Angela Todd Portland Interior Designers

Fresh Eyes May Turn Outdated into Treasure

It happens all the time. I enter a client’s room for the first time and they begin… “I know, that coffee table has to go, my walls need re-painted, that chair needs replaced, and ….”

What you think doesn’t work right now, might be the same piece(s) that will bring character and uniqueness to your beautifully designed room when it’s finished.

I know you don’t expect to hear this revelation from an interior designer. Designers are known for recommending a clean slate to begin design projects. It isn’t true of all of us, and certainly not of true of me. I love to infuse family pieces and thrifty finds with new updated pieces. Besides, a great designer should be able to work with almost anything, right?

How do you know if your items are a good for fit for the room you envision, or ready for a posting on craigslist?

Are there large missing items in your room? If so, it is better to invest your money first in the items that you need to fill the room. If you need a sofa, window coverings, end tables or another chair, invest in these pieces first. Once your room takes its finished form you can decide what should be upgraded for a better look.

If a wall color, sofa fabric or wood in your room bothers you, is the color present in other areas of the room? Check the other fabrics, flooring, case goods, carpet, accessories and artwork. When something doesn’t feel at home in the room – it probably isn’t color balanced.

In the photo pictured left, we made an orange sofa (far left) feel updated by bringing in touches of orange in a kidney pillow and a vase of roses. The pale blue slipper chairs and wall color are complementary to the orange, and draws out the subtle persimmon in the fireplace and wood as well. The orange sofa now feels designed for this room.

Are your photos and artwork dating your space? Are you fighting tucking away treasured artwork and family photos because they date your décor? Consider reframing your pieces. You will love them in a whole new way! (I have a great resource listed at the bottom of this article to update these pieces.)


Use items in ways you never have before. Do you have two identical side tables that you have outgrown? Try putting them side by side in front of the sofa to create a one of a kind coffee table. Is your wine rack boring you? Try using it to hold magazines instead. Fetch your family chest from the attic, garage or spare bedroom and use it as a sofa table or coffee table. The aged distressed chests I have found in my clients homes have worked perfectly in all styles of rooms.

Do you have tired cabinets with finishes from the 70’s or 80’s that are screaming for a makeover and you aren’t ready for a kitchen remodel? Why not hire a contractor to come coat them white, black or any other color you can imagine. It costs tons less than new cabinets! (See bottom of article for a local contractor who not only coats cabinetry via spray application to look new, but he specializes in green painting too!)

When you look at your space after reading this blog, you may find there may be more treasure than you thought before. If you need fresh eyes, I am happy to offer a design consultation to help you devise a game plan based on your personal goals and budget.

I have listed a few personal design resources for you as well — please mention I sent you.

Painting outdated cabinetry: Greenleaf Painting
Brian Denne 503-268-1764 http://www.greenleafpainting.com/

Updating artwork & family photos: Bradshaw Frame and Gallery
Amy Bradshaw 503-644-5496
11120 SW Barnes Road
Portland, Oregon 97225

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