EG's Thrifty Living Room Transformation (under $200!)

Functional, but boring.  It was in dire need of an update!
In my last post, I talked about getting bored with my living room lamps.  More accurately, I've been getting bored with my entire living room.  The great thing about moving is that you get to play with a new space. The bad thing about moving is that there's no guarantee that your possessions will look good in it. And in our new (to us) townhouse, our old living room was just looking... well, old.  So I decided it was about time for a makeover.

The Beginning:
My husband and I affectionately refer to our house as The House That Craigslist Built.  When we first moved in together, we had nothing, and so necessity, availability and price dictated our style more than anything else.  Slowly we've swapped out pieces over the years - updating and reselling old ones, and replacing them with new Craigslist finds that fit better.  But the essence of the room still revolved around those initial pieces: tans, golds and deep reds drove the color scheme and dark leather and stained glass added to the library-like feel (which I LOVE, mind, but not for my living room).  When we moved into the new space, the furniture we had didn't quite fit, so the living room wound up being a bit of a hodgepodge.  Now, I wanted something that felt lighter, cleaner and cozier.  And I wanted to be able to have guests over and give them, you know, somewhere to sit.

The Plan:
Should I ever have more money than I know what to do with, my house will undoubtedly be furnished by Pottery Barn.  I LOVE their style.  Until that time, however, I will simply have to use them as inspiration.  After looking at hundreds of their images, I decided to go with one of their  frequently used color schemes: a neutral base accented with shades of blue.  Something about it seems so clean and classic.  

The Execution:
I love my new rug and ottoman!
The first swap was the living room rug.  We had an 8' x 11' burgundy and gold rug that we'd used for years (Craigslist).  There was no getting around that, color-wise.  At Ross, I found a beautiful pale blue and cream rug that was only slightly smaller (8' x 10') for $89.  Most likely it won't hold up for years and years, but frankly, I don't need it to.  For now, I simply needed something to anchor the room and set the color palette.

The same day, I found a cream linen ottoman at TJ Maxx for $80.  Considering the ottoman can be used as a coffee table, as additional seating, to stash throws, and to put your feet up $80 seemed quite reasonable.  Plus it has cute little wheels, nailhead detailing and tufting.  That's like the Emily-Grace decor trifecta. How could I say no?

I didn't want to spend much more than that, so I set about Shopping My House.  I went from room to room and pulled everything down that I thought could potentially go in the living room.  (It's amazing how some pieces take on a completely different look when moved to a new location.)  After some arranging and rearranging, I decided on a large framed impressionist painting from my bedroom; a robin's-egg hued distressed piece of pottery; a set of framed old-world map prints from the office; and a blue, white and brown striped down throw pillow that I have no idea when or why I purchased.   

Add to that the lamp set that I just repainted, and the living room was already looking a whole lot different.

DIY Lamp Re-Do

Ummmm... A pair of wingbacks for the cost of renting a van? Yes, Please!
The final piece of this transformation was 50% luck and 50% OCD.  I check Craigslist nearly every day - it seems excessive, but it's the best way to stay on top of great deals in any given area (and the good ones area always scooped up fast).  I had been looking at seating options and was actually about to make an offer for a chair  that would work for the interim, when the Craigslist gods smiled down on me.  A new posting popped up from someone who had a pair of blue wingback chairs available...for free.  I immediately squealed like a schoolgirl, contacted her, rented a van and drove to pick them up.  It all happened so fast, I didn't even have time to call my husband (not something I'd normally recommend!).  As it turned out, they were absolutely perfect for the space - the velvet heather blue added depth to the room, and the smaller size meant that there's less of a visual footprint.  (Translation: the narrow room doesn't look too cluttered or cut off.) I couldn't be more thrilled! 

The Result...

Living Room Before and After

Other small changes include mirrors that help illuminate and magnify the space, a new mantel-scape
 and some swapped photos in frames.  Little alterations, perhaps, but design is in the details. 

Makeover, Redecorate, Re-do

There are still so many things I want to change... a new sofa (ours is a little worse for the wear), some additional artwork on the left side of the fireplace, and new pillow covers for the throw pillows (I have the fabric; I just need to get around to doing something with it!).  But for now, it's a pretty incredible transformation for under $200! 

Next up... The Office
(I can hear my husband sighing already) :)

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