An Update on Haley's Living Room: Accessories Matter


It's only 3 weeks until littlest sister Haley moves away to Madison and into her grown-up condo. Because she's furnishing and decorating this place from scratch and on a budget, we've been spending a ton of time shopping, looking at fabric swatches and paint decks, and scrolling endlessly through the interwebs for the greatest and cheapest (fill in the blank).

I teased some concepts for her living room (and really her dining room and entryway because it's an open great room) a while ago and figured it was time to update you on how closely those plans had been followed and what we've bought. Most of your favorite design also happened to be hers, so we started from this "Classic and Cozy" concept.

I loved the idea of a mostly neutral and pulled-back space with some pops of color (blue couch!) and warm wood and leather. The aspirational part of this design was the notion of tiling the fireplace - we loved the look, but just couldn't justify the cost in a temporary home for a med-school student. Haley also really screwed up when she was budgeting and didn't budget for multiple leather Moroccan poufs which can easily cost $200 a pop. I tried to tell her that I needed EMERGENCY pouf money in the budget, but she's way more sane than I am about these things and said no. Lame.

I think Haley was like a lot of people who really struggle to make the first big purchase when staring at what is basically a blank canvas. She liked the idea of the blue couch but was hesitant to go with something non-neutral for the first and biggest investment in the space. And honestly, brightly colored furniture wouldn't be my recommendation in most cases, but we found this great, expensive looking fabric in just the right shade of blue, and Haley's fun side won over.

With the first big purchase made, a lot of other things came together quickly. The rug and chair matched the design plan pretty closely. Haley's not a big fan of mid-century, so we went looking for something more industrial for the coffee table, and she and my mom found a great one at Macy's, of all places.

And after a lot of looking for poufs with fairly specific requirements (not too tall, comfy to sit on, not requiring emergency funds) I found a great floor pillow at target. Now of course I only found one, and it was in an odd spot in the store, and they were sold out online and in all nearby locations. But middle sister Rachel came to the rescue and found one in a suburb of Milwaukee even after the store told her on the phone that they didn't have it - score! Here she is showing off her pouf hunting skills.

So with the "big things" purchased, I asked Haley how she was feeling about everything. Basically, she liked everything we had purchased, but was worried about the room/house being too masculine and serious. We hadn't gotten anything bright or cheery or girly or particularly young - so I got where she was coming from. Without any of the "extras" the room was coming together like this.

Looking at this, I understood why she was feeling that way - it was a whole lot of neutral without a lot of personality. I assured Haley that accessories would make all the difference. And guess what? They do! Even in a mood board before we have anything in the room.

Instead of making this post way too long, I'm gonna get fancy for just a second and show you how I plan on aaccessorizing the room with a nifty gif.

Well would you look at that - Girliness! Personality! A little youth!

Here's how this works in my head and the basic path we'll follow when we're actually loading in...

First, we found great paint stencils that are meant to give the effect of tile from Dizzy Duck Designs - she even ships fast and cheap from the UK! I was originally thinking we would do the stencil design in a charcoal, but I think the blue will balance out the space better.

Next, I picked some art to go in the big Ribba frames we purchased on our epic Ikea adventure. And honestly, 4 hours and 4 carts in Ikea on a rainy Saturday does qualify as epic. Here's a super cute picture of Haley to prove it.

The happy abstract art pieces are all from Minted. Haley was really struggling with what sort of art would work well, but the more I've looked, the more I keep coming back to these big shots of color that don't have subject matter to get sick of.

Because we'll have all these frames over the couch, I wanted to do something more sculptural over the fireplace. This big, brass line sculpture is from Target, and I think will be a good modern contrast to the more traditional pattern on the fireplace.

To bring the blushy tones from the art into the room, I added some vases that I got on clearance at Target a while ago. Next, I populated the mantel with a mix of blue glass from Ikea and some fake pink peonies that will look good all year long - ha. Plants are a must to soften up the space - even faux plants bring life and texture. And finally, a few throw pillows will bring everything together.

Just look a what a difference a few accessories can make! Of course, if she got sick of blush or wanted something more mellow all she would have to change is the art and swap out a few pieces. Now I just have to hope that Haley likes all this stuff. :)

Stay tuned for the reveal of the full space!