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How Ryann Is Mixing Styles In Her Living and Dining Room

My boyfriend Rocky and I have lived in our apartment for a year and the design process has felt a lot like trying to run underwater. I can’t tell you how many photos I’ve pinned or the amount of hours I’ve spent scouring the internet for the right inspiration. After a while, my pinboard became a hodgepodge of styles ranging from minimalist farmhouse to borderline funhouse. To the amateur design hobbyist (aka me) this was disheartening and exhausting. Then last week when Emily #sharedthemic with Shavonda Gardner she said, “Cultivating and creating a home is a marathon, not a sprint.” This validated the slow-motion process I’ve been experiencing and at the same time inspired me to give in to my intuition. My all over the place pinboard started to make sense and our open concept living and dining room plan came together.

Naming my and Rocky’s collective style isn’t totally necessary, but it’s really fun. To make it brief, we are going for 70s-cowgirl-meets-eclectic-old-world-Italian-grandma. Coming over to our place will hopefully be like visiting your cool, eclectic grandma’s house but with Drake playing in the background (and Rocky waiting to queue up Jerry Vale). I am so excited to invite you into what our brains came up with but first I’ll show you what we are working with:

When you walk into our apartment, the dining room is straight ahead and to the right is the living room. It’s a small space and there is no separation between the two “rooms”. As you can see, we don’t live in a charming LA 1920s bungalow. She’s just an 800 sq ft apartment that has the architectural interest equivalent to that of a refrigerator. This made our initial design plan very daunting (bare bones and cream-colored walls will do that). But slowly this bleak architecture became a canvas to play with all types of styles. Here is where we are at now:

Since we last chatted, I purchased that vintage 1970s Azilal rug (!!!), the asymmetrical coffee table, & the blue Morrocan pouf. Once we procured these three items we were able to envision the potential of even more color, more patterns, shapes, and styles. This minimalist became a maximalist overnight. (@CAITLIN are you hearing this??)

Now, let’s travel into the dining room (don’t worry, it’s a short walk).

Here we are. Do you recognize that bar cabinet? I knew you would 🙂 It’s the same one Sara has in her dining room! I happened to benefit when tragically this baby was delivered to her home damaged. She was sent a new one and we were fortunate enough to obtain a place to store Rocky’s T-shirts. It also happens to fit perfectly here and became the jumping-off point that we desperately needed for this room.

Right now our dining room doubles as my office but we will eventually convert the corner where the windows are into a teeny tiny workspace. This works for me because I tend to hop around the house while I am working anyway. Currently, that corner is home to boxes of clothing and stuff to be donated because a huge procrastinator lives here (me). But one day, I’ll find the right-sized vintage secretary desk for my work computer so we can have a functioning dining table once again. Baby steps, my friends.

So that’s our little home currently. But we’ve got BIG plans. Let’s get into it:

Living Room Inspiration:

Pre-COVID Ryann would have avoided so much color and pattern but something happens to you when you’re home 7 day days a week, almost 24 hours a day. I’ve been craving color (specifically blues and greens – maybe because I miss nature??) and playing with mixing patterns has been a joy. This may be the only positive thing to ever come from a global pandemic.

Here’s our current living room plan:

Side Table | Pot | Lamp | Sofa | Mirror | Art | Bookcase | Floor Pillow | Rug (similar) | Coffee Table | Pouf | Paint Color

First up, let’s talk about the paint color. DID YOU NOTICE IT? I was trying not to give it all way too quick because it’s the best part. YES, IT’S TRUE we are planning on painting both the living and dining room this dark green color by Clare. The sample already looks so good so I’ve been asking Rocky for days when we can order the paint and go for it. I am SO excited. Once we decided on that color the whole concept of our design really fell into place.

It is also worth repeating that the Article sofa is so comfortable (important) and really, really stylish (also important). It is also strangely versatile and doesn’t make us feel bogged down to a certain style, and I have about 400 slides of design plans to prove this fact.

Dining Room Inspiration

Our inspiration for the dining room came to us while Rocky was cooking pasta sauce from scratch and listening to Frank Sinatra (as these things often do). While reminiscing about our favorite Italian restaurants that we can’t wait to dine in again and while asking Rocky’s opinion of yet another rug, I suddenly blurted out “What if we made this space feel like one of our favorite restaurants??” When I saw his reaction I knew he understood exactly what I meant. (Pro tip: if you can get your partner to participate in the design process, DO THAT).

Here are our two options (bonus points if you can guess which one is my favorite and which one is Rocky’s):

Option 1

Curtains | Italy Drawing | Flower Painting | Virgin Mary Print | Mirror | Pendant | Seascape | Pot | Bearded Lady Print| Paint Color | Dining Chairs | Table | Rug | Chair | Desk

That table is wonderful and I weirdly love it the spindle back chairs. The chairs keep the space feeling modern but not so modern that they don’t make any sense in the design. The rug is basically a done deal in my book and it’s sitting quite comfortable in my shopping cart at the moment. Rocky thinks it looks like a blueberry pie, but I think he is a silly goose. What are your thoughts?

Option 2

Curtains | taly Drawing | Virgin Mary Print |Mirror | Seascape | Nude Print | Bust| Growing Pains Painting| Bearded Lady Print | Paint Color | Wallpaper | Chairs | Table | Rug | Chair | Desk

Okay, this one is definitely more Italian restaurant in the best way. The table and chairs are straight from a charming cafe in Florence (not really) and they would match the cherry wood of our front door quite perfectly.

Just for fun, I added this wallpaper that I am playing around with installing in the cutout shelf. The moody green mixed with a B&W nude wallpaper would be fun but maybe not worth it? Would a different color paint have the same effect and be so much easier? You tell me.

Lastly, can we talk about curtains? Do you prefer the mustard velvet or the navy blue velvet?? I sincerely cannot decide what I love more. I also think some sort of floral patterned curtain here could be really cool but I could not find one that felt right (if you know of anything that could work, please holler in the comments).

Alright friends. That is all from me today. Do you have any advice? Questions? Concerns?? I am all ears. xx

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2 years ago

PRETTY PLEASE DO THE MUSTARD CURTAINS! I think that warmth would be so nice to pick up on some of the vintage wood pieces you’re planning on/have going on already. I think juxtaposed with the green paint, it’ll feel so worldly and collected. Also YAY I’m so glad you’re moving forward with your home finally. You and Rocky deserve a home that represents you two beautiful souls!

2 years ago
Reply to  Arlyn

Agree! I am imagining that mustard against the green walls, with the blue rug underfoot. YUM!!!

2 years ago

I love the mix of styles and am so happy to see glorious color! I notice that several of your choices come from Anthropologie and respectfully ask that you seek out a different source. The company has a lot of work to do to change its racist practices towards customers and employees, and so far its responses seem merely performative.

2 years ago

“She’s just an 800 sq ft apartment that has the architectural interest equivalent to that of a refrigerator.”


I really love seeing a space that doesn’t have obvious “good bones” because that’s the sort of place most of us live in. Looking forward to seeing that great paint color on the walls. Also I’d like a report on the paint itself as I’ve been mulling ordering paint from Clare but was somewhat nervous about buying paint online.

Vicki Williams
2 years ago
Reply to  LouAnn

I have heard somuch goodness about Clare paint! Check out IG undecorated_home.

2 years ago
Reply to  LouAnn

I’ve used both Clare and Backdrop for all of the paint in my condo and have been very happy with both! Paint quality between the two is comparable, just slightly different types of colors. Clare is a bit cheaper. I prefer Backdrop slightly because their packaging is more minimal, and the square cans are easy to shake, pour from, reseal, and store on shelves.

2 years ago

Where is the clear book holder from?!

2 years ago

Hi Ryann, it can be so difficult to mix a couples’ style together. Looking forward to see what’s next!

I’m glad that you were inspired by Shavonda Gardner’s words. Could you please add a link to her blog or Instagram for your readers? It’s a simple step that makes discovering new perspectives so much easier for blog readers. Thank you!

2 years ago

It looks like you get a lot of natural light. I’m so jealous. I would do anything to maximize the light coming into the room. Not sure I understand why you want such a dark color on the walls though. I noticed the guitar in the corner. I hope you are going to hang that up on the wall someplace where it can easily be taken down and played. 🙂 My vote is for option 1 dining chairs the other ones say ice cream parlor to me for some reason.

2 years ago

Hi, Ryann. Your designs both look vibrant! No doubt that the desk you have chosen is beautiful, but if you have a dining table just two feet away, do you really need a tiny extra “workspace” that offers very little storage? Consider a piece (console/dresser in another room) where you can store your work at the end of the day. You will reduce the chance of a messy office supplies and work-related material distracting from your fresh new space.

2 years ago
Reply to  Pinny

Hi Ryann, echoing Pinny’s comment! If possible, I think a piece on wheels would be great so you can push it out to your dining space when you are working, and also quickly tidy up at the end of the day. If you do intend to use your dining table for work, I’d also suggest considering dining chairs with some padding, both the options seem very hard/uncomfortable to me.
Also another vote for the mustard curtains!

2 years ago

I’m totally feeling option 1 for the dining room. I’m team color, so this is fun! Keep us updated.

2 years ago

I love the dark color paint, and I think the mustard or maybe floral or stripe curtains would look good with that color. Have you thought of using cane chairs and a black table to go with the cabinet in the dining room? Since the dining room looks pretty small, I hope you can find another place to put a desk, because it seems like it will be crowded otherwise. Will a comfortable chair fit in the living room? It just seems like you need something besides a sofa. I’ll look forward to seeing the finished product!

2 years ago

FWIW, the cane chairs (from pictures) may be an easier scale to live with in a small space. I have large rounded back spindle chairs similar to the ones you show and I feel like they take up a lot of visual space and, well, physical space. I get the cane/matchy fear, but because they seem to be different color wood I think it would play as coordinated, not matching…. I kinda wonder how the cane chairs with the table from option 1 would play…

Vicki Williams
2 years ago

Yes, yes, yes on the mustard curtains! They add life to the room. Love your picks. Love the rug! Perfect. The bentwood chairs all the way!

2 years ago

What a fun plan you have! Instead of lining your inset shelves with wallpaper, consider painting it a wheat color like the cane of your cabinet, or mustard like the curtains. To me when there is a busy pattern behind the contents of shelves I can’t really see/appreciate the items because they get lost in the busyness of the pattern. Do you want people to notice the wallpaper OR the stuff? Good news, there is no wrong answer!
Here’s a tip I got from a friend who rented for a while – cut a piece of foamcore board to the EXACT dimensions of the back of the cabinet. Paint it whatever color you want then insert. If the dimensions are exact, the foamcore will sort of support itself and you don’t have to affix it at all. It looks completely like a painted back wall. When you are ready to move, discard foamcore and boom – no repainting.
Also, do I spy a Rocky movie scene as art? Heh – clever!

emily jane
2 years ago

I am loving the new additions you guys have added so far (I neeeeeeed that blue pouf) and can’t wait to see the reveal! (regarding dark paint color making a room feel larger: my bedroom is painted in a matte black chalkboard paint (trim & door are in a glossy black : ) which leaves one with the impression that the walls are actively receding -as though the size of the room has yet to be decided..? Also, art looks absolutely wonderful…)

emily jane
2 years ago

I am preparing in advance what to stuff mine with as I bought one yesterday : ) I think it will be just the playful note I didn’t realize my living room was craving until I saw that bright blue pouf in yours. (I’ll share a pic -over on the Insider Community site?- once it arrives.)
Keep enjoying the organic unfolding process that is designing your own space -looking forward to seeing more!

2 years ago

This is going to be great! Love your choices. I like option 1 best. 🙂

2 years ago


2 years ago


2 years ago

First of all, YAY you got that amazing rug!!! And I really love the direction of both mood boards, they have so much character.

Finally, sorry for the dumb question that you’ve probably answered a million times, but does Ryann rhyme cryin’, or with Diane? Or with Leon? Or something else? I go back and forth in my head whenever I read your posts, hahaha.

Angie Ganem
2 years ago

Hi Ryann, LOVE the coffee table. My suggestion? Turn it around to face the sofa, so when people are sitting, they can reach for a magazine.

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