Interior Designer Michelle Morgan Harrison’s Tips For Decorating Rooms With A Personal Touch

Interior designer Michelle Morgan Harrison made over two rooms in Greenwich, CT, with an emphasis on creating casual, but immensely chic, spaces to entertain.

BEFORE: This oversized living room was used for entertaining guests, piano recitals and family game night. The challenge was creating a look that suited them all.
BEFORE: This oversized living room was used for entertaining guests, piano recitals and family game night. The challenge was creating a look that suited them all.

A Living Room for Life

When designing a room, retaining its purpose is easy — the trick is keeping it personal. New Canaan, CT-based interior designer Michelle Morgan Harrison redesigned this large living room for a Greenwich, CT, family who needed it to serve as an entertaining space, a room for piano practice and recitals and a family friendly space for playing board games and hanging out. So Harrison began by taking a look at the family’s lifestyle and the items they already owned.

“The clients have a great sensibility for art and music,” says Harrison. “It was fun to take inspiration from that and move their things around.” Harrison chose a palette of light grays and neutrals, with pops of lavender and eggplant, colors that she pulled from the homeowners’ pottery collection. She used existing art from their own collection. In the end, finding the right layout to meet the clients’ needs was key for this oversized room. “Getting the room to seem like three separate areas that flowed from one to the other was the challenge,” says Harrison.

AFTER: “This is a really important room because [the clients] walk through it every day,” says Harrison of the dining room, which needs to be suitable for entertaining, but not overly formal. She chose a transitional-style long table from Hickory White with a double pedestal, and barrel-back scalloped chairs covered in a mocha velvet on the front and ribbed satin on the back. Both fabrics are from Barbara Barry.
AFTER: “This is a really important room because [the clients] walk through it every day,” says Harrison of the dining room, which needs to be suitable for entertaining, but not overly formal. She chose a transitional-style long table from Hickory White with a double pedestal, and barrel-back scalloped chairs covered in a mocha velvet on the front and ribbed satin on the back. Both fabrics are from Barbara Barry.
BEFORE: The traditional furnishings and dark colors gave off a different feel than what the homeowner wanted.
BEFORE: The traditional furnishings and dark colors gave off a different feel than what the homeowner wanted.

More-Than-Everyday Dining
Harrison transformed this Riverside, CT, dining room from a dark, Colonial-style space used for kids crafts, to a modern, bright and fresh room for elegant (but not stuffy) entertaining. “She was coming from a farm table that her kids did art projects on,” says Harrison of the homeowner. “I had to come up with something that wasn’t too refined.” Harrison chose mocha and white with gold and silver accents for the color scheme. New built-in cabinets became a main feature of the dining room and provided much-needed storage space. A neutral marble on the fireplace replaced blue and white tiles. “We did this fabulous mocha over silver grasscloth wallpaper [from Sonia’s Place] that had a gold and silver mix,” says Harrison. She pulled from the clients’ color choices in the foyer and incorporated the homeowner’s collection of cow paintings framed in gold. “I always try to look at the last thing people buy or do to see what direction the design should go in,” says Harrison.

CONTACT: Morgan Harrison Home, New Canaan, CT, 203-594-7875, morganharrisonhome.com