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This stylish white kitchen is the Room of the Month in our current issue of RoomPlanners magazine.  If you’d like to read more about this white kitchen makeover, check out page 37-39 of the current issue.

We’d like to know which dining chair you’d put in the neighboring dining area beside the kitchen. Cast your vote, or just check out the results!


Alyssa, by Ashley Furniture

This pretty dining room furniture (Alyssa, by Ashley Furniture) makes a nice choice for a small dining room or even a dressy kitchen. Its design also offers some clues to guide color and accessory choices.

Our first home decorating clue is all the curve on this dining table and chairs! Curves are especially French, and there are plenty of them here!

dining chair can help set the entire home decorating direction for a room, and the Alyssa chair is no exception.

The metal legs are modeled after the French cabriole leg – that S-shaped French leg that always suggests a refined, elegant and slightly dressy room.

The shiny damask fabric on the chair seat has inspired many dressy dining room tablecloths and linens… and French ones in particular! Damask is typically paired up with the fancy glassware and the good china, so that’s an important clue too.

Then there’s all that scrolling metal.  You can almost pick out a fleur de lys pattern in the chair back….that popular French design of a lily that’s inspired many a formal, French pattern over the years.

The round metal ring above the fancy wood base on the dining table sort of resembles a corona, or the base of a crown and the braided edge of the table resembles the edge of a pie or braided French bread.

With all the fancy details on this dining room, a French-inspired decor seems to be in order! Here are two schemes… one that’s a little on the formal side… one that’s just fun.

First, a very classic, very dressy French option.

The interior paint colors here are delicate and muted… dusty rose, coral and champagne tones. Artwork and accents look suitably French – but that doesn’t have to mean ornate curves, scroll or flowers are a pretty good bet. The chandelier on the right is elegant with all those French-looking crystals, but notice it’s also long and narrow rather than wide  – that’s to keep it in scale with the smaller table. The single bowl-shaped pendant on the left is a more current choice. It picks up on the scrolled metal, but it’s simpler against all the curves in the  furniture.  Dressy fabrics are in order here – for windows and walls, use simple sheers, a delicate stripe or even a damask pattern that’s lighter or darker than the chair seat. For an elegant, no-fail French effect, run curtains from the floor right to the ceiling.

 A second option is more casual, but equally French.

The paint colors here are natural and organic…. muted greens and yellows that remind us of chardonnay wine and olives.  Artwork could include scenes of the Paris streets – casual shots of store windows, bistro cafes or even French people.  Drawings of French food or wine bottles are good choices… so are French words included on the art. Not to worry if you can’t pronounce them – they just need to add a little French culture and sophistication! Clocks also make a nice accent – especially ones that looks like they might belong in a Paris train station – large, with an antique face and curved numbers. To keep that Paris neighborhood feeling going, use a French lantern rather than a chandelier. Fabrics can be more informal, but still with a bit of a sheen. Draperies could cover the entire window… or just the lower half if you’re up for the French café curtain look.

To see interior paint color numbers (Behr), click on the photo to enlarge it. For more home decor ideas, visit To receive our free room design magazine, sign up here.

118_bentley_1_3Tired of your white kitchen cabinets and want to change them up a bit? Thinking about switching to white kitchen cabinets but  think they’re too safe? 

Forget expensive, new wood kitchens! Painting kitchen cabinets can add life and value to any home. And with the right color scheme and at least one daring DNA gene, you’ll create a chic, awesome kitchen while you’re at it.

It’s really a simple  idea – dark on the bottom, light on the top. Sort of like we dress.

Painting kitchen cabinets is definitely something you can try at home. If you’ve got bland white kitchen cabinets, darken the bottom cabinets with a chic, deep color  – black-brown, black, charcoal or even navy. If you’re up for changing the kitchen counter tops, add a white kitchen counter top to match the upper cabinets, then paint or tile your backsplash the same color as the lower cabinets.

Stainless steel hardware (and appliances, if you’re up for a splurge) go great with this color scheme. And I love the gray-green color on the walls. Uber chic!

For more home decor ideas, or to download our free magazine, visit

The kitchen & dining set design of It's Complicated

The movie set decoration of  It’s Complicated  (Universal Pictures, 2009) showed us the latest interior design trend toward casual elegance… inspired by a blend of American and European gourmet and wine country influences, a desire for quieter homes with more organic materials.

Writer and director of It’s Complicated, Nancy Meyers, is already well-known for her portrayal of women as strong and independent; she’s becoming as well-known for the fabulous interior design ideas she packs into her  leading lady’s home. The movie set of her latest movie follows on the heels of another  memorable home in Something’s Gotta Give (Columbia Pictures, 2003). And if the influence of her most recent set decor on interior  design is anything like the last one, it’s likely to inspire more than a few home makeovers!

Jane (played by Meryl Streep) owns a Spanish ranch in southern California that blends Italian, French and California country styles. In a nutshell, the home is sophisticated without being fancy.   Terracotta-colored accents seem inspired by the rooftops of Santa Barbara. Antiques mix with high-end furnishings. Belgian linen pillows and cashmere throws are tossed over French chairs and slip-covered sofas. A  gourmet influence (Streep’s character loves to cook and owns a bakery) is seen in the charming, though slightly makeshift kitchen.

Meyers went after “a quiet palette” and the home is certainly serene, with even Streep’s ex-husband Jake (Alex Baldwin) commenting on how ‘quiet it is here’.

For a closer look at how the set design team pulled off one of the most exciting movie homes we’ve seen in quite a while, check out our March 2010 issue of RoomPlanners. (We’ve also included some of our top picks for wine country furniture inspired by Tuscany, Provence and Sonoma!). Click on the magazine cover on the right to open, or click on

If you’d like to receive our free magazine every month, visit and sign up!

Here’s a few other blogs and articles about the It’s Complicated movie interiors…

From Remodelista…

From Traditional Home…

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