Eeee! I’m so excited to finally be sharing a ROOM reveal for you guys! I did a poll on IG, and you requested to see the living room first… so here we are! For a little bit of background, Eric and I currently rent in a beautiful historic home in Heritage Hill (in Grand Rapids, Michigan). In July, we will have been here for 6 years… and I’m pretty sure this is the longest I’ve ever stayed in one place my entire life. With that said, this feels like home. We are within walking distance to my favorite corner in GR (think Donkey, The Winchester, Rowster Coffee), and about a mile from downtown. It’s our ideal apartment. It seems funny to be redecorating after 6 years of living here, but it was sort of a weird blessing in disguise. Last October, we were woken up in the middle of the night from a house fire that our upstairs neighbors caused. Long story short, they are gone, there were renovations to do, and it sort of sparked a remodel because we were able to repaint and needed new furniture after we sold some items after the fire. So now it honestly feels like a brand new place, and it finally feels like “us”. I was so excited to refresh this room, and now I’m excited to give you guys a peek at our living space!
BEFORE + AFTER
So as you can see in the before, we were working with RED and BEIGE walls. Whoever thought up that combo… I question you. To be honest, for years, it was sort of a weird mishmash of stuff we collected over the years, things I owned before I even met Eric, random IKEA purchases, you name it. It definitely wasn’t a thought-out space. But for a while, we were working to get out of debt, so home decor wasn’t on the top of our priorities. And our goal was always to save to buy a house, so I figured we’d redecorate once we bought a house. But after talking with a few people I super trust (including Dave Ramsey himself 😂), we decided to stay in our apartment until we have our full 20% saved to avoid PMI and to be in a more competitive place to put an offer down on a house. So if that means we’re going to be here for another 1-2 years, and we were able to paint finally, I figured it was the perfect time to do a little refresh of our apartment! Plus, almost everything, we can take with us, so nothing is a lost investment. It’s hard as a renter to get the urge to redecorate because there’s a thousand things you’d change (ahem, fireplace, ahem) but you just can’t realistically change everything.
Initial Living Room Mockup
When it comes to my style, I’m not really sure how I’d define it. Maybe classic, a little eclectic, with a whole lot of nautical but not overly-cliché nautical vibes. I wanted Michigan to be super present in every room. Photos of our travels, lighthouses, our boardwalk at Big Sable. Coffee table books of lighthouses and our favorite places in Michigan. Marine scented candles. Elements of blue. Greenery. Personal touches from local artists. I am obsessed with Michigan — I think sometimes you guys get that from our travels and excursions and lighthouses and my words of affirmation — but I am in LOVE with this state and our home, and surrounding myself with that in our space was super important to me. I’m probably at my happiest when I’m traveling around this state, so to be reminded of that everyday at home is honestly such a joy.
As for planning out this room, I honestly just started a Pinterest board and started pinning things I loved to it! I saved rooms that I loved, pieces of furniture I loved, vibes I loved, and then I started digging more into it. One of my big goals was to stick to a budget. We’re still saving up for a down payment on a house, and I didn’t want to detract from that majorly, so we tried to do everything we wanted as inexpensive as possible. Almost everything we bought ended up being from Target or Amazon, or I’d find it on Target and then I’d research it and find it cheaper on Amazon or vice versa. Haha! I did a lot of hunting to find the pieces I wanted. We had to put everything together — the chairs, the sideboard. We kept our couch (it’s still in good condition, and decent-enough-looking!). I wasn’t looking for perfection, just more “us”!
We definitely made some larger investments though — things we knew we’d really value long-term and that we could take with us into a new home someday. We decided to upgrade to a Sonos system. For years, Eric had a speaker system set up with these GIANT speakers from the 70s that we used as end-tables. 😂 Those were connected to another speaker system from the 90s (everything was just so ugly and took up so much space) so we decided to do an upgrade there. That was the most expensive thing in this entire remodel, haha. My other big investment for this space was our vintage rug from Revival Rugs. I’ve had my eye on this website for so long, and this was the first purchase I made for this room when we started to redecorate. Eric and I decided on this rug together, and I’m in love. It’s such a fun statement piece, and I love that it’s one-of-a-kind. (And side note, not sponsored, but our entire experience with Revival Rugs was perfect. From ordering, to arrival, the branding, was all amazing.) This is the one we purchased, but like I said one-of-a-kind so you can’t buy this exact one, but they have similar options available.)
Most of the art prints are Etsy, or local artists. I had everything printed locally in Grand Rapids at Prolab Express. The skeleton people (above) was a print Eric gave me when we first started dating — Sherri DuPree-Bemis from Eisley drew it. The Lake Superior print is from Drew Deming, an artist based in Sebewaing, Michigan. The lighthouse print below that was a gift from my artist friend, Jen. The gold clock was a gift from my Grandpa’s 29th year of service at S. D. Warren Paper Mill in Muskegon, Michigan. The candy jar was an item Eric received from his parents recently, that they had been saving from his grandparent’s house. I love having pieces that mean so much to us, and we can display in our home and tell a story about.
I hope you enjoyed our living room reveal! We pretty much touched every room in our apartment, except the guest bedroom and kitchen, so I’ll be back with posts from our dining room, entryway/foyer, bedroom and bathroom! It’ll be fun for you to see them all tied together. Above is a photo from how the living room looks from our dining room (you get a sense of the blue room there!) Let me know if you have ANY questions in the comments below. You can shop items below as well if you spotted a piece you like (and is available, of course!) If you have any questions on a piece, let me know!
SHOP OUR LIVING ROOM
IKEA KIVIK Couch in Hillared anthracite | Revival Rugs Ewout Rug (see related rugs at bottom) | Heywood Retro Round End Table | Diamond Throw Pillow | Dash Oversize Lumbar Throw Pillow | Woven With Exposed Zipper Throw Pillow | Lighthouse Patent Poster | Maui Side Board in Walnut (we painted the same blue in dining room over the maui print) | Fox & Fern Mid-Century Modern Plant Stand | Lake Superior Watercolor Print | Baxton Studio Sorrento Mid-Century Retro Modern Faux Leather Upholstered Wooden Lounge Chair | Sonos System | Target Gold Lamp (similar) | Above The Lighthouses Coffee Table Book | Michigan Lighthouses Coffee Table Book | Pictured Rocks Coffee Table Book | Love Never Dies Art Print by Sherri DuPree Bemis | Hearth & Home Marine Moss Candle | Tall Ship Sailing Vessel Art Print