Let There Be White!
Birmingham interior designer Lindsey Bond Meadows reveals how she lightened up a young family's home with crisp neutrals and bold graphics.
Design a Casually Elegant Gathering Space
Rethink trad-style furniture! Simply reupholstering this sofa (formerly pink) in a white outdoor fabric resulted in a modern sofa with classic lines. Design Tip: "Every room should have an oversize mirror!" says Lindsey. "It reflects light and keeps things airy."
Update the Walls
Replace a large single painting with a pretty grouping of art. A mix of frame styles and finishes gives a chic, informal look. Design Tip: When painting walls white, Lindsey uses the same shade (Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore) on the walls, trim, and ceiling.
Be Open to Unexpected Materials
In lieu of a traditional wood coffee table, two custom cubes of concrete are a contemporary addition. "You can put your feet on them or even spill a glass of red wine. Concrete is much more practical than marble or limestone," says Lindsey. Design Tip: Adding a super-sleek chair to a traditional furniture mix, like this cool lounger, can really give a room that stylish edge.
Update Your Lighting
With its striking circular iron base, a modern take on the traditional hanging candelabra artfully replaced the expected chandelier. Design Tip: Installing linen draperies that match your wall color will make windows feel larger. Keep it streamlined with a simple iron rod hung wall to wall.
Create a Modern Breakfast Nook
A lacquered dining table reflects light spilling in from the window. Lindsey surrounded it with rustic chairs and an upholstered bench for an interesting mix of whites in varying textures. Design Tip: "If you want white upholstery but need it to be spill-proof, try faux leather. I love Grain de Cuir by Nobilis," Lindsey says.
Add Finishing Touches
Minimize lighting for maximum results. Lindsey simplified the space by hanging two large glass globes that don't block kitchen views. Design Tip: Existing barstools or chairs get a pretty and practical face-lift with simple white slipcovers made of durable outdoor fabric.
Give the Kitchen a Fresh Feel
Soft gray paint coats the original olive green cabinets, making the kitchen's palette cohesive with the rest of the house. Lindsey carried the color to the crown molding, creating a continuous flow. Design Tip: Lindsey replaced quilted stainless steel with graphic subway tile. The dark grout is on trend and disguises stains.
Form a Simple Arrangement
Lindsey removed mismatched seating and introduced one solid, extra-large sectional. A collection of patterned pillows maximizes style. Design Tip: Strategically hung over the walls instead of the windows, long white curtain panels soften the space but don't block the light.
An oversize ottoman. "It's so versatile—functioning as a table, extra seating, or a comfy spot to prop your feet," Lindsey says.
"Large pieces like this long sofa in the entry have space for big repeats. Save small prints for pillows." Design Tip: "Small- and large-scale patterns on pillows and accent chairs bring the look to life."
Give Old Furniture a Second Life
When something works, let it be! The existing chandelier adds a touch of glamour to the now simplified surroundings. Design Tip: Small drawings and silhouettes, piles of books, and a collection of pottery add personal touches while keeping with the all-neutral color scheme.
Bring In Personality
A round, chunky stone table replaced an oval one that was the wrong shape and felt too small for the square space. Lindsey also added substantial and comfortable upholstered seats. Design Tip: Handsome custom shelves fill up the large walls and up the wow factor of the room.
Design Lessons from Lindsey Bond Meadows
Establish a Base
"Large pieces of upholstery shouldn't steal the show. Keeping them solid lets them subtly blend into the environment."
Throw in an Accent
"Energize neutrals with hints of blues and greens. They add oomph without overpowering the delicate balance."
"The exact same shade of white does not need to extend throughout your house. Instead, combine various tones from light to dark."
"Use stone, wood, metal, concrete, and glass. The balanced combination of textures adds depth."