Wednesday, March 27, 2013

design: High Style Low Budget Living Room

The title of this post could also be "How to Make that Ikea Couch Look...well, not like an Ikea Couch" 
Earlier this week, I showed y'all where to find some fun high style housewares that won't break the budget.  And, while I think the big retailers are great for making good design accessible for all, I mentioned that there are generally a few things I stay way from. Here is a living room I whipped up to illustrate my point.  

The slipcovered couch and chair are both from Ikea. They are pretty basic, but they have nice clean lines and are easy to work with.  The rug is a woven jute rug, which can be found all over for super cheap (Ikea has a really nice thick one). The coffee table is the biggest splurge,  but I think it's really important to have a few special, unique pieces in each room. A number of different styles would work as well, if that one was just too pricey. The side table and the lamp are pretty simple. There are a number of retailers that sell similar looking pieces, so you could probably find one in your price range. For the table, maybe something like this glass topped piece or this one from CB2 would work.

Crate & Barrel has some pretty inexpensive table lamps too. This one would be a good fit for our Living room. 

The floor lamp in the "room" is actually on the higher end, and its pretty fantastic. Its the Spun Light by Flos, but I honestly think the Kulla floor lamp from Ikea would look just as great too. 


The chest on the left could be perhaps a piece you already own or a funky piece that could be bought at a used furniture store,  yard sale or outdoor market like Brooklyn Flea or Chartreuse &Co. We just refinished a high boy dresser for our bedroom, I'll share all about that project soon! It has great brass hardware just like this Mid Century Modern piece above.  I love that use of warm metals but with different finishes. 

So now, we've identified all the basic major players. Whats left is the art and the pillows. I picked these art pieces to be representative of art that you could buy inexpensively or art that you could make. The piece over the chest is by Sugarboo Designs. I really love all of their pieces! I would rather see an original piece done by you than something mass produced. My friend and I painted these, it was fun to make and they are totally original. How fun would it be to have an art night and create something like the piece over the sofa? 

I say look for pieces you love or that make you smile, check out emerging artists, or just make your own. Original art is so much better! Now about the pillows, I really think these are the little details that really make a room. Generally, store bought mass produced throw pillows are not the best quality. They are usually too small, don't have a down fill, under stuffed, with a big zipper or no opening at all... and well... they just look cheap. Thats why I think custom made pillows and draperies  (more on those... later) really take a room to the next level. In the room above I selected all different patterns and sizes, none are matchy-matchy.  Sometimes they can be quite expensive especially if they have a lot of detail and embroidery. But just look at what a difference taking out the personality pieces makes!  

This room is fine, there is nothing wrong with it... but there isn't anything really special, either. It looks like random pieces that don't all quite work together...  The art is ok, but haven't we all seen something like that already? It just seems sort of flat an "undone". 

Anyway, I think you can save a lot of money on buying reasonably priced basic pieces. And by adding a few carefully selected pieces that really speak to you,  you can create a great looking room that is uniquely yours!

What do y'all think? 

xo Lea Hart

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