Decorating Dilemmas: Christine’s Living & Dining Room

Decorating Christine's open living and dining room with classic furniture pieces and yellow

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,

I would be honored to have any suggestions from your wonderful designers! I want to keep my Ballard Designs Garden District Mirrors and the Olivia Side Table, but I want to make it chic modern, bright and breezy. I am trying to incorporate some gold in with some black details and also with the white.

I have a big built in entertainment center which takes up the wall in my living room. The wall facing it has windows then a large expanse of wall. The other side is open and leads to the dining room with just the front door to separate the dining room from the living room.

I cannot figure out how to set up the living room and dining room to bring function as well as cozy, inviting spaces!

My walls are colored Benjamin Moore Clay Beige.

Please help! Thank you so much in advance for any suggestions,






Dear Christine,

This is going to be fun! We love the fact that you are ready to lighten and brighten your space with color. For the best function as you come in from outside, let’s post a Martin 2-Door Console in Black just inside the door. With a Jillian Pedestal Bowl on top, it’s a convenient place for keys and mail. Our Cool Mist Giclee Print hanging above the console will set the modern tone. The beautiful Simone Lamp will add a bright spot and provide soft lighting in this area.

We are off to a good start with the Garden District Mirrors and the Olivia Side Table already in place. Our Cameron Sofa, upholstered in Davidson Herringbone Ivory, sets the tone for a light, modern space. (For a great slipcovered option, take a look at our Baldwin Sofa and Slipcover in several choices of light fabrics.) Your Garden District Mirrors will look stunning above this sofa. Adding a little taupe to soften the contrast between the black and the gold is a good idea and it will modernize the color story and pull everything together.

The Diamond Jute Rug in Taupe grounds the sitting area with its modern pattern. Let’s keep the Olivia Side Table on one side of the sofa and add the Suzanne Kasler Lydie Side Table to the other side. Let’s update the shade on your floor lamp with a crisp White or Cream Linen Couture Drum Shade and move it over near the other side of the sofa for ambient lighting. A pair of Wembley Chairs, upholstered in Aryanna Taupe, would be incredible sitting opposite the sofa. Our Abeille Side Table tucked between the chairs takes its cues from the Olivia Side Table as a fun, modern twist.

Near the window, we think it would be fun to reupholster one of your vintage chairs in our beautiful new Escalera Maize fabric. An Ashley Scalloped Tray Table in bronze brings our metal and mirror theme around the room and adds balance. A Cooper Upholstered Cube in Sunbrella Capri Butter should sit on the opposite side for extra seating. Showcased in the middle of the room is our Durham Round Coffee Table for added warmth of distressed wood and cool metal accents.

To update your entertainment center, try painting the shelves or replacing them with glass. Another idea would be to add a wall paper – like our beautiful Sisal Wallpaper Silver or the Navarre Wallpaper in Cream/Taupe or White/Gray – to the back wall. If you remove the shelves, it gives you space to hang or lean large art like our Watercolor Water Birds Art or add larger sculptural pieces for accents, like Suzanne Kasler’s French Bisque Lamp Slips.

Let’s up the wow factor in the dining room with a Chianni Trestle Table in Rubbed Black. Pop in a couple of Slipcovered Parsons Chair in washable Butter Twill at either end of the table and our classic Dayna Chairs in White for a sleek update. Our beautiful Belgard Cabinet in Flemish Oak makes a great serving and storage piece. Don’t forget about lighting! Every room needs at least two points of light. Our Evreux Buffet lamps are spot on for the style you’re looking for! If you want more color, the Golden Pear Art and Seasons Art in Yellow are ideal for a beautiful finished room.

We know these suggestions will give you the chic – modern – bright and breezy look.

Happy Decorating,
The Ballard Design Team

Decorating Christine's open living and dining room with classic furniture pieces and yellow

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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


    April 22, 2016

    Would love to know everyone’s opinion on these colors and styles and the whole set up 🙂