A Thrifty Living Room: Pre-planning


The best place to start is with inspiration pictures. Saving favorite images can help find common design elements and define personal style.

Living Room Inspiration Board

I used a Google Docs drawing to share images with E in one location. It started a bit differently than what you see now. There were lofty ideas for a secret bookcase to hide the laundry closet, but we quickly remembered that just wouldn’t work out in a rental. Still, who wouldn’t love a secret door?

The non-reject ideas for this project were wood, clean lines, natural elements, and DIY. E dubbed it “Mid-Century Cave Man”.


One surprise was how much red was in the inspiration photo collection; he still claims he doesn’t love the color as much as it seems. The Gauguin painting was an easy choice to guide room colors. It’s rich in primary tones and warmth without being overwhelming.

When Will You Marry Colors

Built in Gimp, a free alternative to Adobe’s Photoshop.

We already had hit many of these before a color palette was discussed. The light green curtains, the beige walls, the pale blue sofa, the painting itself. Recognizing this color palette helped us to make stronger selections later, like jumping to get that green swivel chair!


Planning out the furniture arrangement was also a little tricky. This living room is our main hang out area. It needed space for many people to sit (hello poker night!), video game playing, and a desk for actual work. Pathways were needed to the kitchen, the laundry closet, and to the bedrooms. Highlighting the fireplace was a big deal for me, while E wanted room for lots of bookshelves.

Living Room

To bring it all together without pushing furniture all over the place, we used an online interactive room planner from Raymour & Flanigan. It’s a promo tool that features their furniture with printable lists for their buyers. Happily, it also has the option to build your own space with generic furniture templates. It’s easy to use and it’s free. No previous autocad drafting experience necessary!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s