Budget Room Design: Modern Boho Lilac Living Room
Hey EHD world, it’s Arlyn, and I’m back with the budget room post I promised last week when I dished on my changing perception of purple (which turned out to be quite controversial in the comments and on social…I get it, it’s not easy to make that switch). A good amount of you guys were really into lilac (especially when used in the modern palette I wrote about), but others were still like “yeah…no.” Maybe, just maybe, what you’re about to see will inch you closer to seeing the appeal of this trending wispy purple, but if not, we hope you could at least take away some styling tips on balancing furniture proportions and textures. That, or perhaps you’ll find some pieces you really love for your current sans-purple living spaces. Our goal was to create living room schemes that felt modern, layered, warm and exciting. And while all of us at EHD headquarters didn’t do a lilac 180, a few members of the team definitely did a double take at some of these design plans (Velinda, one of our awesome designers, literally stopped at Jess’ computer when she was prepping option 1 and said “wait…I was super nervous about what these lilac rooms would look like, but this I like. It’s good.”) There’s hope, yet!
As a reminder, this is the palette we’re talking about: lilac/lavender, sherbet-y orange, blush, mustard yellow and sand (in any combination, though at least three of those colors should be present to feel fresh and new).
We shared this shot from Anthropologie’s Spring 2018 catalog in the lilac trend post from last week. While a soft purple sofa is quite bold in my book (that is COMMITMENT folks), the reason I think this particular set up works is the balance. It’s not a purple sofa, a purple wall, purple accessories. There’s liking a color enough to decorate with it, and then there’s overkill. That would be overkill. This is a delicate mingling of desert sunset hues that feels exciting and modern, not garish.
Mixing in wood tones really brings the purple down to earth. If you want to try lilac on your walls (see our pastel paint picks for grown-ups post for some suggestions), be sure to keep some other key furniture pieces a little warmer and neutral, or else things might get a little oversaturated and Candyland-ish.
Hello Mandy Moore’s living room (designed by the lovely Sarah Sherman Samuel…bravo)! While lilac isn’t exactly the predominant color here, I wanted to show you this shot so you could see how just a touch of it really softens a space anchored in warmer shades. The sitting area would have been great without it, but the grayish purple of that bench elevates the palette so much, IMHO.
OKAY, let’s take a look at the living rooms we put together, shall we?
Option 1: Balanced & Warm
Sofa | Coffee Table | Rug | Side Table | Floor Lamp | Lilac Pillow | Patterned Pillow | Throw Blanket | Leather Wall Hanging | Bowl | Tray | Coasters | Lavender Bud Vase | Terracotta Vase | Side Table Lamp | Media Console | Side Chair | Yellow Pillow
I really love this room, and would honestly just move right in, as-is. This is how I would personally feel most comfortable working within this palette: heavy emphasis on the warmer hues accented with lilac and blush. It feels totally grown up, sleek, polished yet playful and grounded. I’ll take one of everything, please! That rust-colored sofa adds such a warm, earthy vibe and its modern shape in the unexpected color works really well with the more boho rattan chair. And oh my that side table…how good is that? The whole design feels retro-yet-modern all at once. A slim and sleek coffee table balances the heft of the sofa and console, and ties in the brass of the floor lamp. It’s the priciest version at almost $5,000, but it has some special and unique elements, like that midcentury table lamp, leather wall hanging and embroidered throw pillow.
Option 2: Light & Happy
Sofa | Coffee Table | Rug | Side Table | Floor Lamp | Lilac Pillow | Patterned Pillow | Throw Blanket | Mirror | Bowl | Tray | Coasters | Tall Vase | Bud Vase | Table Lamp | Media Console | Side Chair | Yellow Pillow
For our middle-of-the-road budget option, we landed at about $2,000 less than option 1. This room leans into lilac much harder, and while it still feels modern boho-esque, it’s a little lighter and dips more into mustard and yellow than rust. The sofa (which is $1,000 less than the CB2 version above…and also is a sleeper!!), is in a less “safe” lilac (for anyone more comfortable with beige or gray). Its contemporary silhouette, blonde wood legs and nubby upholstery, though, prevents it from going too frilly. It’s like wearing a hip pair of sneakers with a maxi dress (instead of wedges or heels)—the casual shoes makes the outfit feel purposefully dressed down while still having serious style. Sometimes, you gotta be that person who shows up in Chuck Taylors when everyone else is wearing pumps. You could likely find a round mirror that is less expensive than this one, but it will probably be far smaller and feel disproportionate to the size of your sofa.
Option 3: All About the Accents
Sofa | Coffee Table | Rug | Side Table | Floor Lamp | Lilac Pillow | Patterned Pillow | Throw Blanket | Lavender Art (left) | Blush Art (right) | Bowl | Tray | Coasters | Wide Mouth Vase | Skinny Neck Vase | Pink Table Lamp | Media Console | Side Chair | Tassel Pillow
Coming in at just under $1,800 (which is about a third of the budget from the first room plan), this version might seem pretty jammed-packed with lilac accents, but it’s actually a great example of how to bring in the trendy color in small doses. You could go all-in with the entirety of our picks, or you could pluck out say…the pillows, throw and rug to your existing neutral space and have an instant update without too much of a scary “OMG AM I REALLY DOING THIS PURPLE THING?” moment. The natural elements (the floor lamp, side table and media console) really warm up the design, since purple tends to be a cooler tone that might feel too glam or young otherwise. The whole tray, bowl, coasters set up can be styled together on the coffee table or media console (if your TV isn’t too large), or you can scatter them throughout. Oh, and that art…it’s downloadable and printable up to 18″x27″, which is a great size for pairing two over your sofa without things looking dinky. If your budget allows, I’d suggest using the mirror from the middle living room design here, which feels just a touch more grown-up than the playful prints (though both are great).
So…what do you think? If money/budget were no object, which design would you want to live in? Are there any pieces that you’re itching to add to your living room RIGHT NOW? Let us know your thoughts.