Foremost rule for beginners is to always keep it simple

DESIGN LINE

October 23, 1994|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: Please give me some guidelines for redesigning and refurnishing my living room in a contemporary style. At present, the room is a jumble of unrelated pieces. What do I need to consider in choosing a color scheme and furniture arrangement?

A: The best advice I can offer is to keep things simple. Beginners are wise to be cautious in devising a color scheme and furniture plan. That said, I'll provide a few guidelines that should prove helpful:

First, your room will look a lot more orderly and take on a clearer design direction if you select furniture predominantly of one style. But before you go shopping, try sketching a furniture layout that includes seating areas arranged in conversational groupings. And when choosing pieces to fit that plan, take account of the width, depth and height of the chairs. In the spirit of keeping things simple, the color scheme should be basically monochromatic. Decide on a specific color that you really like and make use of its various shades. Then combine it with relatively muted accents of an altogether different color.

Your preference for contemporary styling will afford a wider range of design options than would be available with more formal styles.

The photo shows the sort of unpredictable effects that might be achieved. This serene and elegant setting makes use of symmetrical elements. But neither the end tables nor the chairs are identical. And notice that the lamp on the right of the sofa is balanced on the left not by a matching lamp, but by a tall potted plant.

A space this sophisticated deserves a distinctive color scheme. So let's invent one for this black-and-white photo. I'd choose a warm shade of off-white for the carpeting and a white wash for the natural wood tables and chair frames. And how about a rose-beige silk upholstery for the sofa and coordinated fabrics for the chairs, pillows and over-draperies? That should go nicely with the cream-painted walls and with the silvery beige flat window shade.

That light-filtering screen, by the way, is made of natural grass.

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