Brave New Home

creating authenticity where it matters most

Pottery Barn Living Room on a Budget


A while back, I hosted a custom mood board giveaway and lucky for me, Christina of Floridays Mom won.  I say lucky for me because Christina’s chosen space was already boasting with potential.  Also, she has a very clear sense of her design tastes so it made my job a whole lot easier.  Here are a few views of her current space:photo 2

photo 1See, already a great space, right?  Christina describes her tastes as traditional with modern touches citing her biggest issue as lighting.  She wants to keep the major pieces as-is and is looking for ways to reupholster her ottoman.  Keeping in mind her tastes and budgets, here is what I came up with:
mood board


  • Couch
  • Ottoman
  • Rug
  • Wall mirror
  • Curtains
  • TV console
  • Side buffet

Here are where my recommendations come in.  Christina said she was open to repainting so I chose Benjamin Moore’s Alaskan Skies for all three walls.  It’s warm and neutral and the whites of the curtains and entertainment unit will look intentional, crisp and modern against it.

For the window treatments, I would raise the curtains all the way to the ceiling and get dark bamboo blinds for the wall space above the window to create the appearance of a larger window.  The dark wooden blinds will balance out the darkness of couches on the other side of the room.  In that corner, I would add a potted tree in a woven basket.  On the opposite side of the couch, I’d introduce a circular table and DIY a table skirt (great for hiding toys!).  Above the table, I’d create a column of round baskets.  Next to the table, I’d add a floor lamp.  Bringing a lamp to a higher level will bring more light to the room.  Having a floor lamp and tall plant flanking the couch will help draw the eye up which makes a space with high ceilings feel cozier.

For the ottoman, I would recover it in an outdoor fabric to keep it spill-proof.  Solid prints are easier to work with (and not all reupholsters will take on patterns for this type of design) for projects like these especially when adding tufting and a skirt.

On the far back wall, I’d create a custom built in look building around the pre-existing TV console.  Christina said it was the one piece of furniture she’d consider painting so this one gets a good dose of white.  Above the media center, I’d add a row of plug-in wall lights.  Again, the height will maximize the light.

On the far right wall with the side buffet, I’d swap out the four wood blocks for an over sized clock.  As you can see with my suggestions of a rounded side table and round baskets, I think introducing some circular elements will help soften the room and balance out all the other square and rectangular shapes.  I’d also add a pair of lamps (and velcro the bottoms to the table so their bump-proof) so create a triangle of light source for the room.

A new rug isn’t in the budget right now but Christina mentioned she might be interested if there was an affordable option available (and I know all about affordable rugs!).  I like the warmth the current rug brings to the room but if I were to select a new one, going with Christina’s taste, I’d go for an updated classic like this large scale trellis rug.  Then the room could allow for just about any accent color, such as the chartreuse shown here:

mood board white and green living room

Thanks for the exercise, Christina!  Hope you get a few ideas to apply to your living room.

Have you ever made a mood board for someone other than yourself?  Do you find it easier to be objective or more challenging to put yourself in someone else’s shoes?

Author: Jennifer @ Brave New Home

Hi! I'm Jennifer from Brave New Home ( I blog about overcoming fear and transforming a house into a home one DIY project at a time.

7 thoughts on “Pottery Barn Living Room on a Budget

  1. How awesome that Christina won that giveaway and that you have such moodboard creation skills! As Christine touched on, I love how practicality went into your moodboard and how you focused on her lighting issue. And I love that trellis rug. If you find a good sale on one, let me know!

    Congrats, Christina, and great job, Jennifer! This was a match made in moodboard heaven.

  2. Hi! Thank you for linking up! Your board looks awesome – your client will love it I’m sure!

  3. Both look great! (…and I adore that black lattice pillow). The options are beautiful, functional, and timeless. I’m sure that Christina is going to LOVE it when it all comes together!

  4. You nailed it! Well, at least I love it! Great ideas all around. You really took the time to consider how the space will be used in real life. That my dear, is something many showcase/moodboard rooms do not consider. Sure, it looks nice, but does it work for the family that lives there?

    I am sure Christina will be over the moon when she sees this. Huh? I may need to recruit you for my house. I think another moodboard giveaway is in order. ;)

  5. Thank you! I LOVE IT. I was seriously trying to figure out a direction to to take the room, either going very neutral/earthy or bring in some more bold color. Seeing your vision with all the ivory/white against the wood really help my decision. I’m sort of “stuck” with my brown furniture so I think bringing in all that white/ivory will really modernize the space. I’m so excited and just love it! Thank you again Jennifer! You rock!

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