Confession: I have an outrageously extensive art collection. It’s a mix of prints, paintings and other odds and ends and most of it’s never seen the light of day. I love the idea of surrounding myself with creative inspiration, photographs and art by people I’ve met over the years. And I’ve dreamed of creating an epic gallery wall for years, but never found the time. Until now!
Just a few weeks ago, we kicked off a brand new series that’s all about transforming my San Francisco apartment into a home that reflects my and my husband’s personalities. We’ve teamed up with Lowe’s to tackle this project room by room and, so far, it’s been pretty amazing to see how each room can truly come to life with a few key changes. By coordinating our personal style with current trends, we’ve managed to come up with a design style that looks and feels just like us. As a renter, it’s easy to feel stuck in a style rut and like there’s no reason to put time into it — but I beg to differ. There are plenty of simple ways to transform your space, to mix and match the old with the new to ensure it’s a space you really want to live in.
Today, we take on the living room. Our living room is a decently sized space that ends up being a catch-all for pretty much everything. Books, blankets and records all have a home here, as do plants, wrapping paper and yoga mats. If you’re an apartment dweller, you probably know the deal. How do you turn a mishmash of stuff into a cohesive living space? And how do you do so without just getting rid of everything?
The right storage goes a long way, and a little love and attention to your blank walls can actually make your space feel bigger!
Here’s another before shot after we painted the walls, but before we started styling. Cords everywhere, piles of things on every surface and NOTHING on the walls! Follow along to see how we turn the space you see above into a space fit for your interior inspiration Pinterest board. (PS — Check out my apt makeover pinboard right here!)
1. Non-Intrusive Wall Color: First things first, let’s turn those beige walls blue! But not a super saturated blue like in the bedroom. For the living room, we selected a cool gray-blue hybrid (specifically HGTV HOME™ by Sherwin-Williams, FF 19 Upward SW 6239) to act as the canvas for the room. If you have a ton of art, it’s important to steer away from super bold colors like red, pink, yellow and black. If you don’t plan on covering your walls with decor, then a bold color can definitely work — it’s up to you!
2. Plenty of Shelving: As I’ve mentioned, this room tends to store a lot of random odds and ends. In one basket alone we’ve got yoga mats, wrapping paper rolls and a tripod! In terms of shelving, we’re fortunate enough to have a beautiful built-in bookcase (scroll on to feast your eyes on rainbow-organized books!) but we don’t have a great place to store larger items like blankets, baskets and my vintage record collection. So, we picked up this white wood closet tower and found a home for those very items. To keep clutter away, use fabric bins and baskets to get organized.
Now don’t go thinking that shelves are just about storage. They’re also a great place to highlight decor items. And thanks to my high ceilings, we’ve even got space for some wall art. My husband David was more than happy to hop up on our stepladder and hang up a range of metal mountains!
3. One Giant Rug: A rug instantly warms up a space. You might say it brings a room together. It’s cozy, quiet and, if you’ve got a pup, he’ll most definitely be on board with something that stops him from sliding across the room every time he runs in ;) This allen + roth blue woven rug is super soft.
Bonus! This pretty patterned rug happens to make a very solid photo backdrop for those cheesy selfies you take with your husband. Or maybe that’s just me.
4. Epic Gallery Wall: Now, time for the pièce de résistance — the most epic gallery wall EVER. Or at least the most epic gallery wall I’ve played a part in creating. Since I’ve been collecting stacks of art for over a decade, it was quite the undertaking to finally figure out how to put it on display. This tutorial from Lowe’s is a great place to start when deciding how to put together your own gallery wall. They show you how to plan out your wall by cutting out pieces of craft paper (the same shape and size as your art) and then taping them on the wall to scope out how to fit everything together. Before you get started, you need these key items: picture hanging kit, drill, level, hammer and nails. (Psst: Peep this Vine to see another awesome gallery wall come to life!)
Because you are creating a personal space, don’t get hung up on everything being super matchy-matchy. It’s okay to mix textures, prints and patterns — in fact, it’s encouraged! We even scored a few pieces from Lowe’s, including this seasonal canvas that makes us think of fall, this bird painting, this abstract piece and this photographic triptych of different moon phases. To add dimension, we added unusual things like a hatchet, shelf with a succulent and this modern clock.
If you’re adding shelves to the mix, be sure to drill them in so they can hold a significant amount of weight.
Feel free to rock out with this rockstar level.
Here’s another detail shot of the left wall. As you can see, we’ve also got a mini gallery on our vintage credenza. You’ve gotta keep those family pics somewhere that you can see them (and update them) on the reg.
5. Tons of Textiles: If you haven’t gathered this thus far, it’s worth noting that I have an obsession with patterned textiles. In the living room, the more cozy textiles the better! Quilted pillows, patterned pieces and fuzzy throw blankets are key.
On the couch we’ve got lots and lots of throw pillows as well as a couple blankets. Snuggly Sundays are most definitely on the calendar for 2016.
6. Non-Working Fireplace Decor: What do you do with a non-working fireplace? If you’re me and my husband David, you turn it into a jungle! We mounted this quirky quartet of zebras to the fireplace wall. In front, we’ve got lots of leafy plants that create a nature-inspired vignette.
7. Rainbow-Organized Bookshelf: Finally, we took a very disorganized bookshelf and turned it into a piece of color-coordinated beauty. On point, right? Our shelf is a little tough to work with since the shelves are big so went with a series of stacks in order of color. To create more light in the room, we also added in this allen + roth bronze triple-headed lamp. It’s perfect for reading on the couch while still lighting up the rest of the room.
And there you have it! A totally coordinated and eclectic living room that reflects David and me perfectly.
Remember when it looked like this? BORING!
We’ve come a long way Turkey, we’ve come a long way.
This post is a collaboration with Lowe’s.
Styling and Production: Anjelika Temple, Kelly Bryden, Brittany Griffin, Marianne Koo
Photography: Chris Andre