I think most people decide to tackle the living room first after moving into a new home. It’s likely that the living room will be used often, and more importantly, it will have the most eyes on it. So after we closed on the house in January (even before that if we’re being honest), I started scheming and re-scheming the living room.
I first started thinking about neutrals and designing with them verses color. Did I really want to commit to that? What if I found a fabulous wallpaper or fabric that was color happy but couldn’t use it because I had committed to neutrals? Well….. I committed and really have had no regrets since committing. I went color crazy in the rentalrental, and not that it was the colors’ fault, but that house felt crazy and scattered. I wanted settled and lived in and cozy with this house. I know lots of people wants that in a house, but I think to really achieve it that you have to be super intentional about it. Crazy eclectic likely isn’t going to scream cozy. It will scream fun and a good time, but not “settled”. It just depends on what you want in your home. A while back a friend posted something on Instagram about decorating to evoke feelings. Parker and I knew that we would likely “entertain” (hate that term) a lot in this house because it’s open and spacious feeling. With that in mind, I thought hard about how I wanted guests to feel when they entered our home. Did I want them to feel intimidated? Because honestly, that’s pretty easy achieve as a designer. Some people want extreme sophistication through their house. They might WANT their home to feel un-touchable and ultra classy.
To determine how I wanted friends and family to feel when entering our home, I visualized the whole thing. Guests knock on door, we open door and hug them. How do they feel when they first step in the house????? So important right!!!?
- Welcomed – I want for every single person entering the house to feel welcomed. There’s a good chance that I didn’t go above and beyond as a hostess, and I want for my house to make up for it. I want my house to give guests a hug almost.
- Relaxed – I want for guests to feel relaxed and comfortable when in our home. I want them to feel like they can SIT on our furniture and throw the pillows on the floor. I want them to not feel like they have to take their shoes off or tiptoe around the house.
- Cozy – And taking “relaxed” one step further, I want for guests to feel COZY. Anyone who has ever lived with me (Parker and college roommates) will tell you that I ALWAYS walk around the house with a blanket wrapped around my waist like a skirt. That’s because I love to feel cozy. I want our guests to feel so comfortable that they feel cozy.
- Inspired – That being said, relaxed and cozy don’t equal pretty. I obviously want my home to be beautiful in its own way. Cozy and relaxed could literally equal a huge, brown, microfiber sectional with cup holders. None of that. My brain revolves around this stuff, and I’d like for our home to feel inspiring and completely unique.
Deciding how you want your space to feel might sound like a silly, useless step, but I think it’s one of the most important steps if you want to love your space for years down the road. Not everyone wants a cozy, lived-in home. Not everyone wants a crazy, party looking home. There’s no wrong answer here. You just have to know what you want.
After you decide HOW you want the space to feel, you have to figure out how to achieve it…………
Cozy, Lived-in, Collected, Casual, Unique =
Natural Textures, Soft/Luxe Fabrics, Layers x 10000
So I started pulling inspiration with the above elements –
I always like to pull inspiration together on one graphic as it helps me to vision the overall picture. I don’t (or at least try not to) to fixate on one image for inspiration because who wants a copied room? I like to pull ideas and elements from several photos and use that as a guide….. Kind of like when you blur your eyes but you can still make out colors, shapes and overall image? I try to keep blurred eyes when gathering inspiration………
After I had a clear idea of what I wanted to achieve, I started reaching out to my favorite brands about collaborating. And while we’re on that topic, let’s stay there for a quick minute. Is anyone starting to roll their eyes at the amount of donated product we’re using in the house………..? I’m obviously not asking for vicious feedback if you are tired of the donated stuff, BUT I am totally open to hearing “hey, i appreciate what you’re doing but it’s hard for me to relate to all the free stuff….” Heck, I don’t know….. My intentions here are to be very upfront about it all, so that’s what I’ll do here. Parker and I were obviously sooooo pumped to work with so many brands on projects around the house. We would not have been able to do ANY of the projects we’ve done without the generous sponsors. Parker hasn’t felt any guilt about it for one second (he assures me it’s a portion of my business where I work out very fair deals with brands and they donate product/ I “advertise” that product in a natural way). To him it’s just a business deal, and no emotional ties belong in a business deal. Thankfully he’s helped me to see more that side of it because for a while I wanted it all to come to a screeching halt. I know that sounds ridiculous. Girl gets tons of free, BEAUTIFUL stuff to transform her house into their dream home and then she wants it all to stop? LOL. There came a time when I felt plain guilty for all of the nice things. I felt guilty that I was being “braggy” about all of the new stuff. And maybe I do come across as braggy. I definitely don’t mean to, but online doesn’t always translate real life. I guess that tangent was just to say that I am extremely humbled by the amount of product we’ve received and I do not take it lightly. It was HUGE for us.
I’ll quickly transfer to the reveal photos now. We love this room so much. We spend time here every day, twice a day, and I work from the kitchen island, so I look at this room all day long most days. The room feels good to me. It feels cozy and lived in and comfortable and welcoming and unique and inspiring. I’m sitting here looking at it from the kitchen, and I don’t think I would change one thing. For now.
I rented a u-haul and drove to Houston, TX for that credenza. I found it via Craigslist for $300ish and was already making the trip to Houston, so why not tack on the u-haul so I could come home with that baby. The table lamps are vintage and Lamps Plus sent the empire lamp shades. I decided to use all empire shades in here to bring a touch of traditionalism to the space. I’m all about empire shades right now.
Here’s a full room view. We also shot the kitchen (!!!!!) when we shot this room, so that reveal will come next week. There were several shots of the living room that had the kitchen in the background, so I decided to hold those until I share the kitchen.
I found the sofa from a local vintage shop and had it upholstered in Tonic Living’s Velvet Moss. I loved its shape and knew that it would look great covered in most anything. The velvet is so yummy, and while it is brown, it doesn’t scream brown. (You know, cozy but also pretty.)
That stunning table skirt is a fabric by one of my absolute FAVORITE fabric lines, LuRu Home. (Also there’s a photo near the end of the post with a full shot of the table skirt.) Please just go look at LuRu Home if you’re not already familiar and then tell me you don’t want everything from their site. Their fabrics are so unique and I love incorporating one or two when I can in a project. Their fabric line is carried by Supply Showroom here in Austin. A table skirt was another element that I planned for early on. I love the major traditional vibe that anything skirted has, and wanted that to be a huge part of the space. The colors in this Summer Palace fabric just melt with all of the surrounding colors and textures in the room.
Lots happening here. I’m stuck on what to do over the mantel but not too worried about it. I found those ladies at a thrift shop for $10/each and couldn’t not buy them. You can’t see in the photos, but they have the funniest smirks on their faces. The sconces were also thrifted (originally shiny brass) and I spray painted them (and the candles) in a matte black. Most all accessories in the room I already had (books, vases, sculptures, etc.)
The mantel was the original mantel. The previous owners had a decorative cover (very frilly) and we were just planning on replacing the whole mantel. We started ripping off the cover and found this perfect lil mantel underneath. We had Jeff’s crew sand it down (and I think lightly stain) and it was good to go after that.
The vintage rug came from Unique Rug Store and was honestly so much better in person than the online photos. I loved it online but when I saw it in person, I cried. Buying vintage rugs online is super tricky. Sometimes they come and the colors aren’t how they were pictured online. Sometimes that is a good thing, and sometimes a bad thing. Unique Rug Store was amazing and they have a HUGE selection. Their site is very user friendly and site is divided by rug types, colors, sizes, etc. Makes searching much easier.
Still loving the painted beams. I did a post here about the paint colors/process.
I think that chair is my favorite piece in the room. I already had the vintage parsons chair (the desk chair in this room), and I had it covered in a great zebra print fabric from DecoratorsBest. This exact fabric (I think by Ralph Lauren) had since been discontinued, BUT look at how many other options DecoratorsBest has. I know animal prints were a little too much for a while (some people think animal prints equal glam and feathers…) but they’re back in a much classier way, I think. I was set on using a sophisticated zebra print in this room as I thought it would bring nice interest to the space. I sourced this fabric early on and most other selections were centered around that fabric.
I bought the vintage coffee table from Scout Design out of Dallas. I have notifications set to alert me when they post on Instagram because every single piece they have is amazing. I also bought the two waterfall stools from them and had them upholstered in leftover fabric from the bathroom shower curtain.
Tonic Living made the drapery panel and roman shade. I don’t have any photos of the treatments that don’t show the kitchen (coming next week). The window treatments are something else I chose early on. I really can’t rave enough about Janine of Tonic Living. I had an idea of what I wanted but also wanted her expert opinion and she put me at ease. I wanted both treatments to coordinate but also be tailored to the window. There’s a smaller window that we did a roman shade on and then french doors where we did one panel. We did one panel because the right side of the doors butts up against the start of the brick meaning the rod couldn’t extend past the french doors (meaning there isn’t room for a stack back on the right side). We have a stack back of about 2′ to the left of the doors (meaning the drapery panel extends 2′ to the left of the door) and the panel is wide enough to be functional and close although we never close it. We went with this great fabric – the pattern is small in scale so it doesn’t feel overwhelming but it also adds nice color and pattern to the room.
And now some really satisfying before/after shots:
*indicates product was donated
Sofa Upholstery – $400
Chair Upholstery – $200
Stool Upholstery (2) – $100
Table Skirt Hem – $30
Mantel – $100
*Paint (3 gallons) – $300
*Ceiling panels – ?
Sofa (vintage) – $150
Leather Chairs (2)– $1460
Parsons Chair (vintage) – $150
Coffee Table (vintage) – $500
Credenza (vintage) – $300
*Skirted Arm Chair – $250
Console Table (vintage) – $75
Wooden side table (vintage) – $30
*Custom Drapery Panel – $750
*Vintage area rug – $3,000
Sofa Fabric – $300
*Chair Fabric – $400
*Table Skirt Fabric – $600
*Stool Fabric – $100
*Pom pom pillow – $100
Vintage pillow (sofa) – $85
(2) Vintage pillows – $100
(2) green pillows (Homegoods) – $40
Clarence House pillow fabric – $100
Wooden Sphere Table Lamps (2) (vintage) – $100
*Empire shades (2) – $60
Side Stool (Craigslist) – $25
Marble Table Lamp (vintage) – $50
*Empire Shade – $30
Marbled Vase (previously owned) – $50
Wooden Bowl (previously owned) – $15
Branch (previously owned) – $15
*Black floor lamp – $150
Vases (console table) (vintage) – $75
Heads (mantel) (vintage) – $30
Sconces (mantel) (vintage) – $15
Wood stumps (mantel) (vintage) – $50
Vase (mantel) (vintage) – $20
Books (coffee table) (previously owned) – $50
Burlwood box (Homegoods) – $20
Wooden candelabra (vintage) – $20
Horns (over door) (vintage) – $15
Assorted vases (credenza) (previously owned) – $100
Books (credenza) (previously owned) – $15
Drapery Rod – $85
Drapery C Rings – $100
TOTAL – $11,390