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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Monday's Method

Welcome to Monday's Method! This is the day of the week I answer interior design questions. Today we have two for the price of one :) Sweet Sheila (wonderfully sweet ~ she's the type I'd hug upon meeting!) of the lovely blog, Note Songs, writes in with this question...

Hi Paula,

Well, I got to thinking about us asking you questions, so I will. My living room is still a work in progress. I love my Ralph Lauren sofa. It was a discontinued line and we got a fabulous deal. Anyway, I have two winged back chairs covered in a tapestry fabric that I was going to have recovered. I've changed my mind and am going to keep my beloved wings and put them in another room. I'm going to be on the lookout for new chairs for the living room. Well, to make my long story short, I would love an accent color for some pillows on the sofa and am having a hard time deciding. The walls are painted a soft mossy green, I made my drapes in here and like them. I have a center entry with the living room on one side and dining room on the other and this color of green is on both walls. The drapes are the same also just a different beaded trim. I'm not finished with the wall behind the sofa either. I'm thinking of hanging a couple of small prints on either side of the big picture or maybe hanging some little wall shelves I have.Any advice you can give me would be great.

Be a sweetie,

Shelia ;)

The photo at the top if of the beloved Ralph Lauren sofa. Here are a few more photos to give you a sense of Sweet Sheila's style...

Sheila, you have a lovely traditional style. The color palette of reds and greens is classic. Beautiful! I see how an an accent color may be a bit tricky. If you accent in a darker green, it may look a bit Christmasy all year round.

My choice for an accent color would be blue. Fabrics that incorporate a hue already in the room and blue would be an excellent choice. Here are a few samples from Robert Allen / Beacon Hill to illustrate...

The two are a rich, highly saturated blue. The left is a Beacon Hill fabric ~ Arno in the colorway Berry Blue. This fabric has the red and the cream of the sofa. The right one is from Robert Allen ~ Aigrette in Navy ~ but also incorporates a nice green hue. Note that the patterns are an organized geometric yet traditional. This would be a nice contrast to the curvy motif on the sofa fabric.

These two are a medium tone blue. The left is from Robert Allen ~ Barnyard in Twilight. It incorporates the green and the cream plus the toile-like motif would marry well with your style. The right is Betty in Navy. This is a lovely, sweet fabric incorporating all three color in the room (red, green, and cream) plus adds the blue.

With the addition of a blue, the accessories that you spoke about adding may incorporate blues. This will enhance the harmony in the room. You already have fabulous unity with style and color. Adding blue would bring in a pinch of diversity for added interest. How wonderful!

This is a French Country design I did for a lovely family. The color palette is yellow, red, blue, gold, ivory, and a hint of green. The pillows incorporate most of the colors. The green comes in the form of topiaries and lamps. What do you think? Do you like the way the pillows marry all the colors and then there is a different hue ~ green ~ in the lamps? That just gives the room a bit more interest. By the way, the lumbar and chair pillows are reversible. See how the chair pillow has an ivory background and the lumbar ones on the sofa has a gold background? Each has the other fabric on their flip side. This is an easy way to get more bang for your buck. You may change out the room based on season or your mood by simply flipping the pillow over.

I hope this helps Sheila! I'd love to see what you do!!

Jane also writes in...

Hello, Paula --

How kind of you to offer decorating help! I have a family room sofa that sits off center on the wall. I have a small group of large canvases I would like to hang on that wall ... do I center them on the wall or specifically over the sofa?

Thank you for giving some thought to my design dilemma.


This is a very good question. One that many struggle with. The art needs to be in relation to the sofa ~ meaning that canvases need to be centered over the sofa. Also, they should not sit to far above the sofa either. Take a look again at the French Country design above. See how the art follows the line of the sofa back? The art is in relation to the sofa. Here are some other examples from my portfolio...

Note the art centered over the sofa and practically sits right on the chair rail as these pieces are quite tall...

Again, not too far off the back and centered on the long side of the L shaped sectional...

This vignette has the art as the focal point. Literally all other pieces surround the art.

Centering it over the sofa may then leave the room feeling off balance. You may need to augment by adding a tall furnishing(s) to the side of the sofa that has more exposed wall to provide balance. This would be an asymmetrical balance done by the eye. In the last vignette ~ the floor lamp was placed first. There was a wall expanse to the left of the art so I added the large scale vase. The lamp backed by the ivory silk drapes is nicely balance by the large scale textured ivory floor vase.

There you go Jane! I hope that helps. Let me know how it turns out.

If you have interior design questions, don't hesitate to leave it in a comment. If you have questions about a specific room or space, email me a couple of pictures to paula@paulagracedesigns.com. Please note 'Monday Method Question' in the subject line.

I am linking with these fabulous blogs. Each deserves a nice, long visit...

Monday ~
Between Naps on the Porch Metamorphosis Monday
Little Red House Mosaic Monday

Tuesday ~
A Soft Place to Land DIY Tuesday

Thursday ~
The Shabby Chic Cottage Transformation Thursday

Saturday ~
Funky Junk Interiors Saturday Nite Special

See you tomorrow for the Timeless Tuesday link party!


  1. Great, great advice on hanging art over the sofa. I especially like the set of three very large pieces. What a statment they make.

    Jane T.

  2. Hi Paula! Oh, thank you so much for your advice. Now I guess I didn't make it clear about the color in my sofa - it's actually a rust color. But I love the idea of adding some blue! I think I could still try that with the rust and creams, don't you? Oh, I found two more winged back chairs for this room on Saturday! They're a print also, but a smaller than the sofa print and a muted gold and rust. I'll be on the look out for the perfect blueness and will go to town making pillows. I'll send you a photo when I do.
    Thank you so much, Dear One.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  3. Paula,
    Great advice and I love that you really explore art for the client and know what you are doing as a great designer. Building a room around the art is pure perfection.

    Art by Karena

  4. I'm loving the pictures from your portfolio. And that you remind people where to hang their art. Not too high people!


  5. I love the traditional decorating Shelia. Your home looks alot like mine with style and color.

  6. Paula - Thanks so much for your invaluable advice! "The art needs to be in relation to the sofa" ... or the bed, or the buffet, I'm sure ... a good rule for me (as I lean towards aysmmetrical balance--pun intended!--and my off-kilter house reflects this) and one I can easily remember. I always enjoy your blog and am so grateful for your design generosity.


  7. You have a wonderful website. Thank you for sharing with us all. Greetings from Vancouver Island. Michelle


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