Q: I have an apartment in Florida that's done up in contemporary style, with large, plush sofas and glass tables. The place has a bright and cheerful feel, but I want to recarpet it and add some comfortable, traditional seating pieces. What do you suggest in regard to the room's colors and the styling of the furniture?
A: Because of your Florida locale, I think you should definitely keep the colors light. That's my advice for the carpeting as well as for the furniture, even though your living room probably gets lots of use, as is the case in most apartments. I'd choose something neutral, though perhaps flecked with a blended yarn, so that the carpet will complement the other cool color selections in the room.
The serene setting shown in this photo may resemble your own apartment, and could thus be a source of some helpful ideas.
Here, the carpeting is of a sandstone coloring, which is slightly deeper than the walls. It provides a sound platform for this room's basically monochromatic color scheme. This Loomcraft carpet by Karastan also has a durable, stain-resistant yarn content that makes it a practical choice for a tropical apartment.
Since your own setting is already bright and cheerful, I'm sure that you could add some pastels and a few vivid accents, perhaps in the form of artwork and exotic plants. But I would warn against large expanses of bright colors in such a space. They simply aren't needed in a sunny room, and can in fact produce an uncomfortable glare in direct daylight.
In this model setting, designer J. S. Brown created an attractive and comfortable ensemble consisting of a contemporary cushioned sofa and a few capacious pull-up chairs in French styling. The softly curving lines of the chairs give them a sculptural quality that acts as an effective foil for the rounded shapes of the contemporary pieces.
In general, French chairs mix well with contemporary furniture, as long as they are not too delicately scaled or heavily gilded in their finish. These particular chairs are a good choice because of their generous size and pickle pine finish -- which, incidentally, is not unusual for traditional French furniture.