Moving can bring many design challenges. For example, what do you do when you move into a new place and your furniture feels like it doesn’t belong? It’s a question that we’ll all likely face at some point, and to be honest… can feel exhausting. Whether the scale of your favorite sofa is all wrong or you’re struggling to find the perfect layout, these challenges can go from minor hiccups to major design roadblocks.

New parents Melissa and Josh were all too familiar with this feeling. When they moved into a townhouse in Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill neighborhood, they brought their beautiful collection of antique furniture with them. Unfortunately, many of the pieces seemed out of place. The the dining and living area lacked function, and deterred the couple from spending much time there. They wanted their home to feel lived in and comfortable, and knew it was time for a change. However, they weren’t interested in removing the items that were most personal to them. Faced with the challenge of transforming the space from formal to family-focused, they wisely turned to the talented team at Homepolish for help.

Homepolish designer Kevin Clark quickly got to work transforming the space. “The goal was to maintain the character of the brownstone, but because she grew up on the Upper East Side she did not want anything too stuffy,” he explains. “​They wanted it to feel young, energetic, easy, and kid friendly. ​I definitely wanted to help give them a casual space that still felt polished and modern.”

First, he totally flipped the configuration. “Originally, the space before had the dining room closer to the kitchen, and the living room near the windows. The perspective when you walked into the room was not cozy because it was a dining table and murano glass chandelier which blocked circulation to the kitchen​.” Swapping the two completely opened up the space, giving it the sense of flow and function that the couple craved.

The walls were painted in warm neutrals, and lighting was upgraded with the addition of ceiling medallions and new chandeliers. To modernize the space, Kevin brought in contemporary furniture pieces with warm woods and a hit of color.  He also applied one of his top design tips – using mixed metals to help give the room more dimension and character.

While the space had an impressive transformation, what’s most notable (and telling of Kevin’s expert design skills) is what remained from their original collection. In the dining area, an orange hutch and emerald green dining table add a burst of color – both of which are family heirlooms. Above the sofa, a vibrant piece of art from their growing collection – matched perfectly with a child-safe peacock blue ottoman below. And on the mantle, an elephant purchased on a trip to India – reminding them of their travels. Those priceless heirlooms paired with the family-friendly new layout truly made this townhouse into a home.

1. Do not be afraid of color. “I always recommend at least 3 accent colors. This will help balance the palette…it is about balance. Here, the room was painted a blush tone neutral; we then used the orange, peacock, sky blue, rose, gold, and a light jade to make the room have a comfortable, inspiring palette.”

2. Do not be afraid of knick knacks – embrace them! “These are the finishing touches that make the home feel lived in. In this case, we used a lot of gold accessories to really add another dimension to the space – in boxes, candlesticks, and sculptures. I think this is the one area to have a lot of fun and use really unique items.”

3. Fight tradition in layout. “Here, we switched the traditional layout. The original dining area was larger. Since they wanted a larger, more comfortable seating area, we switched function to meet their needs. The fun thing about design is there are no rules! It’s a matter of how you live and the challenge of creating a floor plan that is aesthetically pleasing, yet also fits the needs of a lifestyle.”

4. Embrace mixed styles/periods. “I think so many people get caught up in “traditional,” “modern,” etc… I love the idea of telling a story and having your space match the personalities of those of living within. Pieces from different eras or periods give the room a whole other dimension. I think the space definitely embodies their personalities and neighborhood, while still holding true to the character of the brownstone.”

5. Set the table! “There is nothing more lovely than having a beautiful tablescape. I know that fresh flowers are not easily maintained on a regular basis, but it’s always good to have a nice mixed assortment of vases or votives on the table for when it is being used. I think you should have fun with the place settings! Here we mixed crystal, ceramic, and cast glass at the place settings.”

Homepolish is revolutionizing the design industry. Whether it’s a total renovation or finding the perfect finishing touches, Homepolish designers work by the hour to create balanced spaces that just work. For more design inspiration, follow @Homepolish. To learn more or to schedule a design visit in your own home, click here.