Monday, July 30, 2012

retro redo

There is something about summer that seriously infects me with the home improvement/decorating bug every single year. Even though I am dirt poor right now I can't stop my eye from wandering to all sorts of wonderful projects and places I want to improve in our house. My obsession of the moment? Our living room.

The first thing I ever did in this house in the way of adding my decorating pesonal touch was the throw pillows on our couch. We've certainly come a long way in the decor department since then, doing big time DIY art projects and redoing the bedroom, which means I feel like we've evolved into a different style than my first throw pillows. Originally the idea was to add some style to the house without shaking Jason's whole world (consequently making him break up with me for fear that I might start putting floral pillows and doilies in every room) so I did my best to make the pillows match the colors in the room already - which were deep red and light olivey green. The result is a palette that is WAY too subdued and sophisticated for Jason and me. Sometimes I feel like we're living in some Rooms-To-Go showroom with the same "modern," but in reality "completely old-fashioned," color scheme. The rest of our house is about color and quirkiness and fun. So we need to bring a little of that to the living room, while still keeping it somewhat cohesive and much, much more homey. Those are the goals.

So anyway, the whole thing has been on the back burner UNTIL I was reading this post on one of my favorite home improvement blogs, I immediately followed the links in her post to this Etsy store, skoopehome.

Can you say THROW PILLOW JACKPOT? The bright colors and bold patterns are right up my alley. But after scanning page after page, I determined that while these are stunning, they're a little TOO bold to go with our existing furniture (which, I admit, was a total bummer for me.) Our sectional fabric is this odd black and tan micro pattern, which from afar ends up looking sort of like a dark brownish-gray. Very odd. And our walls are off-white. So I just couldn't see the bright, saturated hues and crisp whites working well with what we have. But, mark my words, if we ever get a new couch and change out the area rug, I'm heading to skoopehome first. Once I had discovered the pillow mecca known as Etsy, I continued searching for pillows that would in fact blend well with our current "bones" in the living room. I went in a ton of different directions but eventually stumbled across these awesome retro-inspired pillows.

The base is subdued enough, and the pops of color provide some fun without being fully saturated, making the pillows blend nicely with what we have going on. I absolutely fell in love with them and was inspired by the whole retro-modern vibe. Jason's favorite space ever is a hotel room we stayed at in Scottsdale, AZ at the Hotel Valley Ho, which has the same updated iteration of 1950's mod.

I'm not a completely retro girl myself. I like to integrate more contemporary items - clean lines but still a warm and homey feel to them. So taking that 1950's look and incorporating some softer, updated items is what I'm thinking.

Luckily, with a little Photoshop magic, I decided to do a virtual update to our current living room so you can see what I'm envisioning. And the best part, the whole redo can be done for under $500. (Not that I have $500 laying around, but add a few pieces here and a few there and this look is TOTALLY doable in a short period of time.)

So first, our plain and boring living room as it is now. (And no, I couldn't be bothered to clean off the coffee table or hide the power cords. Don't judge me.)

Kind of sad, right? Let's discuss the issues here.

We've got huge off-white walls with only one Ikea print that isn't even aligned with the window (that drives me nuts) and provides no personality whatsoever to the room. Sorry, if you're the big print kind of person, but a part of me feels like putting up one of these in the living room is the equivalent of having a stock photo on your website. It lacks authenticity.

Vertical blinds. Need I say more? Yikes.

You can't really tell in this photo, but our ceilings are super high and I just want something to fill that space out a bit more. To make it feel like you're in a cozy space rather than having these massive cold walls staring down at you.

Eventually I'm also going to replace that medusa-like light in the corner, but it's super functional for now so it stays.

So... now the plan...

Now I know it may look a little disjointed in the photo, but I think with the addition of some great accessories it could be perfect.

What I love about it:

A big, graphic art piece replaces the stock photo print, and the best part is... it's a DIY! We can make the colors whatever we want and match it exactly to the shades throughout the room. Hopefully this makes for a great focal point in the room and it distracts from the tons of off-white wall space. I've also added a pair of black frame/thick white matted prints above the black chair to continue to break up the wall.

I also want to put a little vignette of fun prints above the window in order to heighten the living space and not make it feel so much like a harsh delineation from the big blank high walls and then the living space closer to the floor. I actually want to make the living space feel taller.

The black and white tree print curtains! I love these because they're whimsical but also graphic enough that they can blend with the modern vibe. I wanted light curtains since we have dark hardwood floors, dark couches and a dark chair, etc. I think they also add a more girly touch since a lot of items in the room are more masculine.

Of course the throw pillows I already love, and I also found some more fun and again whimsical-modern pillows that will add more unexpected personality to the room, which I'm all about.

Finish things with a pair of Ikea side tables (which we have been desperately needing) for some fun accessories/to keep the remote and there you have it! My plan to retro-ify our living room.

The whole thing just feels... homier. And more us. Which is what I wanted.

Again, I'm not going to be rushing out and making these changes all over night, but it feels doable. And  of course I'm sure it will look different in person so things might need to be scrapped/altered/added/subtracted, but I feel good about this style suiting us much more. And this is a room I'd be proud to have friends in to hang out!

// Do you have the summer decorating bug like me? Where are some of your favorite places to grab inexpensive updates to your home? //

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