Eclectic Comfort Inspires Living Room

Designer Julie Holloway shares how she creates a new floor plan, refreshes furnishings and adds colorful accents to revitalize a hard-working living space.
Multicolored Country Living Room With Purple Sofa

Multicolored Country Living Room With Purple Sofa


Designer Julie Holloway took a $5,000 budget and transformed a long, boring living room into a multipurpose living space with plenty of eclectic style suited for work and play. Julie and design partner Anisa Darnell of Milk & Honey Home started at the center of the room, where they first defined the room's focal point around the fireplace. They flanked it with two facing sofas (one old and one new), repainted the mantel a deep color and hung a TV above it.

Once established, they plotted ancillary task areas for reading and deskwork around it. Original furniture was reused when possible through painting and slipcovers, while new pieces and accessories provided scale, balance, function, display and color. Julie describes the remaking of the room.

What were the main items on the homeowners' wish list?

They wanted a comfortable and gracious hard-working room that would serve them as well as work well when company's coming.

Eclectic, Multipurpose Living Room

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Smart Floor Plan

In a multifunctional space, rugs help to define and ground unique furniture arrangements, while evenly dispersed lights and darks bring harmony to the whole.

Punch of Color

An awkward indentation in the living room turns out to be ideal for a home office. Designer Julie Holloway paired a mod chair with a rustic campaign desk, and hung an Anisa Darnell custom landscape painting to add some much-needed color.

Vintage Wingbacks

"To build on our re-use theme, we decided to repurpose the homeowners' vintage wingbacks as newly slipcovered reading chairs," says Julie. A black-and-white striped rug grounds the pair and adds a modern geometric touch to the space.

Displaying Family Favorites

To balance the tall bookshelves on one end of the room, a family photo collage hangs diagonally across. Julie used neutral materials, filling metallic and wood frames with mostly black-and-white images. The homeowners considered the wall to be an artful home for their grandfather's antlers.

Sparkly Reflection

A collection of old silver candlesticks and new mercury-glass vessels add a touch of sparkle atop the armoire. "Our favorite way to style is with collections," says Julie. She suggests keeping like with like for a meaningful impact.

Soft Weathered Surfaces

Pale blue-gray and silver finishes fall into the wife's favorite Belgian-style category.

What was the main issue in the space?

It just wasn't working. Nothing was right. The TV and fireplace, originally on opposite walls, battled for focus, the lighting was insufficient, and the room lacked color. We had a modest budget of $5,000, and had to get seating, lighting and "oomph" in there.

Did this project have any particular challenges?

The biggest challenge was finding the meeting point between his style (masculine and comfortable) and her style (rustic, Moroccan and Belgian), but the contrast is actually aesthetically pleasing. In the reading area, for example, we mixed a shapely Belgian raw wood pedestal table with the dark minimally styled bookshelves. It works.

Does the end result match your original vision?

The basic floor plan worked just fine but we did have a few adaptations. For example, in the wing chair scenario we had intended to have custom slipcovers made, but when the scale of the table between them was too small, we had to shift funds to get a larger, more expensive table. Luckily we found ready-made slipcovers for the chairs and they worked seamlessly.

What did you learn from this job?

We learned a few things, as always! First, we learned to always budget for help. We had two interns to help us do the room install but we could have used more hands. Also, this was the first project where we combined poppy red, apple green and blue-gray and we loved it, as did the homeowners. It’s always great to find fresh color combinations. Also, you can never have too much lighting.

What are some of your favorite details?

There are two painted details that we love. First, painting the mantel a deep charcoal really made it a star. The homeowners DIY-ed that and it added a lot of interest and depth. They also painted their mahogany coffee table in a shade of blue, which was less expensive and more interesting than a new piece.

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Milk and Honey Home

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Milk and Honey Home Roswell, GA 30076 404-290-9011