My sister Elizabeth is turning 40 in July and for her birthday she wants the family room painted and re-decorated.
Her kids are almost four and six, they have not bought any new furniture since they got married and had kids.
The living room furniture currently has her husband Bill's 16 year old black leather sofa, a black leather recliner, a black leather chair and. . . wait for it, a black leather ottoman.
The family room has Elizabeth's inexpensive sofa and chair from The Brick to decorate her place when she was single. All of this furniture has been totally kid friendly, they have jumped all over it, threw up, you name it. It's worked out just fine.
Instead of spending money on decorating, they go on lots of weekends away skiing in the winter, take vacations with the kids, etc.
But the house looks tired and my recommendation was that instead of re-decorating the living room to replace the black leather furniture, decorate the family room instead. Its a large room with a big toy room attached. Usually there's an oversize train track set up. Every birthday and Christmas they add more tracks, the kids play hard in this room.
My thought was, for $5,000 you could get the whole room re-decorated using IKEA upholstery. The slipcovers are washable (Ektorp is still a classic) so you don't have to stress about good furniture getting ruined as the kids are still young, plus this room is the focal point of the house. The way the house is laid out, guests enter through the back door instead of the front. French doors leading out to the patio where they entertain all summer long are also attached to the back entry so this room is very visual from all sides.
Plus the family room has nice big windows where you can sit and look at the mountains and the cherry blossoms. The living room windows are small and it's a dark room.
You know when magazines do those 'high and low' pages where they try and duplicate a room using inexpensive pieces and then the other side is expensive?
Bill immediately thought the living room should absolutely be done first and that they should buy quality upholstery and definitely not IKEA. But the budget for that room is still low so if you buy a quality piece of furniture we were still buying a sectional. This room is long and narrow and has a TV it needs to be arranged around.
Keep in mind sectionals replace a sofa and loveseat so they seem more expensive but really it's both pieces together in one.
Let's say we bought a quality sectional from Crate & Barrel. Not high end, not low end either. This one is $5088.
That's the whole budget. Gone, with one purchase.
So now you have a great sectional and thats it.
Here's option number two (below). All links for each item on this Pinterest board.
My sister wants a colourful sofa, William's (her 6 year old) favourite colour is red so she's going for the red sectional. By the way my sister didn't really like red until it became her oldest sons favourite colour.
Everything you see in this room still only adds up to $4283. And that includes 8 toss pillows with inserts, 4 pairs of curtains, 4 double wall sconces (they have some ugly fixtures that need to be replaced) and the only items from IKEA are the sectional, chair and curtains.
So which room would you rather have? One lonely piece of furniture while we wait until we can spend more money and eventually have a complete room? Or a fully decorated room with money to spare?
It's cushions, drapery and lighting that give your interior a wonderful look and feel, if your budget is really low and you wait until you can buy quality, that day might never come.
Last week I arrived at my neighbours home just down the street. She wanted me to help her decide which lighting and accessories would look good in her living room/dining room.
I had already been there for an initial consultation where I had told her which furniture pieces she needed to buy. She had done all that on her own and was now ready for the finishing touches.
"It's a good thing you have a minivan" I said, "Let's go to HomeSense right now".
"What? Right now? I need to be here for when the kids arrive home from school in 2 hours". She said.
"That's enough time, let's go" I said.
90 minutes later we had spent $1200 and bought 4 lamps, an end table, 8 cushions, coffee table books, picture frames, seashells, a decorative pot for a flowering plant, hurricane lanterns and candles for the dining room table, accessories for the mantle and suddenly her living room and dining room had personalty and style!
Photos to come as the room needs to be painted.
She was impressed that the only items that did not work out of everything we purchased was a vase, a table runner (which ended up looking like a sheet on the table) and 2 extra toss pillows. And she added, "Thanks so much for taking me there, I could never have achieved this on my own".
Clients have to have trust me while accessory shopping because they have no idea what's going to really happen, as they watch one shopping cart after another getting loaded up (anyway it's easy to return).
I recently had another client who said "I don't like a lot of stuff on the tables in my house". I said "Trust me, accessories are in an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT category than tchotchke's.
She was also soooo happy when I walked out the door a total of four hours later. She had lamps, pillows, new colours for the walls, a plant, new living room arrangement, new art and she had no idea that an iridescent gold bowl with faux red apples, 3 coffee table books in raspberry, yellow and black/white placed underneath a small vase with pink flowers and a funky candleholder would transform her coffee table and living room into such a happy place to be.
It's Spring and time to bring some fresh into your house! I hope I've inspired you to do just that! Check out my Styled Interiors Pinterest board for inspiration.
What's your favourite High/Low find?
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Three Things I Learned about Design While Decorating for my Mother
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