8 Steps to Building a Room Around an Existing Piece

We all have that one piece of furniture that we can't seem to part with, whether it be a family heirloom, serves a great function, or was just a great deal. When re-designing a space, not everything needs to go. Sometimes it's in the best interest of the client to keep a piece, or a few. My favorite projects end up being the ones that save money by giving a new life to a piece of furniture that is already in the home. This may bring a challenge, however.


It's not always easy to blend old with the new, but here are a few tips and tricks to help make it look intentional.

1. Select finishes that are in the same family. This will help create an overall color story for the space and help an old dresser have a life with some newer friends.

2. Go with the lines. If you have pieces that are crisp and clean, then set a tone for the space with selections that reflect that. If you have more organic lines, then choose softer lines.

3. Always have a piece that contrasts. This will help break up any repetition and add a solid layer to the space. I love contrasting colors, and textures with inspiration from the elements.

4. Create flow. If you're trying to downplay a piece, then create a moment with another area in the space to draw the eye. Don't overshadow it though. You want to create a space that is easy to look at. Creating triangles with color or other selections helps create a circle around the room that the eyes want to follow.

5. Style! Style! Style! You can achieve step #4 with simple styling. If you want to add harmony to the pieces, select accessories that share similar colors. Play around with mixing material and texture to add interest and pull in finishes from handles and lighting. Books, pottery, and plants will bring a space to life, if anything else.

6. It's a balancing act. Artwork will help create height to mirror the height of a tall cabinet. If you use a floor lamp, try adding a taller houseplant in the space to balance it with.

7. Add textiles! Rugs, pillows and window treatment add color, patterns, and texture. Rugs are a great way to pull two opposite fabrics together. They create an area for the furniture to co-exist in and a nice base for the room. Pillows add softness, pops of color, and dimension to a boring chair or bed. Curtains can really make a space feel more like home, by adding coziness and privacy to a room.

8. Have Fun! At the end of the day, it's your space to enjoy. Create a home that tells your story and works best for you and your life.


*If you find yourself needing design advice, but like to shop yourself on your own time I am now offering this online service to guide you through your project. Feel free to reach out and together we'll create a space you love, at your pace.*

I recently asked my followers to submit pictures of their existing pieces, along with their ideal spaces, budget, and needs. In return, they would get a mood board and shoppable Pinterest board, if selected. This mood board was created around the green velvet chair and chest of drawers, while staying in a budget of $1,500. (This room actually costs less than $1,400 without the bedding and accessories. I found the headboard new-in-box on Facebook Marketplace in their area for a fraction of the cost.) The person asked for a coastal style bedroom with light colors. They wanted a tall, soft headboard and a place for their book collection. I pulled in the velvet chair with help from the artwork, and the chest with the finish on the nightstands. I added some contrast with the leather bench at the foot of the bed, the lighting, and bookshelf. I picked a light sheer curtain panel for the window to allow light in, while providing some privacy. The nightstands are made with cane and are the perfect texture for a coastal design. I didn't want to add too much of the green, because I feared it would lean too masculine for the space. Instead, I added greenery with houseplants. Now they have a better idea on how to tackle their bedroom with their mood board and Pinterest link to shop from, when they're ready.

Shop the items here.


You don't have to get rid of everything when designing if you can make it work. This doesn't mean that you should keep something, just because. Before you start your project, just ask yourself if it provides function, and will it co-exist with your end results. If not, try reupholstering or painting before totally getting rid of it. If you shop secondhand, you may get lucky on a replacement piece that won't break the budget.


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