The thing that amazes me about this 572-square-foot entry from 2013's Small Cool Contest is that Emily has kept things so open and airy while also keeping things colorful and playful. Let's explore how she pulled it off...
In the dining room, she's managed to combine a bold rug, a gallery-style arrangement of 15 works of art, a bright red chair, several plants, and a rather large religious symbol, and yet nothing about this room is discordant or overwhelming. I think one big factor in making it all work together so well is that all the major elements of the room are brown and/or white: floor, rug, credenza, table, three of the chairs, kids' table and chairs, walls, and lamp. There is plenty of color to provide interest and even whimsy, but it has been added with a delicate hand.
In the living room, white and brown are once again doing the heavy lifting: floor, table, kid's chair, couch, triptych, frames, rug, pouf, and walls. With such a serene yet grounded base, Emily was able to add colorful pillows, a striped blanket, rich green plants, and even a splattered chair without creating chaos.
The same holds true in her kitchen — white and brown walls, cabinets, floor, rug, and countertops, colorful ingredients, tea towel, and rug — while the bathroom (image #4) is a serene white and brown space with only the barest hint of color. Emily's house is made up of warm, high quality elements such as hardwood floors, tiled shower, interesting moldings, and beautiful textiles, so the effect is never cold and sterile.
Instead, she's created a calm, colorful home full of warmth and coziness, a place where each room flows gracefully into the next. By limiting her base palette but adding delicate splashes of color freely, Emily has united the rooms of her home into something so much bigger than the sum of its 572 feet.
(Image credits: Apartment Therapy)