Spring in the Living Room

By Kate Riley March 31, 2014

It rained all day Saturday and the kids’ games were canceled so we stayed in our pajamas for much of the day. Rainy days inspire indoor creativity so I decided to paint some new artwork for the living room. My 10 year old daughter loves to paint too so we spread out newspaper on the dining room table and opened up our sketchbooks and collections of acrylic paint. 

Late last year in my quest for more masculine touches, we painted the living room above our DIY wainscoting Benjamin Moore’s Rockport Gray and I also painted the French doors black. The two together are a perfect moody neutral combo but with spring arriving I was craving more color.  

Coral is all the rage this year and I’m also lover of the hue – it’s so chic especially with gray and gold, so I added pillows to the tufted sofa in that colorway.  

gray and coral in living room centsational girl

The gray zebra pillows used to live in our master bedroom (originally from Z Gallerie but no longer available). I found the geometric coral Lulu pillow covers at Ballard Designs on sale, the embroidered floral is Tar-jay.

The walls held only two prints (one of them is one of my most favorite souvenirs from a trip to Paris) but there was a bare spot between them and I needed a third piece of art to fill it. Black and white made sense, not a charcoal, not a print, something whimsical and botanical.

practicing swirls

branch painting

I was inspired by none other than Matisse – I saw his Le Buisson framed print for sale at Joss & Main and thought it was perfect but even more perfect if I painted my own version of a black and white botanical for pennies.   


I just loved the simplicity of the Mattise painting so I tried the tree with twigs and leaves but after a few attempts opted for a simpler set of branches instead.

attempt at tree


simple branches


gray and coral pillows centsational girl


coral and gray living room pillows centsational girl


The painterly artwork didn’t stop at the botanical – I started experimenting with simple brushstrokes and in an hour created a few other simple abstracts.

brushstroke art


I coupled the framed brushstroke art with some framed paper leftover from this marbled paper craft boxes project.

diy abstract art


framed diy abstract art cg


diy abstract art gallery cg


blossoms and abstract


blossoming branches cg

If you asked me to list my favorite things in life, colorful brushstrokes and blossoms would surely be at the top.

The mantel is simple, I prefer it that way. Grandma Verna’s clock mixes with CB2 candlesticks used in autumn and again at Christmas and are paired with coral and white vases found at Target. 

spring mantel left side


candlesticks and vase


spring mantel centsational girl


I added two of my new summer fabrics to the living room, one a geometric diamond motif with brushstroke borders and another a floral I designed. This Floribunda floral is one of several new patterns that will be released in different colorways including this gray and coral version. Up close, it has a sketched imperfect petals that I love!

floribunda floral fabric kate riley designs

The summer designs are nearing completion, I still need to print them and style them and pull together a Lookbook but look forward to new colorful original designs coming in May.

The new rug is the Samode from Dash & Albert, one of my favorite retailers for rugs!

spring mantel living room centsational girl

I absolutely love Dash & Albert indoor/outdoor rugs and I’ve bought several of them over the years. They’re always stylish and totally practical when you’ve got kids or pets roaming about, photobombing pictures sometimes unknowingly, sometimes not.

kid photobombs

In our home there’s nothing untouchable and everything is livable. I don’t believe you must compromise style for practically, the two can work together when you make smart choices but also accept that accidents can and will happen. So be it. It’s just stuff.

coral gray living room centsational girl

Things break, it’s part of life. Keep heirlooms or things you deem priceless put away or out of reach, but I always say make your home comfortable and filled with your personality in the colors that you love… that’s how we live season to season, year after year :)



  1. I love Dash and Albert rugs! We have a runner on our stairs and couldn’t be happier.
    Along the kid-friendly discussion, we’re looking for fabrics to reupholster our loveseat with. Any brands or textures you recommend for kids under 6?

  2. This is a great example of color and texture. The room also looks bright and cheerful like a lot of natural light is able to make it’s way into the room. Thanks for sharing Happy Spring!

  3. Looks beautiful! You’ve inspired me to change-up our standard decor to something lighter and brighter to welcome to warmer weather.

  4. I make my own art in the same way — it saves so much! and is also just a great creative outlet. Yours look amazing!

    xo Lily

  5. I love the grey and coral. Did you purchase the white and coral vases recently? I can’t find them on the Target site.

  6. Where are your gray club chairs from? So pretty! Also, love the new rug and all the gray paired with the coral. Makes me want to add some coral to my gray rooms as well!

  7. Everything is so gorgeous! I love the coral, too! Do you know the name of the coral you used? I’ve been searching for the right shade…everything I grab is too peach….

    LOVE the artwork!
    Amber :)

  8. I just found your blog, and I am BOOK-MARKING!! Love the coral and gray together!

  9. I’m absolutely loving the coral accents! I am slowly working on bringing spring to my own home, I hope it’s as bright and cheery as yours turned out.

  10. This is beautiful!

    I think “Grandma Vern’s clock” is the same clock my father got as a gift from his company on one of his work anniversaries. I seriously did a double take when I saw it because I have only seen it in one other place – a jewelry store’s window.

    BTW, I have been so out of the blogsphere in the last year or so that I didn’t realize coral was a big thing…yet I just did a bedroom in coral!

    • Hi Jeannine, from what I understand it’s several decades old and comes from a German or Swiss maker, my husband knows all the details, but it’s a rare and beautiful thing!

  11. You’re room looks so bright and springy! :) I’m in the market for new side tables, can you tell me where yours are from?

  12. Love your botanical artwork! Your fabrics are amazing too. Looking forward to seeing your spring look-book.

  13. wow! this room is just amazing! I love everything about it. I was so torn on which image to pin, but then I decided to pin your abstract gallery! Its such a great way to bring colour into a space I love it! I also love that black tree image you painted as well!

  14. Love, love, love all your spring touches, especially your paintings! The mirror over your fireplace is my favorite thing in your house! Is it available in stores?

  15. Love it!! Beautiful color combination! I was eyeballing those Ballard pillows the other day! May I ask where you got the little white bubble-like table between the two chairs in the last picture?

  16. Amazing! I love your painting!! I think it is a much better piece of work than Matisse!!! Love your taste

  17. Seriously, you should have your own magazine, art store, and interior design service. You are so talented!

  18. Beautiful as always. Doing your own prints in genius. I have a tip for your. Instead of newspapers, use pee pads for art work. If something spills, no problem and they are reusable (for art work). No ink on the hands either. I love that mirror above your fireplace and all the Spring colors. I just changed things up myself to Fuscia accents and it’s such a mood lift.

  19. Oooo I love the pops of coral! Everything goes so well together. Love that you incorporated some of your own art as well!

  20. Beautiful!! What is the gray paint you have on the walls? It’s a perfect color.

  21. I love that you created your own art to make such simple and easy seasonal changes that really refresh a space. The coral color is stunning as our your fabrics and the other choices you have made. Very well done!

  22. Never mind! Just found the “Paint Colors in My Home” blog. All beautiful colors.

  23. Love the gray and coral and I’m swooning over the chairs in front of the fireplace. Where did you get them?

  24. Love the coral, gray, gold, black, and white all together. Looks beautiful! Can you please share where you got the tufted sofa? I’ve been looking everywhere for one that size. Thank you!

  25. Hi! Love your blog! Very informative, thorough and inspiring. Thank you! I love the grey you’ve used in this photo. I’m in Australia, so (no doubt) won’t be able to get the brand here, but if you could please tell me the brand and colour, I may be able to trace a match. Thanks so much! E.

  26. Say WHAT?! My gramps has that clock (or one VERY similar)! I think he got it overseas when he worked for General Foods International.

  27. Love the mismatched but coordinated frames above the sofa and Matisse would certainly be impressed!

  28. Oh your home has changed.. it was all blue before…I love the coral touches… Im in love with gold accent lately ( obsessed not just inlove) but with 14 months old my family room is almost empty now , no more end tables no more decorative vases and candels :(

  29. Love your gray chairs! Where did you get them? Can’t wait for your fabric to come out! Love your stuff!!

    • Chairs were found on Joss & Main, they’re Safavieh brand Lindsay, I’m excited for Summer fabrics too!

  30. Would you mind telling me what exposure this room has? North facing, etc?
    Trying to choose a paint color for our north facing master bedroom and Rockport is a contender, assuming it can handle the northern exposure. :) Thanks in advance!

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