I’m so glad you are all just as excited as I am about the one room challenge! (Here’s week one in case you missed it.) In the past week, we’ve moved in a vintage Chesterfield sofa that I found on Craigslist and brought over a striped rug that just wasn’t working in my apartment. So far, so good!


one room challenge week 1 rug


one room challenge week 2 rug

We also assembled a book tower to display the boys’ favorite reads, which had previously been piled on a second shelf underneath the coffee table. Never mind that Will and I decided to tackle this project after midnight on a Friday… Is this what being an adult feels like?

design darling one room challenge


one room challenge week 1 tv


one room challenge week 2 tv

We’ve also been making decisions about which art pieces to relocate from their bedrooms to the living room for a gallery wall behind the television. And we’ve ordered three pieces of furniture that I think will make a huge difference in making this space more grown-up: the Malone dresser from West Elm as a perch for the TV and additional storage and these two Baxton Studio Cortland chairs from Joss & Main to replace the dark faux leather armchairs they have currently. The bar that I originally wanted to paint is super bulky and doesn’t really fit anywhere in the room so we’re going to sell it (and the old chairs) on Craiglist (are you sensing my obsession?) to cover some of the costs of new pieces.

west elm malone dresser

dresser  //  chairs

The one thing we’re really hung up on is the coffee table. Mike, Will, and I all agree that it’s time for an update (the current piece is a college hand-me-down) but it seems everything I suggest is “too girly.” I thought an acrylic trunk would be awesome (more modern, wouldn’t take up visual space, would reflect a little light…) but the boys agreed that no straight man would ever purchase that on his own… And when I think about it that way, I realize they’re probably right. Here are a few we’ve considered:

acrylic and marble coffee table options

one  //  two  //  three  //  four

Will and I have been mindful of choosing pieces that we both love since they’ll likely wind up in a future home that we share (and Mike is down for whatever… I keep telling his girlfriend how lucky she is ;)) and we don’t want to buy a coffee table that we don’t love just because it will work in this one apartment. So we’ll keep scouring One Kings Lane in the hopes of discovering something that’s just right…!

There’s still a ton to do: finding the right coffee table and bar cart, painting the Albert Einstein frames, figuring out window treatments, hanging the gallery wall, installing all the furniture… It’s going to be a busy month! Check back next Wednesday for an update from week three and don’t forget to check out the other participants’ updates below.

Abby M. Interiors             

Because It’s Awesome

Bijou & Boheme

Chinoiserie Chic

The Decorista

Design Chic

The Design Daredevil

Design Darling

Design Indulgence

Design Manifest

House of Turquoise

Jana Bek Design

Jill Sorensen

Maddie G. Designs

Mimosa Lane

A Piece of Toast 

The Pink Pagoda

Stone Textile

Waiting on Martha

The Zhush

Trademarked by Calling it Home


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  1. LOVE that chesterfield sofa & amazing what a transformation it & the new stripe rug makes! Obsessed with the new Malone pieces from WE, cannot wait to see more! XX jana

  2. haha! i can hear every guy friend i’ve ever had saying the same thing about those coffee tables…even though i would pay good money to own any of those choices myself! you are so brave to take this on! love the chesterfield. enviable!

  3. Nice find with the Chesterfield!! My Saturday night was sawing through closet walls with my man, so I can relate. Not sure if that is “adult-life” or just being design obsessed. 😉

  4. ahh i love that sofa. i can’t believe you found it on craigslist, good job, they are so expensive!
    xxo Sienna
    p.s. i just signed my lease on an apt in the west village, thanks again for all your help! so excited!

  5. Boy…just changing out that black sofa made so much difference. It lightened up the space. I think you are on the right track here and look forward to seeing what you do next!

  6. Have you looked at Ikea’s Lack side tables as a coffee table? You could add some brass hardware to make them fit, and when entertaining, they can be moved to the side of the room to set drinks on.

  7. this already looks so much better, can’t wait to see what you do with the rest! my husband + I have been looking for a coffee table forever (upgrading from ikea finallyyy) , we just can’t agree. your style does not reflect industrial at all so may not work, but the wood/metal on this one from west elm is warm without being too heavy of a piece:||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_–_-

  8. It looks great! We all know how much I love a striped rug! Are those chairs the match to your sofa? Also, have you thought about a DIY coffee table? I will email you the picture of what I am thinking of doing for mine, I think it may work well in Will’s space too!

  9. I love everything about this post! The transformation is coming along great! I love the fourth coffee table, I think it has the most masculine qualities and if you topped it with a dark leather tray and brass accents, It would make the whole coffee table look even more masculine!
    Keep up the great work! I love following along with your #ORC process!

  10. It’s amazing what a difference just changing the couch and rug have made! The space already looks much brighter. I am so glad that you are doing this challenge with your boyfriend’s apartment because I feel like it serves as much better inspiration on how to merge masculine and feminine styles for readers who are married or living with their bfs! Can’t wait to see what you do with the space next 🙂

  11. Love all the changes so far. Like the marble topped table best in the mix of what is already happening. Has the best chance of holding up to the day to day living requirements too.

  12. Love the bookshelf and that chesterfield is killer!!! Kind of agree with the boys on the coffee table. 🙂 Maybe head in the direction of a restoration hardware trolley/factory cart look. A less expensive one could be the Aiden Coffee Table over at World Market. This room is going to look great!! Can’t wait to see more!

  13. This is amazing! I love what you’re doing with the space. I think it’s so interesting that you’re completing this challenge at your boyfriend’s place. It’s a really wonderful exercise in interior design…I could spruce my place up in a minute, but it would take me a while to figure out how to redo a dude’s living room. It looks great, and I can’t wait to see what else you come up with!

    The What’s In Between

  14. The transformation already looks wonderful. It’s incredible that with the switch of a few things a space can become transformed. The chesterfield is an amazing find and the stripped rug completely cheers up the heavy feeling of the space! Cannot wait to see what you’ve done with the space next week! xx

  15. It’s amazing what a difference there is already! The new couch and rug do an amazing job of lighting the place up! And I like that you are both thinking about the pieces collectively as to how they will work in the future. My boyfriend and I are slowly gearing up to living together (he needs to get a job by me first!) and once that happens it will definitely be interesting to see how our 2 styles match up.

    – Kelsey

  16. I love the book tower and the Chesterfield – that couch is just perfect for a masculine apartment. It’s looking better already. If you’re able, check outlet stores for coffee tables! My sister just got that West Elm marble topped one for $200 at the West Elm outlet on Long Island.

  17. i love the new couch and the west elm dresser. agree that those coffee tables are too girly – my husband would never go for any of ’em!