Drapery Panels In Printed Fabric Finish The Room

Dear Toni,
Help!!! We just up-dated our living room BUT it still doesn’t look finished.  What have I done wrong? We started by painting the walls a light sand color which we love. Then we purchased a sand colored area rug that we placed over the sandy colored tile floor and are happy with that too. We also added a large brown leather sectional sofa and brown coffee and end tables.  We added white shutters on our windows for privacy. But it all looks so bland and sterile, what can I do to make it feel warm, pulled together and finished?  Thanks for your answer….

Dear Reader,
As far as I can tell, without actually seeing the room, you need something to pull all those solid colors together! And the best solution at this point is to use a printed fabric for some much needed drapery panels at the windows and an assortment of pillows! 

Photo by Tennille Wood of Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration
Choose a fabric that has a light background with brown, sand, and one other pop color like blue for example. See the photo that perfectly illustrates this*; these panels don’t necessarily need to operate as you already have the shutters preforming that task.  Place them to hang from some lovely short rods at each side of your windows.  And given there is so much brown and sand color in the room already,  use the solid blue fabric on the edge of each panel to really infuse and deliver the added color to the room.  This decorating principle also balances the colors throughout the room.

The large brown leather sectional can be made more interesting and less expansive by adding lots of pillows.  Try to make at least 3 of them a fabric similar in color and texture to the drapery panels.  The rest of the pillows can be sand and blue solid in color, giving the sofa a lush lift by adding color and texture.

A decorating tip of mine is to  first start with a printed fabric, then select the rest of the soft furnishings and paint accordingly.  But sometimes doing it in reverse, as I’ve done here for you, will  still give fabulous results.  Just imagine the room above without the drapery panels and pillows.  Pretty blah wouldn't you agree?  But with the drapery panels and pillows in a nice print, it has that pulled together and finished look that feels complete!
*Photo courtesy of my colleague Tennille Wood of Beautiful Habitat: Interior Design & Decoration