There have been some ch-ch-ch-changes going on in the living room at my house. Remember when I first shared the room with you here. While I luv my E & S tile wood wall and the big giant gray beast (i.e., sectional), something was amiss in this room. My sister told me it was all too gray and that I needed more color. Insert colorful pillows:

pop of color

Still, the room didn’t feel right. The pillows just weren’t going with the rustic wood wall and without those pillows the room did feel a bit gray and dull. And then, good things happened in the world of decor. I went to a class at the West Elm store in Denver and met some super stellar, super stylish peeps. And as luck would have it, the class I went to was about showing a few of the rooms in your house to the esteemed panel and they would then critique the rooms and give you tips on areas you might be struggling with. The two rooms I showed were my living room and my master bedroom:




Both rooms suffer from the same problem, a lack of color and a whole lot of gray. But you know what they told me (and it is now my mantra)- neutrals are colors!!!! (LESSON #1) What?!?! This whole time I’ve been stressing about adding bright, punchy colors to my rooms when all along I had colors- they were just more muted. This friends, was a HUGE awakening for me. Dramatic you say- yes, perhaps- but really this bit of advice has  stuck with me and made me feel a bit better about the overall feel of my rooms. So just remember, neutral are colors too.

Back to the living room- what was suggested to me for making this room better was to get a different rug. They suggested a darker rug, and one with less gray to add some contrast. At first I totally disregarded this suggestion because I had bought that rug from West Elm and how was I going to justify buying a brand new rug? Design geniuses came to the rescue again and suggested that I move the living room rug up to the master bedroom since I had mentioned wanting to add a rug up there. Remember my drawing of the master bedroom with a big ol’ rug added?


LESSON # 2- Shop the house when redesigning things. Many times owners have items that can work in another room if they aren’t quite working in their current room. Knowing that getting a new rug for my living room would be a win-win for two rooms in my house I went ahead with their suggestion and got a darker, more natural rug for the room. They suggested layering two rugs in this room to provide a nice contrast against the dark floors. Going along with this, I ordered this jute rug from Overstock as my bottom layer rug and then ordered the Kite Kilim rug from West Elm as the top layer.




I have to say, their suggestion was spot on. I love the new rugs in the room and the slightly ethnic look that it brings to the room. And the natural fibers of the rug help bring more texture into the room. This goes with the third lesson I learned from West Elm that day: LESSON #3: Bring natural elements into every room. There are many ways to bring in natural elements, whether through jute rugs, bamboo window shades, or woven baskets in a room. These pieces really bring dimension to your room. But of course with this new direction in the room, those bright colored pillows really were not working. Luckily pillows are a quick fix so I ordered this pillow and two of these pillows from West Elm.


A little close up of the side table shows a new vase and succulent in the room too. Gold leaf came to the rescue again and livened up the bottom of this white vase that came from Crate and Barrel.


And that old rug from the living room? It has found a new home in the master bedroom.


Just for fun, one more shot of the living room before and after the changes.


Small changes like these make me happy. They however do not make my husband happy. Next dilemma for this room- drapes or no drapes? And if you get the chance to attend a class at a West Elm store in your neighborhood- DO IT! Not only are they super fun and informative but you get to look around one of my favorite stores!

Related posts:

A Christmas tour {Erin's House}
The making of a deck {spanning the inside with the outside}
A few new things in the house
Visualizing the fireplace makeover
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42 Responses to Ch-ch-ch-changes

  1. Diana Morrow says:

    Need a pop of color TOO!!!! Pillows it is.

  2. Meg says:

    The living room looks SO much better! I agree, those bright pillows just weren’t working. Love the new rugs.

  3. Nikki Kelly says:

    I love the new rugs! I was at that class and started following along right there. I’m glad to see the changes you made, I especially love how you layered the two rugs! I am pro drapes, fo’ sho’. I also think adding something to the wood wall (wall sculpture or art) would be a good too. Sadly, I have not been able to make any progress in my rooms, it’s been a busy summer, but I’m hoping winter will be a welcome change of pace. Can’t wait to see what you come up with for the windows.

    • Erin says:

      Thanks Nikki! That class was so much fun- right? And I’m thinking drapes too, just trying to figure out the right ones. Pattern, no pattern? Light, dark? I’m sure I’ll change them up a few times before finding the right ones! And winter is always a good time to be stuck inside working on the house!

  4. Lia says:

    Where did you get the sectional couch? Thanks!

    • Erin says:

      That sectional is a Sam Moore couch that you can customize with different pieces. It is the M series. You could order it from most big furniture stores that carry Sam Moore stuff.

    • Erin says:

      That sectional is a Sam Moore couch that you can customize with different pieces. It is the M series. You could order it from most big furniture stores that carry Sam Moore stuff.

  5. Megan says:

    Love your couch! Where did you get it?

    • Erin says:

      That sectional is a Sam Moore couch that you can customize with different pieces. It is the M series. You could order it from most big furniture stores that carry Sam Moore stuff.

  6. christi says:

    where did you get the couch??

    • Erin says:

      That sectional is a Sam Moore couch that you can customize with different pieces. It is the M series. You could order it from most big furniture stores that carry Sam Moore stuff.

  7. Kathryn says:

    Love the new rug in the space, what an impact! My whole house is grays and I have to remind myself that that’s a color too 🙂 And I’m on the pro-drapes team.

    • Erin says:

      Yep, I know how you feel. The chant going through my head all the time- neutrals are colors, neutrals are colors. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Pingback: Before & After: Erin’s Living Room Transformation | Front & Main

  9. Katie says:

    Where did you get the wood for your wall and how is it affixed? I’ve been waiting for the paneling from west elm to show up at the denver store for samples but haven’t seen it yet. I really like the width of the wood pieces on your wall.

    • Erin says:

      Hi Katie. The wood for my wall is actually wood tiles made by a company that is where I live. The company is called E & S tile and they make some truly amazing wood tiles. You just adhere these tiles to the wall using tile adhesive so the installation process is super simple. And all the tiles have been coated with some sort of protective coating to keep them looking beautiful for a long time. I’m about to install whitewashed wood tiles as my kitchen backsplash next week and of course I’ll be sharing that update on the blog!

      • Katie says:

        Awesome! Thanks so much for the info. I live in Denver as well so I’m excited they are local. Hoping to check out the product soon!

        • Erin says:

          Yep, they use barns that are about to fall down for all of their wood and almost all of the barns are from Colorado. So it’s local and small business which is always nice to support!

  10. Alexa says:

    Love it! Also, where did you get your octopus (same pic as the succulents)?

    • Erin says:

      Thanks Alexa! That octopus came from Z Gallerie and I bought it about a year ago so not sure if they still carry it or not. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Linda says:

    Where were the X and O’s that are sitting on the coffee table purchased?

  12. Love your “makeovers”. It’s a little crazy, but for years I’ve been changing up my pillows (just the covers) and lampshades; one set for Spring/Summer and another for Fall/Winter. Oh, my bedroom draperies and duvet as well. Keeps things interesting…

  13. Shannon says:

    Hi there! Where is the coffee table in the living room from?

  14. Betsy says:

    Where did you get the “coffee table”?

  15. Kate says:

    Love your rooms! Where is your beautiful grey sectional from?!? Love it!!

    • Erin says:

      Thanks Kate. I got the couch from a local furniture store. It is a Sam Moore couch- the M series. It’s the type that you order each piece to configure the shape you need. Super comfy- we love it!

  16. Taylor says:

    Hi I love the rug may I ask where it is from ?

  17. Ashley says:

    Looks lovely!!! I am currently looking for a couch exactly like your grey one, same color & all! Where did you get it & what brand/color is it?! Thanks!!

  18. Sarah says:

    Erin, I love your decor, namely the sectional. I live in Denver and am wondering if you have ever considered selling your sectional…if so, we’d love to consider buying it from you!! Otherwise, I am looking into buying one for ourselves using the link you offered above. I don’t see pricing on their site..would you be willing to offer an insight into how much you paid for the whole piece? Thank you!! -Sarah