Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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What? Like you don't ever need to check the barometric pressure via a vintage deer baromoter? 

This has been our first week writing at our new office and it's blowing my mind. We've obviously been going about this whole work from home thing all wrong. Yes, lounging around in your pajamas is awesome but I've found that having a place to go to every day is wondrous on so many levels.

Watsontown is coming together. We found a couch at a nearby thrift shop in really excellent condition. They were asking $99 bucks so we picked the sucker up lickety-split and, because the price was so good, I nabbed a blue wingback chair I've been wanting forever. Not this exact chair, I've just been wanting a wingback chair for a long time and this one was a steal. We also got a coffee table for $20 and a vintage oriental rug for $30. A week later Serge scored a cafe table in excellent shape off craigslist and we picked up more rugs from Walmart. Slowly but surely we're dialing it all in. I'm digging the retro 60's/70's vibe that's emerging. Bright, clashing colors with funky rugs, pillow, chairs and quirky thrifted pieces from allthe local shops.

But I need your help! I want to paint the coffee table we picked up but am not sure what color. I was thinking yellow? If I got some fun yellow pillows for the couch? What do you think? What color should I paint my coffee table?

Here's what we're rocking so far. Remember, this is what we started with. (I know! I need a makeover too but one step at time!)

I don't really know what color the couch is, but more importantly, what color should I paint that dreary table?

As you can see by the price on that lamp (white lamp shade?) I practically stole it so I could finally pulled the trigger on the glass grapes I've been coveting. My grandma had the exact set in blue.

If I painted the coffee table yellow I was thinking of this color? Along with the yellow lamp sitting on a yet-to-be discovered end table, and some funky couch pillows? What do you think?

The lamps (the one above and the one below) the grapes and the orange chair all came from the same little booth at the huge thrift shop just a few doors up from us. I happened to be perusing the booth when the spunky old gal who rents it was putting out some new items. Tony, her name is. She's pretty much my best friend now and was so tickled that I dig her stuff that she gave me the chair for half price: $15.

I have my eye on the perfect hand-crocheted granny square afghan to drape over that retro chair but refuse to buy it for that much off Etsy when I know it can be found for a song at a thrift shop.

What? Like you don't ever need to check the barometric pressure via a vintage deer baromoter?

Serge has been eyeballing this famous LIFE photograph for nearly as long as we've been married so I finally surprised him with it. We're eventually going to put a record player on that old crate the photo is resting on.

Speaking of music, I've got my Billie Holiday picture here but my office still looks a bit cell block-ish. Okay, A LOT cell block-ish. But it's quiet! And it's all mine!

Am eventually gonna get rid of that mammoth desk. Any ideas for wall colors here?

I love this lamp so much. $15 from Tony's booth at the thrift shop. I tried to research it but can't find much other than a guy selling one on eBay for $90. So that made me feel a bit better about my purchase.

I know retro isn't everyone's cuppa tea but man, I'm really digging it. What're your thoughts? Any bright ideas? Help a sister out!

Reader Comments (31)

If it were me, I'd paint the coffee table blue - maybe a similar blue to the color in the rug, or the wingback chair. It's looking great!

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

Blue? Blue! You might've just blown my mind.

March 7, 2013 | Registered CommenterMonica

That blue wingback chair is to die for. Seriously. Love it with the little owl sitting there. I like the idea of yellow for coffee table. And, btw, the lady at this site has great tips for painting furniture. For the wall in your office, deep and dark purple says "BIllie Holliday" to me.

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate

I think the table should be 70s mustard yellow. It would completely fit in with the rest of the decor. If not mustard yellow, pea green.

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKim Q

Everyone on Facebook is saying teal blue for the table! I'm so confused!

March 7, 2013 | Registered CommenterMonica

I. LOVE. THIS. SPACE! Seriously, you guys are doing a great job with it all. I'd want to live there if I were you. As for the table, yep, I'm agreeing with some sort of blue or teal.

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Totally agree with some shade of blue! That's the first thing I thought of when I saw the rest of the room (glad to see other commenters agree!). You've got a lot in the red/orange/mustard/brown family going on in thereā€”a pop of blue would be a nice "rest" for the eyes, and also a great contrast!

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ / *sparklingly

I LOVE the owl and the chair. And the rugs. Is it in a basement? If you have no natural lighting - I think lighting is key... soft, atmospheric. The music is good too. A library? A fridge? I think go warm colours - as basements can be a bit cold at times. So whilst folks say blue - I say fine if there is warm red hues in it. I am a fan of cushions... Throws, rugs and a coffee machine. I have office envy. Also, here in the UK that stuff you got - hundreds of pounds - seriously... And you get it all for like $ 10 here and there. Congrats to you both. You need to christen it. No.... not like that... with fine wines!!

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCrummyMummy

Will you come decorate my apartment? Seriously, I need help! I can't believe you guys put this together so quickly, and for so little. I'm embarrassed how long I've been in my apartment and it's got no soul. There are some good ideas here, though. :)

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiary of Why

A nice blue that goes with the blue in the rug for the coffee table, and a nice 70s orange, something like the countertops that were in your house when you first got there, for your office wall.

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJodie

I agree with the blue. It was also the first color i thought of. :)

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercharity

Found this on the interwebz...

"Just a refresher on painting furniture:
You don't have to sand, but it never hurts.
Primer is mandatory. MANDATORY. Unless you are painting bare wood.
Letting the primer cure for the recommended time is key. I cannot stress that enough.
You can get your primer tinted to the color of your paint (great with black or red).
I use a foam roller to paint all my furniture (angled brush for the detailed areas).
Sometimes I use poly over furniture but most of the time I don't. Poly leaves roller marks that drive me nutty!
Let the furniture cure for up to a couple weeks (sometimes more, sometimes less) before you put anything on it, like accessories."

All that being said, I think the teal in the wingback chair or the blue in the rug the table is sitting on would be awesome. Pick up some funky, colorful pillows to put on your salmon couch and boom: perfect.

My friend used chalkboard paint on the top of the coffee table in her office. It worked out great for scribbling out ideas as she was writing. Though, maybe that is something to consider for a section of the wall in your office space?

Looks great so far! Cheers!

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTMI?

I wouldn't paint it at all. You need the dark contrast to set off all the color.

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarole

I wouldn't paint it either, I think painting it might make it look too "done" and you might lose the vintage, cool vibe a bit. As for the wall, I think you need a punch of colour to brighten it up and unprison it. I am super infatuated with yellow-ish green, like Benjamin Moore's yew green or even more into the 70s avocado-ish gold-green colours.

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

A graphic designers opinion - blue table - not teal but more true blue like rug. And muted golden color for walls.... Maybe mustard-ish. My opinion you need a warm contrast on the walls from the cool stone and floors. The gold will be neutral enough that your brights will still pop. Def pillows of all kinds, shapes, patterns and textures. Love your creativity with the room. Wish I was brave enough to do more vintage. I always end up more mod/pottery barn-ish. Aka vanilla boring. ;)

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

You guys are so cool, can we move there and hang out with you all :) Tennesse is pretty lame and boring these days. We used to be cool when we lived in FL. My husband was in a motorcycle club and was a tattoo artist. We got married, had kids, moved to the country and well somehow we lost all our coolness.

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTR

I like the table dark. Or, if you really want to paint it, do COPPER. There's this awesome copper spray paint that comes out marble-y or punched tin like. Office looks great! I work at home and I know I'd be so much more productive in an office. Sigh.

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

I think i am in the minority but I would keep the table neutral. I love the look of the place, but there is so much color going on you don't want it to start to look cartoonish. I am a huge fan of color-my bedroom is sea green, my dining room is red, and I have purple accent walls so please don't think I'm against color. I just think that some pieces should not scream as loud as others.

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterteresa

Very cool space. I would also suggest you paint the table a blue similar to the wing chair. As the reader above suggested, a blue with red undertones. For the wall I would pick up a color from the owl either a muted yellow or orange. If you take the owl to the paint store they will be able to match the color. I like the big desk because it fills the space.

Ask Tony to be on the lookout for an ottoman for in front of the blue chair, bookcase for against the wall and some funky 70's colored glass for accent. Add some art that you like. Boom. Done.

Finally as a daughter of a fireman and safety inspector, do you have easy access to an exit?

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGretchen

I was thinking the table would look cool in teal too, or a funky blue, and I think purple would be awesome for the office wall. Or vice versa, actually! I would get some paint chips or samples in there, then see what ones really grab you!

March 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWendi table green. seriously...leave it black...or espresso...grounds the room. .

Wow....amazing what a nice space can do for furniture and visa versa! It all compliments each other...I would just get or bulld a nice mantle...and stick a flat screen TV in it with a DVD of a fireplace...

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergina

These are wonderful choices for your apartment especially since the pieces somehow match the walls in retro style. I love it! Have fun decorating as I have at my home.

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterthe addison brooklyn

On a side note- everyone was gushing about Serge's transformation, but I must say you are looking svelte and stylish yourself. kudos to you!

PS: if you want eveyone's vote- natural table or mustard yellow, blue seems a bit HGTV ya know. Also, randomly that deer was in my great uncle's farm house when I was a kid, he called it buckaroo, and it scared my little brother to bits.

Happy weekend...

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkath

I tend to think about paint colors in terms of temperature. Talking about the walls here - you've already gotten plenty of advice about the table. Given that this is a basement office in Pennsylvania, I think you need a warm color for those walls. Mustard yellow sounds alright, but it's pretty dark down there and I'm not sure how the light in the room will look with a mustardy yellow. You should probably get some small samples and paint sections of the wall to see how you feel about it. But I would definitely stick with the warm colors like red and yellow. I'd also think that you need some softness in that space - maybe a fabric hanging or something to break up the boxy shape of the room.

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

hmm....i would enlarge the 'Watsontown' pic and have it mounted on a piece of canvas and put someplace interesting. They see these easels at Pottery House. I LOVE the interesting bric-a-brac (haha) The whole place reminds me of a meeting room. You could do open a coffee house with open mic night for musicians/poets or do an art show, throw kids parties'...collect, refinish and sell wood furniture and accessories.....have monthly health and wholeness classes, massage or dance classes....artsy spaces inspire ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES. I would make soap down there. Hey....You could have a dinner down there! Yes....ENTERTAIN. NO? Either way, I think some kind of fireplace fires...just a sense of one. Candles put off soot unless they are soy and/or have less oits andd fragrances...Anyway. It's all coming together really well. Glad you made the move! Exciting.

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergina

Ohhhhh copper. That's hot. I like the dark tone now too.

March 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNina

whatever you do there is bound to be wonderful...that blue chair really makes a statement. ":WHO SITS IN THE BLUE CHAIR!!!?" it's like Pee Wee's Playhouse meets Masterpiece Theater. It's screaming for a mantle and circular rug with a pipe and a classic sitting on the table...

March 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergina

We have the same yellow glass lamp at our local Angel View for 8 bucks! Need another? Haha

March 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret M

I say rub the edges of the coffee table with wax so some areas of black comes through and paint it ...whatever.

March 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermama

Or paint it some color, say yellow but wipe it of as you do it, but the yellow sticks in the edges and cracks Or tape it off and just paint one big stripe down it, or one big and a few skinny ones....In different colors. Just have fun and experiment....good thing is, it's cheap and if you mess it up, just paint it all black and start over.
don't be afraid of paint, you can always paint over it.

March 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermama

or just leave the table black or dark espresso and use accent pieces to play on the colors in your throw pillows and rugs. The walls are a great texture and color as well. Watery greyish blue? Looks nice cool with warm....sets off the warmer colors in the room. Nice contrast. Great lighting.

March 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergina

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