When designing with an open floor plan, it’s important to create separate spaces that still flow together for a cohesive look. (Photo: Handout/TNS).

As a home decor enthusiast and shop owner I am always looking for new and exciting challenges. It is truly amazing how much decor can change an entire home. I got my wish this October when Nell Hill’s had the opportunity to work with local Realtor Kristen Malfer to stage an ultra-modern home located in Leawood, Kan. At first I was hesitant – we are new traditional all the way. How could we bring the warmth and fun of our design aesthetic into a stark modern home and achieve Kristen’s goal of warming it up? Luckily I had our designer Zakk Hoyt by my side, and we were able to pull off quite a transformation using a combination of our favorite upholstered pieces, plenty of cozy accessories and a dash of holiday cheer.

The first thing I noticed when I walked through the stainless-steel front doors was the abundance of open space. With an open floor plan, it’s important to create separate spaces that still flow together for a cohesive look, so I knew we were about to have some fun. The home was designed in a modern industrial style and features plenty of metal accents and dark features that gave the house a sharp edge I knew we would need to soften. What also caught my eye was the lovely light wood ceiling that brought an unexpected natural element. This was an important feature since I knew we would be able to pull out the warmth of the wood tones and spread them throughout the home with the addition of wood and leather mirrors, tables and chairs. A lot of the mirrors, tables and chairs we brought in had wooden or light leather elements to enhance the reach of the natural elements.

To not overwhelm the minimalist space, we decided to keep the big pieces in a neutral palette with whites, grays and browns. The Christmas decor was subtle as well, featuring muted gold, taupe and cream woven through lush greenery. That’s not to say we didn’t have some fun with color – I can’t resist a pop of brightness. We had so many beautiful orange accents I knew we had to work them in. From the rust-colored blankets to the bright persimmon touches in the kitchen, the color truly breathed fresh life into the house. We especially had a good time with color in the extra bedroom we converted into a sweet and cheery nursery.

Alongside our amazing bedding team, we brought in some of my favorite patterns (I’m looking at you, plaid and animal print). Mixing in a fun print like leopard throughout the living spaces and adding zebra chairs to the master bedroom helped create a space with personality. Bringing in a classic pattern like plaid brought out the feeling of “home” we want when we walk into a space.

Our last step was bringing in plenty of art to help soften the tall and intimidating walls. We went with a variety of pieces that ranged from black and white abstract to whimsical illustrations. We didn’t need to take art selection too seriously, we had so many fun pieces to mix and match and play with. A gallery wall can truly give a room its own personality, can’t it?

By Katie Laughridge, Tribune News Service. Adapted from nellhills.com. Katie Laughridge is the owner of Kansas City interior design destination Nell Hill’s. For more information, contact Katie at
[email protected].