Decorating Dilemmas: Callie’s New Home

Choosing furniture and accessories for a dream home

Decorating Dilemmas is a weekly column in which our stylists answer your design questions, so you can tackle your home decorating project with complete confidence.

Dear How to Decorate,

We bought our dream home because we knew it had great potential. It also had all faux finished walls and was very dark (there is a porch that wraps around front and side and then a screened porch on the back). Before we moved in, I chose to paint all of the main living area and foyer SW 7029 Agreeable Gray thinking that would brighten things up. However, all the spaces we painted in Agreeable Gray feel cool instead.

Once we moved in, we realized the scale of what we owned before is not right for our new space. I like the peaceful colors of the ocean to decorate with but know we are not a beach house. I flip through the Ballard Designs catalog and would love every room to be a Ballard room!

There are 3 main areas that I need a starting point for:

1. The foyer. It has high ceilings but not a lot of wall space (62 inches where the bench is today). It is 12’ 4’’ x 10’. How do I create a wow effect as you walk in? I think the bench could go out on my front porch instead.

2. The Family Room – The hub of our life. The hardwoods with three small children need a rug for comfort and noise! The setup is a little odd today since the TV and fireplace are opposite each other, so we decided to have the TV moved above the fireplace. I am contemplating having it repainted in SW 7036 Accessible Beige. It’s a large room, and I want it to feel warm and inviting. Room dimensions are 19′ x 15′ 7’’. 9’ ceilings. I definitely want to keep the Ballards Console and the Sofa covered in Trilby Basketweave Natural.

3. The Master Bedroom. It feels drafty and dated. We need a new paint color scheme. I don’t know what to do with the sitting area (11.5’ x 8’). Bedroom area dimensions are 18’2’’ x 13’6’’. I like our bed and dressers, but don’t know what to do beyond that.

I would be thrilled if you could help me with even one of these to give me the momentum needed to make our house a beautiful home!

Callie Warren








Dear Callie,

Thank you for your Decorating Dilemma. We think your home has great potential and hope that you’ll find these ideas to be an inspiring starting point for making it the fabulous space you want it to be.

We’ll start in the entryway. We actually don’t mind your bench, but just think it needs something “wow” over it. We happen to love the Suzanne Kasler set of 3 sunburst mirrors. We suggest you group these stunning mirrors to create a fabulous focal point. Along with the mirrors, the space is screaming for a rug! Our Marchesa Rug has warm tones that will bring a “welcome” to your guests as they walk through the door and it will flow perfectly since we suggest carrying this palette through to the family room. On the bench grouping of pillows will finish off the space. Combine pillows of Firenze in Ivory, Courtney Spa, and our Essential Everyday Linen Spa to give a cohesive look to your bench.

Let’s move on to your family room. We are happy to hear that you plan to keep our Baldwin Sofa and console. We understand your decision to place the television over the mantle, and think the sofa should “float” in the room facing the new viewing location. The entire conversation grouping could be anchored by our Allegro Rug.

With the sofa floating in the space, the console could then be relocated as a sofa table behind the Baldwin. To round out the conversation area, consider adding two of our Larkin Swivel Gliders in Indochine Ikat in Stone. We would put them on either side of the fireplace. The wonderful thing about these chairs is that they can swivel to face either the television or the sofa — a combination of beauty and function.

The family room is also in desperate need of some drapery. Let’s repeat the ivory Firenze pillow, but use it as a drapery panel. Hanging these panels just below your crown molding will accentuate the height of your ceilings and cozy up the room. Two panels per window should work well. On the wall where the sofa used to live, we suggest our beautiful Amiel Arch Antiqued Leaner Mirror for a stunning statement. Oversized mirrors can really give a space a sophisticated style!

Finally, the wall from where we moved the console … place a pair of Cote De La Mer prints to bring in the beach vibe you desire without going overboard. The colors are very soothing.

Now let’s talk about your bedroom. It also needs the Ballard Designs touch! It shouldn’t be hard to refresh your room after you select the right paint color. Without a better perspective of other contributing elements, it is a slight challenge to recommend the exact paint color but you could start with the soft neutral/gray tones. Edgecomb Gray by Benjamin Moore comes to mind.

As with your other spaces, the room needs to be anchored with a couple of area rugs. We love the Arbor Rug in Dove Gray. One of these under the bed, and another one to cozy up the seating nook should do the job nicely. Then we’re ready to find you a reading chair or two. How about the Thurston Wing Chair in our new Coco Tweed Mineral fabric. The Olivia Side Table in antique brass is a lovely side table with a chic look and would be adorable tucked beside the Thurston Chairs. Putting your feet up at the end of a long day on the Davis Tufted Ottoman in Natural Danish Linen would be very rejuvenating. And we don’t want to forget the windows in this beautiful space. How about our Essential Panels in Everyday Linen. Hanging these just above the window molding would be our suggestion. It looks like you have room for two on either side of the larger window, and one on each side of the smaller one.

These ideas should be a great start in making your dream home as functional and beautiful as you’ve already envisioned it. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to help you reach your design goals.

Happy Decorating!

The Design Team

Choosing furniture and accessories for a dream home

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How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply


    January 18, 2016

    Beautiful home and great suggestions by Ballard to decorate it! No mention of re-painting suggested from Ballard which right there will be a big savings (to help offset the cost of all their other suggestions which will add up, but remember – Rome wasn’t built in a day! ) Great ideas for all your spaces that flow together nicely! Happy new home to you! it’s lovely!

  2. Reply

    Shelley @ Calypso in the Country

    January 13, 2016

    This home has great bones – love the stairs and all that beautiful molding! I think the suggestions in this post would really make those rooms into something special. Love that rug!