Cozy California Modern Inspired Living Room Makeover

I’m so excited to share that my sister asked me to help her give her beach house living room a more cozy, laid-back California style makeover! Obviously this style is right up my alley!! I also always feel way flattered when my sister asks for my help because she totally has great style all on her own! This makeover is going to completed quickly because they plan to go down in two weeks, and then probably not again until summer. The before photos aren’t that great, I just quickly took a few last time I was down there— before she even asked for my help (I like to always be prepared haha).



this was taken from standing in the dining room

this was taken from standing in the dining room

out that doorway, to the right is the front door

out that doorway, to the right is the front door

Brand new  chaise lounge chair  for the updated space.

Brand new chaise lounge chair for the updated space.

They bought this house in October of 2014 and it’s an awesome space! It has plenty of space to host friends and family, and is a short walk to the beach. It’s a split level, and most of the time we tend to all hangout in the lower den. My sister and brother-in-law have been wanting to make this living room feel less formal and turn it into a cozy space for everyone to hangout in.

They’re going to keep the sofa, but they got rid of the two chairs. They purchased two new side chairs, as well as the chaise lounge chair in the last ‘before’ photo. Without having the measurements, it’s hard for me to create a layout that I can say will definitely work. However, I think the room is big enough that we’ll be able to try several different layouts if needed.

I created a very simple floor plan, so you can get an idea of the flow of the first floor and how I plan to try and arrange the living room furniture.


And here are my plans…

this is the view of the living after you walk in the front door and look in the doorway to the living room

this is the view of the living after you walk in the front door and look in the doorway to the living room

this would be the view if you were standing in the dining room

this would be the view if you were standing in the dining room

on the other side of this wall is the entry hallway and front door

on the other side of this wall is the entry hallway and front door

this view would be standing with your back towards the living room window, looking into the dining room

this view would be standing with your back towards the living room window, looking into the dining room

I’ll be heading out there in a couple of weeks to help style and take photos, hopefully I’ll have another update for you all soon!!

I’ve linked some of the items I’m using below, please note these are affiliate links.



Update On My Parent's Living Room Makeover

My parent’s living room makeover is so close to being complete! I went over this past weekend with my box of styling accessories to try out some different console table styling. I really just need to finalize the styling, pick some wall art, and find a side table for between the two chairs.

You can catch up on my first two posts about it here & here.






We’re all very happy with how it’s all coming together! It feels comfortable and like the whole room is being utilized now, versus just the far side of it. Wall decor is definitely something that’s always been a challenge to me, but I have a couple ideas for this room that I’ve been mulling over.

The first idea I have is a grid of black and white photos on either side of the big window, with sconces above on each side:


My second idea is a more random, eclectic style gallery wall on both sides with two sconces. I’d keep it to 4-5 pieces of medium to large sized art so that it fills the space without feeling too busy:


We’re going to hopefully go check out a vintage store near me that has a ton of gorgeous mid-century modern paintings, so maybe we’ll find the perfect pieces there! I’ve been taking my time with this room, really trying to make sure I pick the right pieces. Hopefully the next update I post will be the completed room!

SHOP THESE PRODUCTS (or similar ones):
*please note this post contains affiliate links



Design Process / Picking The Right Coffee Table

This year I’d like to include more blog posts about what my thought process is when designing rooms. I’ve learned a lot over the past year (and I’m still learning!) and I’d love to pass any knowledge or new ways of thinking about design onto you all!

I’ve been thinking about what type of coffee table to get for a while now. We were originally waiting because when our now toddler was first starting to walk, he had a tendency to hurt himself on any and all furniture- so it was just easier to not have one! Now that he’s a mature one-and-a-half year old (LOL), he has a little more control over his body and the only foreseeable issues are him 1.) climbing on top of it or 2.) pushing it out of the living room. BUT he has to learn appropriate behavior somehow, right?! So keep reading to see what I’ve been thinking about throughout my coffee table search!


important factors when picking my coffee table


*general rules of thumb:
-you should leave about 12-18” of space between coffee table and any seating
-height should be same as sofa seat or 1-2” lower

MY FILTER: 28” - 32” + ROUND ( I decided on round because this space is on the smaller side and round would make for easier flow of traffic)

*as with any design “rule” - these are just meant to guide you in the right direction, there will always be exceptions to the rule!

My style is very neutral. One thing I already knew was that in order to keep neutral or tonal rooms from feeling boring was to incorporate different textures. However, something that I kept forgetting to keep in mind was that in addition to texture, contrast is also very important in a room! I realized this when I couldn’t put my finger on why I wasn’t happy with my living room- it wasn’t because it needed any color, it’s because it needs something to break up the tans + whites. Contrast can also be bringing in a new material or mixing wood tones. I’m also not just looking at how the coffee table will look in the living room. Our dining room opens up to this space, so I’m keeping in mind the different colors and tones of wood that are in there.

MY FILTER: White, Gray, Brown

I don’t want to spend a ton on a coffee table, but I also would rather spend a little more on the “right” one than settle for a cheaper one that I just end up getting sick of in 2 months. I’ve been filtering for coffee tables under $300, but ideally would like to keep it under $250.

Another thing I’ve been keeping in the back of my mind is the weight of the coffee table (but this is not make or break). Our son is absolutely insane, and it would just make life easier if the coffee table was too heavy for him to push out of the room. I joked with my husband that it can’t be on the edge of heavy where he can sort of push it, because then it will just end up making him stronger haha! #boymomlife

*this post contains affiliate links


Sadly, after searching high and low… there weren’t many options for smaller coffee tables in my price range. I did however find a TON that I loved that were way too big… so if you’re in the market for a coffee table that’s 35” wide or bigger, you’re in luck! So anyway… for me, it really came down to two different tables - and one of the tables had two shades of wood I was considering.

You can see table number one in the photo above. I love this shade of wood, and I think it’s one that could compliment a lot of different furniture! My main concern is that when just looking at the living room, it’s not enough contrast and would just fall flat.


The shape of this second coffee table grabbed my attention right away, but I wasn’t totally sold on either of the two colors right away. I was worried the dark one would be too dark with the dining room furniture and side chair (my number one interior design pet peeve is a room with ALL DARK BROWN FURNITURE)! The “natural” wood color they offer really comes off as orangey/yellow on the website. I tried finding other photos of it through google but really had no luck. I suspect that it’s not actually that color in real life, but I’m not sure I want to take the risk of having to lug it into the store to return it if I don’t like it.

When I first started writing this post, I was still deciding on which one to buy. Since finishing though, I’ve pulled the trigger on one! Which do you think I went with?! I’m excited to show you all, and maybe a coffee table styling post will be coming in the future!

Parent's Living Room Makeover - Progress Post

This post contains affiliate links.

A few weeks ago I posted about how I’m working on making over my parent’s living room. Since then, the two chairs and the coffee table have been delivered! With all the dark furniture out of the room, the space is already feeling so much brighter! I went over this past weekend to take some progress photos- I already post a couple on Instagram and I was SO happy to see everyone’s kind words!!




I love how it’s coming together so far and I’m so excited to see how the sofa fits into this space! I’m changing up my original vision a little bit - which I knew was going to happen because no matter how much you measure- things just tend to look different once they’re actually in your room. I was originally planning to place a bench along the one wall, but after seeing how low the furniture is- I think a console table would look best (to add some height). I made a few other changes to the plan so I created a revised design board. I also included my thought process for each change. I know that I love when design shows talk about the reasoning behind certain decisions, so I’m hoping you all find this helpful!

I also put together a little “mock up” of how the cabinets, lamp, and sofa might look in this space. I think it helps to have as many visual aides as possible. This process might seem a little intense, but it’s what I do behind the scenes for every project I work on- whether it’s a total room makeover or just some minor changes. It has definitely prevented me from buying the wrong pieces on more than one occasion!

Obviously the exact dimensions aren’t accurate in this mock up - the sofa is going to be bigger and we’ll have to move the chairs + coffee table a little. But seeing everything together in the actual room gives you a better idea on whether or not the colors and materials look cohesive.

The sofa won’t be delivered until mid-late February. In the meantime, we can get start looking for a side table, a couple of lamps, and possibly get the cabinets. Be on the look out for another progress post next month!!

Parent's Living Room Makeover - Modern, Traditional, COZY Update

HAPPY 2019! I am so excited that this is my first post of the new year! I’m helping my parents update their living room and it is SO fun to get all the thrills of shopping and decorating without spending any of my own money! It’s also fun for me to help create a comfortable space that I know my family will enjoy! A few years ago, I helped them update their family room and it made a HUGE difference. They had always bought matching furniture sets when furnishing their rooms- which meant all brown and not a lot of interest or depth.

This time we’re tackling the living room and I’m so pumped. It’s a huge room with a ton of natural light. Since this room is so big, I’d love to try “floating” the furniture in the room- as opposed to having it all pushed up against the walls. Here is the furniture layout I’d like to try, as well as the measurements of the room:

As you can see from the measurements, this is a pretty large space. The way they had their old furniture laid out made the room look smaller, and also had some wasted space. As of right now, they donated their old couch, big chair, and coffee table. My mom would like to keep the buffet/credenza they already have, and we’re also keeping the same rug. They bought a new sofa (which will be delivered in 6-9 weeks) as well as two chairs and a new coffee table. Here is the main plan I put together for them:

If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know I’m a huge fan of keeping things NEUTRAL! I think it’s super important to think of longevity when buying your more expensive pieces. The sofa, chairs, and coffee table are all neutral and nothing is crazy trendy about them. You can easily switch out pillows and throw blankets when you’re in the mood for more color. The pillows I have in my plan are all from Amber Lewis’ Shoppe— they’re gorgeous but also super expensive, so I’m just using them as inspiration for when we go to HomeGoods!


I love the idea of a simple bench along this wall- it fills the space while also providing additional seating for when they do need to host a big family party. Plus- it’s always a good idea to have a mirror near your front door! (The buffet in the photo above is the piece that my mom would like to keep in the room).


Every house needs a good SHELFIE spot (or three)! I would love to put shelves on this wall to add some height in this room, as well as visual interest. My dad has a TON of beautiful books that will be great to use as decor, and I’d also love to find some unique, thrifted decor to add in.

In my layout plan, I have the buffet/credenza in the back corner behind the sofa. I’m not entirely positive that it will work out there, but if I need to shuffle some things around- that’s ok! I also need to think of some spots to add in more lighting- I really want to add some plug in wall sconces! Some of the furniture will be delivered in a couple weeks, so be sure to check back for an update!

How To Layer Area Rugs | Nov 2017
Updating Nathan’s Nursery | Nov 2018

Living Room Updates: Neutral, Calm, and Cozy

Our living room has a changed A LOT in the almost year and half that we’ve lived here! When we first moved in, we just had to find a way to make the furniture from our old apartment work in the new space. Then as we lived there a little longer, I made little changes here and there and it sort of always felt a bit off. I think my recent changes are finally getting it to a point that feels like more like me. Finding the right design for a space can definitely take time (and mistakes)! It’s so good though when you finally find what works! (FYI- I linked up most of the sources to everything at the very bottom of this post!)


Obviously the main upgrade we did (and that I already posted about) was getting our new sofa from West Elm. It’s now been a few months since we bought it and we LOVE it! It is so comfortable!

Once we switched out our dark sofa with the lighter one, my plans started falling to place. I decided I really wanted a more neutral, calming space. Most of our days are spent with toys scattered everywhere and Nathan running around being a little crazy man! So once he goes to bed, I want a serene feeling space to relax in. To achieve this, I switched out our blue pillow covers for a few neutral colored ones from West Elm. I also picked up a muted, sage green lumbar pillow from Target. I knew we needed a bigger rug for this space, but had such a hard time deciding on which one! I ended up buying this Moroccan inspired shag rug from RugsUSA and it’s perfect. It’s an off white with a very minimal black design on it. It’s so comfortable to walk on and the shag isn’t so long that it gets stuck in the vacuum cleaner!


I really wanted (and still do) this big jute pouf from CB2, but everytime I went to order it- it was sold out! We needed something to put our feet up on, so I found this papasan stool from Pier1 and then ended up just making a cushion myself.


I’ve always had trouble deciding on what to put in that corner behind the couch. I found this mirror at Target for a decent price and decided to paint the frame white. I think that the mirror and the faux plant fill this spot perfectly!

Another pretty big change is our bamboo shades from Home Depot! They were incredibly easy to install and look SO much better than long drapes. The only thing I would say is that in the future, I will definitely look more into cordless shades. It’s not that big of an issue but it is sort of a hassle having to finagle with the cords to make sure they lay straight across.


This shelf above the leather chair has been styled and restyled a couple of times. I found the two pieces of pottery and that tan and brown framed art at Goodwill! I love them all together.


The last change I made was trimming up that faux tree in the corner and putting it in a new planter. Just because it isn’t real, doesn’t mean you can’t cut the branches! Also— putting it in a new planter made a huge difference. The other one was a tan basket, and I felt like the room already had enough of that texture/color. I wanted something more sleek and found this plastic container at Target on clearance for about $5! I wasn’t originally thinking plastic, but I definitely think it works!

There’s a good chance that I’ll be doing another big update post in a few months because I have decorating ADD— but I feel pretty good about how it looks and feels now!!

Sofa | Velvet Throw Pillow | Silk Throw Pillow | Lumbar Pillow | Rug | Papasan Stool
Wall Sconce | Leaning Mirror | Poppies Wall Art | Bamboo Shades






A Much Needed Update...

My New (& Much Improved!) Living Room Tour!

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that we just bought a new sofa.  I had wanted a lighter colored sofa for so long—and it has not disappointed!  The lighter fabric and more modern, simplified design really brightens up the whole room.  It’s also SO much more comfortable!  We chose the Andes Terminal Chaise Sectional from West Elm in the fabric Twill, Stone.  We also bought a few other fun things to update this space!  I’ll be linking everything below, plus showing you all what my plans are to finally finish this room!

Isn't she a beaut?!

Isn't she a beaut?!

We also picked up that Sconce, Navy Throw Blanket, and Table Lamp (far right) from West Elm... along with a planter that is just out of frame here.  They were having a buy more, save more sale so we decided to take full advantage!!  (Which is also why Luke has put me on a spending freeze for the rest of June haha)

There's our planter (upper right)!  I already had a stem of faux fern leaves I was going to use for hanging planters outside, but I think it looks really good here!  Also - This couch is a bit smaller than our previous one, so I think I finally feel content with the number + mix of throw pillows I have!  No new throw pillows to buy will save us thousands each year!! (kidding.. sort of)

I love this little corner now!  I'm thinking about adding some pom poms or tassels to one of these planters!


This leather chair was passed down to me from my dad, I love how timeless and simple it is-- nothing about it will ever make it seem outdated or old.  It's also super comfortable!  The entertainment center was also a hand-me-down, but I would like to replace it with something more modern in the future.


When I first hung the sconce, the empty wall under it made it look kind of awkward.  I knew I had to fill the space without making it look too crowded.  Luckily, I had these two prints from Vivian of The Hand Letter Shop!!  The simplicity of the prints themselves plus the white frames were exactly what this wall needed!

Edited Living room.JPEG

The new sofa is a little wider than our old one-- a side table still fits but feels a little too crowded for me.  I decided to make a console table for behind the sofa so that we still have a spot to easily set down drinks or food (out of the reach of our son!).  We already had this piece of wood (luckily it was already the perfect size) and I bought these hairpin legs off Amazon and screwed them in!  I'll do a more detailed DIY post on it later -- I still have to add a support in the middle.
That's the whole tour -- but keep scrolling for links to most of the furniture + decor PLUS a few things we still need to get to really complete the room!


I posted earlier on my Instagram a few photos of how our living room has evolved since moving in.  I have an overall plan in my head of how I want the finished room to look and we've been getting there little by little.  Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors is definitely my main inspiration-- I'm completely obsessed with how all of her designs perfectly combine mid-century modern, California laid back,  and bohemian styles.  The way she mixes different textures and materials is flawless.  AND-- she started out by writing a blog documenting her experience as a first time homeowner (sound familiar??!)!  Here are some living rooms designed by her that have inspired me.  (You can check out all these + more on her website).

amber interiors + living room 2.jpg

Now here are some shots of our living room.  The first BEFORE photo is the listing photo.  Maybe one of these days I'll do a post on staging your home for listing photos... Anyway... the three photos after that show how it looked after we moved in and to how it looks today (last photo).  When we moved in, we moved all of the furniture and decor from our previous apartment.  We've been slowly swapping pieces out and will hopefully soon get to the look that we want!

listing photo.jpg

I've put together a design board of how I want our living room to end up (links to the products will be posted under it).  Of course there's a good chance that I change my mind a million more times before we finish it!!  Let me know what you think, and follow along on my Instagram to keep up with the latest changes!