The Death Of The Boring Beige Living Room

It seems that I have two things on the brain.

Okay, it’s more than two things.

But these two things are standouts these days.

Blue and White

And Mark D Sikes.


They go hand in hand, but Mark is also the master of the (not) boring beige living room.


Well, isn’t that what people call it?

Boring beige.

And yes, beige can be dreadfully boring.

Just dreadful.

And yet Mark’s beige rooms are not even close to being dreadful. They are elegant, rich and uhhh… expensive.


How expensive?


I was afraid you were going to ask me that.

a not boring beige living room by Mark D Sikes - for the Southern Living Showhouse
This is Mark’s exquisite room that he did for the Southern Living Show House last year. We discussed it before which you can see here.

The upholstered pieces except for the French chair, I believe are from Mark’s new collection at Henredon. We talked about that too.

So how much Laurel????????


Okay, calm down! Are you trying to catch a plane or something?

I honestly don’t know. With the renovations, built-ins, art, totchkes, antique rugs + all of that Henredon Furniture and expensive fabrics… it definitely falls in the “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it category.”

Maybe like 250k +/- ???

yeah… like I said…

Those Christopher Spitzmiller lamps on the console between the sofa are most likely in the neighborhood of 7k for the pair.


A non-boring beige living room doesn’t come cheap.



Well, it’s because when one does a monochromatic room like this, in order for it not to be boring, it needs to be full of texture and complexity.


As well the following for a non boring beige living room


  • plenty of white
  • plenty of dark/black accents
  • gold
  • different materials/textures
  • layering
  • differing the shades of the main color
  • beautiful architecture
  • classic accents
  • beautiful styling with plants and objets

and maybe a surprise or two


So, let’s have another look at Mark’s “boring beige” (not) living room.


a not boring beige living room by Mark D Sikes

I believe that Mark stole those gorgeous antique rugs from his own home.

a not boring beige living room by Mark D Sikes


You can find more info about some of the sources like this wonderful chandelier here.


a not boring beige living room by Mark D Sikes

Here, we can easily see all of the principles in place that IMO make this room anything but boring.


MarkSikes not boring beige living room sofa with fabric from Claremont Fabric Furnishings Company

The exquisite single sofa and chair fabric is from Claremont Furnishing Fabric Company.

This is a new source for me.

And make no mistake, this stuff costs bucks.

See? This is one of their showrooms. It positively reeks of the finest of the fine. And that comes at a price.


The draperies are Cowtan and Tout’s Rapallo in Beige.


Here’s a poor man’s version found on Overstock.

No, not the same, but it’s the same idea for a LOT less $$$. These are only in 120″, so they would require hemming.

However, please take heart. I combed the interwebs for more substitutes and if I say so myself, I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

I made a widget for you (below) of dozens of items that are largely quite affordable. And fabrics too! I love making these widgets. I can’t control the size of the items or their placement, so the scale is off in many cases. But you get the idea.

I could not fine the exact jute rug that Mark has used but a great source that’s to the trade is Fibreworks.


Please click on the individual images below for the source, etc.




I found this way cool Harrison Van Horn table at Chairish. They are asking about $2,500 for it. Now, that might seem like a lot. But these babies go for at least $6,000. And don’t forget that you can often talk them down.


Oh man!!! I almost forgot. Oh just shoot me!


I found the entire freaking source list!!!


Wanna see it?

That’ll be $25 please.

No, just kidding; that you can have for free. My pleasure.


Love this fireplace and styling! Just a wee bit of shiplap looks terrific, I think.

For the rest of the Mark’s beautiful room, please check out the gorgeous images on his website.

Another beautiful blog post about this room can be found on Color Outside The Lines. It’s a beautiful blog!


PS: Oh, and don’t forget that the hottest sale of the summer is still going on through August 6th.

is that bright enough? ;]

You can see some of my faves here.


35 Responses

  1. I was lucky enough to see the Mt. Laurel house in person. The room was prettier than the pictures. They also let you sit on the furniture. My daughters and I sat down and really appreciated the ambience of the room. It wasn’t crowded the day we went. It was so lovely. Great storage with those wonderful cabinets. It really makes you want to start over and replicate the room! It is a very well-thought out room; it expands for a party but doesn’t feel enormous, and has a great vibe- sit down, put your feet up and stay awhile.

    1. Hi Karen,

      Thanks for letting us know about your experience. I wish I could’ve seen it in person. I love it in photos, so it must be extraordinary in person!

  2. Loved this in depth look at an already classic room. The widget is great! Love the use of wallpaper and I think it is essential to the look…others may disagree. The fun of musing over this luscious room. Thanks for your Master Class to achieve this definetly *not* boring room.

  3. Laurel- Thank you again for an amazing post. A great accomplishment. Hope you are taking care of Laurel!!. And Mark Sykes….his book BEAUTIFUL is BEYOND BEAUTIFUL. I have only owned it for 1 month, and it is wearing out. So about the “BEIGE” room. I call it shades of camel. It sounds classier, and Mark Sykes is classy. I think I am going to do it.
    Thanks to all of your resources. I can make the curtains and slipcovers myself. The layering, as you said is essential. Thank goodness I built an accessory closest in my new home. Then, I can take down the camel drapes, and pull the slipcovers and turn the room into the MS blue and white room. I get bored easily. HaHa. We are going into the drywall stage. Hope to be in by??????? Then the fun starts, thanks to you.

  4. Wow, you did an amazing job with your source lineup. Also, has a really good curtains and you can order fabric swatches for free. You may already know about them. I’m not with the company I’m just a consumer.

  5. Laurel — you are the absolute best! Love your generous sharing and humor. I am a Chicagoan who was dragged 30 years ago to So California. Live in South Orange County near the beach (I’m not complaining) but I miss that city vibe. I’m currently driving my husband crazy by telling him that we need to buy a second home in Chicago. In the city. Walk to Lincoln Park. Trader Joe’s. I love that idea. All my family is still around the midwest and I do miss seeing them. Anyway — here is my question. I am enchanted with a current coop online listing at 3750 N. Lake Shore Drive, #13d. I love the lake view and the living/dining space. However, if I could make this work, I will have probably a $200 decorating budget!!! That said — the kitchen is not at all my style. I like white everything kitchens. I also worship and adore Mark Sikes. Do you think a dramatic blue/white wallpaper could help the kitchen be something I could live with until I win the lottery? I was thinking of trying a seating in the LR/DR area with a TV area facing the bookcases (we have 1 mil books & I have hoarded blue/white porcelain for years), dining table, then another seating area facing the fireplace. I truly appreciate your honest and fresh approach to decor dilemmas.

  6. Dear Laurel,

    First of all, I hope you are feeling better. Second, I love, love, love your Paint Palette and Rolodex. I have put them to good use!

    I loved this room when I first saw it in Southern Living last year. I fell in love with the Constana mirror as soon as I laid eyes on it. I kept thinking about that mirror and kept seeing it in other photos so I finally decided to see how much it cost. Yikes! I told myself to forget about it but I couldn’t. I did some researched. I signed up for emails, which snagged me a discount code, and patiently waited for what seemed like months for a sale. Finally one day there was an email announcing a sale. I bit the bullet and ordered the darned thing. All I can say is It is a thing of beauty. Pictures do not do it justice. I love it!

    I also bought the Regina Andrew Le Chic table lamps (love!) and the Ballard Designs Kerry Sideboard the same way. They all now reside in my foyer. BTW the wall color is BM Cotton Balls in matte finish with Cotton Balls semi gloss trim.

    I wanted to add a photo of my foyer but can’t figure out how!

        1. It was Candelabra. I think I saved about 15%. Not great but still better than paying “full price”! I think I ordered the lamps from Horchow when they were on sale. Both of these online stores had the best prices at the time.

  7. Hi Laurel, I LOVE the widgets! They are great “look a likes”! Reminds me of a million years ago when “Metropolitan Home” used to do the High/Low rooms. Sending love…

    1. Yes! I remember those High/Low rooms. Wonder why they stopped doing that. But that magazine changed a lot from 20-30 years ago. I used to really love it.

  8. I like be your post, but I have to admit that I’m more enamored with the tassels displayed in the show room than I am the room… so much so, I’d live in the showroom. Haha!

    You’re awesome. Have a great day!

  9. Hi Laurel i found a more affordable source for the framed birds. Its Museum Outlets. Google will find it.
    And a health tip 😁women need protein three times a day, i’m trying!

    1. Oh wow! on the bird prints. I will look that up.

      About the protein. That concerns me. I had two close friends who were on high-protein diets. One died from amyloidosis and the other from lung cancer. Neither ever smoked a day in their too-short lives.

      I don’t want to get into any debates on the blog about diet, remedies, etc. which is why I put the notice up. I know that you mean well, but it’s better not to go down that slippery slope.

  10. Beautiful! You’ve done it again. Your blog is one of my favorite things to look forward to in the week.

  11. Your posts are the best. Just wondering if you’ll end up doing one for Mark Sikes Coastal Living Idea House. It’s a lot of blue and white but really creative.

  12. Laurel, Your the best!! I’ve loved this room since I first saw it in Southern Living magazine and am thrilled to find out about the stripe fabric. Thank you for all of your hard work finding sources! Best $ I’ve spent for your rolodex and paints. Thank you from a fellow designer!

    1. Hi Liz,

      Thank you so much! I’m glad that you’re enjoying the rolodex and paint products too. I’m very proud of them! Sometimes when I use them myself, I take a step back and go, did I really do this?

  13. Beautiful. Makes me want to give up my work in progress blue and white living room and go back to a golden beige and cream room like I had before. It’s so much easier to find accessories and furnishings to go with a neutral scheme imo, and if done right it can result in a restful, warm, and serene space. I love blue accessories but a predominantly blue room is leaving me cold. Time to move some stuff around and rethink the slipcovers (blue) I recently got.ugh.

    1. Hi Joanne,

      But you know, I don’t think it has to be an either/or. In other words, you could mix this with blue and white accents. Would be beautiful! There’s a post or two about that here as well. Blue and white needs the warm tones.

      Mark has blue and white accents in his own neutral living room.

  14. “It positively wreaks of the finest of the fine.”

    That’s REEKS. You said you didn’t mind corrections on your typos!

    My living room is beige {walls} but never boring as long as I am in there with my friends.

  15. I can’t stop staring at that beige and cream print sofa (Claremont Furnishing Fabric). It’s stunning! A non boring beige room is my favorite. It never feels dull. The inspiration rooms you shared are dreamy. Thanks for giving beige a style boost!

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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