Orange Inspires Lively Living Space

Designer Jean Larette details how she made a bland living room feel more grand and inviting with bold use of orange.


From: Jean Larette

By: Jeannie Matteucci
From: Jean Larette

With their children now off at college, a San Francisco Bay Area couple asked designer Jean Larette of Larette Design to give new life and vitality to their living room, a space they regularly use to entertain family and friends, hold book club meetings and enjoy the stunning views that surround their home.

Jean shares with us how she transformed the faded living room into a comfortable space made for relaxing and entertaining.

How did you accommodate the homeowners’ wish list?

We wanted to highlight the architecture of the space. We were able to emphasize the ceiling height by painting the beams a crisp white to contrast with the orange field color. The room was dull and faded yet had marvelous "bones." By choosing such a daring color, the room came back to life. This living room now feels grand and inviting.

Vibrant Orange Living Room

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Bold Color

Designer Jean Larette makes this space pop with a coat of vibrant Benjamin Moore Soft Pumpkin on the living room walls and contrasting crisp white trim.

From: Jean Larette

Faded and Outdated

The cream walls and carpet and lack of contrast in the previous space made this sun-bleached living room feel dull.

From: Jean Larette

Welcoming Entry

The neutral taupe color used for the entryway complements the hardwood floors and provides a nice backdrop for the artwork.

From: Jean Larette

Sitting Pretty

The new-and-improved living room has zones for different activities, including this corner seating area for reading or a quiet conversation.

From: Jean Larette

Adding Contrast

Jean used Benjamin Moore Rust for the living room's built-in bookcase to add a bit of contrast and set off the homeowners' collectibles.

From: Jean Larette

What were the homeowners’ design challenges?

This living room gets a tremendous amount of light during the day. We wanted to brighten the space with fabrics using both silks and linens that need to be protected by the sun's damaging rays without having to employ heavy draperies that would be heavy and darken the room. We were able to emphasize the view by placing a protective UV coating on the windows and installing UV-protective shades. These shades are inside-mounted and completely disappear when raised, allowing you to still enjoy the view while protecting the furniture and fabric from fading.

What lessons did you learn?

Do not be afraid to reuse existing pieces of furniture in your plan. You can refresh, reuse, repurpose, reupholster or bring in updated fabrics in a new palette. It feels like the right thing to do ecologically and the clients are often pleased to be able to live with pieces they already love. You can easily adjust the layout of the existing furniture and create new seating areas, all of which contributes to creating a successful room makeover.

Describe the “hidden gems” that made a big impact.

We had a lot of fun with pillows and trim. We carefully selected the layout on the sofa pillow fabric to emphasize a particular bird we wanted to highlight. We also chose complementary fabrics for the reverse side of the pillows and created a luxurious throw from a remnant piece of silk we used in the master bedroom.

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Jean Larette

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Jean Larette Interior Design San Francisco, California