A living room challenge!/M&J’s LR

While visiting some friends of ours for a birthday gathering our friends M & J asked if I could help them figure out what to do with their new living room.  They’ll be moving at the end of March from their 1 bedroom apartment to a much bigger 2 bedroom place.

Of course I said yes.  I never pass up an opportunity to like this!  Especially since I offered to help them actually move and everyone (including DH) said absolutely not because I’m pregnant.  Yeesh.  Fine then–I’ll just be busy planning and sewing for their new and fabulous living room while sipping an Izzy soda and watching you all sweat.  Perhaps they’ll at least let me head up the snacks committee?

Of course, then J told me that I had to get this all figured out before they actually move in!  I thinking perhaps she has more confidence in my ability to find time than I do myself.  But she did agree to be the first new project featured on the brand-spanking-new blog, so I can’t complain too much.  I suppose I should be thanking her for motivating me!

After we left the party (with one of their couch cushions in tow) we went to see The Magic Flute.  I love Mozart and all, but he sure writes an annoyingly long opera!  Needless to say we arrived home much later than my 9:30 pregnancy bedtime, yet somehow my mind was alert and all a-twitter thinking of ideas for M&J’s new space: identifying challenges and assets, considering colors, etc.  So I stayed up a little extra late working on my favorite tool for brainstorming room ideas: the power point presentation.

“What??” You may be asking yourself?  “Why is she taking a fun, creative project and turning it into a boroing ‘ol .ppt??”  Well, for some reason I’ve found that this is the best electronic way I have of communicating my ideas to others, and it often helps me make early decisions about things like color palette because I can so easily create the same basic color scheme and just adjust one color (would this be better with light green walls?  or gray??).  I’ll post more about how I’ve used this tool in the past soon.  For now, suffice it to say that after I discovered one of my favorite blogs (younghouselove) and started reading it more extensively, I realized that my power point presentation method is similar to their mood boards.  I think I typically try to make mine more realistic in terms of layout and overall color balance, but the basic idea is the same (I’m sure there is some real word for this the proper interior design world…if you know it, please share it!).  Besides…I don’t have a lot of time, and this way I can send the file to someone electronically and immediately get feedback.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here are the challenges and assets for the M&J LR project, as far as I can see at this point:

Challenges: large room, small budget ($200), non-neutral couches (they are actually a nice shade of dark green), I haven’t actually been inside the space yet, tight timeline

Assets: they don’t need to purchase new furniture, J is open to DIY (ie sewing) options, they are pretty open in terms of style (this might also be a challenge because I’m not sure which direction to go in necessarily!)

At this point, I think my goal will be to help them zero in on a good color palette and make some major decisions like wall color, drape style/color, and also bring in some pattern (right now their LR has basically only solids, but they are definitely open to pattern–but just don’t have any ideas) so that the room looks pulled-together right away.  I think this will allow them to be happy and comfortable in their space once they move in, but still allow them to make smaller improvements to the room over time as their budget allows.

I didn’t get a lot of direction from them before we had to leave, but J did say she tended to like primary colors (which I blamed on her being an elementary school teacher).  Of course, they don’t want their living room to look like a classroom, so I think we’ll need to keep to just one or two primary colors, and then fill in with shades of those colors.  She also mentioned that she had though about dark blue curtains for the room.  And then there’s the green sofas.  So here’s my first stab at pulling all this together:

I’m personally very fond of a blue and green color scheme–it is a classic and can go so many ways, is gender neutral, and is usually pretty easy to shop for.  So there you have it: first step is done!  My next steps are:

1. Share this with M&J and see if they like it at all

2. Find out what kinds of decorative accessories they may already have (serving tray? plants? wall art?)

3. Update plans, if needed

4. Get them to buy the curtains, fabric for pillows, runner, etc.

5. Help them pull it all together later this month

6. Post the picture here!


I welcome your feedback, ideas, and comments!

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