So I’ve been doing this since I can remember. I first look around, gather inspiration (before Pinterest, I would clip magazines) and sort my way through my favorite thrift and antique stores. When something catches my eye, I make a mental note and take a photo of the price tag and item and sleep on it. For months.
I’m not quick to buy things, usually. I like to build a plan and a budget, look for sales or creative ways to save, scour craigslist for similar items for a cheaper price and mentally get ready to pull a room together. I’m not a designer by trade, I didn’t go to school for this but this is the method that works for us and it ends up creating a space for our family that we love and feel comfortable in.
One of the things that seems to be helpful for me, from what I’m hearing from you, is that I can see a space in the AFTER while I’m looking at the BEFORE. I can envision a space with the walls out and the how the new layout will work. Although space planning is another animal entirely (That’s Aaron’s ace in the hole) so we work pretty well together.
Since the remodel of our own home completed we’ve been living with less than finished spaces.
Bare bones design. No art on the walls AT ALL. Kitchen cabinets that are still from before, miniature appliances, and rooms with very little furniture.
It’s been just fine, actually. We needed to recover from living through the remodel, we very much enjoyed the open space and little-to-no furniture. We had dance parties and dinner parties and Sunday brunches and hosted a holiday and it has been just fantastic.
All this while saving our pennies to be able to buy a couch and a rug and here’s where we enter the Planning Zone:
I take to Pinterest and magazines to hoard away inspiration, layouts that could work for our space, colors I love, and pattern mixing options.
Those shelves!! YES! We’ve been through so many options for how we’re going to get our library outfitted with shelves. We were planning on spending upwards of $350 for each shelf.
Our front runner was this lovely piece from Sams Club and we even bought them (but since they didn’t have them in stock our only option was the floor model at a reduced price, SWEET right? Nope. Our Jetta with 2 kids wasn’t gonna make it work and it felt impulsey so we waited …) and had a few other ideas as well.
We LOVED this library shelving from World Market but when we went to see them in person it was less than impressive. And at the same price as the Sams Club option, we liked what Sam’s was offering better. But, still at World Market, we saw this piece, cheaper – sturdier … it was on the list.
But then I saw this on Pinterest and clicked through to see that these shelves? They were on sale and we could get 3 of them for the price of one from Sam’s club, and from the photo on the blog post … they looked awesome. Just like what we were hoping for (minus a ladder) and I was sold. Done.
So I started my list with links and prices. I do this with every space. A punch list? A source list? I build one so I can easily remember where and what and how much. Then I build a budget.
Since the above photo is a PDF converted to a JPG the links (words in blue) won’t work. But that’s ok … here they are for you.
3 BOOKCASES – $264 (we have 100 inches to fill so only 3 shelves at 30 inches wide will fit)
RUG – $96 (an 8X10 rug for under $100? OMG. Truth be told, I’ve been looking at this rug for MONTHS. It’s jute so I don’t love it for a living space but the colors, I can’t get over it. It grabbed me, I want it. But jute in a house? It’s not soft and so much of our space after the remodel is raw already, I didn’t want to keep that theme through the furnishings. I was hoping to soften up the space with fabrics and chairs. But for the library space? We need a bit of color in there.) Below is the library space as it sits this morning. Muted.
I bought the current rug (along with the one in our bedroom) before the remodel was completely finished. I knew I wanted the bedroom rug (saw it first on Young House Love) but the library rug was a bit of an impulse. It works, the colors flow – it’s fine, but it’s not quite right and it doesn’t offer any color.
The library space is going to be masculine but welcoming, inviting. It’s an extension of our bedroom since the Master is so small – we planned to “design” the spaces to flow well together.
But I feel like the shelves and possibly the rug is the start of something great.
Now for the Living Room Space …
This is my inspiration for the layout you just have to pretend that the fireplace in the inspiration pin is actually french doors to our deck 🙂
And the space we plan to furnish:
The french doors used to be a fireplace – below is the same space BEFORE the remodel:
And with the new furniture we plan to do a similar layout as the photo shows above, but the chairs will be a love seat and a smaller coffee table in the middle. Also? We can get the couches for 20% off which will make the overall budget for the Living Room Space $274 cheaper. WOOT!
Which brings us to the Dining Space:
Current space we’re working with is:
We switched out our round table for this Craigslist find ($50) and now I have a plan for the chairs.
The creamy/yellowish sette will sit along the accent (brown) wall and the new scoop chairs will float opposite. Our family eats at this table every evening together so 4 chairs is all we need to display, but I love that the scoop chairs could easily be turned around when we have company over to add seating to the conversation area with the couches.
PHEW. We made it! Now to throw a birthday party for my boy. Food fight included. (Shhhhhh!)
We’re having a massive multi-family garage sale July 19… so much of our “stand in” furniture or “wait a little longer/hold us over” seating etc will be there. Mark your calendars!