You Complete Me: Ideas for Making a Neutral Room Come to Life

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It kills me that I can't be with my newlywed sister to help her set up her first (married) place. (Although my brother-in-law is probably somewhat relieved not to have two hotheaded Italians giving their new place "the feminine touch.") They had some room basics — the furniture, the rug, and a lampshade — and have been at the "what do I add to punch it up?" phase for a while. Here's my "completion" of their living room and my thinking behind it.

My sister and brother-in-law's living area has an open floor plan in which the kitchen, dining area, and living room flow together. Their floors are dark, their walls are light, and their basics are pretty neutral.

Since they had already picked out their rug, I used this as a starting point. I chose the striped pillows to pick up on the mustard of the rug. Then I wanted to add a secondary color and went with the turquoise, partially because I love it with the yellow, and partially because it picks up on their amazing backsplash in the kitchen.

The floor-to-ceiling turquoise drapes draw the eye up from the dark floor. A turquoise pillow and an assortment of vases tie the color in to the room, and the tassel pillow adds a touch of whimsy and a bit of texture. Pink peonies add pop, and a gorgeous fiddle leaf fig adds life and vibrancy. What do you think?

1. Turquoise Cotenza Pole Pocket Curtains, Houzz, $39.
2. Eames Chair (they have a knock-off).
3. Key Wool Dhurrie — Horseradish Rug, West Elm, $69-$799.
4.Threshold Gold Stripe Lamp Shade, Target, $24.99.
5. Peonies, picture from Two Twenty One.
6. Rose pillow, DIY from I Create It.
7. Firenze Velvet Tassel Pillow, Anthropologie, $58-$78.
8. Mistari Pillow Cover — Plaintain/Natural, West Elm, $49.
9. Kellan Sectional Sofa, Gray Tweed, Volo Design, $1999.
10. Turquoise Vases, by Jayson Home, discontinued.
11. Threshold Square Accent Table, Black and Gold, Target, $79.99.
12. Safavieh Alec Wood & Metal Coffee Table, on Amazon for $205.13.
13. Yellow Lamp Base, Target, no longer available, via my personal favorite, Broke Ass Home.

(Image credits: Shifrah Combiths)

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Shifrah is a writer and editor who lives with her husband and three adorable children in Tallahassee, FL. When she’s not working, she can usually be found reading, studying, sewing, taking photos, blogging, and documenting it all in a digital scrapbook.

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