Citrus-Colored Living Room

Packed with a rainbow of juicy citrus colors and several easy-to-replicate decorating ideas, this bright living room spreads cheer to all who enter.


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yellow room overall
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Juicy Colors and Patterns

    With brightly colored pottery as the inspiration, this living room showcases a palette that sparkles with lemon yellow walls and spring green on the bookcases, along with coral, sky blue, and eye-popping tangerine as an accent. Fabrics are key to this casual, feminine look, showing up by the dozen in an energetic mix of plaids, checks, florals, even a dragonfly motif in fuzzy chenille. It works because the fabrics share at least one common color. For major upholstered pieces, choose solid colors or subtle, small-scale patterns, making them color-versatile.

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Smart Seating

    To give the living room that sought-after, collected-over-time look, a flea-market table and an old wicker chair mix with new upholstered pieces in the sitting area. An apartment-size sofa, positioned to offer views of both the fireplace and the windows, is small enough to move easily but long enough for napping. An upholstered bench and two chairs, one white wicker and the other a petite but comfy chair upholstered in a subtle check, complete the conversation area.

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Faux Built-Ins

    This fun wall of shelves, cabinets, and a window seat looks like expensive custom built-ins, but it's actually two ready-made bookshelves and an armoire joined with additional wood and moldings. To squeeze even more storage out of the space, the window seat has open cubbies below big enough to hold colorful baskets and boxes. If you're cushioning a window seat, skip the fabric store and go to an automotive center for high-quality foam that won't fall apart but isn't any more expensive.

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Super Shade

    The striped fabric of the Roman shade puts all the lively colors used in the room into a single place, with the surprise of eyelash trim running up and down the shade.

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Fireplace Solution

    The fireplace makes a natural focal point for the room, but its position on a short, angled wall meant the furniture couldn't fit around it. Instead, the fireplace is given its own heft with a traditional white surround and gorgeous green tile. Off-season, place potted plants in front of the fireplace to cover up the ashy interior.

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Knickknack Savvy

    This cute collection of mid-century pottery in yummy sherbet colors inspired the color scheme of the room. Shop hobby and thrift stores for inexpensive accessories to add to or inspire a color palette. Look for interesting shapes in hues that complement one another.

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Clever Use of Space

    Even the space behind the sofa is used by filling it with a narrow dropleaf table, leaving room for traffic flow and access to the drawers in the built-in.

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Fun and Functional

    The dropleaf table and a pair of dining chairs fit perfectly between the two windows behind the sofa. These unfinished wood pieces were painted white and cushioned with an oversize houndstooth check. An ornate white chandelier over the table adds romance plus additional light for working on crafts or writing letters.

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Show It Off

    A small table in the living room is a great place for an active display of antique dishware. In this room, colorful place settings invite you to pull up a seat to admire (and use) this functional collection. For your own home, choose pieces based on your existing color palette to make the display look natural in its setting.

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Art in a Snap

    Stunning artwork like this sextet of flower prints turns blank wall space above the bench into a conversation piece. To make your own, photograph flowers with a digital camera, have the images blown up and printed on canvas (your local print shop should be able to do this), and frame them without mats in simple white wood frames.

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Accent in Orange

    Zingy orange shows up throughout the living room on this lampshade, pillows, and throws. Balance colors by spreading accent colors around the room, especially with a hue as vibrant as this orange.

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Pillow Menagerie

    Pillows are the easiest way to add pattern to a room. Go for it with as many fabrics and colors as you want, but make sure each includes at least one of the "big colors" in the room. Sweet flowers show up on this pillow embellished with iridescent shell buttons and ribbon sewn on to look like a pair of alliums. To make, lay out clusters of buttons and lengths of ribbon and sew onto a pillow cover.

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DIY Sisal

    An abstract leaf motif stenciled in blue on the sisal rug brings charm right down to the floor. To do this yourself, make a stencil by drawing an abstract leaf motif, enlarging it on a photocopier, then cutting it out of poster board. Use the stencil and blue latex paint to paint a sisal rug.

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Simple Sheer Panels

    Dressing the windows near the crafts/dining table with simple panels that alternate embroidered sheer and stripe lets in plenty of light for projects. For extra interest, the fabric on some of the panels railroads (the stripes run horizontally).

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Creative Flowers

    Kumquats in a vase of water make a unique base for stems of yellow tulips or other spring flowers. Try floating cherries or cranberries in the vase for a burst of red.

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