Is There Any Hope of Achieving A Chic Living Room On A Budget?


Dear Laurel,

Have you seen that gorgeous spread in One King’s Lane about the CEO’s home in New Canaan, CT? It is just beyond gorgeous!

I want that chic living room and everything in it!

Ahhh… but just one problem. We don’t have 50,000 bucks+++ to spend on one living room!

But, I want a beautiful home!

Bette R Deel




Well… I hear ya. But first of all… YES! I have seen that gorgeous spread. I truly adore One King’s Lane. But full disclosure, because it’s the law. It is, even though many don’t adhere to it. I must disclose that I am an affiliate of One King’s Lane.

But I only promote brands that I love, that I would use in my own home and/or specify for clients. I’ve purchased many items for myself from OKL and have been very impressed with the company. So, I am proud to represent them.

Now that we have that out-of-the-way.


Let’s first take a look at Debbie Propst’s gorgeous, very chic living room!


I do love this room! But I will be honest because someone slipped me some sodium pentothal.

What’s doing (that’s what they say here in NY) with those drapes?  The fabric is very pretty, but these are obviously not custom drapes– not even lined and don’t look up to the level of everything else. I swear. It looks like the stylist, who did do a fabulous job, ran out to Bed, Bath and Beyond because they needed something on the windows!

I’ll forgive them. The over-all effect is stunning!

via Architectural Digest

I love this chic tuxedo style Cara sofa from Brownstone

Benjamin Mooreo Queen Anne pink chic living room

In fact, I love it so much that coincidentally, I used it for one of my design boards for the Laurel Home Paint Palette Collection which comes with the Laurel Home Paint Color Collection. You can read more about that here. The product is nearly 500 pages of paint info! And included are links to all of the sources! (retail and wholesale) 40 of these boards!

But, where Bette is concerned, the sofa comes with a pretty hefty price tag of $4,800.00. That is not out of line, certainly, but probably not going to work for her, on a tight budget.

However, the sofa, I feel is the one place where I think it’s worth it to shell out a few extra. And in the scheme of things, 5k, is not a super expensive sofa.

Still… I know. I know… it’s a lot for many of you to swallow.


Another brand at One King’s Lane that’s caught my attention in recent months is that of Robin Bruce. This upholstery line is manufactured by Rowe Furniture. They make a quality product in a low high-end range.

As many of you know, the English Roll Arm sofa is the most popular one of them all. It’s an enduring classic. And what I love about it, too is that it can go casual or more formal depending on what else goes with it.

The Brampton sofa above and below is nicely priced at $1,995.00. It has great proportions and styling as well.

The side view with the scroll back is so pretty!

If you want a skirt, this slip covered sofa by Robin Bruce, The Bristol is one of my favorites. It’s a little more money at nearly $3,200 but I think very well-worth it.

Please always check measurements before ordering sofas, especially!


interior decorating and design services at One Kings Lane
Did you know that One King’s Lane has interior design services? In truth, I know nothing about it. But everything about this brand spells class to me, so I am assuming that extends to the design help. This is a relatively new service. You can read more about it here.

Moving along with our chic living room design. Or I should say down, to the floor is the foundation for our room, the rug.



The rug above is no longer available but you can find a lot of gorgeous rugs here.

That is not a bad price for that piece. It’s a decent size. In fact, I rather like it the proportions. 8 x 10 and 9 x 12 rugs are often interchangeable, so one way to save money is to go a little smaller.

But it’s a big chunk, for sure. One option is to go even smaller, say a 6 x 9 or 5 x 8 and then layer it with an inexpensive sea grass rug. (you can see what I’m talking about in that post)

Another option is to go to another favorite budget-friendly source –


Let’s head over to the rug department to look for a classic, chic living room rug


I found quite a few for under $3,000. I realize that for many 3k is still very steep. But one thing I feel strongly about is to buy for the long-term. A fine Oriental is a great investment. These pale Oushaks and other Oriental styles are timeless and can work in a multitude of situations.

One thing that’s very important. More than just about anything else, Oriental rugs are next to impossible to photograph. There’s always a light side and a dark side and in some rugs this is more pronounced than others. It is not a defect, just the way they are. It’s the same as a nap on velvet.

So, be super careful. I would not order online unless they have a policy that the rug may be returned within X number of days. You don’t want to get stuck with a pink rug that you thought was a golden cream.


Overstock 1 Herat Oriental Afghan Hand knotted Oushak wool rug 7-11 x 9-11 1,464 - chic living room

Herat Oriental Afghan Hand-knotted Oushak Wool Rug (7’11 x 9’11)

Only $1,464.00!!! That’s more like it.

By the way. I have not seen this rug in person. I cannot vouch for the quality. It certainly looks wonderful here. I recommend contacting the vendor, if possible. Many times they can send you some real life images. If not, then I would move on…


which rug is expensive and which one is not?


Moving on to the side tables


I could not find Debbie’s tables. They are cool, but One King’s Lane has lots of wonderful side tables in all different styles and materials. And many are quite affordable.


These Edie Bronze Nesting Tables are only $525.00 for the set of two. They are classic and pretty, I think.


Now we need a table lamp.


Debbie Propst’s lamp is gorgeous and in perfect scale.

The Pacific Beach Lamp is exclusive to One King’s Lane from Bradburn Home. I love its classic shape.

 But the Pacific Beach Lamp at $549.00/each is not in Bette’s budget.


Lamp Works Del Mar Table lampThese Del Mar LED lamps could look wonderful and are only $320 for the pair!

We could jazz it up with this classic 1-3/8″ Greek Key Trim from M & J Decor at eight bucks a yard (two yards should do it for two lamps) around the lower edge of the lamp shade. This will make the lamps look completely custom which translates into expensive looking. Oh, and this trim comes in a zillion colorways!


Regina Andrew ceramic artichoke table lamp

I’m also loving this charming Artichoke table lamp from Regina Andrew. So pretty and it’s only $275.00. I think that it looks more expensive than that.


I also love this Chang Table lamp from Visual Comfort. There’s a question about the size. It might be a little small for a table lamp and better for a piece that’s taller. Always double-check these things before ordering.

I’m going to end this today and continue on Sunday. There is still a lot to cover with more terrific sources and some ideas for getting an expensive looking room without a hefty price tag.

I realize that someone is going to say something like: “I did my entire living room for $1,500 by going to tag sales and flea markets… and it’s definitely chic, Laurel.”

I’m sure that it is. :] And anyone who can pull that off has my vote of approval. But please know that you are in the vast minority of folks out there. Most do not have the time or patience to wade through the muck to get to the great stuff.


Many can’t visualize how it’s all going to come together.


And then one could find the perfect ________ but it’s the wrong size. Wrong color and fixing it would make it too expensive.

Some may recall a while back when I said that to do a nice living room it’s going to cost at least 20k. Someone lambasted me recently for that. Haha. I told some colleagues and they had a very good laugh because most of them are shocked that I’m putting out a figure as low as 20k!


Not to sound self-righteous or (too) snobby or anything.

But how much did you pay for your car?


Oh, you paid 30k for your Prius??? You did, huh? And how long are you keeping your Prius?

Until the day that you die? Oh stop it. That’s just plain weird. I bet that you’re leasing it which is really throwing money down the drain. (I know because I did that once and learned my lesson.)

The point is… those people who won’t shell out more than 25k for an entire living room full of furniture are bopping around town in a $60,000 Benz, that they most likely won’t have seven years from now.

Go figure.  I know that you designers out there are shaking a knowing head.


One of the most common mistakes that folks make is underestimating how much it will cost to furnish a home that they are buying/building.


They get too much home and then there’s nothing left to put inside it.

Why get a gorgeous, expensive home with a beamer in the driveway and then fill it with a bunch of crappy furniture?

Much, much more on Sunday and a tip for getting a $300 mirror to look like a $3,500 antique mirror– or pretty durned close!

  • Coffee tables
  • More rugs
  • More lighting
  • Pillows/Accessories
  • More great sources and some really unbelievably great deals

And also how to take a fabulous old piece with a dull dated wood finish and make it look amazing!




PS: It’s Thursday morning. I was quite depressed last night after reading some of these comments. I always try to remain positive. However, there is a difference in writing a critique about something that the originator is not apt to see and dissing something that I love directly to my face.

Would you come into my home and tell me that it sucks?

As for rooms on my blog that I’ve posted because I find inspiration. If you don’t like them, that is absolutely fine; it’s fine to think that. It’s fine to not read. and I’m not perfect. But I also try to provide a variety of inspiration as I love several styles of furnishings.

But I do not see bland in this room. Far from it. I see the epitome of casual elegance. If you don’t, then fine. That doesn’t meant that I love every single element. But I love the over-all effect. And I LOVE the concept of the Connecticut House.

Please take a look at this beautiful post by my friend Stacey Bewkes, who writes the most elegant blog ever – Quintessence. She has some different shots of this home that I adore.


107 Responses

  1. Hi Laurel,
    It’s my first time to your blog and I love it!

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and style with us. The whole interior designing thing can be so overwhelming and sometimes designers don’t always understand the word “budget” or understand that is an investment for the long haul. It’s obvious that you understand our plight and try to help us make smart investments that will be stylish and last through time.

    Thank you!!!

  2. I’ve just recently started following your blog and I enjoy the posts so much, I can barely wait till the next one shows up! I don’t always like what you love, but I have tried to “see” what it is that makes the object stylish. In the process, I’m generating great ideas for my home remodel and beginning to understand what my general style is and what forms and shapes, textures and patterns, and colors that appeal to me and those that don’t. Your design tips have been so helpful, as have the links to stores that carry products you recommend. This room is very similar to my style, in that it looks and feels like a sophisticated design yet a really comfortable room to hang out in. I love the fabric and color of the sofa–not something I would have ever thought could look good if I hadn’t been learning from you. Thank you. I’m having a great time “refreshing the interior of the home” (also the name of my Pinterest Board.)

  3. Hi Laurel,
    Could you please tell me the name of the paint on the wall behind the artichoke lamp, I have been searching forever to find that particular shade of blue.
    Thank you!thank you!

    1. Hi Cindy,

      I have no idea because it’s not my room. Please remember that it’s a room with who knows what lighting taken with a camera and then edited and then put through my editor and then onto your computer screen. It looks like a grayed down teal to me– something like Benjamin Moore 1587 Gibralter Cliffs.

      But, but, but, I don’t know if your room is light or dark, big or small and what else is going on.

  4. Hi Laurel,
    I just want to reassure you how much I (and I’m sure many others out here)enjoy reading your posts. I love how you illustrate your design commentary with the photos and how you provide links to products and websites. Your sense of humor makes me chuckle. I have learned so much by following you. Thank you for your good work. Keep it coming! 🙂

  5. DEAR Laurel,

    First of all, I read your blog to LEARN! Not to snark. Not to find fault. Not to make judgements on someone else’s taste or budget. And I also learn from the comments of your knowledgable and thoughtful readers.
    A. Wouldn’t we all love to have an unlimited budget that included the custom window treatments we salivate over on our favorite blogs? Yes, but if we splurged on the sofa we have to save up for the next big splurge (art, coffee table, etc.)This is real life!
    B. After looking at the this breathtaking country house, I have more of a context for the room and how the colors and relaxed style mesh perfectly with the rest of the house. Context is everything.
    C. The mean girls in high school grew up to be blog trolls.
    D. By picking at the details, they missed the main idea of your post. I’m not going to bother pointing it out for them, just thought it was worth mentioning.
    E. We who appreciate how much work and talent goes into blogging understand and salute your efforts, considerable expertise, and your DESIRE TO HELP OTHERS! How helpful are ugly comments? Yes, it’s OK to disagree. But check your heart before you post a comment. Is it helpful? Is it kind?
    F. If your motives are to tear down rather than elevate the conversation, go start your own blog and find out how that feels.

    1. Hi Sherrie,

      Thank you so much for such a sweet, supportive wonderful comment!

      Ahhh… the mean girls. They’re still mean even at the old age home my mom is in– and we’re talking OLD! You’d think they would’ve outgrown it by then, but some never do. Interesting.

  6. Hi Laurel, I’m a bit late into this, just catching up & haven’t yet read today’s blog. Just a little aside–I have found some gorgeous lined & weighted drapery panels in BB&Beyond in the last year. I was duly shocked & pleased by the quality. So now, at least, in a pinch, you might give them another chance.
    I also thought (before getting to your paragraph) on the price of a car and it’s relatively short life, as a perfect example of the skewed priorities we tell ourselves. How many 20 year sofas have we all sat on? Lots, in my experience. Again, your common sense approach to interior design never fails to refresh me!
    Thanks, dear Laurel!

    1. Hi Paula,

      It’s always great to hear from you and it’s NEVER too late! In fact, I get comments on lots of posts that aren’t current.
      I have nothing against ready-mades. In fact, I have my eyes on some from Anthropologie. I am a horrible client. Indecisive and horribly picky. LOL (or else, exceedingly impulsive)

  7. Hi Laurel,
    First, I LOVE your blog and all your posts. I really go through each one carefully and take away so much! There is no comparative blog out there. One of my favorite things too, is to read the comments and your amazing personal answers for each one!!!
    This post did not disappoint in the comment section, lol. I like reading about what people think is good or not so good. I find that most of your readers are polite when “dissenting”…and we all need to remain polite in this crazy world. Sharing your thoughts, even if it goes against popular believe is not a bad thing. Anyone putting pics out there should accept the pros and cons of peoples opinions (NOT rudeness! I mean honest opinions). And, if you are a business, like OKL, it’s part of the territory. And yes, most people do not understand how much work goes into a blog or website. I have a large popular sales website and the work is friggen’ tremendous. No one can understand that problem solving or content configuration takes endless hours, days, weeks and even months and years of work and frustrations (and did I mention you have no personal life anymore?), and sitting on your tush until you have calluses where there shouldn’t be any! Keep on going Laurel…you must be going through tremendous growing pains as your blog is becoming so popular. We only have so much of ourselves to give to the, literally, never ending web of internet connectedness. Yeah, it’s an incredibly hard balancing act, while the public screams for more… That’s how good you are.

    1. PS Your Design Board is SO much better than the OKL living room!
      They should have you on-board as a designer! But, I’m assuming that there is some payment from vendors to OKL for items were used in the house as promo items, so perhaps there is not the free reign in designing that we think.

      1. Hi Chris,

        Actually, everything in the house is for sale, unless it’s a one-of-a-kind. It is someone’s home AND a studio. And therefore, it is ever changing.

    2. Thanks so much Chris! You get it. Growing pains indeed–and expense! I just upgraded my server which is already heavy-duty and expensive. I am paying over $15,000/year in website related costs, not including the occasional freelance help I’ve hired.

  8. My Dear Laurel,

    I am so sorry you are hurt by some snarky people this week. Brush it off because those thousands of us who adore you will always come to your defense!!

    Please give Ethan Allen a little look—-I worked there for 5 years recently. The new style is gorgeous–most of the furniture is made in America in their own factories and it is the best quality I have encountered for the price. It usually took 12,000-15,000 to completely do a family room or useable living room and once you look at their webpage, I think you will agree that you get a lot of bang for your buck. And the sofas are wonderful!!! Keep your chin up Darling!!! Cat

    1. Hi Cat,

      Thank you too, for the pep talk! The problem with these comments is that there’s always an element of truth. Or at least THEIR truth.

      So, when I hear that they think that the room sucks, my first thought is oh great. I just did an entire post about a room that sucks. It makes me feel shame and embarrassment because that is the last thing I want to do!

      But thinking rationally. If it’s good enough for Architectural Digest, it should be good enough for me; not that i love everything in AD. But, no one expects that because they are providing a wide variety of styles.

      And the point of the post, too, is getting “the look.”

      And part of getting the look that I implied but didn’t say outright, is putting your own personal touches on it. In other words, riffing on a theme.

      We definitely could’ve added some turquoise blue (or something else) lamps and more pillows– more color– repositioned the furniture, chosen different chairs.

      Even a different type of rug.

      I would’ve loved to see a little art wall over the sofa, or at least a different piece of art because that one is a little small for the area.

      We can pick every element apart until the cat scratching post walks out of the room on its own, but again, not the point.

      And even though the drapes are not up to the level of the room, I actually love that they used ready-mades because it’s inherently giving others who can’t afford to shell out thousands for custom, permission.

  9. Hi Laurel:

    Count me in as a HUGE fan of your blog – just read this latest post this morning, and so sorry to hear you’ve been getting nasty comments. So infuriating that talented people get this kind of pointless feedback from the blogosphere…

    I’m presently in the process of either selling or updating some of my grandmother’s vintage pieces – THANK YOU for clueing me in to Chairish!! What a great site. Also, I can’t wait to read your upcoming piece about giving furniture with dull wood finishes new life, as I’m planning to take that particular plunge with some ladder back chairs…actually, the photo you posted of that glass shelved piece in your living room gave me inspiration 🙂

    Don’t let the bas…er, critics get you down.

    1. Hi Donna,

      It occurs to me… I wonder what THEIR living rooms look like? Probably a freaking mess!

      But still… I don’t have a thick skin. And ya know what? I don’t want one. Then, I’ll be amongst the walking numb who do not feel anything, nor care what others are feeling either.

      The glass shelved piece that I had painted is actually in my entry. It looks like it was made for the space and the piece is 7 feet long and the wall is a little over 8 feet.

  10. Ok. I have one more comment…actually a question this time. I am looking for new lamp shades and your idea of adding trim is exactly what I needed!! Yeah! Do you add it with glue dots??

    1. Hi Ann,

      I’m not sure. But there are lots of tutorials for this type of thing if you google “how to apply trim or tape to a lampshade.”

      You might be able to use plain old Elmer’s glue. I would always test some place to see what happens to the trim when it’s glued to something, first.

  11. Ps. I am guilty of TJ Max curtains in my home. I barely can afford those! My philosophy has been to add a nice rod with tabs hoping to “dress” them up. I hope it’s working??? Lol.

    1. Hi Ann,

      Tabs are nice, but one time I did tabs for a client and they were custom and just a little bit larger than the pole. Well, problem was, they wouldn’t move across the rod very easily.

  12. Hi Laurel. Your blog is my most favorite. Sometimes I have to “save” your posts until I have time to give them my utmost attention! I also appreciate that you comment back on your blog, it makes it feel so personal. I have always appreciated that you take time to respond back especially since I so admire your work.

    I love the detail and the eye you have for rooms. I hope to learn more. My rooms in my own home have to be black dog hair friendly along with kids, friends, humidity and coming in wet from the pool. I love the elegance that I can only dream about!! Lol.

    I have shopped on eBay for rugs. I buy ones that are newly cleaned and I read the description carefully. The colors can be a gamble but I’ve had that work out nicely.

    1. Hi Ann,

      Your comment gives me an idea for a post and that is a subject I’ve been asked to write about and that is “dog friendly” upholstery.

      Ironically, some of the “performance” fabrics are not dog-friendly because everything sticks to them.

  13. sticks & stones may hurt my bones but words will never hurt me. If only that were true.

    Keep on doin’ what your doin’, Laurel. Love your blogs & I do find a bit of debate

    interesting, but find those negating & not being sensitive to your hard work cruel.

    We all really appreciate your industry, on our behalf, & the blogs & your informative but

    amusing commentary are a highlight of my week.

    Don’t ever get depressed, you are a bright shining star of the interior & design world!

    much love,


  14. Had to laugh when I started reading your post b/c my first ‘ugh’ when seeing this lovely room was those CURTAINS! What in the world? (that’s what we say in the west)
    Love how you showed the less expensive alternatives. You’re a gem!

  15. Laurel, I’ve been reading your blog for several years, or more! I love it. I think you do a fabulous job. I don’t understand negative hateful snarky comments on your blog. Those are very impolite and possibly from people who were raised in a barn. Those people must have small minds and lives. I feel the unsubscribe button is there for a reason.
    I look forward to your ’letters’ each week. You are like a dear friend coming to visit. I’m having a glass of wine, cin cin. cheering you on.
    Keep up the good work you are doing.
    From deep in East Texas

    1. Hi Ann,

      I very much appreciate your kind comment. I try to make it look all easy-breezy, but in reality, there’s a lot of sweat and toil behind the scenes. For instance, right now, I am trying to put back my sidebar. I’ve had several malfunctions recently and along with my entire site being DOWN for two hours yesterday, (thank goodness it was in the middle of the day and not right after I posted!) I lost two thirds of the elements in my sidebar. And some of it is very tedious to resurrect.

      I do have people looking into the root cause of the malfunctions.

      Oh here. I can’t resist. Want to have a good laugh? My server sent me this.

      He might as well have sent me instructions about how to fly a space ship!

      Please check out the Synthesis Quick Guide on FTP for step-by-step instructions on how to connect and edit files via FTP:

      You will use the SFTP protocol and port 2200.

      To avoid any confusion, below are the terms you will see in the screenshots and their equivalents in your Synthesis Customer Portal.

      Server = FTP Domain
      Username = sFTP User ID
      Password = sFTP Password

      Once connected, just look for the .maintenance file and delete it. In some FTP clients, you may need to select the option to “View Hidden Files” to see the file.

      I sent this to my wasband who IS a massive computer geek/techy and he had NO IDEA what any of this meant!

      1. Oh, my gosh. I’ll have to have another glass of wine. I bet the person?? Who sent it doesn’t know what it means.

        1. lol but, he *does* know what it means. And for him it’s like he’s telling me to go get my toothbrush, open the toothpaste, squeeze (from the bottom. yeah, right)…

  16. Laurel- love the post and overall effect of the room. To me it looks “real” not overly decorated- and graceful. Not trying too hard- just nice.
    Wanted to share a bit of wisdom from my mother: never buy a sofa with a lifetime guarantee! My mom was stuck with a steel framed sofa for years because the darn thing wouldn’t wear out! It was reupholstered several times (gold velvet with brown velvet trim was particularly chic in our 1970s living room). I believe that sofa is alive and well in a fraternity house to this day!
    So- I’ve always invested in a good sofa… but not too good! I’m a proponent of high/low fashion and decorating. A tee shirt is a tee shirt but I invest in high quality shoes. Likewise I’ve furnished my modest 1100 sq ft home with a mix of a few good pieces and some flea market finds. And splurged on custom drapes- totally worth it they elevate the whole room.
    Thanks for inspiring your followers at all budget levels!

  17. Laurel, I think this is a lovely room. Sometimes a room doesn’t need sixteen layers to be done. Sometimes just enough is quite elegant. I agree with your thoughts on investing in a good sofa. The sofa is a workhorse. Spend here and make it neutral. It will last forever.
    Oh, and I’m pretty nutty about the rockers! They add a bit of cheek to a traditional room.

  18. Sorry to add another comment..but I’ve just read new comments and realized you’ve added a link to the’s gorgeous, gorgeous. And I fell in love with these strange wonderful..dragon lizards? lol..the ones that live next to the fireplace. Can’t take my eyes off them.
    Love the kitchen(omg!), love these rocking chairs..and I’m a fig tree fan. It grows-it means it likes the space and feels fine. Mine also grows. I wonder how people handle them when they hit the ceiling is very tall in the spot where the tree is which is why the tree is there..but it grew, like, 5 feet in 3 I have just a couple years until it becomes too big. Maybe less.
    Anyway. Thank you for that link, Laurel!

    1. Hi Jenny,

      The more comments the better! And you’re always so kind! Gosh, I don’t know what to do about a happy-to-be-here-and-growing-like-crazy fig tree. Maybe call a nursery?

  19. What some dissenters may not realize is that most home decor photos are STAGED to look good. Often how you see a room layout in a photo is not how the room looks when the owners are actually living in it. You have illustrated this in other blog posts, Laurel, showing us photos even from different shoots, and the furniture is arranged differently in each one. This home is also intended to be a showroom, so it’s set up with that in mind.

    Like you, I’m a big OKL fan. I’ve been along since they first launched, and they are heads and tails above the other “flash sale sites” (as they used to be called). Their product is classy and not generic, whether new or vintage. I could see myself furnishing a whole house from their inventory because their products are so diverse. The Connecticut house living room is an eclectic mix, done in a classy and non-cluttered way. The elements have interest and movement. I don’t love every item in the room, but I’ll take the side tables, lamps and sofa.

    I’m with you about those curtains, though! Even some simple pinch-pleat drapes hung from rings would elevate the space. I appreciate that you called those out, but not in a snarky way.

    1. Hi Hollie,

      Yes, yes, yes and yes!

      BTW, I took a look at your beautiful Etsy store. I look at all links coming in because I get some folks who are selling cars or plumbing parts (with a generic comment) trying to catch a free ride by linking back to their website.

      but anywho, your shop and pillows are gorgeous! I see some of my favorite fabrics and I love your extra long lumbar pillows. I’ve done a few like that before, as well. I’ve favorited the shop as well.

  20. Hi Laurel;)
    as a real estate agent in New Canaan I have the oppty to see every NC home that’s for sale, and I must say it’s a rarity to encounter a home so beautifully styled (not a huge fan of the living room but I clicked on the link with the full set of pictures, just gorgeous). Nowadays we’re told millenials (ughem, my gen) can only fully appreciate a home that’s been stripped of any character, painted in grays, with angular contemporary furniture: grays whites and chocolate floors… etc. How beautiful would it be if OKL could also offer staging to these homes. I know it wouldn’t make sense w/their biz model but I for one would LOVE it if they offered a service to create vignettes in homes, either vacant or a blend with existing furniture. I’ve been a customer of OKL since they first launched. I do love them but I love NOTHING MORE than CHARISH!!! Found thru you and I’m addicted!!!!!! Charish is probably the most amazing service/site for someone who loves vintage. (Thank you for sharing it!)

  21. I love the casual elegance of this room. There is just something about the materials making up the sofa that has me longing to caress it – the drape of the lightly rippling skirt, the slight roundedness of the seat cushion (and it’s not even something I would ever choose to live with). However, I just can’t get past the seemingly low end rod pocket curtains.I would prefer bare windows to something that seems so incongruous with the attention given to the rest of the house. In addition to all the non-custom aspects, they just don’t hang well. Was the intention really to puddle that pretty crisp fabric? I really need an explanation! Why is this so disturbing to me? Is it because I think ‘those who can, should’ (do it better)?, or that they tried to ‘cheat’? I need to lie on that couch with an analyst. I’m spending too much time thinking about this!

    1. Hi Linda,

      lol – yes, they are ready-mades but in some ways I love that because my drapes are also ready-mades. They came with my place. I did put up some custom Roman Shades. I’m thinking about redoing my bedroom, however. And also with ready-mades. I can’t afford custom drapes!!! But if they need to be hemmed, I’ll have them hemmed!

  22. Hi Laurel, I am finding the range of comments very interesting. OKL is often a good resource, a friend very successfully furnished her small beach house entirely with their furniture. However as others have noted, this room Isn’t notable. It seems dysfunctional…not enough seating, a coffee table unreachable from the couch, books on the floor, etc. If you want to showcase OKL as a resource for people living on a relatively a normal scale – as opposed to the beautiful but out-of-reach Hagan, Kleinberg, Howard, etc. – you could use this kind of house and just furnish it from OKL without reference to this particular room. I think your curating, for both form and function, would be far superior to what is shown here.

    1. I put up a link to Stacey Bewkes post in a comment. Hang on, I’m going to add it to the blog so that folks can see different images of this home.

  23. What is the beige thing in the far right corner of the room in the 2nd picture? It looks like an upside down U with a rightside U on top. It looks too high to be a seat. Is it a cat scratch/cat seat?

  24. I am looking forward to the post on finishes. You’ve got a little DIY in you Laurel 🙂

  25. Laurel, Your blog is my favorite and I look forward to every post. It’s a wonderful education in decorating! However, I didn’t realize how fun it is to read all of the comments 🙂 I can’t ever imagine spending $50,000 on a living room, or even $20,000 really. I just quickly added up everything in my living room (except for the books) and came up to $10,000, most of which I have accumulated over 25 years. Before discovering the world of decorating blogs, I never realized the cost of custom drapes or quality upholstered furniture. When we moved into a new home, I wanted to invest in a quality sofa and chairs for the living room. I had heard good things about Lee Industries, so I found a store near my home that sells it and purchased a washable slipcovered sofa for around $2,500, and two slipcovered chairs for $1,200 each. I thought that was a fortune! Turns out I was wrong. The chairs and sofa are not very comfortable, but they’re cute and the perfect size. The middle cushion of the sofa (it has 3)sinks a little lower than the side cushions and always looks out of whack after someone has sat. I ended up folding a quilt and putting it beneath the slipcover to help raise the middle cushion a bit, and it helped. Maybe I should have spent a little more and got the down inserts? I guess $2,500 for a sofa is just mid-grade. However, the slipcovers wash like a dream and the pieces are very sturdy and well made. Live and learn. Thank you for your wit and wisdom.

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      Thank you for reading all. I love your comment, but some of the people this week, I wish had stayed home.

      This IS my home. It’s not just my virtual home as I stay tethered to it about 18 hours a day– watching it like a newborn. And today, my “newborn” went into cardiac arrest for two hours. It was DOWN!

      So, when someone says that a room that I love sucks (on a blog post that I spent ten hours producing) and thinks that’s okay, I feel badly.

      I see rooms on blogs all the time that I think are horrendous. This is why God made our eyes with the ability to roll. ;]

      As for your sofa. You don’t have to live with that defective cushion. Call Lee up! (828) 464-8318 Tell them! Tell them about your uncomfortable cushion and what you are having to do and ask them what the remedy is.

      Go ahead. I’m waiting anxiously for their answer.

      Those dudes are getting about 40-50 clicks a day from my website to theirs. Yes, some 15,000-18,000 clicks a year and growing! And these are folks who came to my site looking for the answers to where the best sofas come from.

      The least they can do is give a sweet reader some new inserts.

      You may direct them to this comment as well.

      Please let us know what happens! xo

      1. Thank you Laurel for taking the time to answer my comment. I thought I had replied. As follow-up, I did contact Lee Industries right after my sofa was delivered. They directed the issue to the retailer where I purchased the sofa. Lee sent replacement cushions (free of charge), but the new cushions did the same thing as the originals, so I knew the issue was with the sofa itself. (It seems the middle is just a tad lower than the sides.) The retailer said they did not have anyone who could come and inspect the sofa, so I sent pictures that were supposed to be forwarded to Lee. I never heard anything back. (I think my issue was mainly with the retailer, and not Lee. I believe Lee relies on the retailers to verify claims and make things right.) However, I just decided to let it go. I don’t know why I shared the story, except to say that I spent what felt like a fortune on a good piece of furniture (although I realize now that $2500 is not that much in the world of fine furnishings), and still ended up disappointed. So, now I try not to take all of it so seriously. It works fine, we use it everyday, and no one in my house (1 hubby, 4 kids) cared but me. 😉 Again, I appreciate your blog very much and look forward to every post.

        1. Hi Stephanie,

          It sounds like they replaced the cushions, but not with spring down. That’s what you need. It will definitely help. Sorry for the bad experience.

  26. Dear Laurel, I Adore the artichoke lamp! It looks very expensive but isn’t. Just to say, ( try not to cringe) TJ Max does large rugs reasonable priced. Quite a few are designer, which doesn’t always make them beautiful! It’s worth keeping an eye on their stock. Bw laura

    1. Hi Laura,

      I love TJ Max. Hell, I’m the girl who put the Christmas Tree Shops in my rolodex and TJ Max is in there too. It makes me laugh when on rare occasion someone says that every source in there is too expensive.

      Make no mistake, there are some “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” sources.

      The only thing I won’t put in there is a source where the furniture is weird. It can be modern, traditional, contemporary, but no weird-out-of-scale-curly-cues-that-don’t-belong or preciousness. And finishes that are hideously unbelievable.

  27. Wow, some pretty snarky people this week. I think there is a lot to love about that room and I really love how Laurel’s board took those element to the next level. I mean that’s why where here, isn’t it? I love the way you worked in the green and turquoise!

    I do have one comment to make about sourcing the rugs. Great rugs can make a room but they are expensive. I followed the link to your first high priced rug and there was so little information on where the rug was from and how it was woven that it made the second rug a much better option.

    Handwoven rugs are a great value right now-about a third of what the cost 20 years ago when access was limited by various embargos. It seems that the weavers in Afghanistan are now creating new products for the Western market in those pale colors–thank goodness the overdying trend has ended!

    I would recommend that people be very careful when buying the higher priced versions as there is so much variability in the quality. The first rug you showed looks to me to be worth less than the second.

    1. Hi Susan,

      Thanks for noticing. I’m actually quite offended by what some people are saying. It’s an insult to me, One King’s Lane, Architectural Digest, Stacey Bewkes and countless others who see the quiet beauty in this home. It feels personal, elegant and unpretentious.

      And it doesn’t look like every generic piece of boring-over-scale-predictable-drek out there that I’m so sick of seeing and was 5 years ago.

      But even if we’re all wrong. I would never get on anyone’s blog and intentionally insult them.

      Interesting about the rugs. I’ve always said that the Oriental rug end of the business is the smarmy side.

      Oh, I remember 15 years ago before people could check when the store price tag would say $12,000 but we’re selling it for $4,500. In the meantime, they maybe paid $500 for it.

      I mean… “what do those dumb Americans know? hehe” The truth is us “dumb Americans” don’t know. We should, but we don’t.


      Sorry if that offends anyone out there. Actually, no, not sorry. This has been my experience my entire career.

      It’s somewhat better now.

      1. I would hope that people would not be offended as its one of the things I really love about what you do. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to source reasonably priced furniture of high quality. With the general decline in the quality of furniture from reputable manufacturers we really count on experts like you to let us know when stuff is dross.

        Its one thing to make the decision to by a sofa from Ikea for $400 because thats what you can afford but another to buy a similar quality sofa for nearly 2K. A true high quality sofa purchased for 3-5K will last for 20+ years but the dross will last only 2 and be uncomfortable the entire time.

        The other day I read a post where a woman was considering buying a Ligne Roset table for over 6K. The table was a simple wood top over powdercoated steel legs. High quality of course but not worth the 6K they were asking. It’s one thing to pay 6K for a cherry table from Baker that is handmade by craftsmen but not for a wood slab over steel!

        So much to say on the topic..

  28. Hi Laurel,
    Thank you for another great post! Quick question: how did you know that the OKL sofa was manufactured by Rowe? I can’t seem to find any mention of manufacturers on their website.

    1. Hi Michelle,

      It’s already been established that I’m a witch.;] No really. I googled Robin Bruce, (the two cream sofas) and found that her furniture is manufactured by Rowe. I even contacted my sales rep and he said several months ago that they thought they would be giving direct access to designers this spring.

      Not sure if that has happened or not.

      1. Thanks so much for replying. I appreciate the tons of work you put into your blog and your willingness to respond to readers.

        1. Hi Michelle,

          Well, a little not-so-secret… it’s not completely altruistic. Google creams his cyber jeans when he sees engagement. He doesn’t care what peeps say; just as long as they’re talking about the post.

          Because then he goes… hmmm… that bitch Laurel is cranking out some pretty decent content. hmmm… If it keeps happening, he goes… hmmm… (he’s a man, remember- yes, definitely a man ;] )

          I guess that means that Laurel is somebody I can depend on for certain topics that people are searching for… okay… fine. I’m going to rank her number 3 when folks are searching for information about__________ and that means that I’ll be on page one when people search for information about several topics on this blog.

          That’s how I got this thing to grow.

          But to get comments… ahhhh… now there’s the rub. I blogged for two years before anyone paid any attention to me AT ALL! I mean, if I had one comment a WEEK, I was ecstatic!

          Part of it is answering everyone. I’ve commented on a lot of blogs and love it when I get a response– anything. Even just a “thanks.” Just to know that another human took the time to acknowledge that I took the time to comment.

          But… most bloggers do not comment. And eventually, I stop commenting and then usually end up unsubscribing because I also feel that many bloggers are writing the same blog post over and over and over. Or at least too many are the same.

          Or it’s just a bunch of pretty pictures with their affiliate shopping links. Fine. Put in the links. That’s fair. But give us some Bearnaise to put on our poached eggs, okaaaay?

          Well… just a little blogging lesson for anyone who’s interested. I am just coming up to my 5 year blogiversary and oh man, I remember not knowing ANYTHING. I didn’t even know how to make a link.

  29. Lovely room! Looks bright and clean but in a comfortable way, like you could walk in and sit down without wondering if you were allowed to touch the furniture. Her kitchen (in the link) is gorgeous too, the whole place looks very fresh and inviting.
    Thank you so much for this wonderfully informative blog. We are currently doing a massive renovation, and you sharing your expertise about what works and what doesn’t has been a huge help. My only regret is that since we are overseas I know I’ll be missing out on Cotton Balls, lol!
    Have a great day! 🙂

  30. I love your room paint palette. Gorgeous. Stunning. Comfortable. A delight for the eye. Colors, patterns, art, furniture, textures, finishes and lighting. I love your swap outs for Bette R Deel’s budget.Thanks for all the table and lamp links. The artichoke lamp is very nice and with a linen shade, too.

    Ha! I know it’s your blog and you’ll make the jokes…but when I saw the inspiration room I immediately read the bench as cat furniture. There is cat furniture made in that shape!

    Love your blog and send links to various posts to friends all the time.

  31. One comment/question: The skirt on the sofa is not lying flat. My question is, is it not possible to get a skirt to lie flat? On a high end sofa like that, I’d expect the skirt to lie flat. Or is that not possible?


    1. Hi Mary,

      Good question.

      I think in this case, the sofa is meant to have that relaxed slip covered look and the fabric is linen which does wrinkle.

      Still, you’re right the skirt is puckering a little more than it should. I don’t know why. I think that there are a lot of people visiting this home. Maybe somebody spilled something.

      The skirt doesn’t look that in the other images of the sofa; at least not that much.

  32. Laurel,
    I love your style and read your blog religiously, but you and I are living in two different worlds! I am a flea market shopper and (gasp!) IKEA furniture buyer because..well four small children and washable slip covers! But those prices are so high on this midwestern, used mini van budget. And we manage we’ll, but perhaps not drive a benz, manhatten well! It’s okay, as I think your style is still amazing and will go on swooning over your rooms and pins!

    1. Hi Danielle,

      Actually, not so different. In fact, there was a time and for many, many years after I married my whatever he is… that we didn’t even have money for a lamp– from Ikea.

      We had to take out a loan to buy a few things and fix up the place. We had one car that in 1991 cost 13,000.

      But of course, my clients were well-off and wanted nice things.

      Things are better now for me. BTW, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with flea market finds. In fact, I have a very pretty chair that I picked up a few years ago at a flea market for 70 bucks and had my upholsterer do a huge number on it. You’d never recognize it!

      But it’s difficult to find stuff from flea markets to put on the blog. The closest is Etsy which is a fabulous resource for great buys!

  33. The room looks livable. I am not sure why it would be repellent or considered stodgy, but we all have different taste. It is nice to see an upscale home look comfortable. Unlike some images I see that features an antique chaise longue with a dog posed on it that looks like it is about to get bopped with a newspaper for sitting on it. I always laugh when I see those pictures, then I feel bad for the dog.

    1. I think that it is casually elegant and also, it’s in the part of the world that I lived in the longest. For that area, this is an amazing home!

      I lived in a town in northern westchester county which butts up against New Canaan CT.

  34. Sorry to keep coming back, but that is a Royal Barry Wills house in Connecticut!!!! My fave of all time. His places are so New Englandy, except for one I’ve seen that’s French. My books are packed so i can’t look for a house in NC. Could you show us the exterior in another blog entry? TKU. MJ

    1. Hi MJ,

      You may come back as often as you like. :] I did read something about that. The previous owners did a real number on the place apparently.

      There are only so many hours in the week, lol and it was fast reading.

      I’ll see if I can dig up an exterior shot.

  35. Not to pile it on, Laurel, but I took another look and saw that if Debbie were sitting on that sofa with a couple of girlfriends visiting, her neck would get sore from turning her head to talk to them. Unless she sits on one end of the sofa with her feet up so she can face visitors? You would never do that to a client. The trees look cramped, too.

    Okay with me if you delete my comments, as Debbie might not be happy to have her room dissected by strangers.

    1. Hi MJ,

      I’d like to delete all of them. :] I don’t like to encourage this sort of discourse. But if you guys don’t like the room, then you don’t like it.

  36. Wonderfully detailed and honest post. Rather a rarity these days and very much appreciated. Count me in as another satisfied OKL customer(a French Heritage sofa & assorted small things) who is vastly underwhelmed by the curtains in that room. I also don’t quite get the scale of the Mr & Mrs Howard bench with the nearby chairs … any insight? Maybe my quirky meter needs adjustment 😉

    1. Yes, that part is definitely odd. It’s too big! Okay, we all agree. (so far) The curtains suck. They are definitely ready-mades and nobody in New Canaan, CT has ready made drapes! You can’t buy a dog house in NC for under a million dollars!

  37. Since Bed Bath & Beyond bought One Kings Lane (for a relative pittance) last year – perhaps they DID include BB&B panels here! Another useful post Laurel, giving realistic ideas and alternatives about cosst. But I agree with others -I think the rooms you design have more interest, more compelling color stories and just more style than this. I’m always happy to see your blog posts in my inbox. Thanks!

    1. Hi Wendy,

      I did not know that BB&B bought OKL. I just pulled that out of a hat because that’s what they look like.

      I’m not sure how much of the time the family lives there. It’s a five hour commute both ways into Manhattan. Door to door. But they aren’t very close to a train line in New Canaan. I know all of that because I lived in a neighboring community for 21 years.

      And the other thing is that the home is open for consultations and tours frequently. I do like the idea of showing the items for sale in a real home.

      1. Laurel!! New Canaan isn’t a 2.5 hour commute to grand central :-o!! The two trains are a maximum of 10 (maybe 12) minutes away from any corner of NC And the ride itself is an hour and 10 hehehe!! (Their home is 9 mins from train)
        Also forgot to say that Pacific beach lamp (gold white) is killing me softly,, so gorgeous

        1. Hi Heidi,

          She’s probably counting, having to pee and then get back into her coat. And then grabbing her coffee and then finding parking.

          I used to live in Goldens Bridge and OY – folks from NC would park THERE! But that is at least a 20 minute drive. The reason they took that train is because the one closer to them doesn’t run very often. It was something like that, I was told. And then she has to get to her office. I don’t know where it is, but it’s not GCT.

          My wasband’s commute down to wall street years ago from Goldens Bridge took a full two hours door-to-door, one-way. (and no, he’s not a wall streeter. He was a COBOL programmer) The other thing is– no way she does that commute five days a week and with little kids. If she does… I want some of whatever she’s taking!

        2. Yes and not to mention the waitlist to park at NC train is… 4 years long. Maybe 8? Hahha
          My husb travels from the south Norwalk train for that very reason, down to state street and door to door it is just under two hours. Heinous!! At 5:30 am…

  38. Different strokes for different folks! It’s not a room that appeals to me either. The colors, the mix of items….

    The round coffee table is kinda nice, though. And I really like the millwork on that end wall!

  39. Another well done article Laurel. Was just asked by a client if I can furnish her living room (sofa, ottoman/table, chair, lighting) for $2000. TOTAL.
    Now, 20 years ago, still paying student loans off and living paycheck to paycheck, that could have been me asking! Ha! But I have lived and learned. Despite me lamenting the client’s budget, now I am determined to see if I can come close without going to IKEA!

    1. Oh gosh, Erin. I would be living in a gutter if my jobs were that meager.

      What I would do is tell her that you can give her two or three hours for a consult and a follow-up and then let her figure it out.

      But that’s just me. If this is a good job for you, then it’s none of my business.

      1. LOL! True. I have some great projects that make up for it, so I don’t sweat it.

    1. I agree with Phyllis, it’s an ordinary looking room. Lots of legs, too.

      I’m glad you commented on those curtains, Laurel, they caught my eye right away. I guess b/c I’m turning some modern poly/cotton, loops on the top, panels from HG into lined pinch pleated draperies for the sliders in my breakfast room. Knowing how to do it, saves a bundle. And when getting house ready to show, I figure the classier looking the better, even if in economy fabric, which I won’t mind leaving behind when I move.

      I have to tell you that I would not put two rockers and a side table in the entrance way to that room, lest I be bruised black &blue from walking into them. But since i use my living room a lot, i guess my needs are different from people who live differently. A soft padded padded hassock is in the place I wanted to put down a book beside my chair. My lamps are thrifted with good shades, and 2 are ‘heirlooms” from Hong Kong in the 60s. Shazam! I love them. (My ex-had a good eye!)

      Usually, I love your rooms and am learning a lot from you, Though I might not always agree with you on everything, Laurel, I do love your blog and thank you for sharing your talent with us. Priceless!!!

      1. Hi MJ,

        I think what appeals to me about the room is probably the styling and the photography. That’s one of the things I love about OKL and no, they are not paying me to say these things. (we can’t hope for too much, I’ve learned), but their images are so good. I wish every vendor had such beautiful, bright, big photography.

        The other thing I like is that it’s not cookie-cutter. It’s not trying to be like everyone else. And I do like that sofa for some reason even though I’ve never had anything in my home that color.

        Yes, the rocking chairs are like that for the photo. That sort of thing happens all of the time. I’ve seen all sorts of wacky things over the years. Like chairs directly in front of a big double door!

  40. I’ve been OneKingsLane’s customer since their first day..when they used to slip a little gift inside a package..:)
    well no more gifts-but their return policy has bettered a lot since, and unlike other similar websites that were bought by bigger stores-OneKingsLane is becoming a very important store itself. They’re a huge success story.

    (I’m in that second-hand erm..seekers minority..I do buy new sometimes of course. And I have custom made too! aaand-I have second hand custom made..that really feels special when you’re lucky to find something like this. Usually comes with a story too.
    and I have this mirror..from your board. only it happened so the plans changed and I don’t know where to put it..
    I must say-they should’ve done better job with the finish. (as many other manufacturers of many other things). Otherwise, beautiful. Was on back order for, like, nine months..people make new people in nine months, how hard it can be with a mirror? lol

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post, Laurel!

    1. Hi Jenny,

      I’m going to discuss finishes in the next post. And that is because I’ve had to fix many a finish. I’ve even done it for clients sometimes. And it makes a huge difference and isn’t at all difficult.

      Several years ago, I got a tea kettle from OKL and I used it once and put it in the dishwasher and to my horror, the finish on the handle came right off and the lid no longer fit and some other issues.

      I called them about it and the woman told me that I was getting a refund. I asked her what she wanted me to do with the kettle?

      She said, “I don’t care.”


  41. If you don’t have something nice to say, I know you shouldn’t say it…BUT that living room is not a wow in my book. It’s milk toast. I don’t know what’s worse.. the 70s chair rail, the limp, lifeless curtains or the color of the sofa. I would have no interest in sitting in that room.

    1. I’m with you Joan. I don’t think this room is anywhere near as gorgeous as the rooms Laurel designs. I would be very pleased to sit in it however. Just to see what that level of expense FEELS like rather than just LOOKS like.

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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