Tag Archives: Living Room

Looking for Inspiration

Yesterday was Day 3 of Apartment Therapy’s 20/20 Home Cure. Maxwell talks about looking for inspiration to help find your style and ideas for your own home. Definitely not a new idea on Fabulous in Four-Hundred Square Feet:

Monday Mall

Today’s holiday Monday Mall theme is – living room furniture.

White Arm Chair – $20

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/fuo/1999447012.html

Cool Cabinet – $25

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/fuo/1999442786.html

White Ottoman with Storage – $40

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/fuo/1999436370.html

Map-Themed Cabinet – $20

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/fuo/1999338018.html

If you would like your Craigslist item to be posted, just e-mail me the link to your item. All items must be under $50 and include a photo.

Have a great Columbus Day!

Wishful Wednesday

I wish…

…I was in Germany this fall and had enjoyed Oktoberfest!

While I can’t be traveling the globe right now, Apartment Therapy offers some great ideas for decorating with maps. I really enjoy decorating with found objects from travels. While studying in Brussels, Belgium, I saved maps from the various cities I visited. Using some empty cans (from almonds, coffee, etc.), I made functional art with my own maps.

For a while, I also had some of these maps as a framed collage.

Lastly, I’m sure I have already shown you all my wall of art that I have collected on my travels. Each piece is unique and from a local artisan (not a gallery).

How do you incorporate your travels, domestic or international, into your own decor?

Monday Mall

Today’s theme – fun finds.

‘Upcycled’ Rocking Chair – $45

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/fuo/1987109792.html

Leather Chair – $30

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/fuo/1987091195.html

Pottery Barn Bench and Pillows (5) – $10 per pillow; $25 bench

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/fuo/1987086846.html

If you would like your Craigslist item to be posted, just e-mail me the link to your item. All items must be under $50 and include a photo

Happy Monday!

Fall into the weekend

I’ve been seeing and reading so many articles about getting ready for fall, making your home feel like fall, fall decor etc. I’ve never really changed up much around my home for the seasons in the past but am considering taking a look at it this year. Here are some of my favorite ideas for fall:

  • Of course Martha Stewart changes up her decor for fall. Here she share some crafty ideas for fall and Halloween.
  • Family Circle has some great, and super simple, ways to add a touch of fall to your home.
  • Better Homes & Gardens does a before and after autumn-inspired living room.
  • Nesting Place blog had a Fall Mantel Party with some beautiful fall inspired decorating ideas.
  • Thrifty Decor Chick has some great ideas for giving your home a warm fall glow with candles.
  • I absolutely love the turquoise and red color palette used by Room Remix’s.
  • A great idea to approaching fall inspired decor is to break it down into various elements. belle maison looks at some affordable fall elements you can add to your space.

What are your plans for fall? Do you typically decorate for the seasons? Will you be incorporating fall into your home this season and if so, how?

Most importantly, have a wonderful weekend!

Drum roll please…

Tada! My finished living room – post redecoration. As I am sure I have said before, I am completely in love with the new space. On Friday, I showed you the design board I pulled together while deciding how to redecorate my space. Now, you will finally get to see what my new space looks like!

What do you think?

In regards to budget, you can find the shopping list of everything in this space here. While this total seems high, most of these items were purchased before the redecoration. My redecoration purchases were most of the items under “Living Room Redecoration”; I was able to redecorate it for about $250. My most expensive purchase was the area rug and was well worth it. I got the rug for an amazing price; it is also very durable and really makes the space.

Now it is time for you to share your space redecorations! E-mail me photos of your space. They can be before and after or just the final space. If you are in the process of redecorating and want some tips, e-mail me those too!

Redecorating My Living Room – Design Dissection: Step 5

Now that I know what I am working with (Step 1), have gotten rid of any clutter (Step 2), found my design inspiration (Step 3) and had a great time shopping (Step 4), its time for me to share with you my final living room!

I am a very visual person, and for me to feel confident about my decisions I like to see them all together first. This helps me identify if there is something missing (ie. a color, feeling, not enough or too much of a style, etc.) or if something just doesn’t fit. Here is the design board I put together:

  1. It is almost embarrassing to admit, but in the 3+ years I have lived here I have not yet put up any sort of window treatments. While the vertical blinds already installed serve their practical purpose, I also think they make the space a bit less warm. With my relatively new sewing machine, I still seem to have quite the crafter’s bug; therefore, I clearly had to make my curtains. To be budget savvy, I purchased sheer curtains from World Market and modified them. I wanted the curtains to blend but still have a bit of style.
  2. As I have mentioned a few times, I recently made a slipcover for my futon. While this was less expensive than purchasing a new sleeper sofa or having a slipcover custom made, it wasn’t cheap. Therefore, this piece was staying pretty much as is. That helped to determine at least part of my color palette – brown.With the lighter brown used for the futon, I needed to bring in some richer colors to this piece. Being that the futon/couch is such a substantial portion of the space it was important to have a few more brown tones, particularly darker ones, included. I purchased a very inexpensive throw blanket from Marshall’s to do the trick.
  3. While I know it may be a bit taboo, in reality my TV is really the focus of this space. I already owned the TV and TV stand. The stand is on casters so that it can be turned towards my bed. To stay to a smaller budget, I kept this piece as is and decided to work to incorporate the lighter brown.
  4. The IKEA side table that I already owned (in birch) helps in tying in the lighter brown of my TV stand. I decided to keep the table lamp that I already owned since it could work with the pieces I had.
  5. You may recognize this chair in the photos of my living room. That’s because it’s the same chair that, in the design board, has only been modified in color via Photoshop. The old navy blue color just didn’t fit. I have purchased a brown slipcover for this chair in a brown darker than the futon to add darker browns to the space. This was a cost effective decision as I would have loved a new chair but just didn’t want to stretch the budget.
  6. I think that finding images of what you would like your space to look like or feel like is a step too often skipped. The importance of this was clear during my living room redecoration. As I was putting all of the pieces together, something was still missing. I referred to my binder full of print-outs and found that nearly every living room I loved had symmetry; more specifically, each of these spaces had two accent chairs. After purchasing a new desk chair from Craigslist.com, I was able to use the old chair in my living room. What a difference it made!
  7. Possibly my favorite piece! This area rug is about 5 ft X 8 ft and will covers a much more substantial portion of my living space floor than my previous, very undersized, rug. My attempt with the smaller rug was to pull together the blue in the chair with the brown futon. I just don’t think this worked at all for various reasons. Long story short, this rug has various tones of brown and will really help to pull together the various pieces. The rug will also serve to help separate the living space from the other spaces in my apartment and I love the pattern.
  8. I have 2 of these ottomans and love them. They add additional seating and storage and the top allows for them to also serve as a coffee table of sorts. As you clearly see, these are not brown – they are black. Not a huge problem as they aren’t huge pieces and I have also pulled in some other black elements.
  9. To make the various tones of brown work, I needed to ensure that they were repeated in the space. The two solid dark brown pillows I already own and they will stay on the futon. The smaller rectangular pillow will go on the chair to add some lighter tones to it and give some contemporary style. The square pillow with circles will go on the futon/couch.
  10. There are a few things that either I couldn’t reasonably change or didn’t want to change. One of these is my artwork. As I have traveled abroad, I have purchased art from local artists in various countries and cities. These are very special to me and I have wanted them to take center stage to a degree in my decor.Being that these pieces of art are varying sizes and sometimes not standard sizes for U.S. frames, I purchased inexpensive black frames from IKEA and then had custom matting made in appropriate colors. This was much more affordable than having custom framing done for most of them. The black frames make the artwork all look as one composition, but the coordinating matting allows each piece to standout in its own way as they are all unique in style, medium, etc.

And there you have it – my redecorated living room. I absolutely love it!

Redecorating My Living Room – Design Dissection: Step 4

If you’re like me, budget is one of the first things that comes to mind when wanting to take on a project. While I did not have a set $$ amount in mind for my living room redecoration, I wanted to try to redecorate my living room without any big ticket purchases.

For me, it was best to identify if there was anything I felt the space really needed. To get the space and style I want I decided I would need an area rug. Additionally, I needed to do something about the one chair in my living room. My new futon slip-cover is brown and my chair is navy blue.

Overall, I needed to make purchases that would help to bring the pieces I had together. My shopping list was:

  • chair slipcover (or inexpensive new chair)
  • large area rug
  • coordinating and stylish throw pillows
  • window treatments

Even with my shopping list established, I felt I was missing something. To help determine what that ‘something’ was, I saved images of the items I was considering. Along with images of my current furniture, I was able to place items side by side to make the perfect space.

Throughout my shopping my process, I continued to refer to my binder of design inspiration. I wanted to make sure that this time around I was going to establish a style and space that I loved.

You can find a list of my purchases here.

Redecorating My Living Room – Design Dissection: Step 3

Step 3 to redecorating my living room was to find design inspiration. Looking for inspiration to redecorate my living room was fun and extremely helpful.

As I mentioned earlier, sproost.com has a wonderful style engine to help in identifying your style. After completing sproost’s style engine, I identified my own style as a combination of “French Eclectic”, “Cottage Chic” and “Hollywood Couture” or what I have called French-Cottage-Couture.

Here are some examples of each design style:

An example of French Eclectic style from sproost.com

An example of Cottage Chic from sproost.com

An example of Hollywood Couture from sproost.com

Keeping this in mind, I was able to focus my search for other photos of spaces with elements that I like. Here are a few spaces that I wanted to pull from in my own living room redecoration:

From: David Jimenez

From: decor*pad

What did you find for your redecorating inspiration?

Redecorating My Living Room – Design Dissection: Step 2

Step 2 of redecorating just about any space is – Purge and Purpose.

I’ve had quite a head start on this process as I’ve been doing a general purging of items for a little bit now. Also, for me, my living room doesn’t have much other than furniture in it. Each item is very purposeful and was intended that way. Working in a small space, I wanted to make sure I was best utilizing every inch.

  • My futon allows for my small efficiency to comfortably sleep a guest
  • The ottomans are a great find! Each ottoman has a smaller one inside. This means extra seating as well as storage in the small ottoman. Also, the tops of the ottomans turn over to serve as a flat tray-like surface.

Other than that I had a chair that had seen better days but I still need it in order to offer enough seating. I also have a small side table which is great as it holds a lamp.

How did you do with “Step 2” in your space?

Redecorating My Living Room – Design Dissection: Step 1

I hope that you all have enjoyed redecorating your space as I did! I’m just about done with my living room – The final step needs a little bit of help from my boyfriend. I love how my space has been transformed.

As I have with previous projects, I’, going to share with you how I made it to my wonderful final space!

My living room has been a constant work-in-progress. If you remember on of my earlier posts, I at first struggled with my small efficiency/studio looking like one big dorm room. Being that my futon is mobile so to speak, I first tackled that problem by making a slip-cover. While this definitely helped the situation, I still feel that this space has much more potential. Here are some photo of my living room space to remind you just what it looks like.

Step 1 of redecorating just about any space is “Inventory and Survey”.

First, I needed to take stock of what I was working with. Being on a budget, I need to work with most of what I have. Not so easy seeing as in my mind I want this space to look completely different when its done.

So there you have it – this is the inventory of my living room situation pre-redecoration. As you can see it doesn’t look like the prettiest, most stylish or cohesive little space.

Here is my apartment’s floor plan:

As you can see, I’m working with a pretty limited amount of space. Additionally, being that my apartment is an efficiency I will need to focus on defining my living room space.

To start, I identified specific problems with my living room that I would like to fix:

  1. How can I make my living space seem more like a living room? This is a problem I think most studio/efficiency dwellers face. While I embrace that it is all one big room, I still want to make various spaces seem separated and defined.
  2. I want to be just a little more grown up. I took care of the mobile appearance of my futon/couch, but still feel like this space has a just out of college feel. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just want to have a more sophisticated and pulled together look for this space in particular.
  3. How do I give it some sense of its own style? This is another problem that faces many studio dwellers and even those living in very small apartments. It can be challenging to give a particular room or space a defined style while trying to get the styles of other spaces and rooms to blend.

So many problems, such a small budget….

Wishful Wednesday

I’m a fan of dreaming big. I have a large stash of inspirational images of various spaces that I wish were mine. Here are a few of my dream living rooms:

From: Decorpad.com

From: Decorpad.com

From: Decorpad.com

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

So…..how did it go? Did you enjoy your 5 Step room redecoration? What does your space look like now?

Any plans to redecorate another space?

Any obstacles you still need to overcome?

Please e-mail me photos of your spaces. I’d love to see what everyone has done and I always enjoy sharing ideas!

To be fair, here is a sneak peek at what I have done with my living room redecoration

I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

So…..how did it go? Did you enjoy your 5 Step room redecoration? What does your space look like now?

Any plans to redecorate another space?

Any obstacles you still need to overcome?

Please e-mail me photos of your spaces. I’d love to see what everyone has done and I always enjoy sharing ideas!

To be fair, here is a sneak peek at what I have done with my living room redecoration

Redecorating a Living Room (or any space) – Step 5: Implement!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! With my down time from surgery, I have had plenty of time to work on my living room redecoration and I’m loving the progress!

Step 5 is the most rewarding, and final, step of your redecoration! Now that you have put in all of the hard work it is time to let it shine.

One change that can make a huge difference for $0 is rearranging furniture. I find that it is best to work with a copy or drawing of your floor plan when deciding how to rearrange your space. I recommend cutting out pieces of plain or graph paper for each piece of furniture in the space. You can then place these  cut-outs on the floor plan to see how to best place your furniture.

Now that you have decided where to place things, it is important to keep in mind the design principles I discussed in my earlier posts: balance and symmetry, scale and proportion, rhythm and repetition, focal point and emphasis,  and color, pattern and texture.

Most importantly, have fun and make sure you let yourself and your style shine in the space!

PLEASE VOTE FOR ME!

Pretty please – with a cherry on top! CB2 and photographer Todd Selby are hosting a contest called “The Selby is in Your Place”. Each entry can post 3 photos of their “most creative space” and are then voted on until September 15 at 11:59pm. The top 50 vote-getters advance to be judged by Todd Selby and CB2 for “their creativity and originality”. The grand prize is $10,000!!

Please please please vote for me and encourage many many others to as well :-).

Design Principles: Balance and Symmetry

Balance and symmetry help to give spaces a feeling of harmony.

Correctly implementing balance and symmetry in your own space will give it a balanced appearance. When placing items or choosing colors and textures, it is important to consider their “visual weight” in the space (Goulet). I’ve been reading FabJob Guide to Becoming an Interior Decorator lately, which I absolutely love. In the guide, the authors recommend asking yourself the following questions when deciding where to place an item or whether or not to use an item:

  • What is the visual weight of the item?
  • Where will the item look best?
  • What will need to be placed to balance the item?

Using these three questions as a guide, it will be hard to go wrong in creating a space with equilibrium and harmony.

To get just a bit nerdier, there are two type of balance: symmetrical and asymmetrical.

Symmetrical balance is kind of like playing with shapes in grade school. The shape on the left exactly matches the shape on the right – Tada! Pretty straightforward.

Asymmetrical balance can help to add a younger and more fun look to your space. According to my new, handy-dandy guide:

Asymmetrical balance occurs when you have varied pieces of different sizes and shapes placed to create equilibrium.

Here are some examples of both symmetrical and asymmetrical balance:

Redecorating a Living Room (or any space) – Step 4: Budgeting and Shopping

The end is in sight and it just keeps getting more enjoyable and rewarding from here on out. I told you the hard work would pay off!

Much of what I am going to say here is similar, if not identical, to some of the advice from 5 Steps to a More Organized and Usable Small Kitchen. The basics of planning your budget, shopping and sticking to your budget are as follows:

  • Know the space: It is important that you take thorough measurements of the spaces you are reorganizing. This includes, but is not limited to, cabinets, closets, floor space, etc. Make sure to measure every dimension (length – width – depth). I find it helpful to draw the space on graph paper so that I can better visualize how to use different organizational tools.
  • Solve problems: Remember the words that you brainstorms earlier in Step 2. Think of what elements you could add or existing things you could modify in order to make the space all that you want it to be. Try to think outside of the box as much as possible – just because you have used a particular piece of furniture or an item for one purpose doesn’t mean that is the only purpose it can serve.
  • Know your budget: If you end the project having the most amazing space with fabulous furniture, but are stressed out because you have overspent, the project really hasn’t achieved its full potential. Have a budget and stick to it. Make sure your budget is reasonable – for your finances and for what you think you will need to purchase. Remember that you may have things already that you can re-purpose. Also remember your position in life – is this a place you plan on settling in for a while, or is it more of a short-term home. This can effect how much you want to budget for items such as furniture. If you plan on moving in the near future, it may not be a bad idea to look for less expensive or even second-hand items.
  • Research: This is vital to staying on budget. I am a fan of using Microsoft Excel. I typically set up a spreadsheet to keep track of items that I think I want to purchase. This way I can get an idea for what the end cost will be before making any purchases. This helps to prioritize purchases when you near the end of your budget and helps you find the best deal for your purchase. You can find an example of the spreadsheet layout I have used as part of Step 4 of A More Organized and Usable Small Kitchen.

Aside from the nitty-gritty of planning your purchases and budget there are other elements of style and design you will want to consider. Remember your style! This can be incorporated into your space on any budget. If you’re style is like mine and you would love an amazing accent chair, but are also on a budget like mine, no worries! Just because you can’t purchase a new chair doesn’t mean you can’t make a current chair look new. Think of using slip-covers, throw pillows and the like. You can also refurbish a piece of furniture or an inexpensive second-hand piece. If you are crafty, you may be able to save even more money by sewing an accent pillow that will really bring out your style or making a slip cover like I did for my futon.

When shopping, I would recommend bringing swatches of the colors or fabrics that you are working with to make sure you are getting pieces that will work together. Aside from color, don’t forget texture. This is especially important in monochromatic spaces. Without texture it may all look a bit bland.

Happy Shopping! If you find any great deals to share with fellow decorators – please do!

Redecorating a Living Room (or any space) – Step 3: Inspiration

2 down – 3 to go!!

This is the fun part! Before you dive into your space and redecorating, it’s helpful to have a vision of what you would like the end-product to be. While I do have a creative side, I love to look for ideas and inspiration from other people’s spaces. While looking for inspiration, keep in mind the words that you have brainstormed to describe your space. Sometimes we may find a decor that we love but when thinking about it in our own lives and homes, it may not be the best fit.

As I have mentioned earlier, I recommend printing out your favorites and making notes with post-its (or right on the photo) of what it is that you like about that space. Search for elements of a room that you adore and not just entire rooms. This will help to make the end result more an expression of you than simply  a reinterpretation of another person’s  style.

Another helpful resource for this step is sproost’s style engine. Once you have completed their ‘quiz’, sproost provides you with examples of your style. What a perfect place to start!

Here are some spaces I found that have helped with my living room redecoration:

I would love it if you would share some of your inspirational finds!

Redecorating a Living Room (or any space) – Step 2: Purge and Purpose

Step 1 – Done – Congratulations! You should know have a lay of the land and an idea of what you are working with.

The next step may be a very challenging one for some – it certainly was for me. It is time to clear out or ‘purge’. Everyone has some things around that they really don’t need or use – these just add to clutter and take away from fulling enjoying your space. When looking at your space, consider…

  • Are there any items that you need to keep (for budget or other reasons)? Are there any items you really want to keep and incorporate into your redecorated space?
  • What is no longer usable or useful?
  • What items are not part of your style or may be out of style?
  • What just isn’t working – visually and/or functionally?

Consider the above questions while going through all of the items in your space. I have had the habit of rationalizing that I may use or need something even though I haven’t used that item in a long time. As a general rule, if you didn’t know it was there, or haven’t used it in the past 6 months to a year you can, and should, get rid of it.

While deciding what items to keep and which to get rid of, keep in mind that an item can be re-purposed or re-faced to better work for you. This is particularly helpful when working on a smaller budget.

It can also be helpful to have a friend over to help. Not just as help with the physical labor, but to also help keep you honest with yourself about what you should and should not keep.

The purpose of the space also needs to be considered at this time. Write down some words that you would like to describe your space when it is redecorated (ie. uncluttered, comfortable, easily access files). These descriptions should address the style and functionality of the space and will help you in the next 3 steps.

Good luck and as always, please feel free to share!