living with color! {preliminary discussion}

Today we have illustrations.  First up, these inspiration boards I created on Polyvore.  (I used the “clip to Polyvore” function to grab photos of things I like from all over the Internet.  Makes me feel powerful!)  Each board represents a possible direction for a warm & spicy, Moroccan-inspired living room, a look Hubby and I agree we would both enjoy.  Please ignore the price tags as most of them are nothing close to the reality of my budget.  Ha.

1. Bittersweet Natural

2. Traditional/Modern

3. Modern

Quick–let’s take a little vote!

I’m curious to see if you guys pick the same thing we did.  I created the looks so I thought it was only fair to let Hubby decide which one best fit the idea he had in mind.  Want to guess which one he chose?  No?  Tired of questions and ready for answers?  Fair enough.

He chose…are you sure you don’t want to guess?…okay, fine: Bittersweet.  He likes the texture.  You know what?  Me too.

Originally I was kind of pulling for Modern, but I think that’s because I spent so much time on the Ikea website looking for ideas.  That crisp Arctic aesthetic gets to me, convincing me that sleekness and complete color-coordination are hallmarks of good design.  They have their appeal, for sure.  But when it’s reality we’re talking about, I want more softness, more subtlety, more earthy coziness.  So there.

With that settled, I went back to my caveman instincts and began to scribble out an idea.  No scanner in this household, so here you go*:

That’s my four-phase plan you’re looking at there–see the numbers?  The idea is that, as I mentioned before, this is reality–not to be confused with reality TV, where they remake rooms in hours and homes in days.  With that in mind, I tried to break things up into manageable sections. *If you actually care about the details in this sketch, you should be able to click on it and open it in a full-size window.

-First up: add color inexpensively with paint and decorative paper–on the furniture, not the walls.  Hang a pretty curtain in the doorway for a history-rich, Old World vibe.

-Second: add a much-needed floor lamp near the daybed and a smaller lamp in the entry area.  Hang a full-length mirror, which we already own, along with a wall-full of photographs.  I swore I wasn’t going to do this again after the chaotic look in our last apartment…

…but I missed having our photos around.  They’ve been in boxes in the closet.  Sad, huh?  I think this time I’ll create unity by painting all the frames one color and using sepia photographs.  I have a layout in my head; we’ll see how it unfolds–the layout, I mean, not my head.  Moving right along….

-Third: Add pillows or cover existing ones.  Add a couple more lamps–the living room lacks overhead lighting and faces north, so this light extravaganza is necessary.  Add a column of photos to the bare partial wall on the other side of the hallway.  Splurge: a big sisal rug.

-Fourth and finally: swap the blocky hand-me-down armchair (which is comfortable and for which we are grateful!) for two curved-back chairs, hopefully with some flair to their upholstery.  Hubby wants the armchair to find its new home with him in the study.  Add a throw blanket, another floor lamp, and a runner rug to hide that lamp’s cord, which I plan to run across the walkway behind the couch.  A few more accessories, such as candleholders, and there we go!

Of course, it’s going to take a while to get there.  You know I’ll keep you posted.  Pun intended.

How about you?  If you could tackle a room in your home, how many phases would it take to accomplish the dream?  Which steps are the simplest?  Launch Phase One–seriously!  What’s stopping you?

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grab your sunglasses!

Bright Spring
BONUS POST!  I just discovered polyvore.com.  (Thanks, Pinterest.)  Today I purged my closet–again.  The load gets lighter and lighter, and that lightness feels fantastic! Of course empty hangers do cry out to me with their unreasonable request to be filled again.  No, you little tempters!  Besides, I don’t have any more frivolous money anyway.
That’s because the perfect–yes, perfectboots I ordered will be here soon, and for them I traded all my Christmas money.  Well, all but 73 cents of it.  So pretty much all.  Despite the pain of the purchase, it seemed serendipitous.  I finally found boots that met all my criteria: low heel, dark brown without being too red/orange/yellow, knee high but classy, and–here’s the kicker–comfortable.  Do you think that combination doesn’t exist?  I almost thought so too.  But then I discovered these.
I set about finding the best price and quickly learned that my stingy desire to have cash left over after this purchase was unlikely to be rewarded.  I tried to be patient…I let the boots go by in my size & color at what I now realize was a great price ($114)…and finally I let my desperate, emotional side buy them as soon as I found the right size/color again.  More than $114.  But free shipping.  Which is good because I’m pretty sure the 73-cent wiggle room wouldn’t have covered shipping.
All that to say I’m happy to shop in my imagination for the rest of the month.  Here’s my wild and eye-popping first outing to the virtual mall.  You should try it too; it’s a good stand-in for window shopping!  Plus, I think this might be a creative way to design outfits for something I’ve been wanting to try for a while: create-the-designer-look-for-less–i.e. go shopping with a whole “designer” outfit picture, and find pieces on the cheap to replicate the look.  When I say cheap, I mean start at the thrift store and work up from there.  Could be fun, right?

Racer back tank
$40 – witchery.com.au

DAY Birger et Mikkelsen knit jacket
£120 – net-a-porter.com

Pamela henson
€339 – veryeickhoff.com

Tory burch shoes
$195 – bloomingdales.com

Floral handbag
$115 – modcloth.com

Isharya 18k jewelry
$65 – net-a-porter.com

Moschitto Designs cuff jewelry
$42 – nordstrom.com