An Art-inspired Design

By Cathy Lee Posted in: Celebrate StyleImprove
December 28, 2014

With the new year almost upon us, people are starting to think about their resolutions. Of course with the topic of this column, mine won’t be about shopping less or exercising more! So what’s our homestyle resolution? How about challenging yourself to create a room around something you love?

That’s exactly what I did for one of my clients — and it turned out to be one of my favorite bedrooms. These clients had a piece of art that was original and serene. Its linen matting was weathered, so it wasn’t hanging on any wall. But they loved it. We decided to put it in the master bedroom, where it would be one of the focal points.

In the next few columns, I’ll show you how I transformed a room with blank white walls and beige carpet into a luxurious sky-and-sea-themed retreat, all from one piece of art. I like to use art and area rugs as starting points because you can pull their style and colors as jumping-off points. I needed to expand on elements of this piece while showcasing it as a focal point.

Photo: Justin Dotson

Photo: Justin Dotson

The first thing we did was remat and reframe the artwork, then create a very neutral but dramatic backdrop for the entire room by painting three walls a dark, rich taupe. This allowed the blues and whites of the art to stand out.

You can see the color palette in the photo. I wanted to stay in the modern style of the painting, so I decided to keep the elements of the room linear and simple and let the textures do the talking.

That’s what I’ll go into in my next column. Stay tuned — you’re going to see some special touches. And I hope that by the end of this series, you’ll resolve to find a piece worthy of designing your room around!

Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her redesigns of residential and business spaces have been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. For more info and inspiring photos of design projects, visit And keep up with Cathy’s dream home makeover at her photo blog, Homefront.