{Project} Make it Cozy

Ok, I’m on a mission. I need to do something to make our house more cozy. More homey. For such a long time, I treated it like an apartment. Somewhere I thought I’d live temporarily and didn’t bother to put a lot of effort into decorating. Now that it seems like we’ll be here longer, I want to make it look like a home. A home that’s lived-in and comfortable. I would like our house to reflect our lifestyle. And I want it to be a place that makes other people feel instantly at ease and comfortable. I want the living room to be inviting, a place that makes guests want to curl up with a cup of coffee and talk all evening.

So here’s what I’m working with. (And yes, that is Friday Night Lights on the TV in.every.shot. Sorry ’bout it. I am completely obsessed.)

These are what I’m calling the before-ish pictures. I’ve already done a few things to make the space look a little more like grown adults inhabit the place. We had the walls painted, and I scored a great deal on a rug with the grays, yellow, and white we are using downstairs.

The other thing we did was hang curtains on every window downstairs. What a huge difference it made! We held off for so long because just wasn’t finding anything I liked. I found these at Home Goods and wasn’t particularly convinced I loved them until we actually got them on the windows. They definitely make the whole room feel softer. And I love that they’re sheer enough to let light through, but there is enough contrast with the gray walls that they stand out.

And now I’m noticing that the blinds are wonky in this picture and it’s driving me nuts. Meh. What are ya gonna do?

So this is where I feel like you can tell things look a little blah. Like just furniture without any real character added to the space. Except for that super cute pup ;).

Aaaand the mantle. It needs help. I think a mantle is one place that can make a room look really great if it’s done well. Mine is not. Note the headphones…case in point.

Moving on.

This little piece of furniture. The shelves just need some love and a more pulled-together look. I would like to do something here that looks a little more personal. Other than pictures of friends. And that poor Christmas cactus. It needs to be in a pot that’s less…Christmas wrapp-y.

My concern with adding more stuff is that in my head there’s a fine line between coziness and clutter. Sometimes too much decor looks kind of busy to me. I’m not a minimalist by any stretch, but at the same time, having multiple things on every single horizontal surface can kind of stress me out. I’d like to strike a balance so that our small-ish space is maximized and remains useful, but has some special touches and a unique style.

So here’s the deal. I’m giving myself a one hundred dollar budget to pull this room together and make it look cozy. That means I’m going to have to really bargain-hunt for things that need purchased and everything else will either be re-purposed or made.

Anyone out there have any favorite decorating tips? Any ideas on how to save some money on decorating? I’m open to any and all suggestions!