Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Decorating with Turquoise and Red

We are still on vacation - and waiting for the last of Tropical Storm Beryl to move out. A big thank you to Cyndi Murphy for your fantastic (and always descriptive) guest blog. You can visit  her blog, Musings of the Meandering Murphys at http://meanderingmurphys.blogspot.com/

Thanks so much to Jennifer at Oo-la-la for letting me guest blog while she's holidaying in St. Simons with her family! Jennifer's style and mine can be quite different, though we always seem to love what the other wears/decorates/eats/whatever. I was more than happy to share my latest obsession as a guest blogger -- turquoise and red.

My husband and I are living overseas in Australia on a work assignment. Typically, there are two ways to move with an international company: 1) Bring your own furniture from home (more specifically, whatever you can fit in a shipping crate), or 2) Rent a home that is already furnished. With our moving circumstances, we opted for Option 2.

Long story short: We hated it. When the furnished apartment's lease came up, we promptly moved out and bought the bare minimum amount of cost-efficient furniture to make a comfortable home in an unfurnished apartment. While we did have some added expenses, we also had the freedom to decorate with essentially a blank slate. I figured I might as well try something a little daring and different, especially since I was living abroad and this was not lifelong investment furniture.

After visiting a fellow expat's home who was using turquoise as an accent, I knew I wanted to use it, too. I searched online for a couple of turquoise 'inspiration photos' and stumbled across turquoise and red together. I loved it immediately but thought I could never pull it off properly. I looked at a few other colour options, but always came back to the turqu-red combination, especially with a white background.

This vivid combo was definitely something daring and different for me, but not so radical that I couldn't find pieces that worked together. In the back of my mind, I knew could always split the colors to use separately in different rooms if it didn't work or I grew tired of it. When heading to the shops, I took some photos with me to capture the right shades of red and turquoise for consistency.

The first piece I bought was the rug. This wasn't exactly by design but by incredible sale price. On the rug sale rack, I spotted a plush, thick pile rug with different shades of turquoise -- perfect for matching up any varieties of turqu that I settled on. I told the salesman that I hadn't actually started decorating the apartment yet, so it didn't make sense to buy a rug before I bought a stick of furniture. He argued that the room decor should be built from the floor (or rug) up. He added that it's much harder to match a rug after the fact. Of course, he is a rug salesman but his argument made sense.

I asked the price, and he flipped the rug over to get the dimensions and item number. That's when I realized that I had picked out an Espirit Home Collections rug... the most expensive brand the store carried. Of course. I didn't even know Espirit made rugs, but I'm not shocked that their high prices carry over to the home goods, too.

He checked the sale price and expressed his shock at how low the price was for that size and type of rug (again, he is a salesman, but it appeared to be genuine shock). It was still higher than I would normally pay for a rug, but it really did sound like a good deal. Why not? I paid and pulled the car around for pickup. As he was loading it in the car, he confessed that he had misquoted me the wrong price (he had looked at the smaller size price) but it was too late -- I got the rug for about 65% off the retail price instead of the advertised 25%! It was a mistake definitely in my favour, and it's definitely been worth it.

Now that I had a central rug, I had to get busy on the furniture. I figured the best way to pull off this striking colour combination was against all white. I found a furniture store in Australia similar to the American furniture store Rooms-To-Go. It had a stunning Chanel-inspired quilted white leather sofa set that would be the living room's focal point. The other pieces just fell into place.

The result was expressive and clean, yet serene. Our new home feels bright and cheery -- a relaxing, happy abode to call our own down under. When it comes time to leave Australia, we'll try to bring the furniture back to America or re-sell it. Regardless, it's ours to enjoy for now.


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