Remember when I wrote this post, “Lighten Up: Living with Dark Leather Furniture?” At the time I was working on this living room for a bachelor. He had recently moved into this townhouse and was expecting friends over for the Labor Day weekend. He called me the week before the holiday leaving me just days (three to be exact) to get this space and two others whipped into shape.

Below is how it looked on my first visit. The cranberry accent wall was a suggestion by his realtor and he wanted to keep it. There was no other color in the room, just a sea of dark leather furniture. The room felt extremely heavy to say the least. Just imagine how dark it would have been without the three windows behind the sofa.
Using the accent wall as the color direction, I brought in a palette of plums and added hunter green to man-up the look. The original reveal included this hide rug which I absolutely loved!!
My client wasn’t a fan of the hide rug, so we switched it out to the one you see below for a look that leaned more towards traditional. How about those drapery panels! Amazing how simple panels can really soften up a space. They made all the difference in the world.

Here’s a another before shot of the living room. This is the angle you see coming up the stairs from the front door. We needed to add height to that side of the room in an effort to balance out the monstrous TV over the fireplace.

The addition of the etageres gave us the needed height and took the focal point away from the television. We used his existing artwork which added another dimension of color and I purchased all new accessories for the display. I bought a few books from the Goodwill when I realized all he had were medical journals. Snore. Next time I have this problem I will simply wrap existing books with white or Kraft paper for a uniform look.

At this angle you can see yet more leather upholstery. I found a new use for the loveseat portion of this sectional, I’ll show it to you in the next post. I replaced the loveseat with two handsome wing chairs and an accent stool.

Introducing fabric chairs allowed me to bring another texture into the space aside from the leather. They offer the same amount of seating, but take up less visual space. There’s even room for a plant now. This tree will thrive in the sunlight and provides a natural element to the space.

It’s amazing what a few smart, stylish furnishings and accessories can do to a space even if you are crunched for time. This room’s transformation was completed in less than one week. Talk about instant gratification! Does your space need a quick change? I’d love to work with you to make it happen. Click here to get started.

Stay tuned later this week to see the other two spaces I tackled in the same home.


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About Erika Ward

Multi-passionate entrepreneur, spokesperson, speaker, and philanthropist, Erika Hollinshead Ward worked in the design-build industry as an accountant before turning her passion for interior design into a successful business. Named by Atlanta Tribune as having one of the top design firms for two consecutive years, Erika is a highly sought after expert whose work has appeared in several media outlets such as House Beautiful Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, Fox 5 (Atlanta Affiliate), Huffington Post, HGTV.com and many others. Her influential voice in the home improvement sector has lead to marketing collaborations with leading home and lifestyle brands including Home Depot, S.C. Johnson, and Home Decorators Collection. Erika holds an undergraduate degree from The University of Georgia and resides in Atlanta with her husband and five children. With her sharp business acumen and design prowess, you can rest assured that she is one to watch as a voice for working mothers, women entrepreneurs, and interior design enthusiasts.

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  1. Debbie Says:

    Wow! Love that you repurposed the love seat and added those chairs. Even though I’m a huge fan of hide rugs, I admit I like the second rug. I’m sure he’s so pleased! Great makeover.
    PS: shame on that realtor for suggesting those walls. Dark and dated, but you worked ’em girl!


  2. Sherry Hart Says:

    Queen of getting it done! Love it and that rug…..I want!


  3. Cyndi Murdoch Says:

    I like the way you personalized his space with snapshot from his life. That etagere was genius – just what was needed to lend height & interest to the space. Nice job.


  4. GrayLivin' Says:

    This looks great! I agree the white panels really softened the space and kept the room bright. I also liked the traditional rug.


  5. Tidy-Up Gal Says:

    LOVE how you made the space brighter, cozier and still manly! Very nice!


  6. Jae Says:

    The white panels are my favorite. Such a good choice for that space. I like that the traditional rug ties into the panels and provides even more brightness.


  7. Angela Says:

    Loved the cowhide rug; too bad he didn’t like it. It would have been fab over a jute rug but most importantly, you made your client happy.


  8. nikki white Says:

    Girl, why are your new posts not showing up in my feed? I’ve missed quite a few. This quickie makeover was genius. Love the etageres and those chairs – some much needed softness for all that leather. Great job lady!


  9. Dede Says:

    What color paint is the cranberry accent wall?? I am looking to do an accent wall and that is the exact color I am looking for!


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