…arhaus dream living room design challenge

I was recently challenged to create a post on my dream living room. I created a beautiful space with freedom to pull from Arhaus and any other products/brands I thought would work. This was an easy assignment, because I love Arhaus and I love design! The kids and I were recently at the mall and as we passed the shop large windows, Reid pointed out, “That’s mom’s favorite store!”

When designing a room, the first thing I do is my research. I pour over pictures, Pinterest, magazines and other people’s homes to see what I like and what I don’t like. I look at color, materials and the overall feel. A living room for me, is a bit more formal in feel. It is a place to use when entertaining or sit quietly with a friend with a steamy cup of tea. It is quiet and beautiful. It can hold more delicate treasures, fabrics and furniture. Very often the dog is not allowed in this space, but cats are a different story.


The rough layout for my living room design would be anchored with a fireplace and mantel on the far wall. There would be two upholstered couches opposite each other, two side chairs, a coffee table pulling the room together in the middle. I would have a large piece of art or a mirror over the mantel, formal curtain panels, a soft rug, and delicate accessories. Here is an idea of the overall layout of the space. Image via Pinterest.



When I am ready to start purchasing pieces, I always start with the sofa. I love a beautiful sofa, but more importantly, it has to be comfortable. No one wants to sit on an itchy or hard sofa. I would select something like this from the Arhaus collection.



I love this classic English roll arm design. If you start with a neutral, you can build your room easily from there without being constrained by a color or pattern. You color can come in the form of pillows and accessories.

Gilt Coffee Table

I love the idea of having a delicate, gold coffee table and side tables. This is the next item I would pick to shape my room. It is airy and light.


Chloe Coffee Table

Side Chairs

I would next pick upholstered side chairs to flank the fireplace. This is a place where I would do maybe a bit of pattern, but nothing that would take away from the luxury of the room. I am in love with these animal print chairs.


Old Hickory TanneryColleen Chair


At this point, I would start laying some of my essential accessories like a large painting or mirror for above the fireplace. I think I would choose a mirror to continue my bright design. A paned mirror like this from Arhaus gives an architectural look as well as the reflection, which will make the room look larger.



I want wood on the floor and an area rug. In an ideal world, I would find a FAUX sheepskin rug to layer in there too (I have yet to find a faux one that looks real and is beautiful.)

The curtains should be a more formal material like silk, linen, etc. I would not choose a cotton in this room because it will look too casual.

The coffee table is the perfect place to place special memorabilia and books about your favorite subjects. This is also the place to put a little flower bouquet or a plant for some green. I love accessories like this below:

W8702_02 (1)




For more living room inspiration check out my “Arhaus Living Room Board” on Pinterest found here. I have more inspiration and images to help if you are working on your own living room.


…how to pick a rug

Rugs can be super expensive, so when I am in the market for a new rug (which I am for the lake house) I look at Overstock first. They carry rugs at a discount and I’ve found several for my home including these.

…my dining

Small Room Design

…and my bedroom.


A few simple lessons that I’ve learned in rug shopping are these:

  1. Measure your space. Chances are you will need something larger than what you think. Most large rooms will need a 9×12. Yes, more expensive, but you don’t want to end up with something too tiny because it will alter the look of the entire room. Go big.
  2. Don’t get sucked into any carpets with crazy patterns. They take up so much air in a room and you may tire of them more easily. I would suggest max two colors in a rug.
  3. Wool or any rug that says “loop holes” will pull. If you have animals and namely dogs and specifically labs, I know from experience that they will dig their little nails into a wool rug and it will pull. You can cut these pulls, but eventually it will start to look worn.
  4. The material matters. I remember ordering a beautiful rug from Crate and Barrel when I was first married. I was so thrilled that it was so cheap! Turns out you get what you pay for. I picked it up and it was a very thin material, not the lush rug that I had wanted. It was very disappointing. Make sure you look at what the rug is made of. Cotton rugs will be thin and may move so you will need a rug pad. Indoor/Outdoor rug are inexpensive, but they have courser feel. Research what you are getting.
  5. Make sure you have the option of retuning if it just does not look right.

After doing my homework and looking at Pinterest, I found that I was gravitating towards a casual style for my lake dining space. I wanted some blue and thought that a large stripe would make the room feel welcoming and lake-like. This is the one I went with. Cotton worked for me because, again, it was not meant to be a fussy room and I didn’t want a nice rug under a table where kids were going to be eating. I invested in a good rug pad so that it would not slide around, which is essential.

Safavieh Hand-woven Montauk Navy/ Ivory Cotton Rug (9′ x 12′)

blue rug


It was delivered recently and I love it. It’s perfect for this room.


…question from a struggling college student

I want nothing more than to help a struggling college student that cares about her kitchen table look! I received this email yesterday and am sharing it in the hopes that it helps others. I know there’s a lot of confusion about getting this weathered wood look.

“Hello I just watched probably 10 of your videos! I am moving into an apartment in Chicago and have recently picked up a round oak table at an estate sale. It is that awful yellow golden color. I really liked the video you did on the restoration hardware inspired white table. Eventually I want to get the soft comfy chairs to go around the table so my place looks comfy and cozy!


1. Do I have to use a sander in order to get that yellow color off before painting?

2. How much do I sand before I start painting?

3. And what number sand paper do I use?

If you could help me out in any way possible! Thank you.

Sincerely, a struggling college student haha” (Attached photo)

college student image

As you can see, what College Student (CS) has is your typical, dated, wood pedestal table. It looks like it is in great shape and a round table can work in so many spaces. In fact, DH and I bought a white round table for our first home and I still have it (even thought it is now used for kid’s crafts!) I think it’s always a good bet to buy a round table.

So, like I’ve said in the past, the biggest factor in getting your weathered wood look is that you MUST HAVE A TEXTURED WOOD. You will most likely see this kind of texture in older furniture that is oak. When I say texture, it means rubbing your hand on the surface and feeling ridges and lines. The reason you need these ridges is that this is where the paint will pool and the “non-ridge” part is where the paint will be lighter. This contrast is where you will get that beautiful, weathered look as you see below.


CS, do you see how your table is shiny? I hate to tell you this, but it’s because it is not textured, it looks like there is a layer of poly over it. Even if you sanded this poly off, you still will not get these ridges and undulations that naturally come in oak. The closest you can come to getting this look would be to paint thinly on your table to try to achieve a contrast. I say this hesitantly because it may be hard for you to get the look that I know you want. But, you can get a pretty distressed look like on my kitchen table by painting this way. Paint thinly and then take your 100 grade sand paper and sand the edges to achieve this. I did not use any wax either so that it could continue to weather.


I hate to disappoint with this information, but if I may, I do want to encourage you that you can still get a beautiful and dramatic look just by painting a round pedestal table. Here is one that I recently did myself.


Also, until you can afford those comfy chairs that your referenced, I would also think about painting them. It looks like you have nice, solid wood chairs there and I have painting many similar ones for clients that turned out beautifully.


I wish you all the best in creating the space you want. I am confident you will because you’ve already selected this set. This is just the beginning, College Girl! 🙂

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