My New Apartment: The Living Room (Planning)

by Grace Bonney

Inspired by Max & Daniel’s recent home purchase and near-immediate awesome renovation planning (those two are unstoppable in their creativity and energy), I decided to share some planning and mood-boarding of my own. I’m typically a “wait until the last minute to decorate” person. Like, right before my parents come to visit. But with this apartment I really want to make the effort to make it a nice space of my own. So I thought that if I shared some ideas, inspiration and “befores” here, it might hold me accountable to actually finishing a project I start– for once.

So here is my living room, in all its off-white glory. The room is the first one when you see when you walk in and currently has an insane chandelier with iridescent crystals. I mean, why not? Also, this room- and every room- are covered in what looks like white paneling. It’s almost like wainscoting but not as cute. But since it’s all white, it kind of blends together and works in a simple country house sort of way. So I decided to leave nearly every room (except for my closet, which will be wallpapered) white. That way I can embrace a colorful textile or two (or three or four) and keep the remaining pieces neutral.

Because I moved from such a tiny apartment to a much larger one (about 450 square feet to 850) I really don’t have enough furniture to fill up the space, so I’m starting with the basics: a sofa (the one I recently had broken and re-built to fit inside), an armchair and a vintage woven chair. Oh, and a cat tree. I also have a marble coffee table I got from Brimfield. Beyond that, it’s all up for grabs. Let’s hope I can pull off something half as pretty as these inspiration images… xo, grace

(Top) Inspiration image sources: Burkina Faso painted home, via Poppytalk (images by Justina Blakeny), Black & Tan chairs via SunnyLife, El Cosmico pillows from Bolivia.

First inspiration roundup, sources: Rug from Loom (sadly no longer available), Artwork by Scotty Albrecht, Raymond Barberousse chandelier, World’s Away side table, Lee 2-cushion sofa, Kilim Rug.

Image above: Studio Bonn black & white fabric, Navajo rug, Dwell pendant, Arielle Alasko wall panel

Image above: “Les Touches” fabric by Brunschwig & Fils, Kilim Pillow, Arion Lamp, Lubok Verlag bag (which I’m getting framed), two-tone ladder

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  • I have two little gold and wood side tables like that (they’re next to each other in front of my couch in lieu of a coffee table, also double as seats when I’m hosting a dinner party) that I got from etsy. They’re the best, super simple, but classic (and definitely cheaper).

  • Love your hardword floors, those are gorgeous. You may not want to cover them up too much. I like your ideas so far. I think keep the furniture fairly neutral and add some great artwork.

  • I really like the mixture of symmetry and asymmetry. I love that the bag with the face on it is in there. And that the wood panels might end up making things more interesting. : )

    Also the lighting choices…so versatile, sophisticated, and still basic. I can easily see the chandelier and lamp looking great even if your style shifts in the future.

    I always thought I could never jive with image boards…then I tried making one. Now, I make them for anything I’m working towards, even emotional stuff. It’s interesting what happens when you start whittling it down and figure out there are just certain touchpoints that you can return to for inspiration and a reminder.

  • First, congrats on your new space. You’ve got room to dance & twirl in there, and if you’re wearing socks on those magnificent floors, you might even be able to ski-slide to the kitchen for tea. :) The daylight streaming in is so wonderful too… I’m looking forward to seeing the pieces come together.

  • What a great space! And I love the scheme. Clean and spicy. Can’t wait to see what you do :)

    Tangent: You make mention of a cat tree. I would like to see some well-designed cat trees. Pet gear has come up in the world in a big way the last few years, but cat trees remain behind. My cat deserves better than this! I have looked around and come up empty-handed. Everything is beige and icky. If you or anyone from the D*S team had suggestions or directions, I would love to hear it. (and so would my cat!)

  • Hi! Any idea where the first rug from your inspiration ideas section is from? I love all the colors!

  • I came here to comment on the cat tree too! I was just going to ask what kind of cat tree do you have? But also a post about them would be great! Please, when you do it, make sure you have some affordable ones – even DIYs. I need one so my cat scratches but high enough for her to look out the window.

    Lovely living room by the way! I’m sure it’s gonna be gorgeous. I recently made a big move (from coast to coast) so I’m having fun coming up with ideas and modifying old furniture but we’re leaving the living room for last, it seems. Like icing on the cake :)

  • This is looking great! I really appreciate your style. I also appreciate your honesty. I too am terrible at finishing (and starting) projects. :)

  • i’d love to know what cat tree you’re considering! i’m looking for something my little guy can climb around on, without appearing to be a crazy cat lady. have you found any affordable yet modern cat gyms?