You guys. This blog post has been roughly 7 months in the making and I am *beyond* pumped to finally be sharing one of the more difficult first world projects I have tackled to date: redecorating my living room. I feel like such an adult saying that phrase out loud. Redecorating my living room. That phrase also seemed light-years away from possibility several months ago when the bf and I signed our lease again to stay in our tiny, one bedroom apartment. Why? Well a) furniture is flippin’ expensive and b) after previously working for a furniture company I quickly realized that I just love ALL the things. Like all of them. All the things that, individually, look super interesting and beautiful, but when put in the same room as all of the other interesting and beautiful things would be a huge cluster. The thought of even trying to upgrade a few items in our apartment just seemed too overwhelming and financial unfeasible. So I pushed the thought out of my head and let my interior decor dreams die on Pinterest, as most project-based dreams do. That is, until I found Havenly. (insert grateful hands emoji)
Havenly is a women-led online full-service interior design company, based out of Denver, that aims to make interior design easy and accessible for all. Havenly’s professional designers are with you every step of the way, from helping you determine your interior style (it’s harder than it sounds!) and budget, to creating room concepts and making customized product selections for you – all online. Pretty cool, right? I was so impressed by their offerings that I jumped at the chance to work with them. And so my #getdecorated journey began!
The Design Process
First, I took a style quiz to figure out my overall aesthetic. I got eclectic, which I was not surprised about in the slightest and reassured me that the style quiz was indeed, completely accurate. Next, I was paired up with my designer, Diana Lu Barabe. She and I hopped on the phone for about an hour review my style quiz, asking what I liked and didn’t like, where I liked to shop, what my budget was, what parts of the room were pain points, etc. Diana instantly understood my design struggles and eventually helped me hone in on my interior aesthetic and rid me of the indecisiveness that had plagued me for so long. Here’s her side of the story: “I think Katherine’s style was easy to figure out because it was so similar to my own. We both liked spaces that were more modern but also felt lived in. However, our biggest challenge here was combining two people into a fairly small space. Katherine and her boyfriend owned a lot of stuff and our first step was editing and organizing. I really wanted Katherine to feel inspired at her desk, and then feel relaxed with her boyfriend on their sofa. To me – storage items were key, as well as visually dividing sections within the room to create a comfortable living space. I was thrilled to help her design a space that spoke to her great style.”
Long story short, Diana nailed it. After the call, I sent her a drawing of the layout of my living room with dimensions, along with some A+ iPhone photos of the space and she worked her design magic. In record time, she started whipping up concepts (see below), suggesting products for me to look through, and provided design advice. Her first piece of advice was to get rid of stuff. I shuttered at the thought because, you know I love stuff. But, I listened to her because she is a professional after all. Her second piece of advice was to keep a few things I already owned instead replacing. I absolutely loved this idea and decided to keep my TV stand, desk and floor lamp and a few other knick knacks. The first few rounds of product selection were definitely a struggle for me because I couldn’t quite put my finger on what style I wanted to go for. I kid you not, I lost hours of sleep over these decisions. Hours. Because I’m a psycho. If Diana wasn’t providing her expertise, I’m sure I’d still be cracked out somewhere trying to decide what color tray to buy for my hypothetical coffee table.
After many emails and late-night online window shopping for products, Diana sent me my final designs. It was so cool to see all of our decisions come to life in the digital rendering. I’m a very visual person, so the concepts and the final designs helped me immensely in the whole process. It’s crazy how just a few minor tweaks, like moving our taxidermy deer head to the other side of the room, made such a huge difference. Overall, I could not be happier with the final results. Before Havenly, I felt like I was suffocating in my apartment. I blamed it on the size, but in actuality, it was the items and lack of function that we’re killing my vibes. Now, every day when I come home and it feels like home.
The Final Designs
If you’re thinking about redecorating a room in your home, I highly recommend trying Havenly. Their designers are top-notch and help bring your interior dreams come to life in the easiest way possible. If you’re strapped for cash, you can use their budget calculator and they even offering financing options for the products you decide on. They have two affordable design option plans – $79 and $199, but between now and June 1, 2016 you can receive 20% off your services with code STYLETAB!
Before: Living Area
Don’t ask about the yellow couch cover. I have no answer.
After: Living Area
We went with natural wood touches and a calming beach print to bring some contrast to our urban living environment. The bf picked the couch color on the custom upholstered Harper Sofa from Wayfair, which is made in the USA. I am obsessed with this couch and love the fact that it’s made in the USA. The fabric is so soft and the mid-century modern feel works perfectly with my eclectic style. The best part? It comes with FIVE pillows! Although this was made-to-order, it arrive in between the 6-8 week window that was mentioned at purchase. My biggest, #noregrets investment piece is the mango wood coffee table from West Elm. It’s a lift-top, since we use the coffee table as a dining table as well, and it has tons of storage inside. I love the contrast of the southwestern print rug with the industrial feel.
Couch: c/o Wayfair Palm Pillow: Urban Outfitters Coral Pillows: Target Rug: Rugs USA Coffee Table: West Elm Record Player: Urban Outfitters Record Player Shelf: Urban Outfitters Floor lamp: DIY spray paint job Stool: Amazon Wall art: Urban Outfitters Marble Tray: Target Coasters: West Elm K Mug: Anthropologie Rope basket: c/o Wayfair Hexagon shelves: Etsy Delaware and Massachusetts wall art: Etsy
Before: Office Space
After: Office Space
The bf and I both have office spaces in our living room, each in opposite corners. I know, it’s crazy. Diana wanted to help me play up the airy, yet feminine vibes that I like here, since this corner is my domain. I had a lot of fun taking Poppin trays that I already owned and spray painting them copper to keep the metallic touches consistent throughout the room. Diana suggested the mint green filing cabinet for extra storage and it’s just what I need to organize and hide things. I’m also a big fan of my Instax camera and decided to throw all most of the mini photos up on the wall either with clips or to complement the gallery wall.
Desk area: Filing Cabinet: CB2 Desk: Wayfair Copper letter holder: CB2 Trays: Poppin (I spray painted the copper ones) Pen cups: Poppin Pens: Poppin Tape dispenser: Poppin Scissors: Poppin Copper lamp: Target Polaroid holder: Urban Outfitters Sunglasses girl wall art: Rifle Paper Co. Tassel Garland: Etsy Desktop: Apple
Before: TV Area
After: TV Area
Taxidermy: Wayfair Polaroid holder: Urban Outfitters Dresser: Family hand-me-down
Before: Storage Area
After: Storage Area
Bookcase: Wayfair Copper Frame: Wayfair Spike-y thing: Target Copper Wire Baskets: Target (small and large) Terrarium: Urban Outfitters Air fern: West Elm Faux plant: Target Telephone: Vintage find
Small Apartment Living Room Decorating Tips
- Get creative with storage. Take advantage of multi-functional pieces such as a storage coffee table or ottoman to stow things out of sight. To keep myself sane, I make sure every item that I can see, has a place for where it “lives”.
- Choose your rug wisely. One of the first things Diana told me was to get rid of our round shag rug. She said it made the room look smaller because of its shape and the texture was overwhelming. A square rug in a fun print adds interest and keeps the room open with clean, straight lines.
- Add some nature. I’m a big fan of plants – real and fake. If you’re in a small space, especially in an urban area, foliage can help bring some zen into the room. If you go for the real deal, you can even pick up an indoor plant that’ll help clean your air!
- Divide and design. My living room was a challenge to decorate because it’s more than a living room, it’s the dining room, the office and the workout area. If you have a similar situation, don’t get caught in making sure everything matches absolutely perfect. Instead design each area for the vibe you want and use the same colors or textures throughout each area to provide cohesiveness. (Like I did with the copper accents.)
- Edit, edit, edit! Don’t be afraid to rearrange or even toss stuff. Cutting down on clutter will allow you to enjoy your room, rather than feel like your sitting in a room full of stuff.
- Invest if you can. As I mentioned earlier, I splurged on the West Elm coffee table. Not just because of how pretty it was, but because I knew it was made of quality materials and will last me for a very long time. I did tons of research on it beforehand and even went into my local West Elm to see it for myself before purchasing. When investing in furniture online, read as many as reviews on the item as you can. The couch I chose had about 40 reviews and I think I read about 90% of them, plus Googled to see if any bloggers had done a review. (I didn’t find any but found a decent amount of customer photos that allowed me to see what it looked like in a home.) Doing your homework upfront will help avoid surprises when the delivery people arrive!
This post is brought to you by Havenly and Wayfair. Both sponsors provided me with furniture credit to purchase several of the pieces found in this post. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Style Tab’s lights on!