we had a vision on the color palate, it was time for me to start looking to see what was available in her budget while also adding in elements that would make the room light and feminine. Lana's needs were lighting, extra seating for guests, and wall decor. She relocated from the East Coast and sold basically everything before the move, so between a new dining set, bedroom furniture and decor, the budget for the living room was understandably tight. But I love me a good challenge, plus Lana is just such a peach of a gal, so I wanted to make sure she got what she was looking for.

The Concept:

I presented Lana with this concept, which took her existing pieces (the rug, sofa and coffee table), removed the super-bright pinks, and brought in elements of the peacock blues and lots of gold. Nothing says "Hey there, I'm glamorous & sophisticated" like gold does. Taking her Paris pillow as a queue, I called the concept Femme Sophistiquée - and yes, full admission, I had to use Google to translate "sophisticated female" to make sure I didn't look like a total unrefined bonehead.

Normally, we do a round or two of feedback and refine the concept until every piece is just how the client wants. However, Lana was so pleased with the initial we just went ahead and ran with it. We snagged up nearly all the pieces shown here. The only addition was of another lamp on the table. I know she wanted to keep as many pieces as possible, but the existing lamp, while cool-looking, cast a harsh shadow onto the wall. Thankfully, there was a spot for it in her bedroom where it is much better suited, so we also got this Ziggy Table Lamp from Crate & Barrel. (By the way, if you're curious about any of the other products you see here, send me a note and I'm happy to provide you with any product info I can.)

The Result:

The final product is pretty true to life of the concept. Check 'er out:

Lana's After Photo 1 Edit.jpg
 As a reminder, here's a "Before" of the space: dark, half naked, and in serious need of a new side table. Above & to the right is the result.

As a reminder, here's a "Before" of the space: dark, half naked, and in serious need of a new side table. Above & to the right is the result.

As you can see, the space is much brighter due to the new lighting, the mirror on the wall, and the side table that doesn't take up much visual space. The deeper hues and a touch of black give the space some depth and contrast, which is always more appealing to look at and actually makes everything else look brighter. The gold accents add varying texture and an element of glam, which is in line with Lana's style and tastes. Finally, we were able to make the sofa & rug work together, turning the combination into a cohesive look and vibe for the room. And as for what Lana thought...

Tess came in and really exceeded my expectations. I was nervous at first, because I had this wacky rug and a hard time articulating what I was really going for. But, she was able to take a look at the space and ask the right questions to get a better understanding of my desired style. She was able to come back with a plan for and mock-up of the space....and it was perfect! It was exactly what I wanted, and within my designated budget. I’m extremely grateful with how it turned out and definitely couldn’t have gotten there by myself.

Without Tess, I’d probably still only have my sofa and rug...forever living in fear that I would dislike my next purchase! Thankfully, I had a little help and now have the perfect little bachelorette pad. :)

Well there you have it, ladies and gents. Thanks to Lana for offering her feedback and for a great & fun project. 

If you have any questions about what you see, or if your own living space needs some finishing touches, get in touch.