Decorating Diaries: Living Room

I recently woke up in a panic from a nightmare where due to poor planning, miscommunication and general confusion, I was left apartment-less and regretting ever giving up my last apartment. To my relief, I awoke in my bed, with my cat to my right and in my own apartment. I moved in at the end of August and continue to fall in love with it every day. I still live in the same neighborhood of Seattle, I even still live on the same street (I only moved half a block away. Seriously!), and even though I find myself slowly falling out of love with the neighborhood, I’m glad I now have an apartment that feels like a true place of tranquility when everything else is dragging me down.

This particular apartment has been on my radar for the last year. Due to trouble getting out of my lease the last time, I had to reluctantly pass on it. But when it became available this time around, I fought to get it. In a way, I’m glad I didn’t get this apartment until now because a lot has changed in the last year and I feel like my current level of adultness matches the adultness this apartment exudes. That’s something that drew me to the apartment this time around. It gave me adult small New York City apartment vibes. And now I have the means to furnish and decorate the apartment in the way that I’d like.

I joke that I keep pushing my home decor style up one decade at a time. My last apartment, which I lived in for two years and was my first official adult apartment, started out very 60s inspired (I was watching Mad Men) and then with a few strategic tweaks, I ushered it into the 70s (I finished watching Man Men). And now, faced with decorating a new apartment, I found myself naturally drawn to 80s art deco/new wave interiors. Lots of modern lines, geometric shapes and tons of color. One decor style I don’t think I’ll ever like is whitewashed and minimalist. I think incorporating 80s interiors into my apartment will be a great way to add color that looks very deliberate and not in a cluttered or tchotchke way.

Here are some images I found on Pinterest that are inspiring what I want to do with my living room.

I’m mostly using these photos for color inspiration. Because my new apartment it so much smaller than my last place, I need to use color and space very strategically. I’m gonna go with lighter neutral colors for larger furniture to sort of blend in and be in the background and give the illusion that they’re not overpowering the space.

Work, Create
I already own this small old classroom style desk that I’ve brought with me through two previous moves. It’s a pretty light and understated color and I wanted to play off of that so I bought this IKEA chair to go with it, definitely taking inspo from that chair in Like Crazy.


I own the Ikea Nockeby 3-Seater Sofa that I loOove and definitely has influenced what apartments I can and can’t move into because it’s 8 feet long. But it’s so good for movie nights and snuggling! One of the main benefits is that you can change and replace the covers. I’m currently on my third cover and this lends really well my itch to redecorate often because it’s the quickest, most effective and relatively affordable way for me to completely change the vibe of the room. I came across this Swedish site that makes custom covers for practically every Ikea couch range. When I saw this black on white grid pattern I audibly gasped. Prior to this I was stuck on what kind of coffee table/ottoman situation I wanted, but as soon as I had the grid pattern, I immediately thought BLUE! In the form of this ottoman that doubles as a storage bench.

I wanted to tie color in a little more naturally and not just have one stark pop of color that looks really forced, so I thought the best way would be through primary colored throw pillows on the black and white of the couch. I went with blue, yellow, green and hot pink.

I initially wanted this unfinished wood TV stand, but IKEA stopped carrying them and I couldn't find it on Craigslist or Ebay either. But I’m kind of glad because that led me to this TV stand in Barnood that I think is just the right shade to warm up the space and fit both my TV and my new Jensen turntable.

To be able to use my ottoman as a coffee table, I use this clear acrylic serving tray. It's serioulsly perfect. Speaking of clear acrylic, I decided to make that a clear (hehe) and intentional theme by ordering this clear acrylic bar cart. I've gotten really into collecting beautiful bar and wine glasses, so I plan on displaying on the top shelf while keeping liquor and bar tools on the bottom. I'll take y'all on a tour of my bar cart soon.

Store, Display
Because of the unfortunate lack of closet space, I’ve ordered this small garment rack that will fits nicely in a corner, where I’ll display my long colorful occasion dresses and jumpsuits.

To store and display my records, I have this really cool and compact storage that looks way more polished than the white crate I previously had them in.

I’ve already typed your eyes off, so I’ll save the kitchen and the bedroom for subsequent entries.

But for now, I’ll leave you with my running homeware wish list for the living room that’s still definitely a work in progrees.

Diana Le

Diana Le

Diana is the co-creator and Editor-in-Chief of Oatmeal Cardigan. She works as a copywriter by day and moonlights as a texting guru by night.