I need inspiration and suggestions for bright, clean, unfussy interiors... incorporating early-American-style furniture.
A friend has asked for help planning and decorating her first apartment. I'm excited, but there's a catch: she already has a set of dining room furniture, and it's, well, kind of ugly. ~80s Ethan Allen, very very Early American in style, complete with lots of fussy curves and super-knobby legs; warm orange-golden maple-colored wood, something like this
. The set was purchased mainly because it was cheap and sturdy, and I don't think she's really thought about the aesthetic one way or another, but for a variety of reasons I doubt we're going to be able to replace it, or even modify it in any major way (by painting it, for instance).
Although a rank amateur at this whole design thing, I'm a fan of blogs like Apartment Therapy and would like to make suggestions that help incorporate some of the qualities of their interiors-- brightness, simplicity, livability, a clean, organic feel-- into my friend's room. Thing is, my mind's eye invariably associates the Early American furniture style with stodgy, heavy, busy, or grandmotherly interiors; I have a feeling a really creative person could probably break free of this stereotype, but mediocre me is finding it hard to imagine how a room with knobby orange-colored furniture could also be made to feel open and unfussy and bright.
The design blogs I've seen aren't much help, since they seem to bring up Early-Am/Colonial-Revival style mainly to deride or dismiss it. I really need some inspiration here. Does anyone know of suggestions where I can find pictures of pretty, modern-small-m interiors that incorporate Early American elements? Failing that, any suggestions of how else I might go about getting my head around this?