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Project Move & Mix: My Living Room Vision

by Meghann on February 1, 2011

When Derek and I tell people we are moving in together – and will be redecorating ‘his place’ to become ‘our place’ along the way – they all give us the same advice: tackle one room at a time and pick the rooms to do first based on where you spend most of your time.

We both love this advice. Focusing on one room at at time will stop both of us from feeling overwhelmed and redoing the rooms where we spend the most time first will really help in making this house feel like a home.

With that in mind, our first focus will be the living room.

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The living room is the first area everyone sees when they enter the condo. It’s where we will entertain guests, watch tv, and where I plan to do the majority of my work before my official ‘office’ is pieced together in the second bedroom. We feel that when the living room starts to feel like home, the rest of the condo will follow. πŸ™‚

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Ok, let’s pretend we’re starting with a blank canvas.

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Thank you, photoshop! πŸ˜‰

Wait a minute. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Here’s what I’m envisioning in the ‘Meghann was having fun with photoshop on her way to Miami this weekend‘ sort of way.

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You like? πŸ˜‰

Ok, picture it with me.

First up – the couch.

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Derek and I found a couch replacement we both love from American Signature, but we’re hoping to find something similar on craigslist. If we are unable to locate something similar for a cheaper price by the time I move in, then we will happily pay for the new couch and chair & 1/2 that week.

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Isn’t it pretty? I’m not the biggest fan of the pillows that come with the couch, but I also know those are 100% replaceable. πŸ™‚

Next, the vertical blinds.

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Problem: Derek loves the ‘black out’ functionality behind the blinds and these were a very recent purchase.

How do I get the same functionality the blinds provide while giving them a little sprucing up? Would it be better to replace them with curtains? Should we keep them?

The walls.

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When Derek moved in to his place last year, he spent a solid week painting the walls white. He pretty much burnt out on painting them and has flat out refused (in a very joking matter) to help with any painting. Completely understandable.

Any new Tampa friends like to paint? Because, even without Derek’s help, I’m convince a spruce of color on the walls will really liven this place up.

But, I have questions.

What color? And how do I paint the living room so it’s separated from the kitchen? Or do I paint the kitchen too?

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hmmm…. we’ll save my thoughts on wall art for another day.

Also, we need a rug. I don’t even know where to begin on the rug!

Now, my stuff

As far as items coming from my apartment, we will be incorporating the coffee table, end tables, and tv stand from my living room into our new living room.

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The coffee table is more for functionality than anything else because we both love its ability to rise up.

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(photo stolen from this post. notice Abbie’s cute little butt)

I’m not against getting a new coffee table eventually, but it’s not high on the priority list by any means.

So here’s what we’ve got so far:

What’s staying of Derek’s

  • TV
  • Various other electronics

Coming in from my apartment:

  • Coffee Table
  • End Tables
  • Entertainment Center

What we need:

  • Wall Art?
  • Paint?
  • Solution for blinds?
  • Rug
  • Couches + Chair

What do you think? All comments and ideas are welcomed!  

{ 101 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ali @ Ali on the Run February 1, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Not sure if it’s your style, but I LOVE ZGallerie stuff. It can be pricey, but they have sales all the time. Lots of great home accents, fun wall art, etc.
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2 Callie February 1, 2011 at 1:14 pm

You can totally put curtains over the blinds – we have both in our living room and it works well. And you know I’ll be there to help you decorate! But only to paint if you get the type that John and Sherry used on Young House Love so I don’t inhale toxic fumes. Hehe.
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3 Mindy @ just a one girl revolution. February 1, 2011 at 2:54 pm

I would ditto this on the blinds. You could also do valances.
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4 Brittney February 1, 2011 at 1:17 pm

If you figure out how to handle the paint issue for a kitchen that flows into a living room, let me know! 95% of the walls in my house are still white because so many rooms flow into one another…
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5 kristy @ kristyruns.com February 1, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Oh wow. All I can say is good luck. I do NOT enjoy dercorating… have fun! πŸ˜‰
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6 Jess (Daly Authenticity) February 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Meghann, When I first got into home decorating, I never though I could paint one room and not carry it through to the next. But I ended up painting my kitchen light blue and leaving the connecting eat-in area a cream color and it looks awesome! It really separates the rooms! So that is a possibility!
Jess (Daly Authenticity) recently posted..Sunday Musings

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7 Dori February 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm

LOVE that coffee table, how cool! I don’t have any decorating tips for you at this time.
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8 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday February 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm

You can also cover those couch pillows with a sham rather than having to buy brand new ones, which makes it a bit cheaper than replacing them entirely.

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9 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday February 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Also, try checking out Olioboard.com to play with mood boards and establish the kind of feel that you’re going for in the room

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10 Julianne February 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I have the same problem with my blinds. I think they are ugly, but know I’m not staying in my condo forever and they are probably what the next buyer wants.

As for painting – maybe paint the kitchen walls on the right and back a different color. That way, the kitchen has its own paint color? Or you could paint the while wall on the left a different color. So many options!

Check out FLOR, they have fun rug options and are really versatile.

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11 Courtney Smith February 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm

That’s what I was going to suggest with the paint. Paint the living room and left wall (above the cabinets) the same color. That way it flows but you can still have a different color for the kitchen by either leaving the back and right walls white or painting them a different color.
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12 Andi February 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I’m a big fan of accent walls with paint–they add dimension and color, but you only have to paint one wall! So not only is it less work, but you can also go much bolder with color since it isn’t going to be saturating the entire space. It also solves the problem of choosing colors for different spaces when you have an open floor plan like yours. Just pick a focal point–say, the wall behind your tv, and then go nuts with color! πŸ™‚

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13 Lindsey February 1, 2011 at 1:35 pm

I loved the couch you picked out!!!!!
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14 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 1, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Love that couch! I also agree that you can put curtains over blinds – I have them in my room and it would be wayyyy too cold without the curtains. can’t wait to see the transformation!
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15 colleen February 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm

you can definitely hang curtains over the blinds – a nice accent color would be nice. for the living room walls I would select a nice light color that complements (light tan, light blue, light green, etc. – whatever your preference is) the dark color of the sofa. you don’t want to use a dark color on the walls unless you want to make the room feel small and given the new sofa is dark there would be too much darkness. for the kitchen I would either paint the opposite walls a different color that complements the main wall (the one from the living room) or install trim from the counter to the ceiling to divide the two rooms and then paint the kitchen one color.

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16 Amanda @ Eating Up February 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Maybe just paint one of the walls? It would be a pop of color!
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17 Courtney February 1, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Black out curtains. They have some at walmart that are fairly inexpensive and actually look nice. Then you have the same effect but something more decorative. Plus, they have a sound dampening effect as well which is just a bonus.

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18 [email protected] Sweet Life February 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm

That photoshop is amazing! It looks like such a guy’s apartment, as it should, but funny to see. Good luck re-visioning it!
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19 Kelly February 1, 2011 at 1:48 pm

God everytime I see pictures of Derek’s couch I cringe, I’m sorry! Love the American Sig couch though. As far as the blinds go, why don’t you keep them, and get a shade to also hang and go over it.
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20 sweeter salt February 1, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Great ideas! Decorating can be such a challenge, but fun at the same time.

Painting two rooms that connect different colors can be tricky, but I have seen people divide the rooms by using a decorative “board” or column (like a chair rail) attached to the wall.

You can also cover the vertical blinds if he insists on keeping them with floor length curtains that totally cover them. That way they’re still there (but you don’t have to look at them!).

Laura
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21 Wendy February 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm

I wouldn’t do curtains over the blinds. I would just buy curtains with a black out liner.
Sherwin Williams – Rice Grain is a nice neutral tan color. I also like Sherwin Williams – Argos for a neutral gray color. Tan would look better, if you go with the brown couch.

Picture ledges for the wall might look nice above the couch. Something similar to this: http://www.potterybarn.com/products/holman-picture-ledge/?pkey=e|picture%2Bledge|3|best|0|1|24||1&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-NoMerchRules-_-

Maybe something like this for wine? http://www.potterybarn.com/products/founders-modular-wine-rack/?pkey=e|wine|40|best|0|2|24||1&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-NoMerchRules-_-

Maybe some type of big clock in your living room or dining room?

Maybe a big jute rug for the living room?

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22 Kara February 1, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Not sure if Maddie is a bad dog like mine, but my dog ATE the vertical blinds at our apartment. It started out with playing and pushing them aside to see outside and then turned into eating. So, that could solve that problem for you πŸ™‚
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23 Kristina February 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm

You could try painting one wall an accent color and then painting the other walls a slightly lighter shade of the same color. That way there would be some connection between the two rooms, but it would still be different enough.

When I first moved into my b/f (now fiancΓ©es house), we both watched a lot of HGTV! Some of their ideas are a little extreme, but all in all the decorating shows do have some great and inexpensive ideas! Also, Ikea and Home Goods are great stores for home stuff.
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24 Evan Thomas February 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I think someone spends too much time in Photoshop, lol.

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25 Sarah W. February 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm

because of the open floor plan of the living room/kitchen, I would pick a light neutral color (like a light sage green or a yellow or beige) and paint the living room/dining room & kitchen all one color.

there are tons of diy blogs like younghouselove and others, once you figure out couch color and pillows, i would use a pattern that you use on the one of the pillows and create a valance for overtop of the blinds on the sliding glass door. it’ll help bring things together. i think curtains over the blinds is a bit “much”

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26 Angie February 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Here’s my 2 cents. πŸ™‚
I like the idea of putting a drape over the shade too. Maybe it could even extend from wall to wall somehow? Would the TV work on that smaller wall by the shade?
I think instead of painting, since it’s such a pain, you could incorporate a punch of color with a dramatic drape and rug. For instance, since his place is pretty neutral and you are buying a brown couch you could go with a rich orange rug and drapes. You could also ad punches of color with artwork or shelving on the walls.
Good luck in whatever you decide and I’ll look forward to pics!
Angie recently posted..It’s February 1st- the month of love…

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27 Lauren @ Running Examiner February 1, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I’m really having fun with these pre-move posts. I LOVE decorating!

I also recommend the black-out curtains that a previous poster mentioned. They’re a little more aesthetic than the blinds, and accomplish the same thing.

Painting is not my metier, so I don’t think I can offer too much advice on that. I know you said that a new coffee table isn’t very high on your list of priorities, but when it does move up the list, I highly recommend you looking at Target. We got an awesome coffee table from Target.com (I don’t believe it was carried at the stores) for a ridiculously good price. Right before we found it, we’d almost committed to getting a coffee table from West Elm that was literally triple the price. It pays to check out Target. πŸ˜‰

(That being said, we got a ton of things from West Elm, and found the prices to overall be quite reasonable. Do you have a West Elm near you? I’d suggest checking it out).
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28 Hope February 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I really like the couch that you picked out from American Signature. It looks a little similar to mine. You might be able to get a cover for the pillows to save money. We found black out curtains at Loewes to hang in our bedroom and those work pretty well. Or you could even use a valance over the blinds. I can’t wait to see how it’s all going to look! So exciting! πŸ™‚
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29 Balanced Healthy Life February 1, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I would let his keep the vertical blinds. but just put curtains up over them. This way its a win win situation. I’m not a fan of vertical blinds at all, we have them in our house and I’m constantly debating if I want to spend a chunk on money on drapes or not. I really like a nice green shade for walls. Plus it would match your brown couch. You could keep one wall of the condo a beige color that matches the tone of the green like the long hallways way. That way it would break up the condo a little and give it some extra wow factor.
If I lived in Tampa, I would help you paint and get the place in order! It has so much potential! I’m addicted to anything realated to a home, especially decorating! : )
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30 Amy February 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm

My aunt and uncle have a similar living room connected directly to their kitchen area but I’m pretty sure they pained the living room a separate color. I’d say you could paint the living room right up til that cutout as you so wonderfully depicted with your black line. πŸ™‚ As for that hallway area, maybe make that a contrast color wall. I’m not sure how you feel about having one color different than the others but it’s an idea. Otherwise I’d have that continue the living room color down the hallway.

As for the blinds. They are fine but if you wanted some kind of curtain to liven things up, you could get valances. They’d add some color without you all having to get rid of the blinds that Derek likes. It could be a good compromise.

Good luck! I’m excited about watching the progress of your move. πŸ™‚
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31 Katy (The Singing Runner) February 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Definitely put curtains up over the blinds. That should be fairly simple. πŸ˜€ I love that couch!

I don’t think you need to paint the kitchen to separate it from the living room. Perhaps just paint one wall?
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32 Carolyn February 1, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Congrats on the move! Exciting πŸ™‚ I’ve had the same problem with those white blinds before in apts. The last place I lived they covered a sliding door to the patio right in the middle of the living room. I got cheap tab curtains from Target and hung the rod relatively high above the top of the blinds (well not too high, the bottom of the curtains should hit the floor). This could resolve your problem of wanting curtains and him wanting to keep the blinds. Especially since he bought them himself.

http://www.target.com/Microsuede-Window-Panel-Black/dp/B001UESI6S/ref=br_1_12?ie=UTF8&id=Microsuede%20Window%20Panel%20Black&node=273698011&searchSize=30&searchView=list&searchPage=1&sr=1-12&qid=1296587459&rh=&searchBinNameList=target_com_category-bin%2Cprice%2Ctarget_com_primary_color-bin%2Ctarget_com_size-bin%2Cmaterial_type%2Ctarget_com_brand-bin&searchRank=salesrank&frombrowse=1

Happy decorating!

ps: ease up on him a little on that painting πŸ˜‰ it’s not THAT bad πŸ™‚ lol

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33 Chelsey (Cookteen) February 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm

putting curtains over the vertical blinds may cover up the blinds but also the black out effect with still work. A beige is always a nice color for a living room and matches a lot!
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34 Erin February 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm

For rugs I’ve found that Lowe’s has a great selection at decent prices. Lots of sizes, patterns, and colors. Don’t try to be too matchy-matchy. For example, my couch is dark sage green with tan trim and my rug has greens and tans and browns in it but also blues.
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35 Jessica February 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm

My husband (then boyfriend) had almost the EXACT same setup in his townhouse, right down to the ugly couch πŸ™‚ We painted the wall that was shared with the living room all one color, and then painted the rest of the walls in the kitchen a different, but complimenting colors. Because the wall shared with the living room has so many cabinets on it, you hardly even see the color, and there wasnt a weird/awkward stopping point. Good luck!

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36 katy. February 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm

I’m thinking something neautral for the main paint of the room, like a light gray would be beautiful and then something fun but cohesive, like a light yellow, blue or green in the kitchen. Since the space is so small, a bright color would be best. A darker color may be too much in such a small space. The wall on the right hold a black frame collage beautifully, like this: http://www.modnest.ca/storage/Ideal%20-%20picture%20frame%20feature%20wall.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1262908054292

Doing a light gray would be nice too because then you can use accessories to add pops of color that you could easily change if you got tired of it. Maybe painting the lift-up wood table a dark color would be good too?

Those are some ideas, I’d love to help in any way!
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37 Jessica Smith February 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm

They sell black-out curtain material for dirt cheap at fabric/craft stores. It’s even cheaper when you have a 40% off coupon. We’re renting our place right now and the living room came with sheer curtains. We hung the material behind the sheer curtains and it worked perfectly to block out the light. We did the same for our bedroom windows. We loved the panels that we picked out for the room, but they didn’t block out the light to our liking. Viola – craft store to the rescue!

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38 Midwestern Magnolia February 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm

I really like grey/bluish grey walls for homes. I think it is a great “gender neutral” color, and pretty much goes with everything, but still looks polished and warm. It’s a color, but still retains neutral qualities for decorating and doesn’t close your space in.

Examples:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/route15/2830791285/

http://courtneyoutloud.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/grey-wall.jpg

PS…I turn 26 on February 9, and I live in Orlando. I like to think we lead parallel lives! πŸ™‚
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39 Stephanie February 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I mean this in the nicest way possible- those blinds have got to go! Get dark curtains to keep the black out and hang the rod “high&wide” a la younghouselove.com. Also, defintely paint! It makes a house much more homey and it’s such a noticeable change for not a lot of $$$. Get pillow covers from places like west elm, pottery barn and Ikea for way less than the cost of an actual pillow. Also, I think your rug should be a bit bigger than the one that is currently in the room. You have a lot of tile going on and I think a big rug will really ground the living room and define the space as separate from the kitchen/dining.

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40 Rebecca February 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Lots of good comments already. I agree about both the accent wall(s) and the curtains over the blinds. Or if you can force him(gingerly, of course) to part with the blinds there are good black-out curtain liners out there that you hang behind the pretty curtains.

As far as picking a paint color, I’ve found the easiest thing to do is to buy a rug or curtains (something with a nice pattern and colors) and then choose the paint to match. Options with paint are endless but finding a decently priced rug that you like is a challenge so that’s where I usually start.

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41 Michelle February 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm

I’m not even going to pretend I know a thing about interior design (I do love Sherwin William paint though)…

However, my hubby is a GM at a furniture store — so here’s one little tip — call the furniture stores, ask for the managers,and find out if they have any floor models or know of any clearance furniture available. Sometimes you can get stuff for 50-75% off. Some of the clearance stuff can have small defects, but most of not noticable when arranged (we have a leather La-z-boy chair that’s discolored in the back). At my hubby’s store he gets a list of clearance inventory every month and orders based on what he thinks will sell. If he knows someone wants a particular item, he will order it and let them know.

Good luck and have fun with all of your decisions!
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42 Kim @ Everstrong February 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm

I am a newly wed, and went through moving into my husbands place. Much in the same situation, every thing was white. I couldnt handle it. If your going to be spending alot of time in the living room, i recommend going with a light, nice green. It gives the room a hint of color, as well as giving a great relaxing, modern factor. Then go to Michaels, dont forget a 40% off coupon they offer online and buy a huge canvas. Then you can pick and choose colors by painting a canvas with your favorite ‘accent’ colors. I went with red as accent. Then through in pillows, and a throw for the couch. It is the most personal, cheapest way to go! Since the ‘green’ fills in all the empty space, you can totally go with simple, clean modern wall art. I found a fabulous, sleek piece at Target for $20.

Also, IKEA for the couch. Cant go wrong! Cheap, and super comfy
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43 Amanda February 1, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Go to Costco if you decide to buy new window treatments for the living room (or future rooms). Hands-down, best pricing. Selection is awesome, too.
TJ Maxx, Home Goods, and Target are great for rugs. Another idea is to go to a carpet store and ask what remnants they have in stock. The quality of carpet is better than that of a rug, and the prices are really reasonable.

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44 Dani February 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Replace those blinds!! That space needs color and for the window or door behind there to be showcased. I just got curtains for my windows that are blackout, insulating and noise reducing. They are really great–I got them at Bed Bath and Beyond where there are lots of nice colors and fabrics to choose from. Mine are a deep brown raw silk kinda material, and my boyfriend even likes them! Kinda like this http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=125934&COL=1268

You should hang a mirror above the couch to bounce light and make the space look bigger. Hang a long skinny one that looks like it would go on the back of a door but put it the long way so it stretches the wall above the couch.

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45 Kacy February 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I love the couch! I think a pop of color in the living room would be fun, just one wall or something. Good luck!
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46 Erin (Travel Eat Repeat) February 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm

I’m loving this series from you — I’m moving the first week of March and have to buy an entire apartment’s worth of furniture (slowly) and decorate. Can’t wait to get some tips and hopefully share some, too.
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47 Mimi February 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I was at TJ Maxx the other day and saw some FANTASTIC rugs at a great price. I was tempted to buy one!
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48 Caitlin February 1, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I miss Abbie and I’m sure you do to.

That’s all.
Caitlin recently posted..Welcome to the South Pole- OB!

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49 Derek February 2, 2011 at 10:29 am

me too

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50 Meghann February 2, 2011 at 10:39 am

Me three

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51 RunningOnCoffee February 1, 2011 at 3:09 pm

I like the accent wall idea – not as much painting involved!
That new couch you picked out looks great! The pillows aren’t offensive to me, but if they’re not your style you could find some covers for them (or if you’re crafty, sew up your own). Too bad sectionals are so hard to find a nice slip cover for, due to their shape. A slip cover would be a cheap way to turn that into a dark brown couch.

I agree that you need some color on the wall with the blinds. I understand the usefulness of being able to block out light, not to mention the fact that Derek just dropped some $$ on them. Maybe find some cheap curtains w/color to spice it up a bit.

Sounds like a beverage center/hutch thing on that connecting wall would help break up the living room/kitchen too.

Good luck!
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52 Janey February 1, 2011 at 3:10 pm

What if you just did an accent wall in the living room! !/4 of the paint and still lots of color! You could even do the whole wall that connects the living room and kitchen perhaps? Just throwing some ideas out there. Urban Outfitters has some fun are rugs right now (might have just bought one myself!} Good luck! I’m sure it will be the perfect balance of both of you!
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53 Biz February 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm

My decorating style can only be described as early miscellaneous – nothing was bought with a vision in mind, but it works.

Do you guys have Ikea down there? They have really good, cheap wall art that’s framed.

And I’ve been baned from painting anything for the rest of my life from my husband – the last two projects I tackled had to be finished by professionals!
Biz recently posted..We have a Chinese Restaurant!

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54 Amanda February 1, 2011 at 3:23 pm

As someone who moved in with her boyfriend about a year ago, here are a few tips:

– Figure out where you want to start and continue decorating from there. If you paint the walls, you may have to narrow down couch choices and vice versa.
– I’d leave wall art for last and just fill in as you find things you like, don’t just buy something to buy it.
– Painting is worth it and can be fun! You’ll probably want to go with lighter/neutral colors as the space isn’t huge.
– Some website ideas: overstock.com for furniture / rugs, etc. Also really like Target for various decorating pieces.
– Think about finding a company that rents furniture to people – my brother bought a full living room set that was previously rented out for really cheap!

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55 sarah (sarah learns) February 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm

wow, you guys have quite a project ahead of you! i think you should definitely paint the walls. maybe a really subtle blue/grey? or a sand/tan?

and i also vote for curtains over the blinds. that will definitely spruce up the room a lot! πŸ™‚ i can’t wait to see the progress!
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56 Erica February 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Ok, so I am the world’s worst at decorating, but I just had to comment to tell you that I love this post! Haha, the fun you had with photoshop made me smile. Good luck turning the place from “his” and “hers” into “OURS!”
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57 Alaina February 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm

An accent wall is nice. I think a piece of furniture would be best to help divide the kitchen from the living area, too. Love the couch! Looks very comfy.
Alaina recently posted..Saving Face

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58 [email protected] February 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm

I love your photoshop playing:) I think you need some wall art- maybe some pictures of the two of you or something? I really like the new couch!
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59 Stacey February 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Ok so I am not an interior decorator by any means but my roomate and I have lived together for 8 years (since 19 years old) from NC to PA and through relationships etc. Anyway, having a nice place has always been really important to both of us. So after alot of years of decorating and redecorating I can share a number of tips that have worked for me. To address a few of your goals, you can hang curtains right over those “fancy” blinds we have done this ourselves in our first apartment because we were not aloud to take the blinds down and it works and looks great. Secondly, the paint issue, make a line with tape and just stop painting there it really is that easy and you can do different color in the kitchen or just leave it as is. You could also consider buying a peice of molding and putting it on the wall where the kitching/living areas meet if you want a physical division. Now as far as decorating…. we have stuff from everywhere. The biggest thing I can say is do not force it you have to let the stuff find you almost. When we first lived together my biggest problem was my bedroom and i tried so hard to force it to look great and it never worked and i was unhappy and i wasted money. So remember it may be a slow process. In regards to art work i have used alot of my own photography as art or in groups of art. Also, my main art piece above my couch in the living room is made up of 6 medium sized canvases i painted designs on myself(and i am not a painter either). I picked 3 paint colors that matched my motif and alternated them throughout the different canvases. i saved alot of money doing my own art. with our furniture we have a few things that were expensive and a few peices that were gifts(couch) but we go to places like ikea, pier one, west elm, and some other local places. we have found some of these places(ikea) have “AS-IS” sections where we have purchased stuff we wanted for a steep discount bc it has a few small inperfections or just bc it was a floor model. We almost neeeever pay full price for anything and when we see somthing we like that is a bigger purchase(more that 20 bucks say) we think about it over night and consider if we could do it for cheaper, recreate ourselves, or just do with out. Also, if u find furniture on craigslist but it doesnt match in color , its nothing a little sand paper elbow grease and stain couldnt fix. Just be creative, patient, and have fun doing it and you will end up with your dream place!

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60 Vikki February 2, 2011 at 9:27 am

You sound like you know what you’re talking about. Love the single color painted canvases idea.

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61 Gill (snaxandthecity) February 1, 2011 at 4:05 pm

cool post!
you can definitely put curtains over blinds. or how about some taffeta/organza/that sort of flowy material over them, so they look pretty? or downlights at the top of the blinds so they look funky? oooh im getting into decorator mode! (keep in mind, erm, i’ve never actually decorated anything…)!
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62 Lisa (bakebikeblog) February 1, 2011 at 4:06 pm

oooh it is all going to look so wonderful!
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63 emily February 1, 2011 at 4:17 pm

I really like the idea of an accent wall; it looks great and requires a lot less paint! My bedroom growing up had one purple wall (rest were white) and it always made me so happy!
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64 Jessica @ The Process of Healing February 1, 2011 at 4:23 pm

WOW that is overwhelming… and I must say, I’m in love with your coffee table.
I would put curtains OVER the blinds.. functional and pretty.
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65 Caitlin @ TPL February 1, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Totally agree, I always feel curtains over the blinds!
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66 Caroline February 1, 2011 at 4:27 pm

You could totally hang curtains in front of the vertical blinds and have the best of both worlds (assuming you’re willing to have them open during the day). You’ll just (probably) have to get some extended mounts (I found some at Lowe’s for $5 each) so that the curtain rod will hang far enough out from the wall.

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67 Sarah R February 1, 2011 at 4:37 pm

We have a wall that extends from our living room into the kitchen and it’s one solid color. I thin it would be hard to stop painting in order to separate the rooms. Having it all one color leads to good flow from one room to the next.

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68 Heather February 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm

my parents used to have an open living/kitchen area, and they painted them two diff colors and simply put a one inch piece of whte trim as a divider where one color started and one ended. i know it SOUNDS weird, butit looekd good and everyone loved their house so i guess it turned out ok! maybe get curtains to put over the blinds?
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69 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) February 1, 2011 at 5:03 pm

I love that couch and especially the pillows! I’ll take them off your hands for you πŸ™‚
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70 Laurie February 1, 2011 at 5:09 pm

I agree with the other posters about adding color to the walls. I love your couch! Good choice! I wish I can give you other advice about the other stuff, but like I said before I’m not much of a decorator! :). My husband has more decorating style than I do! (really, in a good way!). I assumed you are keeping Derek’s dining/kitchen table set, but you’re getting alot of great input from everyone on what to do. Have fun!

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71 Margo February 1, 2011 at 5:15 pm

First off, that coffee table is awesome! I love that it raises. I agree with the curtains over the blinds idea. Also, when my finace and moved in together, I was always checking out thenest.com for tips and inspiration.

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72 Sara (Miles and Manhattan) February 1, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Looks like you have a lot of great ideas! There are tons of more attractive black out shades πŸ™‚
xoxo
s
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73 megan February 1, 2011 at 6:02 pm

check lowes for rugs! they have some great ones for decent prices.

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74 Beth Tollis February 1, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Meghann-
I have the exact same couches! They are sooooooooooooooo comfortable. But I did immediately get rid of the pillows (donated to Goodwill) and found cute pillows at Kohls.
Beth

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75 suki @ [Super Duper Fantastic] February 1, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Or how about painting the side with the window to add a little color? That’s a lot of painting though. Definitely check online for rugs! There are a lot out there. πŸ™‚
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76 Lauren February 1, 2011 at 6:21 pm

I think you’re probably having trouble because there are so many unknowns! How would you pick a rug without knowing what your couch looks like? Etc. Once you get some of the big things nailed down I think it will become easier. Do you have a color scheme you’re going for?

We have an American Signature couch and I hate the pillows it came with but hey, we’re newlyweds and I can’t afford pillows so we just flipped them over for now – the backs of “yours” are probably the same as the sofa material too πŸ™‚
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77 Allison @ Runs A Latte February 1, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Let me preface this comment with the fact that everything I know about home decorating (virtually nothing) comes from HGTV, which I have grown to love…and am watching right now πŸ™‚ Since I can’t tackle everything, I feel passionately about the fact that the vertical blinds need to go. I hate having light come in my bedroom, but I found nice curtains that are cute and block out light. Target actually has/had a nice selection. Keep us posted with your decisions.
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78 Serena February 1, 2011 at 6:37 pm

We got a rug by going to a carpet store and having them finish off carpet. By doing it this way, we could pick the size we wanted and it was way cheaper than buying a large rug! A lot of carpet/rug places have remnants that they’ll turn into rugs for you for cheap so something to consider.

My paint tip is to get a shoe box and paint the inside the color you think you want on the walls – it’s like making a mini room so you get a better sense for what the color will look like on a full wall. Also, you can hold the box in various places in your actual room to see if the lighting in the room will affect how the color looks. Just an idea to make sure you’re sure you’ll like the color you pick, since it’s sometimes hard to tell from those tiny swatches what it will look like on a big wall.

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79 [email protected] February 1, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I love long sectionals like his original couch! In a different color πŸ˜‰
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80 elisa February 1, 2011 at 7:23 pm

http://www.selectblinds.com/ is amazing and has great deals! The blinds look amazing and high end. We used them for all new house. If you need for more then one room they sometimes do buy 3 get 1 free and 30% off!

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81 Leslie February 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm

I suggest best neutral color ever “Earthy Cane” by Olympia – it is so rich and warms up any space. I also got really great blackout curtains from some website with improvement in title – they are not cheap but great quality! Good luck!!

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82 Marlow February 1, 2011 at 7:41 pm

I would put curtains over the blinds! A really neat trick I learned from Young House Love is to put your curtain rod as close to the ceiling as possible, instead of even with the top of the window. It creates an illusion of length.

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83 Tricia February 1, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Vertical blinds are terrible! Get blackout curtains asap!

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84 Raya February 1, 2011 at 7:42 pm

I would think of maybe painting only one wall, as an accent wall? If you paint the wall the sliding glass door is on, that would give you some color plus save time/money (less time, less paint) plus you wouldn’t have to worry about where to “end” the living room paint and begin the kitchen.
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85 Lauren February 1, 2011 at 7:54 pm

One word….IKEA!! πŸ™‚ LoL
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86 Kathy February 1, 2011 at 8:05 pm

I’m with all of the accent wall ideas but I would recommend painting the other walls a netural color other than white. I think the contrast between a colored wall and three white walls is just too harsh. A neutral tan, yellow, etc. would work well. I also saw you like the idea of painting the room(s) green. My parent’s kitchen and living room are basically one big room but they did 2 different shades of green. So you could do the kitchen and that long wall the sofa will sit on in a light green and the wall behind the television could be a darker green (if you don’t like the idea of all one color). Just an idea!

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87 Emilee February 1, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Rooms To Go Outlet right off I-4 has some great rugs as well as other inexpensive furniture. You can also bargain with them. Goodluck and have a blast. I love decorating.
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88 Holley February 1, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I had the same dilemma with what color to paint my kitchen/living room because both are open rooms. I chose a base color (called crepe, stuck in my head!) and then chose a darker color and used it on certain walls to accent the base. It turned out really well!
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89 ezzie February 1, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I love decorating! I think that a nice, sturdy rug with a simple design would really tie the whole place together. Also, I like the blinds, and I think that a light drape would be fine over it if you wanted πŸ™‚
I hope you guys have fun decorating the place~!
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90 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey February 1, 2011 at 9:01 pm

I have many thoughts…

1. I love that couch.
2. When painting, you must paint the entire long wall one color. It’s okay if your kitchen is two different colors – think of it as an accent wall. Our kitchen is green and we ha ve one long wall that is connected with the living room and that is our “accent wall”. The other walls are a macademia nut color.
3. I have no idea how one would spruce up those blinds. Personally, I”d take them down.
4. We got a really cheap rug from JC Penney – or IKEA has great prices too!
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91 Jenna @Eating Green, Staying Lean February 1, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Haha…I LOVE that you photoshopped in some ideas for rearranging and decorating! Good idea, for sure. I think you should definitely bring some colorful curtains into the room if you end up not painting…but you should at least do one or the other to spruce things up. The question is…does Derek love his blinds less or the fresh coat of paint? πŸ™‚
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92 Kristin D February 1, 2011 at 10:14 pm

I don’t care for blinds of any kind, so I feel your pain on the vertical ones.

I bought this for one set of windows from Target (comes in other colors too): http://tinyurl.com/45gawzj. They have other ones that are made of thicker fabric or patterns too. I bought the ones from the link because they were cheap.

Instead of hanging them normally, I draped them like so (link for just the style of draping, not the $$ drape itself): http://tinyurl.com/6xkt3gu (scarf valance). Works out great because we can still open and close the blinds without the drape getting in the way, and it makes the room look warmer.

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93 Sally Kate February 1, 2011 at 10:29 pm

So the blinds are pretty heinous (sorry Derek, I can say that b/c my parents have had the same kind my entire life) but I understand that what he’s saying about the functionality of being able to “black out” the room in case you want to nap during the day or keep that hot florida sun outside where it belongs! I think what you should do is paint the wall with the front door and the wall with the sliding door a fun “pop” color, like orange, lime-sage green, deep purple, you get the idea, something brighter or a rich jewel tone that goes well with brown(think bright not faded vacation rental condo), then grab some throw pillows that match the walls from pier one or target (somewhere cheap but super cute). Then when you start getting your color palette going get a set of curtains for the windows so you aren’t stuck looking at the blinds first thing when you walk in. I like those big french poster prints, you can find them for pretty cheap and are cute for our age and would look great with brown and red, orange or green (even though im seeing youre not a huge fan of the green since you dont like the pillows.) By the table/bar area, I think you will want a hutch/dresser/something to put food/alcohol/catchall/picture framses. Also a table behind the couch (if the back of the longer couch is going to be the firsty thing you see- if its the chair and ahalf then it won’t matter) with candles and pictures would be nice so you aren’t staring at the back of a couch. With that couch, which is super cute p.s. you can go in alot of different directions with the neutral color.

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94 Amanda February 2, 2011 at 1:44 am

Some color on the walls and a throw rug. Good luck, I’m sure you’ll find a solution to painting the living room & kitchen.

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95 natalie @ http://healthybalancingact.blogspot.com/ February 2, 2011 at 5:04 am

you need a feature wall in the living room..:)
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96 CampingGirl February 2, 2011 at 7:07 am

What about putting curtains over the blinds, the curtains can be tied back to frame the area. You get some colour and Derek gets his blackout blinds.
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97 Laura February 2, 2011 at 9:38 am

Hey! I live in Tampa (actually Lutz), is the condo near there? I’ve lived in enough apartments around here that I can usually recognize them from the inside, but that one is tricky. πŸ™‚ I’m a runner and triathlete, let me know when you get to the area and maybe we can go for a run sometime!

Laura

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98 Reenie February 2, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Go get several paint sample cards that you like. Tape them on the wall and look at them at different times of the day/nite to see them in the different lighting. Take the ones off the wall that you know you def don’t want. If it comes down to a couple of flavors and you can’t choose….you can always go buy the little sample paint cans and paint them on the wall and then choose.

I’d tape off where the kitchen starts and paint it a contrasting color.

I’d def put some curtains over the ugly blinds to soften up the look.

If you’re going to work from home……I think I’d do your office first. That way you can work without all the mess of re-doing the living room, and the office won’t take as long to paint and get ready πŸ˜‰

I agree ~ tackle one room at a time….and finish it before you start another =)

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99 Reenie February 2, 2011 at 3:44 pm

…..another thought ~ you can spray paint and/or paint anything and give it a totally different look. Like your coffee table. Here are a few of my fav DIY blogs for some examples.

http://betterafter.blogspot.com/

http://thediyshowoff.blogspot.com/

http://confessionsofacurbshopaholic.blogspot.com/

http://www.prettyhandygirl.com/

http://myrepurposedlife.blogspot.com/

http://www.maillardvillemanor.com/

http://houseofsmiths.blogspot.com/

http://www.younghouselove.com/

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100 Reenie February 2, 2011 at 3:46 pm
101 Reenie February 2, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Shoot…..I just copied a lot of DIY blogs…I don’t see it now! Here they are ~

http://betterafter.blogspot.com/

http://thediyshowoff.blogspot.com/

http://houseofsmiths.blogspot.com/

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