From Blank Slate to Stylish Abode

When new homeowners had no idea how to decorate an open layout living and dining area, designer Valerie Ruddy stepped in to save the day.
Neutral Living Room With Blue Accents

Neutral Living Room With Blue Accents

By: Barbara Ballinger and Keri Sanders

From: Valerie Ruddy

A couple had no clue how to furnish their open plan living/dining/foyer in the home they had recently purchased. Their wish list was an updated contemporary look that would provide enough room for their large gatherings. Designer Valerie Ruddy developed a plan that met both functional and aesthetic desires and also fit totally within their budget of $20,000.

Describe the homeowner's wish list.

The homeowners hoped to create an entryway, living and dining room in their open concept home. The homeowners entertain family and friends often and needed a versatile space that allows for individual activities, but will visually appear cohesive.

Open Layout Decorated for Entertaining

See All Photos

Open Layout for Entertaining

Living Room With Blue Accents

Dining Room With Elegant Chairs

Transitional Decor With Industrial Touch

What was the biggest issue the design addressed?

The biggest issue was creating spaces that allow for many different scenarios – whether they are entertaining formally or casually. We also wanted to make the furnishings comfortable for small or large groups.

How did the end result match your original vision?

I have to say that this design went fairly smoothly. We had an issue getting the wall color right since this room gets sunlight from two sides of the house, and initially the colors we liked appeared too bright when there was full sun coming from the side of the home. We toned down the final selection and came up with great colors that the homeowners love.

Describe an obstacle in the space.

Since we needed to design and furnish three separate spaces, the budget was my biggest obstacle. We were able to come up with vendors that would allow us to accomplish a furniture, lighting, window treatment and accessory plan in a modest way, which still looked attractive.

What lessons did you learn from this project?

We knew going into this project that we would need to be careful with our budget. So, we are still in the process of completing one section of the space as we prioritized the process for the clients. They loved that we started with as a main plan and were able to stick with it over time with a great result. Every couple of months, the couple called, and we would get a few more things done. This worked out wonderfully, so that the clients were comfortable with the progression, and we kept to their price list.

What are the hidden gems that make a big difference?

The long center white bench with pillows, which straddles the dining and living areas, provides seating to both spaces when needed and subtly divides them at the same time. Benches are wonderfully versatile pieces that we use often for this reason and others.

Next Up

From Boring to Stylish Bachelor's Pad

Designer Ebonee Bachman transforms a young man's bland space into the ultimate bachelor pad, full of color and stylish accessories.

A Lived-In Living Room Update

Learn how designer Tony Stavish gave this Chicago living room a collected-over-time look, making it the perfect blend of old and new.

Stylish Kitchen Renovated for Optimal Use

Designer Rebecca Lindquist wanted to make this family’s kitchen more than just the sum of its parts by making it a useful space with custom designs, a coffered ceiling and copper sinks.

From Old Deck to Outdoor Masterpiece

How do you enjoy outdoor life but have a retreat when weather’s too hot or bugs too plentiful? Designers Barbara Elliott and Jennifer Ward-Woods show you how.

From Wicker Nightmare to Colorful Outdoor Space

Designer Deborah Bettcher transforms a dreary, rundown sun room into a colorful oasis full of charming details.

Stylish, Comfortable Home Theater

Designer Kari Whitman creates a state-of-the-art home theater with lush fabrics, cozy seating and glam accessories.

Stylish Great Room Redo

Designer Michael Abrams provided a much needed makeover for this outdated room.

Glamorous Grown-Up Bedroom

Designer Valerie Ruddy gave this ho-hum space a French ambiance perfect for a young adult who is seeking a space for relaxing and hanging out with friends.

Down-to-Earth Kitchen Remodel

Designer Gioi Tran converts a California kitchen into a multi-functional space with warm and inviting style.

20s Cottage Kitchen Reno

Designer Rachael Franceschina redesigns a 1920s English cottage kitchen to give the space a fashionable, fresh design.

Valerie Ruddy

Contact Me

Decorating Den Interiors

local.decoratingden.com/valerieruddy Verona, NJ 973-239-3004