One of the big takeaways from my reader survey last month is that you guys are interested in seeing more of the decorating process in addition to the actual room reveals. I tried to do this with our foyer (sharing decorating decisions before the finished product) but today I’m taking it a step further with photos of our (very) unfinished living room. I hope you’ll weigh in in the comments!

design darling living room progress

My top priority in our living room is to install window treatments in the bay window that houses our chaise longue. As you can see, the space gets a ton of light coming from this one wall, but cars driving by can see right into our windows and it’d be nice to have a little privacy. My plan is to order these (by far the most affordable lucite curtain rods I’ve found) and hang really inexpensive semi-sheer curtains (maybe these?) just to obscure the view without eliminating the natural light. The curtains will also help fill out the space around the chaise, which, if you follow me on Instagram stories, you know has been an ongoing decorating debacle (I’ve tried adding two different baskets at the foot and angling the chaise into the room, but ultimately decided to add this floor lamp behind it and call it a day).

design darling living room progress photos

I’m still deciding whether I want to try a different side table to the right of our sectional. Will’s had this antique one since before we met and while I love the style, it does little to brighten up the dark navy upholstery that dominates the room. We already own at least a couple different side tables we could swap in (a round white one and a mirrored square one off the top of my head) so I’m having a hard time justifying purchasing anything new here. I’m also torn on the wooden lamp, which I painted white and made quite a few paint drips on. But again until I see something I love, it kind of gets the job done for now…? If you’ve seen something more fun, leave me a note in the comments!

design darling navy sectional

Please ignore the fact that I need to take a lint roller to our sectional (and actually attach the three pieces — that space in the middle is driving me crazy!) but the third thing I’m focused on in the living room is our throw pillow situation. The sectional is honestly so comfortable on its own that we don’t really need any pillows, but it’s such a large (and dark) piece that I feel like an assortment of pillows would really help break things up. I’m a little all over the place in terms of what I’m thinking, so again feel free to cast your vote and help me narrow things down in the comments. Obviously the current throw pillows look dinky and insufficient on their own so I either want to add a bunch or just nix them altogether.

design darling ikea media console

This view of our media console is basically finished outside of a little styling. The striped rug used to be in our master bedroom when we lived in Dallas but I love having it in a more central part of our house! I’m thinking of adding some sort of tray to our acrylic coffee table (maybe something like this or this — thoughts?).

design darling chaise longue

God knows how I’m going to shoot this space for the blog when it’s actually finished because there’s so much contrast between the bright area over by the chaise and the dark area over by the sectional (photographer friends, any ideas?!). Here you can see at least the outline of the little floor lamp I fell in love with… I’ve since found this one that’s a little less expensive if you’re on the hunt for something similar.

design darling slim aarons prints

I can’t wait to get this place in better shape so I can take “real” photos for the big reveal. I can’t wait to hear your two cents!

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  1. I used to live in Darien, and always used Fabian at Just Right Upholstry. His work was top notch. I would recommend him for pillows! Maybe a coral color?

  2. Go online to the Charlottesville Virginia idea by southern living. Look at the kitchen wall where the tv is. That will solve the tv area. Balance the navy sectional by adding navy and white drapery around that chase with roman shades. Add pillows that brighten up the sofa and chaise in colors that coordinate along with a couple of throws. Add a solid natural tray to the clear table along with a plant and place that she’ll over by the tv on it. The brown side table beside the sofa doesn’t fill the space change it out for one that fills the space preferably something natural looking. The blue and white urn needs to be beside the chaise to hold a beverage. That’s all I got for now. It’s your space to make it the way you want. But you asked for suggestions. Please don’t post this. This is merely to help you. You’ve done a good job. Just needs some tweeking. And yes I normally get paid for dong this kinda stuff.

  3. LOVE your style! I’m getting so much home inspo from what you’ve been sharing.

    My favorite tip for making a room look very finished is concealing all the wires- I do it myself (it’s super easy) and it just makes the room look that much more polished. I think these are the ones we used:

    Good luck!

  4. I would add a potted fern or two, paint the wall behind the tv a different color and hang some plates above the alcove. I’d also add some solid white cushions to the sofa and more plates or artwork above the tv. You’ll figure it out. It’s super cute!

  5. I would definitely do some throw pillows- maybe kelly green or a bright orange! I think you should do another acrylic end table, it’ll keep the space light and airy. I feel like for around the chaise you could push it closer to the side by the top and then get a long, narrow basket for the floor and put in some colorful throws or pillows. Just to break the space up a bit. Love what you’ve done so far and can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  6. I found some great white linen sheets at pottery barn. Later I added drapes in front of the sheets. They are really classic.

  7. For throw pillows- have them made. Pick fabrics you love and have a seamstress make pillow covers. They give a high end look for not much more than nice pillows from the home decorating stores.

  8. So jealous of all that natural light! Would you consider painting the walls a light but warm hydrangea blue, maybe a little bit lighter than the chaise? It would add some depth and actually make the room feel bigger because it would soften the contrast between the dark blue sectional and bright white walls.

    That rug is one of my favorites! I have the smaller version as a doormat in my house!

    1. I would definitely paint if we weren’t renting! The walls are actually a pale gray but we’re not planning to be here very long (less than two years) so I don’t want to invest in anything we can’t take with us.

      1. I totally forgot that you’re renting! Sorry, I clearly need more caffeine or something, haha. I guess I think various shades of blue would be fun, whether it’s in the pillows or a pretty throw that you can drape on the chaise. I don’t know if you would add a few dashes of coral or pink, but I’ve always thought those are great accents with blue. Light green is a pretty accent color, too!

  9. What do you think about painting the wall beside your TV navy or get some navy stripe wall decals? Possibly the same with the chaise alcove? Love the buford? Check home goods too.

    I LOVE the lucite curtain rods. I purchased these curtains at Ikea and didn’t use the tie back.. The fabric is really nice and lets a lot of light in. They aren’t as sheer as what you are thinking of, but you can see from the picture that you can see through them when closed. You can’t beat the price and they come in a shorter length too. My blinds are from JC Penney ordered to size.

    We have similar taste even though I am much older than you are!
    We have similar taste even though I am much older than you are!

  10. Love the light and the couch is a perfect size for the Space. I would encourage a client or friend to add an additional design pattern. I think you are too heavy on stripes. Either change the rug or the throw pillows need a new patten ie Ballard designs has an adorable navy animal Print throw pillow .Or a navy buffalo check or a toile.. would fit with your style… a grey or tan and multi tone blue patterned rug would be a quick fix too.

    I would also love ( and every man loves one) to see instead of the chaise, especially with your location in the northeast a leather chair ( so many places have great ones at all price points) ; oversized or with an ottoman…
    best part is too enjoy it all and make it a place you love to live ! Also, some old silver pieces could be fun to start to collect too to soften and give a different dimension to the room..

  11. Love your style! I’m looking for a similar chaise..and I’m sure you would have linked yours if still available but do you know any similar options you could link? Thanks!!

  12. You are off to a great start! A few thoughts:
    1 – as someone else suggested, place the garden stool by the chaise (and also go ahead and order the floor lamp). If you Google, you will find tons of “inspiration images” for this sort of vignette.
    2 – I like the wooden side table – I think it’s nice to have something a little different in the space (that is, something not so matchy-matchy), but I would try pulling it out a bit, so that it’s not flush against the wall (even just a few inches might make a difference). I do think a different lamp would be better – you could try to find something brass and vintage on Etsy or try the Robert Abbey gourd lamp in small (available in a million different colors). Another idea is a printed fabric shade (there’s an Etsy shop that specializes in this).
    3 – With pillows, I’d go for something colorful – look on Etsy for Schumacher Citrus Garden, Thibaut Daintree Blue Moon, Schumacher Betwixt (not colorful, but a good contrast), Schumacher Beatrice Bouquet, Braemore Wonderland Pearl, or just about anything by Quadrille. Layer with solids (look at Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma Home).
    4 – I would add a few trinkets to the coffee table – items that can go on top of the stacks of books. Bowls, mini boxes, shells, etc.

    1. You can see the floor lamp in the last photo! And will definitely look into the Robert Abbey lamp (I know the exact one you mean, I just can’t decide on a color for that spot!) and all the fabrics you listed — so helpful! And I’ll for sure be styling the coffee table (and console and side table haha) when I shoot the finished product! The empty vase is a problem 😂

  13. You’ve got some great pieces and I”m excited to see the finished product! I’ve always really loved your taste in art. The light blue chaise is fab and I think the little floor table is so cute.

    For throw pillows, I think it would be great to break up all the blue in the room. Maybe pull in some greens and yellows? Some darker green pillows in a linen velvet would be fab, as well as some patterned pillows in a tan/green/yellow colorway. A tan/neutral pillow with a green greek key pattern on it could be great, too. You can also use a throw to break up the sectional, too. I love the poolside print over the side table. Working in the greens from that, and the yellow from the spine of the Slim Aarons book would be awesome.

    Love the idea of sheers to give you some privacy but keep the light. I think sheers with an interesting trim, or a darker curtain rod would be great, because it would add texture/contrast higher up in the room and help balance the big sectional.

    I like the side table and white lamp base. Maybe try a different lamp share, something with more texture/pattern/color? And I still love that incredible green lacquered dresser you had in Dallas. I think a lacquered tray in a deeper, darker green would be really sexy on the Lucite coffee table. It’d be a great place to put something like a orchid to bring a little more color into the room.

    I’m inspired by this! Thanks for an “in-progress” design post.

    1. Thank you for all the fun ideas! I love the idea of more colorful window treatments but I just want to spend next to nothing on them since it’s a rental and we plan to be here less than two years. I can’t wait to do something more custom when we buy a place!

      1. I had custom curtains made for my condo and moved them with me into my new house. They need to be hemmed slightly now, and I switched up the rooms some of the curtains live in, but curtains are actually very easy to transition into new spaces. I’d say buy a more colorful ready made now in a fabric you love, that can be customized later to fit a home that you buy.

  14. Love your style, Mackenzie! All of the natural light is wonderful but you might want to consider some sort of blinds or shades for the bay window to protect your beautiful linen chaise from fading. UV light can do a lot of damage and my experience is that blues are particularly sensitive. Love the idea of a wooden tray on the coffee table to warm up the space.

  15. What about a throw blanket draped over an arm or back of the couch to break up the darker color a bit? It would add some texture variation at the same time. Plus throw blankets are way easier than pillows; I swear throw pillows are the hardest part of decorating!

  16. Love what you’ve done so far! I would consider moving your garden stool near the chaise to help fill in some of the space and provide a side table for it. I love the wood side table, if you move the garden stool by the chaise then you could move the wooden piece to where the stool is now and bring in a lighter side table in the dark corner. Adding a wooden tray to your coffee table would help to tie it all together. I love throw pillows! So I say pile them on 😊 can’t wait to see the finished room!

    1. So funny — I moved the garden stool last night after taking these pictures and realizing just how empty the space by the chaise is! And love the idea of switching side tables but the back of the wooden one isn’t pretty enough to have facing into our foyer haha. I will keep tweaking it for sure! Thank you so much for weighing in!

    1. Check out pillows made by Barclay Buterra that you can find on One King’s Lane. You might want to check out his decorating books. I think you’ll like his style.

      I think the chaise would look lovely in a bedroom if you have the space. It seems out of place in the living room.

      You’ve done a wonderful job and I like your style.