Decorating Dilemmas: Peggy’s Living Room

Updating a living room with green accents

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 have antique green walls that I don’t want to change, but I do want to update the look of my living room.

What can I do to give it a more modern look?

Thanks for your help!







Dear Peggy,

We are thrilled that you invited us to help you update your beautiful home! There is already so much good design and character in your room with the paneled antique walls, but we have some easy ways to freshen it up.

Let’s talk about what is going to stay first. We love the color of the walls! It’s especially appropriate as spring arrives. We are also huge fans of your blue and white collectables. The built in cabinets, as well as the hutch in your breakfast room are great places for these heirlooms to shine. With these two colors in the forefront, we are inspired for the story to be fleshed out in the rooms’ makeover. We want to get rid of the red, and put more blue and green in its place. That does mean removing the wallpaper going up the stairs, and changing the paint color on the wall of the bookcase (to either a white or a close match to the green of the walls).

With our fresh slate, we’ll start the design with our Baldwin Slipcovered Sofa in Danish Linen Natural. This is a great neutral sofa that is also very comfortable. It can stay right where your current sofa lives, and flanking each side of your fireplace we suggest our smashing Shiloh Spool Chairs. The Shiloh has an updated profile but is still in keeping with the stateliness of your homes’ architectural features.   We’d love to see you anchor this furniture grouping with our Abby Rug. This rug will bring a concentrated punch of pattern and color into your new palette.

Let’s move on to some accent pieces. Every functional space needs a great cocktail table. We think our Olivia table will add the right feeling with its mirrored table top and metal finish. We would suggest the antique brass for your room. On either end of your Baldwin we’d love to see Suzanne Kasler’s Lydie Side Table. These are great for a lamp like the Blue and White Double Gourd Lamp, or for a glass of whatever you’re drinking.

We love your oversized clock above the mantle! How about filling out the grouping with some of our Preserved Boxwood Topiary? Remember that we are trying to get rid of the red. The Amaryllis on the mantle is pretty for the winter holidays, but during the year we’d love to see an explosion of green. In the same tone, we think the art hanging to the right of the fireplace could be replaced with our Among the Trees Art. We are just replacing red with blue and green.

Lastly, may we suggest customizing your sofa with some throw pillows? We can make pillows in any of our custom fabrics. We’d recommend using our Gillian Olive, Lucas Olive, and Suzanne Kasler Indigo Linen for a fun mix of color on your neutral sofa.

Mission accomplished! The rest of the room has such grand pieces that are still in great shape … we think less is more. Painting the bookcase wall a complimentary green color and filling it with an abundance of your blue and white porcelain pieces will definitely be a show stopper! We are in love!

Happy Decorating,

The Design Team

Updating a living room with green accents

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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

    Mindy Cress Petersen

    June 2, 2016

    Great style- I think the rooms could be a bit more inviting by pulling the 2 chairs into the conversation space and I would add more plants and Plank the Windows with drapes in a light color to create warmth.

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      June 3, 2016

      Great ideas, Mindy!