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Observation: New Twist on Stripes

by | Jul 31, 2008 | Decorating Inspiration, Details

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Observation: New Twist on Stripes

“Observation” is a new series of posts where we will all share our observations on the day’s photo. There is no expected, right or wrong comment. Just share what you see, what you notice, what is unique, what you love, what strikes you, or what is something you might have learned about design from this photo.

You don’t have to love the room to observe things about it. We’ll study all kinds of rooms (don’t worry, we’ll do other posts too, not only these!)

This exercise is both to stretch our own creativity and to help ourselves and others see from a new perspective.

Need more help with what to look for? Read the explanation post here. Have fun observing!

photo: Home & Gardens October 2007


  1. Kat

    Ugh, no… For me, this wall paper with those curtains is just too much. Especially with this furniture. I could see it maybe working with fresh, light, conteporary furniture, but with the green fifties chair, the wooden lap and the brown painting it just seems messy and dated. Sorry…

  2. Kat

    Wooden lamp that is… :-)

  3. Dee

    Not liking the curtains… remind me of Pharoah’s head gear!
    Love the ruffled mirror, flowers and little secretary. The room looks old, not retro.

  4. tricia

    I don’t care for the wallpaper/drape combo. The lines compete too much with each other and are really jarring. I think the beauty of the room is overshadowed by the boldness of the horizontal strip. It is the focus of the room.

  5. crystalreflections

    too busy for me…
    I don’t like the wall paper. The curtains? maybe it’ll look better with plain painted walls….
    The color scheme works but it sort of hides the beauty of the whole room.

  6. Rosemary

    I guess I am in the minority so far. I love the wallpaper and the horizontal stripes on the window treatments. This really works well with the lack of design on the upholstered furniture. ~ Rosemary

  7. Brittany

    The mix of stripes and the floral print on the wall does not sit well with me. The opposite feeling that a comfortable and cozy home would give. None of the lines in the room work together. I feel like things were just thrown together and not very well though through. I’m such a Debbie Downer. I like the mirror above the mantel though…. there that’s better.

  8. Kathleen Grace

    I don’t care for the room, but my observation is that with busy walls and drapes the furniture needs to be plain both in line and fabric. The clear table doesn’t take up any room visually and makes a full room seem a little less full.

  9. Mary Kay

    Yuck! I can’t get past those horizontal stripe curtains, reminiscent of a jailbird uniform. I can’t edit them out and concentrate on the rest of the room.

  10. laney

    …oh my…the curtains do bother me…i like the wallpaper and the furnishings…usually it is the tiny things in a room that set me on edge…i would change the hydrangeas to the left on the desk between the windows…somehow that anchors the love seat facing the fireplace and makes a better boundary for that seating area… i am strangely picky about things like that…and i would place something larger and darker on the bottom shelf of the coffee table…that way the table does not seem to float away…i love the lamp…this is fun…

  11. Marianne

    I think the wallpaper and the drapes are a bit too much together. The wall paper is nice though. If the drapes would have been plain it would have looked better. I love the furniture. Especially the chair in the front.

  12. Cherrie

    This room does not have much colour or pattern down low because this would clash to much with the walls and curtains so I think it is well balanced. Having one chair green as well as the green hydrangea injects life into the lower levels. The swags tone down the height of the windows. The glass table does not add to the smallness of the space but helps to give a feeling of more room as it is see through as does the mirror over the mantel. Although fairly neutral it is still cheery. Cherrie

  13. Cherrie

    O and the lamp should be the same brown as the chair legs. Cherrie

  14. Melissa (Missy)

    I am a photographer, not a designer. But to me, something clashes here. I am not loving it personally. But before becoming a mom, I shot layouts of designs I did not love, or would not have in my home, but they worked and worked beautifully. For some reason, something is not working here. But I would have to see the whole room. Might be those curtains…… That wallpaper is too traditional/vintage looking for the rest of the room. I don’t know. As I said. I am not a designer. I only shoot them after they are done or copy them if I like them. ;-)

  15. Fanfan

    I notice: ( like you ask I don’t judge, like or dislike)
    – Very long drape.( their shape, their color)
    – The sofa in the middle of the room, between the 2 windows.
    – A lot of furniture for this small space.
    – There’s jusst one cushion in the middle of the sofa.
    – There’s a blind in the window
    – The floor, the white mirror
    – The wall paper and the curtain are in the same shade color but the motif is different.
    – The furniture has legs.

  16. Nana

    My observation is that I could not sit in this room for than three minutes, color and patterns would cause me anxiety. I do like that lamp tho’.

  17. nancy

    1. Wallpaper and stripes too busy! Blech! One or the other should have been neutral.

    2. Furniture looks like waiting room or office furniture…very uncomfortable. It does not make me want to cozy up for a visit or to read.

    3. Colors too bland and washed out.

    4. Cluttered for such a small space.

    5. I DO like the light, so it is not a total loss for me.

  18. Rhoda

    This wouldn’t be my favorite room and the thing that jumped out at me the most was the wallpaper. Too busy for my tastes too. Love the drapes, but would fear getting tired of the stripes. The green chair is pretty!


  19. Françoise

    I’m not reading the other comments till I post mine!
    This is another woman’s room. I observe those yellow green stripes again but they bother me less in the drapes. I like very simple window treatments so I’d remove that top part ( I forget the name in English!). I do like the wallpaper,which relieves the white white look of the room. I like the furniture (except green color) and its placement though I would prefer a glass table with more rounded corners to soften all the angles elsewhere save for the nice armless chair. The glass transparency is great for keeping the space uncluttered to the eye. No to the white frame on the mirror: too much with the white fireplace and white knick-knacks on the mantel and the table. I’d match the frame with a brown in the wallpaper. I applaud a good reading lamp but not its style that has no counterpart in the room. I would have matched it to the table style. Hideous cushions but the plain carpeting is a good canvas for the rest of the room.
    OK . Now I can read the other comments ;-))

  20. megan duerksen

    i think this room is wonderful!
    it’s playful.
    it’s got all the features of a very complete room but it’s done in a playful, artistic, unsafe way. i have never seen stripes like that on curtains. and i think they are so much fun.

    this is creative.
    and different.
    i like both those things….a lot.

  21. Emily

    I love the drapes. The little secretary desk with hydrangeas and a wine glass placed like it was set there as someone hurriedly walked by makes it feel lived in. The lamp looks a bit out of place but I like the style of it. The green chair looks cozy and inviting. Overall, the space seems a bit stuffy and unrelaxed but there are elements I love and could learn to incorporate.

  22. Natasha Burns

    I think if the design were switched a bit, as in, maybe some pattern on the sofa and plain walls and vertical stripes, it might work better? I don’t know… it’s not doing it for me either! The colour is a bit baby poo and all that ‘stuff’ in such a tiny space makes me feel claustrophobic! However, I would love to steal that mirror for my own home!

  23. Deanna

    It is interesting that even with all the pattern going on in this room, the colors being in the same colorway, makes it almost neutral, does that make sense? So in a way it is restful, as everything is tonal.

  24. Suzette

    I didn’t want to read the other comments first, so I’m trying to avert my eyes! LOL! The stripes are fine. But, not with that horrid flowery wallpaper. I’m really not liking wallpaper right now – especially flowered wallpaper. I think I could even tolerate the wallpaper without the drapes, though. The combination of the two of them just sets my teeth on edge. I like the calm colors.

    I went furniture shopping with my daughter this week. Everything in the stores was so dark and depressing. I enjoy rooms with light colors – especially after traipsing through all of that gloom in the stores.

  25. Melissa

    I’m smiling reading your comments. This is fun, throwing in a little twist here with a slightly different style of room, to see what you all think and observe! Love reading your insights!

    Sometimes it is interesting to have a first impression of a space (good or bad), and then come back later and look again to analyze it. I looked at this room several times before I decided it was a fun one to discuss and ponder a bit.

    Have fun ;-)

  26. Linda

    All my eye sees in this photos are the curtains and I am not liking them. Too busy for my taste.

  27. Kate

    To me, the curtains would only work on a solid wall, and the wallpaper would only work with plain curtains. I’m not sure where to look, which makes a room seem unsettled (and unsettling). The wallpaper could be stunning if it were made the focus!

  28. Jill

    I sort of like the colors, but the combination of the stripes and that wallpaper isn’t at all pleasing. I’ve never been fond of horizontal stripes, or of wheels on the bottom of furniture legs. I think you’d find me living in Tuesday’s room before this one!

  29. PamperingBeki

    I like the look of it all together. I love the neutral couch and chair.

    I’m terrified of pattern though so this is most definitely something I could never pull off!

  30. Mrs. Q

    OK, first feeling…CHAOTIC. I know that stripes and florals can go together harmoniously, but I feel that the designer failed a little in this one. The lamp also sticks out like a sore thumb. The chrome shade on it does not, in my opinion, go with the overall feel of the room. And the green hydrangeas are the wrong shade of green..they totally clash.

    The only thing I would really duplicate in my home would be the shade of avocado? That is the only restful thing about this photo, the color on the walls and drapes. I do also like the stripes on the drapes, just not with the floral wallpaper.

    However, I am sure that this room appealed to many others. It just isn’t my cup of tea.

  31. Mrs. Q

    ROTFL @ Dee’s commment: Pharoah’s head gear..that is exactly what those drapes remind me of! :)

  32. Carrie

    I do not like the curtains. Very stressful. And more so with the wallpaper!

    I love this observation game, though!

  33. Kristin

    What if the stripes were vertical…I bet that would change the look of the room a lot and make it not so busy…draw your eye up instead of around and around the room. I do like the wallpaper, but with the drapes as they are, it makes it look bolder than it would in another room.

  34. Sunday Baker

    My first observational thought was….no. I don’t care for the stripes and the wallpaper together. Too busy, and it makes me anxious and nervous.

  35. Gypsy Soul

    I don’t care for much else in the room though my eye went straight for the chair in the foreground. Love the feminine shape & neutral color, I can barely see the front leg, but it looks like it’s turned beautifully.

  36. Linds

    I tried not to read other comments, to give my true opinion. :)

    I’m not a fan of this room, it lacks color for me.

    I do love the mirror over the mantle, it seems to extend the room…at first glance I thought it was another window.

    The stripes are interesting, there horizontal…I don’t dislike them, but I don’t like them either…

    The green chair is fabulous and so is the white desk beside the couch.

  37. that girl

    I love layering patterns like that, but in this case the stripes are horizontal and it feels like the room is smooshing down on my head.

  38. ann marie

    First to observe, this is not my style.
    Second, I could not relax in this room.
    It’s says ” busy” to me.

    I hate the curtain pattern, but love the length. I don’t like any furniture in the room other than the little white stand and the VERY beautiful mirror!

    I have observed that it is fun for me to walk into any room in any home, and even if it’s not my style, find something that I do enjoy. Something I can compliment.

    I am really loving these observing days! You could do this everyday!

  39. aswewalk

    Too much, too much. And why widen the windows with horizontal stripes if you’re going to cover the glass with curtains? Makes no sense. Maybe make the whole wall one huge fabric treatment, hung higher than the windows and barely touching the frames on each side. That way it widens the entire room, adds more natural light, and hides some of the hideously busy wallpaper. Lol.

  40. Julie

    Oh my. Okay, here goes. Colorless, monotonous. Visually top-heavy. “Busy” part is all in one area; the room’s unbalanced. The patterns are fine, just way too big. The parts just don’t seem to “go.” The pull-down shade doesn’t fit with the wallpaper. The mirror doesn’t fit with the carpet. The wall art doesn’t fit with the wallpaper, either. There’s very little “warmth” or personality or else there’s just too much contrast to figure out the personality. When each element is viewed alone, I like each piece just fine. It’s just the way it’s all put together… Hmmm. I think a visit with some bright colors is called for: bowls of fruit or colored vases or some flowers . . . This is a fun game! As long as no one picks on my home! ;)

  41. aswewalk

    Oh, how RUDE of me. Someone created this room with TLC and poured her heart into it. I’m so sorry I was callous with my personal opinion of the wallpaper. I’d hate for my home to be discussed in such a manner. I will definitely be sure to use more tact from now on.

  42. Lorrie

    At first glance the curtains remind me of Egyptian headdresses. And then it all looked so ridiculous I had a hard time getting past that thought.
    I think the height of the room is so tall and the area shown so small that it feels a bit like a cracker box. I am thinking that only a small portion of the room is shown. But in that small portion the furniture looks out of scale to the height of the room. The wall-covering is pretty and would work in a large room, but with the stripes – it’s way over the top for me.
    The contrast of the highly patterned walls, the solid furniture and the dinky clear coffee table doesn’t seem to fit.

    Now I’m off to read what other people have written.


  43. Lorrie

    Oh, I see I’m not the only one who thought of ancient Egyptians when I saw the curtains! LOL


  44. Suzy

    Not very appealing room for my taste, but to put my personal taste aside.
    Neutral color of the sofa and the symmetrical positioned chairs give the whole room some fullness. The drapes are following the natural tone even the wallpaper. But the mix of prints and stripes are not very well combined. This room defiantly needs some dominant color in a form of few details to give it a warm personal touch.

    Now I will read the various answers to learn and see something new. Thanks again for this interesting game it opens a new horizon.


  45. abbreviated

    Like the white mantle & mirror with the cream couch & chair.

  46. Wonders Never Cease

    I like it! I like how the swirls in the wallpaper follow the swirls in the line of the chair, and contrast with the straight lines of the stripe and the couch.
    But maybe that’s just me.

  47. designmankind

    This is so fun, Melissa! You always have the best things EVER. :)

    I love love love the stripes. :)

  48. Julie

    “Aswewalk” had it right and I apologize for being so tactless, and next time I play I’ll do it when I’m not pressed for time.

  49. Melissa

    I’m glad you all are playing along, even if it isn’t your favorite room. And bravo to the few who are brave enough to say they do like it!

    And for those of you feeling badly that you ripped apart the room, I have a sneaking feeling that this is a set up room, not a real home. Just to ease your conscience a bit! LOL! You are right, if it is someone’s personal home we certainly don’t want to make anyone feel bad. That is not our intention at all. We are trying to learn from things they did right, and to stretch our mind to appreciate something we wouldn’t think of to try ourselves.

    Even if you don’t see it yet, there are some things they did very well in this room! Keep looking, friends. There will be all kinds of photos for us to evaluate, some you will LOVE and some you will NOT LOVE. Big hugs to you all. I’m so glad you are willing to share.

  50. Lauren

    I really like the shapes in the design. The furniture is curvy, but with clean lines. I think they may have gone overboard with the window dressing because of the tall windows. The wallpaper is unifying in the room and pretty.

    I am enjoying the observations! :-)

  51. P

    At first glance, I thought the striped window coverings and flowered wallpaper were a bit much. However, after a few more looks, I think the two coexist quite nicely. It grew on me. I also noticed the leggy look of the room lends to its modern feel. The legs on the furniture along with the floor lamp and clear coffe table make the room feel cosmopolitan – a little French modern to me!

  52. jane

    hi. weeellll, i like the baseboards and mantle. i like the color of the couch, and the value of the color on the walls, if not the paper itself. i don’t care for the drapes for two reasons: 1) pharoah does come to mind with the shape/stripes 2) it is a heavier treatment than i like on that size window. as in dress fashion horizontal stripes are difficult to pull off. i realize i really do not like furniture with wheels. but i liked seeing carpet, the arrangement, and the weight of the room (if that makes sense). jkj

  53. jane

    IS that a mantle on the right side with the little vase? it would be a good place for one, if not… anyway, it is white trim i like. jkj

  54. Janet

    It is a bit busy, but what I notice the most is the glass table. It seems out of place.

  55. mbm

    I noticed immediately that the drapery stripes were horizontal rather than vertical. It bugged me, even more than the headache created by the too-busy drapery-wallpaper combo.

    Also I think the glass table fits — the lamp is the thing that doesn’t belong.

  56. Granny Smith Green

    You know, it’s not wether we like or dislike the photo. It’s how the room “feels”. Don’t you think? I consider my decorating style to be very traditional, but this mix “feels” good to me. FYI, while in England, our hotel had horizontal stripes in the hallway. Very interesting use of the horizontal stripe. For a little blog fun, if you have time, I have tagged you. Please visit my blog for the details. Thanks and keep up the great writing!

  57. crystalreflections

    I looked at the picture again. I said in my first post that the colors work (though it’s not me) but the second time, I think the reason why it worked is because the designer made everything else neutral. It’s just that the first glance makes you say “what??” Then as you look at it longer, the simplicity of the rest of the pieces overtake the first impression.
    The colors are a balace all over the room. same shades of green and tan and beige.
    This is a good eexercise, Melissa. ‘can’t wait for the next one…

  58. Lee

    I would enjoy the combination of pieces in this room for about an hour, but it doesn’t have an “enduring” look. Being somewhat lazy and also trying to have a “green” (not this one) attitude toward decisions and purchases, I look at pieces and designs and ask if I would still like them in 10 years – this one gets a “no”. I did get a kick out of the use of the horizonal striped fabric for the curtains. It was fun to see this design used in something that wouldn’t make ME look fat.

  59. Laura Ingalls Gunn

    I think I would tire of the curtains quickly but could live with the curved slipper chair forever.

  60. Vee~A Haven for Vee

    Oh I’ve learned something big…it’s hard to even look at a room that one doesn’t care for…much too busy for me and too many disparate things going on at once…I’m making a run for it.

  61. the Farmer's Wife

    It seems I’m always thinking about the scale of things. The wallpaper is a large scale pattern and it’s a little busy. The curtain stripe is also a large scale and they seem to fight each other. The wallpaper is traditional and the large stripe is very contemporary.

    OK- I’m a seamstress and my friend runs a professional window treatment workroom and those draperies are either poorly constructed or poorly hung because they look very unevenly poofy.

    I love the chairs the sofa, but coffee table has no “weight”, it’s just invisible. The lamp doesn’t go at all. Neither does the “Lucky Charms Green” hydrangeas. Where’s the accent color? The lamp is the most annoying thing in the room. I’m anxiously awaiting the follow up on what was done right.

  62. twinkle

    Whimsey in the curviness of the chairs and the scrolling wallpaper.
    Formality in the straight lines of the sofa and the striped curtains.
    The curtains are the drama in the room. They draw my eyes to the windows and what’s outside instead of to the living space.
    Not sure I like that.
    Unless there’s a Secret Garden out there…or a shiny silver convertible that belongs to me!

  63. Monica

    The room has great potential to be soft and flowing. I would change the curtains to something softer as well as the wallpaper to start with…

    this is great fun and a great idea!

  64. Karen Baruth

    Okay, I’m going to jump in on this one. I like this room. The horizontal striped window treatments are a very bold statement, obviously to make the windows appear larger. The choice of solid, neutral upholstery was wise to balance out all the pattern on the windows and walls. I do love the juxtaposition of the stripes and florals. I’m assuming this is a huge room which can take all this pattern. The poor mantle looks dinky and lost with all thats going on. All in all, the room is pretty and very bold. I’d be afraid that I would get very tired of the windows and walls. Now, I’m off to read all the other comments. . .

  65. Beck

    I’m not loving this room- maybe it’s the mix of the stipey drapes and the floral wallpaper (which I do like). The simplicity of the couch is great.

  66. Shelia

    Well, I add my two cents worth. I really don’t like the wallpaper with those drapes. It just seems to confusing to me. The furniture looks very comfy and I love the window.
    Shelia ;)

  67. Penny

    I normally like mixing patterns, but I like to keep one pattern large and the others smaller. I think the two patterns compete to much with each other. Both are lovely, but together they are too busy for me.

    I had to go back and look at the picture to see what else in in the room. I really didn’t even notice that great floor lamp!

  68. Michelle


    This is so much fun! The things that I like about the room are the furniture and furniture placement, style of window treatments and I really like the little desk & arrangement. The things that I dislike are the wallpaper and the coffee table. I can’t wait to see what our next observation room will be.

    Take Care,

  69. julia

    hmm while not exactly my taste, i do appreciate the old and new combinations in the room, the old school wallpaper with the old looking secretary desk with the glass coffee table, wild color of the moment curtains and clean lines of the sofa, pretty interesting combo, i still appreciate the pallete of the room just not my cup o tea ;)
    this is fun!!

  70. Lisa & Alfie

    Well I almost hesitate to say something but here goes. I love the stripe drapes, just not in this tiny room. I would love to see no treatments, just lots of painted casing around the window to open the room up since it is so small. I think the color palette is pretty neutral and I can see where they were trying to mix a contemporary and traditional look. I’d cut the drapes up and use them for pillows!
    Lisa & Alfie

  71. Sweet Cottage Dreams

    Wow….ok, at the risk of not being too negative, let me list the things I DO like…. LOVE the furniture and the colors and lines. The legs/wheels appeal to me..even the green chair.

    Coffee table: too cold and too modern for the main pieces.

    Curtains: Can we say “Welcome to the big top! Hot peanuts for sale!”

    Little desk: Out of scale and too dated for the main pieces.

    Mantel and mirror: too white…a softer white would be better, like a linen color.

    Wallpaper – ok…that is if you remove the curtains.

    Lamp: get rid of it! Stands out like a sore thumb and is too modern looking.

    What I would keep: Floor rug, sofa, green chair – maybe toss out the more modern curvy chair – it doesn’t match the lines of the other two pieces.

    Soften the mantel with some color pieces – like maybe some floral greenery – ie: a topiary. Choose a darker framed mirror.

    To replace the curtains I would put in a clean line window treatment, such as white plantation shutters or a gauzy natural window treatment that would not compete with the wallpaper.

    Coffee table: maybe an old trunk that is wood or a darker wood coffee table that has a shelf underneath it for placing books.

    Ugly artwork on the wall and the little desk – toss out and replace with a small end table and lamp that blends nicely with the room.

    Leave the floor rug and maybe push back the sofa – it is too close to the fireplace. A sea grass rug would really look best.

    Change out the pillows on the sofa and chair or just add more for texture and even toss in a throw for over the corner of the couch to soften the angles a bit.

    What do you think?


  72. Jen

    I really rely on my gut when it comes to decor. If something takes my breath away gasp first and then observe what the components were that made me feel that way (like your first observation post). On the other hand, sometimes looking at a room makes me feel uneasy right off the bat. That is how this room made me feel. After observing why I think the color scheme to me is just slightly off. It is not a soothing neutral, nor bold. It is just blah. I do like many components of the room individually, but all together it makes me a bit queasy. ☺

  73. Sarah

    My first thought is…those stripes are going the wrong way and….I don’t like this. My second thought, it’s the wallpaper that I don’t like. It is really busy. I do like the curves of the chair in the front, on the right. Everything looks clean and welcoming, but definitely busy. With softer walls, I might like it better.

  74. Naomi

    I have learned that I will not decorate a room in the color of split pea soup. Usually I like a nice wallpaper and co-ordinating fabric for drapes. I like the shape of those window treatments, but I think the horozontal position of the panels make me focus on the wall and windows instead of moving around the room. I appreciate that the furniture has simple lines and is without pattern.

  75. Connie

    Enjoying the observations so much. Check out my site to collect the award that I’m passing on to you. Your site is so informative and we all appreciate it. Thanks for sharing…everyday.

  76. vickydarnell

    do not like it, the wallpaper and the draperies are way too much.

  77. Kim

    I love the striped curtains with the floral wallpaper. So dramatic with the height of the room. The neutral furniture with a more contemporary table and traditional fireplace & mirror is absolutely beautiful.

  78. Jill Flory

    It looks like a Better Homes and Gardens picture! their stuff is almost always a little ‘off’ to me. I have to agree with the majority on this. It isn’t just that it’s not ‘me’ I don’t like it for anyone!!

  79. Alice

    Well….I do like the initial look of the room! But, I must say that I don’t think you could touch anything in the room. Looks like you should just sit …not a comfy cozy sit …more like a stiff, sit up straight sit! It is beautiful …but too formal for me.

  80. Melissa

    I love your comments and observations–keep them coming. We are all entitled to have our opinions and points of view, and this exercise is in no way a test! We are all looking at and for different things through our own lenses. I didn’t really want to share my thoughts for fear of putting a damper on the fun discussions you all are having, but this time I will, as long as you remember these are just my opinions, not the ONLY answers or a critique of how YOU viewed the room. It is just how I would help a client perhaps if they wanted my thoughts. I approach clients differently than some designers might, so this is just how I look at things.

    When I first saw the photo, I was drawn to it and liked it without being as instantly or completely in love with it as I am with other rooms. I think this is something I have to be able to do in order to help a variety of people with their homes. I try to help people find their own style so it doesn’t matter to me if it is my style.

    As someone else said, it is about how the room feels, not always if I love each detail for myself. I also have to be able to work with what people have and save them money so we go for the overall look and not necessarily the “perfect” choice. And sometimes that actually makes a room look better, perfect can be more nauseating and boring to me than imperfect.

    Here is what I was drawn to in this photo:

    Cozy conversation area. I can picture having a couple of friends over and having a comfortable conversation because they set it up properly. A sofa and two chairs opposite each other with a coffee table in the middle. I like how the chairs are not placed squarely across, but more casually tilted and not perfectly lined up. Makes it much more inviting and less formal. And it gives the space some roundness, and movement. Also, since the chairs do not match, it makes it more eclectic and like it was formed over time and not matchy matchy.

    I liked that the second chair had different legs from the other furniture but the other two pieces had the same legs. It would’ve been too much to have them all the same, yet I like that the wood tones match so there is some continuity. There are a lot of legs on that furniture which can sometimes be a problem, but I like it here because it gives the room any airier feel. If the coffee table had matching wood legs, eek, that would’ve bugged me and been overkill. Glad they were totally different.

    I noticed the contrast between the styles and patterns on the wallpaper, the curtains and the furnishings. I enjoy seeing a more complicated design with things of interest to look at, things that make you go ‘mmmm’ rather than “duh.” But that is just something I acquired from being in love with English styles. If you don’t like complicated and more eclectic mixes of things, this wouldn’t be the look for you!

    I like that they have a mix of things, yet somehow the seating area still has a peaceful contemporary look, a good balance of old and new, complicated and serene in one space. You can’t pinpoint the style, which makes me happy. I like the undefined styles because they feel more authentic and less contrived.

    Because of how personal this room is, no one else will have a matching room in their house. A lot of people try to make their rooms just like someone else’s. This person went with their own look. I like that. I’m all for unique.

    To me, this room says the homeowners are “peaceful and refined with a little eclectic twist just for fun”. They aren’t boring or predictable, but they are refined and have some classic sensibilities. :-)

    Love that the furniture “goes” but doesn’t “match.”

    Love the different shapes of the furniture.

    I noticed that they chose furniture without a pattern (just some texture) so that your eyes had a place to rest. While I might’ve initially noticed the walls and curtains, I was drawn back to the seating area and for me, the walls and curtains were just a fun backdrop. I enjoyed the contrast between the more chaotic beauty of the walls and the serenity of the furnishings.

    I liked the contrast between more traditional looking pieces and contemporary things, like the coffee table. And speaking of the coffee table, I felt it was a great move to have it clear. Anything else would’ve been too bulky for me in that small space. It serves a purpose without taking up any visual weight.

    While the color choice was interesting (I think via a computer it might be coming across differently that it really is), and I couldn’t decide if it was gold or greenish, I think having the walls and curtains the same tone was a good solution there for making those two items work, so it ends up a wash of patterns that can flow together as a neutral rather than a bunch of patterns and colors fighting for attention.

    Rooms can work even when colors are off. I think colors are more a matter of taste. Some people like clear colors, some like bold, some like really crisp contrasts and some like more muted tones. Some like a pop of a contrasting color somewhere.

    While I am not in love with the topper on the curtain, I do like that they went all the way to the ceiling to give the window more height. The curtains add some softness but unless the view was bad or the windows were ugly, it would’ve been pretty to see the window frames.

    I think the window treatment maybe adds a little whimsy and playfulness rather than being stuffy and proper.

    I think the lamp is functional for reading, a good shape for that space. It is interesting to look at.

    Love the textured, neutral carpeting for softness on the floor. Love the large baseboards, makes the room feel substantial.

    Ok, well, I could go on, but you are all snoring by now! So much fun to analyze with you all! I hope you will keep playing when we do these. I learn a lot by what you all see and how you process a room. Thanks SO MUCH for being a part of the game. Comments will remain open, so keep sharing!

  81. Dee

    No wonder you get folks asking you for advice and a large measure of your creativity. Thanks for showing us how to really look at a room.

  82. please sir

    I’m a little mixed on the colors – but I like the idea of using stripes in a new way. Could really help expand a small room.

  83. Beverly

    This room does make me smile. The colors are refreshing, and I love the mix of patterns. They also managed to have a great diversity in the periods while still keeping a comfortable vibe. All around the room I see personal touches to indicate to me that the room is very much reflective of the owner.

  84. Melissa

    I generally do NOT like patterns unless they are very subtle but I LOVE this room! Trying to figure out why……I like that there are only three colors to the wall paper, it is busy but I could live with it. This coming from someone who can’t wear fingernail polish because it gets on my last nerve!

    I love the white, that the only real color is that chartreuse green khaki. The bark tone tones it all down, the punch is white, down to the baseboard. And the accent piece over the mantle is wonderful.

    I am a stripes person, prefer them verticle, love the natural neutral tones.

  85. aswewalk

    You know, I looked at it again and imagined it without the window treatments–and I liked it. No treatments, just casing, as someone else said. I like the mirror on the mantel.

  86. Effice May

    I think the overall effect is energetic, youthful and fresh. There is a lot going on on the walls with the wallpaper and drapes, but the impact of the room as a whole is both soothing (the green and beige tones) and energizing (the stripes, pattern and acid-y tone to the greens). There’s also the completely unexpected with the horizontal strips and the floral wallpaper pattern. I love that balance of soothing/energizing/unepxected. I think it’s wonderful.

  87. pam

    I would have never have done it like that Wow, I guess the colors all go together.

  88. Annechovie

    Wow, Melissa, I can’t believe all of these comments! You have got to be one of THE most popular bloggers. It amazes me how much you are able to handle all at once! Love the horizontal stripes on those drapes. Have a terrific weekend!

  89. Chris

    Uh, I’m comment #89. Do you even SEE me down here? :-) I actually have a question for you. WHERE/HOW do you find all your fabulous pictures? I’ve been trying to post some lately to show some examples of things, and I am having THE hardest time finding anything. Can you give me some hints or advice on how to make my search a little easier? Thank you, Ms. Oprah. Oh—I continually love your pictures. I never would have thought such bold prints could go together, but they look fabulous!

  90. Melissa

    Hi #89 Chris! I see you! Hello! I’m laughing about the Oprah comment because I am actually WATCHING OPRAH. And I never do that. Random!

    Ok, on how I find all the photos, I could tell you all my secrets, but then I’d have to kill ya. Isn’t that how the saying goes? Ok. Just kidding of course.

    No secret, it is just a royal pain to find photos. I have no secret abilities or sources. Just hard work because I LOVE YA ALL. I wish I could find more quality photos, I’d have SO MUCH MORE INSPIRATION I could share with you, but I am as limited as everyone else in what is available to me.

    MUAH!! You guys are the best.

  91. Chris

    You see! There’s a reason you were watching Oprah–she was speaking to you! :-) I figure you have some kind of research team finding all your photos for you, ;-)so I didn’t know what you could offer me. However, I appreciate you simply saying it’s “hard work”. It’s frustrating! Also, I just went through and read a bunch of comments about people not liking the room. While it’s not something I could ever have, I really like it. Green is one of my favorite colors–maybe that’s why? However, I really like how English it looks. I feel like it’s something I would never see in MY neighborhood, which is why I like it. It’s different; it’s bold; it’s eye-catching! It makes me feel like I’m in a grand and beautiful hotel in London.

  92. Tammy

    Tho it’s not my style and I wonder how long I could really relax in a room such as this. What I do love is how those beautiful white roses nestle up to the drapes.. so different and such an interesting example of blending masculin and feminine. The wallpaper seems to be luring in the drapes in some sultry dance.

  93. rosieswhimsy

    Hi Melissa,

    I love the the wallpaper and curtains! I would keep that part definitely. However, I am not feeling the love for the more plain, stark sofa and am not liking the coffee table at all. I am thinking a softer French country small coffee table and perhaps all the sofa needs to more pillows bringing the prints from the walls down a level …… or and a few more touches of black here and there.

    I love how the chunky horizontal stripes give dram to the room but without the be some follow through at a lower level, it does seem a bit top heavy.

    Now to go back and read more of what I’ve missed :-)

  94. Erin

    Stripes balanced by busy wallpaper: nice.

    Art to the left of the stripes: not so nice. Too much movement on movement. Maybe another mirror?

    Horizontal stripes widen the windows: lovely.

    Glass coffee table: a bit heavy, despite lack of color and makes a comfortable area feel a bit hospital-like.

    Hydrangias: wrong green. Tone it down–that’s not a focal point. Neither is that red rim around the flip desk thing.

    I might sip tea with a friend here, but not snuggle in with a book.

  95. katiedid

    A little late to the party, but here goes: I did not read all of the comments, but some I read did not particularly care for the wallpaper drape combo. I have to agree. I think one or the other. If just wallpaper, I would do a white linen drape with a band of color on the leading edge. If the striped drapes, I would run them vertically and paint the walls a fresh white. I like all of the neutral furnure and the green chair. I think most everything else works pretty well in the space.

    Fun idea! Hope to see more of these.

  96. Kate

    I’m not a fan of the striped curtains w/ the busy floral wallpaper either. I have trouble mixing 2 prints like that… but I always admire those who can do it. I do like the glass coffee table, especially with the bottom shelf. Any idea where that came from?

  97. anne

    The first thing that I notice is the wallpaper and the curtains, far too much together..just too cluttered and not restful at all…but I do like the fireplace, the green chair and the little desk. The desk took a while too notice as it is tucked away.

  98. Jana souza

    I just observed how the designer put most of the pattern on the walls/windows and kept the remainder of the palette neutral and quiet. I don’t really object to the horizontal stripes, like many readers did, but the valance is off-scale of my eye, and the panels would have worked better a bit fuller and with a straighter drop. I know it is hard to see those details in concept, and after installation, you could step back and see that detail—I have been guilty of that on projects. I praise them for going for it. Love the reading lamp, sexy slipper chair and orientation of the artwork; but I prefer artwork to be associated with the furniture it resides above, not the wall in general (placement wise). The table looks a bit too close to the sofa, but could be the angle of the photo.

    this is such a great idea for posts—darling idea.



  99. Melissa

    Thanks to everyone who participated in this! You are welcome to still add your thoughts!

  100. Cemay

    Many have poo pooed the draperies. I find that I like them but would love them if the valance wasn’t so deep and was more structured as made into a cornice.

    I adore the soft colors and soft looking furniture. Wallpaper is sexy and sweet at the same time. The black framed artwork really gives the room depth at the same time cutting the sugary look.

  101. stljoie

    My first thought was ” Whoa! This is a new take on neutrals!” which I am a little tired of….neutral rooms always look pretty much the same to me, I find myself flipping past them in magazines because there’s usually nothing really new… but this one stopped me in my tracks. I could live with that wall paper…I like wallpaper. I could live with those drapes…drama. I wonder what the room looks like without the sunlight through the drapes. I don’t think I could live with them together though. But, all in all it has taken rather bland furnishings and made one pay attention.

  102. Janet

    I hope this is a big room. I would like to see what’s going on to the left of the photo behind the couch. I think they pushed it forward for the sake of the photo which makes the room look a bit cramped for the height of the ceiling. I think the curtains and the wallpaper work well together – plainer curtains would make the room too old ladyish. I love the slipper chair, I want it. I think the coffee table should be wood. I think the curtain topper is too deep, I like that it is curved, it breaks up the stripe, and goes to the ceiling but when it is so deep and flat the stripes become too dominant. I’m not sure how I would cure that, if it was shorter it may still be a problem……..either no topper or a softly pleated one??? Overall I like the room but I don’t think my husband would go anywhere near it.

  103. M&Co

    Love your new game ! So fun!! I’m always admiering photos of beautiful home, getting inspired and learning new things! Although I have to admit its mostly an onconcious process for me, but through your posts I’m actually analysing the interiors and viewing them more conciously ;-) I’m not one for flower wallpaper….but the strickt horizontal stripes somehow seems to even it out a bit….love the two chairs…but overall this room feels too English in a way for me ;-)

  104. Bettsi

    Well, I’m the latecomer to the party, but this room is very interesting to me. When I am in a room, I like to be visually stimulated, but not in a big “in your face” kind of way. To me, this is perfect. I would love to be in this room with its mix of traditional and contemporary elements. The color is so restful it would allow me to sit in this room and contemplate all the components like the wallpaper and curtain combo. Melissa, this is a fun feature!

    Bettsis last blog post..Happy Monday!


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