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Finishing Touches for a Cozy Corner

Q: We moved into our house in Oct '15 and we are slowwwwwly doing it up by ourselves in our evenings and weekends. There was a lot to do! And still is! It's a teeny little place but it's cozy and serves us well. I've been searching for something for the wall above this arm chair. It needs some texture or dimension, something playful and a little unexpected perhaps. Any ideas?

-Maddy, Maplewood, NJ

A: Hello Maddy! And thank you so much for being our very first question!

Looking at the pictures you sent through, I can imagine several different directions you could go with the wall behind the armchair.

The first option builds on what is already there--keeping the trunk and table lamp in place, and adding some decor for interest to the wall. Simple ceramic wall planters for dimension and a splash of low-maintenance greenery, would be a fun addition to the space. I've shown them in monotones, but think that a bright pop of color could work well within the context of the rest of the room.

The second option retains the metallic trunk, but rethinks the lighting in the corner. I appreciate the verticality of the current table lamp, but it feels slightly out of scale for the space and could likely be re-used elsewhere in your home. This vignette shows a more compact table lamp option paired with a vertical woven wall hanging to draw the eye up and bring texture to the nook. The black and gold color of the lamp is reflected in the wall hanging's composition, which makes the entire nook feel pulled together and intentional, especially if you retain the black and white throw pillow that is shown in the first pair of pictures you sent above.

The third option removes the current trunk and lamp combo altogether, in favor of a wall sconce that swivels and tilts, adding depth and interest to the space, as well as multiple points of light. The sconce is a simple plug-in--no need to call in an electrician--and has a retro mid-century vibe that marries well with the walnut and ceramic planter. I've shown a floor planter, but you could also retain the trunk and place a smaller planter on top of it instead.  In any case, a tall, sculptural succulent like this cylindrical snake plant, is low maintenance, and would thrive as you've got lots of lovely natural light flooding the room.

Finally, there is a variation on the scone + vertical element from option three. Here, the swing arm sconce is re-envisioned as a brass articulating fixture with a white dome shade (it comes in a pretty brass and navy combo as well), with a wooden ladder leaning against the wall to add height and interest, in addition to being highly functional! I've shown the ladder with a wool blanket draped on a rung, although in actuality, I'd move your gorgeous one from the back of the chair into its place; you could also hang magazines or other reading material over the rungs as well. This is the only option that removes the trunk--and therefore the spot to park your mug--altogether, but as you have the matching ottoman to the gray armchair, you could simply pop a tray on there as needed!

I hope these quick vignettes are helpful as you decide how to pull that corner together! I had so much fun imagining the possibilities (there are many, many more...I had to edit!) and I really hope you'll keep us posted on where you end up!

- Jenny

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