Arren Williams is the name, and I'm a stylist, editor and trend reporter. You'll catch my work regularly popping up in print in the likes of the National Post, House & Home and elsewhere. I'm also a guest expert on Citytv's CityLine, and you can occasionally find me on HGTV as well as on ABC 7 News in Chicago.

To keep things fun I've tapped a couple of friends - Julia Black and Jenn Hannotte - to contribute their views on design too. Enjoy!


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Ask Arren > Help me update my living room

Oh please help us!!!!

We bought our house 3yrs ago and have done nothing to it. The curtains are still those from the previous owner.

We have a most beautiful entry way with the original brick wall. A huge, over stated fireplace.

We need help.
I need tips and advice on:
1. Painting our fireplace (would you??)
2. Wall colours
3. Accent colour
4. Fabric colour/design for curtains and throw pillows
5. Accessories for the area (living room and dining room)
6. Lighting fixtures / lamps
7. Artwork examples that would go with our living room/dining room/entrance

I am stuck with the furniture I have, no budget to buy new at this time.

Any help would be appreciate.
Here is a link to some photos:


March 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkreev

Hi Kreev, Zoinks, so many questions! Let's see...

1. Painting our fireplace (would you??) - Yes! And please think about replacing the mantel with something a bit more handsome (a bit of trim work would really fix it up).

2. Wall colours - I think it's all looking a bit pale for my liking. Why not leave the brick wall light, perhaps in a simple and bright BM Cloud White, and for the rest, grey can be such a lovely colour, but you'll need to test a few patches on the wall and see what works for you.

3. Accent colour - See below!

4. Fabric colour/design for curtains and throw pillows - I'd love to see either a hefty natural linen or even a neutral vevet curtain, and as for pillows the world is really your oyster. Hit HomeSense, West Elm, etc. and find designs that speak to you, and then pull accent colours (for accessories, etc) out of there.

5. Accessories for the area (living room and dining room) - Erm, that's practically an impossible question to answer since I think you'd be best taking the time to research into and establish a bit of a personal style template first (rip interiors out of mags that you like and you'll start to see a common theme running through). Seriously though, I'd think of starting an inexpensive collection - maybe milk glass vases from Goodwill - and put a vignette together on your mantel.

6. Lighting fixtures / lamps - Yep, you need 'em! Hit HomeSense for table lamps with personality and look for simple floor lamps and fixtures that fit with your total look. Keep metal finshes the same and shade colours similar for continuity.

7. Artwork examples that would go with our living room/dining room/entrance - Please don't buy art to 'match' - Buy art you love!!! Online Etsy is a brilliant choice for inexpensive artwork that your friends won't have, and maybe have a favourite photo custom printed by CanvasPop on a canvas for you.

Hope that's a start!

April 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterArren

Thank you so much for answering ALL of my questions! I really appreciate your expertise and help.

April 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkreev