Punch Up Your Palette
Decorating Editor Lindsey Ellis Beatty transformed a former front porch into a vibrant sunroom with her signature brand of decorating sunshine
Decorating Sunrooms with Color
For three years, Lindsey Ellis Beatty ushered guests into her home through a front door that opened into an empty and unfinished sunroom. "I knew I couldn't tackle the room for a while, but the whole time, I was filling a decorating file in my head," she says. So when the time came to act, Lindsey knew the direction she would take. "My husband, Kevin, and I needed a grown-up space that reflected our personalities," she says, "and I wanted a 'wow factor' when I opened the door to guests."
This plain sunroom came to life with layered rugs, classic upholstered pieces, and lots of bold color and pattern.
The New Look
Lindsey put her own decorating advice to the test, starting with fabric selections to set the room's happy mood and a bright color palette of pink, turquoise, and chartreuse. "I don't think fabrics have to be matchy-matchy to communicate with each other," she says. "If they share a similar vibrancy and color temperature, they'll look good together."
Mixing instead of matching fabrics and blending style eras rather than going for period-perfect rooms are central to Lindsey's personal take on tradition. "I like schemes that feel more organic, more evolved," she says. Rather than being confined by strict style categories, Lindsey planned an interior she describes as "bold, pretty, tailored, and energetic."
Mix Instead of Match
To achieve the right look, Lindsey used patterned fabrics on draperies and pillows, but for the most part, she kept upholstery, flooring, and walls pattern free. These neutral zones frame the bold motifs, giving them more pop and prominence. Plus, Lindsey says, "I like to change it up fairly often, so keeping the basics neutral lets me do that without starting over."
White upholstery can be frightening for a family with toddlers (Lindsey and Kevin have two boys, ages 3 and 2), but she had no fear thanks to new fabric protectors that use nanotechnology to make her upholstered pieces impervious to spills and sticky fingers.
Underfoot, a sisal outdoor rug and cowhide naturally offer the same ironclad durability—and a lot more. "I wanted warming texture, not more pattern, on the floor," says Lindsey. The area rug also allows for a cozy floating furniture arrangement and leaves some of the original slate flooring strategically bare to direct traffic behind the French bergère chairs.
Now that she's filled the room with color and personality, Lindsey can't wait to open the front door when visitors arrive.
Most Functional Corner
"This chic and simple polished-nickel butler's table is tucked away but ready to serve at a moment's notice."
Best Use of Wasted Space
"I made the most of the little bit of vaulted wallspace, commissioning two colorful paintings from Michelle Armas, a Georgia artist whose work I love."
Favorite Mix of Classic and Modern
"These Classical figurine lamps and modern ceramics look great side by side because they both have the same shade of white and fluted details."
Biggest Dose of Happy
"I shopped for colorful organic motifs and tossed in pretty pink solids to ensure the fabrics didn't fight each other visually."
How to Add a Wow Factor
1. Don't be afraid to be daring: "I kept a picture of my curtain fabric pinned in my office for a year, wondering if I had the guts to use it in such abundance. Now I have no regrets."
2. Give pink a chance: "I wanted a room that was bold but pretty. Pink is more universal than you might think. Its various shades complement a wide range of other colors."
3. Mix in white: "I always go back to white. It helps separate and highlight fabrics so a room feels cleaner and fresher. I love how color and pattern pop against a blank slate."
4. Blend fabrics fearlessly: "Combine fabrics that have the same color intensity. These brights work well together because they also share a similar funky and fun attitude."