The power of pillows

My living room with my favorite Eames chair

I gave a talk at Ignite Chicago entitled 'My Love of a Chair' and afterwards people who came up to chat with me seemed to think I was an interior designer. It was a very- wait, what? kind of moment!

After the talk a friend of mine, Althea McIntyre of The Best Career for Me, asked if I would come and help her hang some art. What started as hanging art turned into moving furniture around and changing the feel of the room. 

Althea already had great furniture with fabulous lines but it felt more like a front parlor where people would come and perch on the furniture while sipping their tea. The room was also off kilter. When done with intention off-kilter can be great, but in this instance it left the room feeling very heavy on one side and cluttered on the other. 

The items in Althea's room reflected her nature- warm, positive and welcoming. She is the type of person that welcomes you into her home with a hug and yet her living room did not feel that way. Looking around her space I only caught glimpses of her. 


The first thing I did was to hang this fabulous poster she had of Miles Davis. It immediately makes you want to come hang out on this side of the room. Plus I absolutely adore the yellow velvet vintage chairs that she has. 

Next we shifted the couch over to center it and give this beautiful armoire some breathing space. Also notice that we removed the lamp that was tucked over in the corner.  We kept the lamp to the right side of the couch to mimic the height of the armoire and fill the space. Althea wanted to be able to get at her book case so we needed to leave a path to the books. I loved her collection of books. I also took a straw basket that was sitting on the floor to the right of the couch that held some of Althea's crafty projects and relocated it to the top of the armoire. Althea said she loved the basket and was happy to be able to see it. 


This portion of the room stayed pretty much the same, except for the mirrors we hung flanking the window. Tucked behind the couch is a little tableau of some of Althea's favorite things including her plants. The blue and white pot is waiting for a plant to fill it. 




The original pillows on Althea's couch were too small and matchy matchy with the couch which is what made it feel a bit 'fussy'. Althea had these blue pillows sitting in a closet and swapped them out and it immediately made the couch feel more inviting. Plus she was happy to finally have her art hung over the couch. 

Love that she has personal momentos and magazines that reflect her style. Oh and the Crave book she was featured in!

Now the room feels light and airy when before it felt quite heavy. It is now a space where a people feel like they are allowed to sit on the couch. Before the room was not nearly as inviting and the petite pillows on the couch made it feel like a show case. 

How much did this makeover cost? Not a penny. We hung art, moved furniture, swapped out existing pillows and cleared out an extra lamp. Granted, as I mentioned Althea already had fabulous furniture and art and all she needed was a little help editing. 

If you would like to learn some basic Interior Design tips and tricks then come to Interior Design 101 on October 24th from 6:30-8:30PM at Meandering Design. 

Originally published 10/13/13 

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