Room Envy: This Brookhaven sitting room ditches dark decor for a more modern look

Interior decorator Minhnuyet Hardy added touches of bright color and comfy furniture to loosen up the traditionally formal space
Room Envy
Photograph by Mali Azima

With formal living rooms about as popular as VHS recorders these days, homeowners and interior designers are taking a looser approach to front sitting rooms. For this new house in Brookhaven, interior decorator Minhnuyet Hardy eschewed dark, serious furniture for more modern decor, with comfy chairs and a sofa so cushy you could fall asleep in it.

A punch of pink
Abstract art by Atlanta painter Tina Steele Lindsey ups the energy.

Off the wall
The painterly wool and silk rug from Nourison caught the decorator’s eye because of the pattern. “We liked the small pop of fuchsia, and the darker colors help to anchor the space,” she says. “The rug became the jumping-off point for the rest of the colors in the room.”

Two are better than one
“Those blue velvet chairs are the most comfortable you’ll ever sit in,” says Hardy. Placing two identical chairs (these are from Hickory Chair) side by side is visually cohesive but offers the flexibility of separate seating.

Upon reflection
A custom mirrored coffee table from Bradley Hughes provides an ever-changing perspective.

Mix, don’t match
“I like combining textures,” says Hardy. “This room has both soft and hard materials: leather, velvet, wool, silk, iron, brick, wood, brass, glass, and stone.” Metal finishes complement each other rather than compete, with the brass fireplace screen radiating a different sheen than the iron chandelier from Restoration Hardware.

Tip: Cozy up
Fireplaces can add warmth in more ways than one if they’re clad in richly finished wood. Here, birch planks were stained a robust chestnut color, then applied in a contemporary horizontal fashion. The brick surround was given a coat of white for contrast. Says Hardy, “I wanted the fireplace wall to be the focal point of the room.”

 This article originally appeared in our November 2015 issue.