updating our spaces (planning post #1)

There have been a lot of changes in-work at our place. In November we recarpeted the house, repainted the formerly teal bedroom a soft, smokey blue (I miss the teal walls, but it works better with our black furniture), and J updated our fireplace with a new tile surround and mantel. We are in the process of finishing our basement (!!), which will eventually serve as our family hang-out space, play room, and office. That requires a whole separate post another day.

A new basement family room means that eventually we will be moving our living room couches, chair, end tables, ottoman, and tv downstairs. We will have a completely blank canvas upstairs to design! With the dark walnut mantel (I just stained it last week), and (eventually) darker cabinets in the kitchen, I will want to keep the furnishings light and airy, with the bigger purchases very neutral. I like to be able to switch up the pillows and art and not be too limited by anything.

I am a very visual person, so I like to create little boards on Polyvore when I’m making decisions for a space. That way I can picture how the things we already have can be best incorporated. It helps me focus and best use our budget. So while I can’t use the exact items I’ve got, I can still get a good idea of the feel of the room with similar items and colors. It works for me. Below is kind of my ultimate plan mood-wise:

living room ideas..
 Of course, this is just for a general idea/vibe I’m going for, using a lot of what we already have. As the budget is tighter than ever, picking a couch gives me anxiety! With dogs and a toddler, I have to be practical. But we also need to think budget-friendly. I am thinking sofas with slipcovers are the way to go. I am really interested in the IKEA EKTORP line of sofas (pictured above). Does anyone have an EKTORP, and would you recommend it? What about slipcovers in general? (BTW I am not anti-laundry. I have white IKEA curtains in most rooms, and we cloth-diaper! But I don’t want to spend hours every week actively maintaining a sofa.)
  • We already have the LACK coffee table and the LACK side tables I modified into a cube table; they have been collecting dust in the basement until we had a room for them.
  • We also already have some glass ball lamps we are using in the bedroom, which I’d be happy to switch up into the living room.
  • The purple chair above represents my fave thrift score that is currently in Hannah’s room. It is a nice small chair perfect for reading and additional seating.

I’ll be on the lookout for:

  • The perfect basic couch. The one above is the IKEA EKTORP but I haven’t decided for sure what I want to get.
  • A hutch for the wall where the tv currently sits. The one above is the IKEA REGISSÖR, which I like size-wise, but will more likely keep hunting for a used piece I can paint. Most of the media in our house will be in the basement, but we will need a place for a few books and toys upstairs.
  • Great curtains. I love the ticking stripe above from Anthropologie, but they never gonna happen. It would be simple enough to add my own pom poms to some stripey curtains if I could find something similar, or sew my own panels.
  • Not pictured, but more seating on the other side of the room. Probably a love seat, but I could be flexible since this will no longer be a lazy tv-watching space. (I want it to be comfy in there, but the seating doesn’t need to be as lounge-around-all-evening-friendly).

The kitchen/living area is all one big open area, so it needs to coordinate. We have some kitchen sprucing in the near-future plans as well. We are going to stain the now cherry alder cabinets a darker walnut color, and paint the island white. Here’s the idea I’ve got in mind for the mood of the kitchen area:

kitchen idea
 The blue rectangle with a chalkboard represents our pantry door, which I would like to paint a fun color. Really, paint and stain are the only required expenses for the kitchen area. I would like to find a great rug, but I am happy with some others I’ve got for now so it will only be if I find an amazing bargain that I will worry about that. I just threw that on there because I like the pop of color. I could work that in anywhere.
I made a board for our dining area a couple of years ago, and though it doesn’t look entirely inspired by this look, it does have a sort of similar mood, in my opinion. I still really like the look of this board, and think it ties nicely in with the living room and kitchen space I have worked up above.
dining room update
You know what is so hard for me? Figuring out what my style is. Even with creating those little collages to capture the look I want, it’s hard for me to not get too easily inspired by other styles. And I’ve been trying to decide what my style would be called. It’s a little boho (but not messy), a little farmhouse (but not country), a little Scandinavian (but not minimalist), a little traditional (but not matchy).