I think my love for home design surpasses my love for fashion. Well, at least by a little bit. Okay, maybe I love both equally. I’m drawn to the way both forms are meant to be experienced from the inside, lived in, not simply looked at. I could happily hang out in that energizing tension between form and function all day long. So maybe there’s no need to pick a favorite. All I know is that I’ve lovingly reserved home design as my personal hobby, so it feels more intimate.
We moved into this lovely little 1930’s home in September, and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen bits and pieces of our new house, but I thought it was time for a proper update. And to make it even better — we just decorated for the holidays!
So let’s jump in. Today I’ll share progress on:
- Our living room
- Our dining room
- How we traded our TV for a projector (plus the exact setup we use!)
- And a little bonus peek at the end!
If you see something you like, you can shop it and support my blog at the same time by using the affiliate links throughout the post.
Isn’t it a happy space? I love the balance of cozy clutter with white space.
A lot of people ask my opinion on Ikea sofas, and to me, the quality can’t be beat for the price. After 3 years (and multiple moves, yikes) ours is still in tip top shape — and we didn’t even buy it new! We bought it off craigslist, and as best I can tell, it was already 2-4 years old at that time. So I’m guessing it’s between 5-7 years old, and still going strong.
A few more quick credits: The paint color throughout the house is HGTV/Sherwin Williams Pure White from Lowes. Our marble coffee table is from Article. Our rug is from Ikea. Our leather chair is from CB2. And just about everything else (mirror, tray, candlesticks, vase) was antiqued or thrifted.
I’ve been collecting these antique candlesticks for a little while now, and I love how they all came together over the mantle. It’s easy to find ornate, chunky candlesticks, but if you’re looking for something a little more minimal like mine, try searching ebay and use the keywords “narrow” “thin” “minimal” or “tulip” in your search. If you just want to get some quickly, here’s a similar set of candlesticks.
Since this is the first time we’ve ever had a fireplace, we splurged and got these fun chunky knit stockings. I’m so happy with the quality. The knitting isn’t just on the front — it wraps all the way around to the back. Quick tip: If you get them embroidered they’ll probably arrive a little wrinkled — just steam the embroidery to get it to lay flat.
No shiny brass here — I like to let it oxidize. I also like letting the wax drip all over the place. Feels real.
My loose holiday color scheme is green, dark gold, and champagne, but I don’t hold too tightly to it. Though it looks like our tree is very color themed in this photo, if you look closely, you can see our personal, funky, mismatched ornaments mixed in too.
The office sits just off the living room and it’s where I do most of my work and shooting. My desk is an antique and the velvet chair is from CB2 and it’s where I’m writing this post right this moment.
After pining for linen curtains for years, we finally got linen curtains from Rough Linen for our living space, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I love the way natural, rumpled linen brings a soft, gentle texture to each room. For a relaxed look, I let them pool on the ground a little.
Quality linen curtains can be pricey, so I’ve got two tips for you:
- Go slowly — just do one room at a time.
- Fabric makes the room, so invest in the curtains and skimp on the hardware. Ikea has excellent hardware at a fraction of the cost (I use the Syrlig rings and Storslagen rods).
When we moved in, I knew I wanted to fill these bookshelves with a mishmash of books.
I think in the past I would have gone for a color coordinated or styled look, but this time I ran in the opposite direction. You’ll see my husband’s screenwriting books, my yoga books, art books, psychology books, even some beloved YA fiction from my teen years.
It feels good to have them out in plain sight, unedited and unorganized. It reminds me where we’ve been, how much we’ve changed, and to hold lightly to where we are now.
The moment I saw these encased openings, I knew I wanted to string garland around them for the holidays. I love it so much! Our garland is from Hobby Lobby — sadly I can’t find it online, but you can probably still find it in store. If you’re shopping online, try this similar garland from Target and this stunning garland from Pottery Barn.
I strung the lights in them myself and planned ahead by making sure there was an outlet nearby. To hang them, I used 3-4 nails per doorway.
Since we use our table so much (more for projects than eating, hah), I like to keep it mostly clear and avoid large centerpieces. But I usually keep a small vase on the table and fill it with fresh greenery clippings from the yard.
A few quick credits: Our linen curtains are from Rough Linen. All our dining furniture was either antiqued or found on craigslist. The rug is from Ikea. The light fixture is old from West Elm, but here’s a similar light fixture.
Our Projector Setup
This section gets long and technical, so feel free to skip ahead.
We switched from a TV to a projector for a few reasons: It makes movie time more cinematic! The screen is bigger! It’s fun! Aaaand it’s nice to not have to arrange the room around a TV.
We mounted the projector screen to the ceiling, directly across from the sofa. It’s not hidden, but it’s inconspicuous enough, since it’s white and blends in with the walls and ceiling. Below on the left you can see the screen when it’s rolled up, then on the right you can see the setup when we’re ready to watch something.
Can you spot the projector in the picture above on the right? It’s the little silver box right in front of the screen. Yep, that tiny little thing is our projector!
In our last house, we had a traditional projector that mounted to the ceiling about 5 or 6 feet away from the screen. It was great! But the people who moved into that house after we left wanted us to leave the whole projector setup, so we sold it to them and started fresh. I wanted to see if I could come up with a more minimal setup. :)
So we found this “short throw” projector that doesn’t need to be ceiling mounted and can sit just a few inches away from the screen (rather than a few feet away, landing it in the middle of the room). Usually a high quality short throw projector is way way more expensive than a traditional projector. So when we found this one for a good price, we jumped at it!
Here’s a closer look at the setup below:
The projector and our AppleTV sit on a laptop stand. The whole setup stays in tact just like it’s pictured above, and sits in the corner of my office when we’re not using it. When it’s time to watch something, we just pull it out and plug it in.
As for sound, you can see the setup in the middle photo above — we just use that tiny Bose speaker in front! Since it’s bluetooth, there’s no need to wire it to the AppleTV. It’s not surround sound, but it is impressive sound quality considering the size. (The larger speaker behind it is our Sonos, which we adore throughout the rest of the house, but we don’t use it for our TV sound.)
Real talk. I love this setup but it’s not for everyone. Here are some of the drawbacks:
- We have to pull out the projector each time we want to watch something. It’s not too bad — I can set it up in about 30 seconds — but it’s certainly more involved than simply clicking a button on a remote.
- The picture isn’t bright enough to watch during the day — on a sunny afternoon you can hardly see anything on the screen. (Whereas our old traditional projector was good and bright and clear even during the sunniest day.)
- The picture quality itself is fine, but it isn’t top notch. It has a slight distortion in the corners. I’ll say, it’s not enough to bother me or my husband, but if you really care about picture quality, you’re probably better off with a different projector.
Here’s the complete list of everything in our setup:
Whew! Okay, done with the projector talk. :)
As much as I’d love to be an adult and eat dinner in the dining room, we usually eat dinner at our coffee table while watching something. We pull out these bamboo poufs and faux sheepskins when it’s time to eat, and then slip them right back under the sofa when we’re done.
My favorite essential oil to diffuse this time of year is Balsam Fir Needle — it smells exactly like a Christmas tree farm. :) I’ve been using this wooden diffuser for a few years and love how it’s small, portable, and minimal.
Bonus! A peek at the bedroom!
Our bedroom is a work in progress but I love the way it’s coming along. We brought in a little holiday cheer by stringing a garland and lights at the foot of our bed and it’s magical. One of these days I’ll hang curtains and possibly add some art above the bed.
Our garland is from Hobby Lobby — sadly I can’t find it online, but you can probably still find it in store. If you’re shopping online, try this similar garland from Target and this stunning garland from Pottery Barn.
We found our bed frame at Walmart — here’s the king bed frame and here’s the queen bed frame. For the price, I couldn’t be happier with it! Yes it was a chore to assemble, and yes at first, even the slightest movement caused it to squeak loudly, but we just put a little WD40 on the screws and it’s been silent ever since.
Our linen bedding is from ByMolle — they have the softest, most deliciously broken-in linen bedding I’ve ever felt. If you want to replicate our color scheme, the duvet and sheets are Flax, the throw at the end is Hazel, and the pillowcases are Cinnamon.
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And there you have it! Thanks for sticking with me through all that! I’m getting a lot of joy from writing longer, rambly posts these days — it feels like we’re just chatting. So thanks for being here. I hope you enjoyed it!
So tell me, have you started decorating for Christmas yet? What are your guiding words when it comes to your home design these days? Got any questions about projectors, antiquing, or anything else in this post? And finally, how many photos can you spot Steve in? :)