fb-pixelHome design: Subtle color and pattern personalize a neutral living room - The Boston Globe Skip to main content
Style Watch

Home design: Subtle color and pattern personalize a neutral living room

A designer adds interest with touches of pink and accent furniture in modern silhouettes.

Designer Jeanne Finnerty helped a Metro West family make this living room their own.Greg Premru

This is Jeanne Finnerty’s second go-round with this living room. These clients loved what she did for the previous owners, so they hired Finnerty to put their own stamp on it. The designer even had a head start: “The midcentury modern-style sofa and chairs that I chose for my prior clients were our jumping-off point,” she says. To make the room feel fresh, she incorporated touches of pink and accent furniture in modern silhouettes. The new additions are practical, too — sturdy enough for the kids and flexible enough that the owners can easily rearrange them for entertaining.

1 The rich color and sculptural geometry of the walnut cocktail table with bronze inlays anchors the space. “This is the centerpiece against the neutral backdrop of the furniture,” the designer says. “We custom-sized it to double as a family game table.”


2 A new Saarinen Womb chair offers a cozy spot for the couple’s daughter, who loves to read. The yellow pillow is made from the original upholstery of the now-pink wing chair behind it.

3 Finnerty layered a handwoven wool rug from Landry & Arcari atop the solid rug left by the prior owner. “It has a traditional pattern with modern coloring that plays nicely with the abstract pillows we added to the sofa,” Finnerty says.

4 The boysenberry-colored linen pillows on the chairs take cues from fabric that Finnerty used to re-cover a wing chair on the other side of the room. “That fabric was the inspiration for the color palette,” she says.

5 Finnerty created long-lasting arrangements by weaving eucalyptus leaves through manzanita branches, then tucking in curly willow branches for height. “The greenery will dry out eventually, but is easy to replace,” she says.

6 Round, ceramic wall sconces with gold interiors by Marset mix artisanal appeal with a bit of bling, drawing attention to the historic fireplace mantel. “The building inspector, who coincidentally grew up in this house, told us that the mantel was salvaged from the Hotel Vendome in Boston,” Finnerty says.


Marni Elyse Katz is a contributing editor to the Globe Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @StyleCarrot. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.