Spring ’23 One Room Challenge – Whimsical Parlor – Ideas and Inspo

Welcome to the Blue Leopard Interiors Blog! I’m so glad you’re here! My name is Justine Dennen, and I’m the owner of Blue Leopard Interiors, a boutique residential interior design firm in Great Falls, VA.  I am super excited to be participating in my second One Room Challenge! Last fall, I participated for the first time, making over my Dining Room and Butler’s Pantry – click here to see the Final Reveals! Although it’s a bit stressful trying to focus on completing a room in my own home while also working on client projects, I find that my creativity works in mysterious ways, and often I’m at my most creative and productive when I’m also at my busiest! I also have SO MUCH to do in this house since we moved in last summer, (for my journey into interior design and a little more about my current and former homes, check out my very first blog post here), so I feel like I can’t let another One Room Challenge go by without taking the opportunity to cross off another project in my very long Home To-do List!

But now let me tell you a little about why I chose to makeover the formal living room, or “parlor” as I’ve renamed it, this spring. While it might have made more sense to try and tackle something bigger like my kitchen, basement, or deck (given that it’s spring), to be honest, I needed a project that I knew would be fairly easy since I am also fully booked with client projects at the moment. This little sitting room is also right at the front of my home, and open to the foyer, so it has the potential to make a big first impression. Here is what it looked like when we bought the house – minus the staging furniture of course!

 Before Photos

Parlor BEFORE looking through Foyer
Parlor BEFORE looking toward picture window (and also looking much bigger than it actually is with the real estate wide angle lens)
Parlor BEFORE looking toward Foyer

So, as with the rest of this house when we bought it, certainly nothing atrocious, just very beige and blah – not really my style :). Since we’ve moved in, I’ve already re-tiled the foyer, and gave the staircase a makeover, so these photos give you an idea of how the room looks now:

Current Photos

Parlor CURRENTLY looking from foyer
Parlor CURRENTLY looking toward picture window
Parlor CURRENTLY looking toward Foyer

As you can see from the current photos above, I’ve added a lot of color, pattern, and texture to the room with furniture, art, and accessories we already had from our old house. We actually painted most of the downstairs rooms Snowbound by Sherwin-Williams when we first moved in, which gave us aclean slate to start from. I also added the ginormous Serge Mouille dupe light fixture when we moved in, and got rid of the can lights. At first, I wasn’t sure if the fixture was a bit much for the room, but now we love how it adds so much character and modernism to an otherwise traditional room. The sofa we brought with us from South Africa. I had it made there for our family room, and then we used it in the basement lounge/bar area of our last house. I had it reupholstered in this pretty aqua velvet, and switched out the wooden legs for these swanky lucite and brass legs, which totally updated it. I found the black lacquer Asian chairs on FaceBook Marketplace for $25 each (!!!!!!), and had the seats reupholstered in a fun tiger print velvet. The exact same set of 1960s James Mont Style Black Lacquer Asian Modern Chinoiserie Ming Chairs is selling for $1800 on Chairish currently – and THIS is why I love FB Marketplace! We also brought the zebra skin from SA, as well as the hand-painted Asian cabinet. I also found the Oscarine round lucite and gold Anthropologie coffee table, (no longer available), and interesting curved, marble top writing desk on FB Marketplace. The blue and white Chinoiserie garden stools were used as end tables by our pool at our old house. So the room is definitely off to a good start already, but I’ve been wanting to take it up a notch, so the ORC is the perfect opportunity to do so! Here’s a little 3-D mood board for the room:

Mood Board

To-Do List

So my plans to primp this little parlor are as follows:

  • Paint the walls – exact color TBD – but the paint swatches stuck to the wall in the current photos above are a clue !
  • Re-finish the hardwood floors – more on that process to come
  • Add more seating – on the hunt for a small loveseat
  • Window Treatments – I’ll be going semi-custom, adding two different trims to some inexpensive store-bought velvet curtains
  • Create a gallery wall – using a mix of original art, prints, and objects we already own, along with a couple of new pieces
  • Wallpaper – likely on the ceiling!!

So please follow along as I bring color, joy, and character to this little room with lots of potential! See you next week!

Cheers to Fab Interiors,


Here is my ORC progress

Week 1  ||  Week 2  ||  Week 3  ||  Week 4  ||  Week 5  ||  Week 6 ||  Week 7  ||  Week 8