My beige living room was driving me crazy, but I put off completing this room for budgetary reasons. We had too many other projects on the list when we moved into this house, but now I’ve figured out how to do it for under $700.
Below is what my living room looked like to start with. The entire house was beige when we moved in, and I’ve since spent many hours and at least 12 gallons of paint changing that.
We also had this beast of an armoire that I picked out when I was 22. It’s not my style now, so I was able to sell it on Craigslist. I didn’t have a good place for the floral chairs anymore either, so I sold those as well. The rug was too small and the lamps didn’t have a logical place to be plugged in — plus those two boogers in the picture were always messing with them!
When I took the armoire out, the space seemed so much more open and light. I put my favorite Ikea Kallax shelf in to use as a TV console, but then the wall seemed giant and very very blank. I left the portraits of the boys up (by Meg of Filbert and Bright) and it made me want to do a big gallery wall.
Because the floor plan in our new house is so open, we have much less wall space than in our old home. That meant I had piles of artwork in the garage. I sorted through everything and arranged a light and bright variety with a few bold colors.
When I arrange gallery walls, I usually start with the large pieces grouped in the center and then work my way out with the smaller pieces. I also tried to space out the wood, black, and white frames so they would look balanced.
My dad asked me why some of the books are turned around. Well, that’s because some of these books aren’t so beautiful, but I use them on a regular basis — like my worn Italian language workbooks. (You’d think I’d be fluent by now judging by how many books I have, but alas, I am not.) I also don’t want people judging me by how many parenting books I own. Haha. No, I don’t have this parenting thing down, and I own lots of James Dobson books.
In the white magazine holders I have a Wii we don’t use often, games, and cables. In the first basket I have DVDs, and the second basket holds our modem and cable cords. It works well because it has a hole in the back for them to fit through. The DVD player is behind the TV, which is not ideal, but I haven’t figured out a better solution yet.
A large basket from Marshalls holds extra pillows and blankets, and helps balance out the plant on the opposite side.
I’ve been obsessed with this large striped Ikea rug and finally got my grubby hands on one. I love its boldness and how it breaks up all the white in the room.
We bought this fiddle leaf fig tree at a local nursery about six months ago, and so far we haven’t killed it. In fact, it’s even grown and filled out more. It gets a lot of indirect sunlight from the sliding door, and I’ve been using these fertilizer sticks. They’re easy to put in and last awhile, and for the price I figured it couldn’t hurt.
I’m sure it depends on where you live and climate, but I’m watering it with a gallon of water every time I poke my finger in and the soil is dry an inch deep. It ends up being about every two weeks, I’d say.
Our Ikea Ektorp couches have held up nicely over the past seven years. With messy boys, I love that they have completely removable covers. I’ve washed them at least five times (don’t use the dryer) and they go back on perfectly. The cushions have even kept their shape.
I already owned the artwork (or made my own), so I was able to get away with making over my space for less than $700. Here was where my budget went:
- Shelf: $65
- Shelf baskets: $30
- Planter (24″): $29
- Teal armchair: $250 (on sale with free shipping)
- DIY pillow covers: $8
- 8 x 11′ Rug: $299
- Large basket: $29
- Fig tree from local nursery: $125
minus my Craigslist sales of my chairs and armoire ($135), I’m down to $700