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Navigating Online Sofa Shopping + a $1,000 Giveaway

Makeover Takeover: Brady Picks a Sofa

Emily_henderson_interior_define_brady tolbert_brady picks a sofa

Makeover Takeover is upon us. Here’s what’s happening: starting October 20th or so (as soon as this baby comes) I’ll be wanting to take it easy work-wise. It’s business as usual on all fronts but I’m trying to figure out how to limit my work load for a couple months. Enter ‘Makeover Takeover’. As you know blogs don’t run themselves, content doesn’t create itself and I’m not just shutting this sucker down. So instead I’ve tasked my team to design, style, document and shoot the redesign of their own homes. I’ll have less work/designing/writing to do, you get really good makeover content, and they get some perks and good portfolio work for themselves. It’s a win, win, win, win, win. And its all starting now.

Take it away, Brady.

When Emily approached me about designing my new apartment for the blog I was ecstatic, but mostly terrified. Ecstatic in the fact that she entrusted me to design a space that we would feature on the blog allowing all of her readers into the design process of my space and each and every step. But, terrified that it would be chronicled on the blog and every winning decision or mistake I made would be there for all of you to read through. Trust me folks, there will be mistakes, and I can assure that there will be moments where you think, what the heck is he thinking putting those side tables with those lamps, or that art with those sconces. But, there is a method to my madness, or at least I am pretending there is.

When I first started milling around for inspiration for my living room I knew that I wanted to go bold. Not bold in the fact that I wanted pink and yellow stripes on the wall and flashing neon signs over the doorways, but bold in a more refined, dramatic, and masculine way. I spent the evenings with my imaginary boyfriend, pinterest, and we kept each other company at night. Things started to look like this:

Emily_henderson_interior_define_Brady Tolbert_Living Room Inspiration

I wanted something masculine (obviously), something graphic, something rugged, and something that seamlessly incorporated old architecture and pieces with new modern and architectural lighting and accessories. After I had decided on general direction it was on to picking out some new pieces of furniture that would go with the few pieces that I wanted to keep after my move.

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Once upon a time picking out furniture for your home meant either running to your local department store to find a pretty limiting selection of options or flipping through piles of catalogs where your eyes melted out of their sockets while perusing through all those beautiful glossy pages as you tried to imagine what that leather chair would look like in your space, or how the L-shaped sectional would fit around your already existing coffee table. You then had to find the little tiny letter that corresponded with the piece you liked and follow it down to the bottom of the page where the fine print was worse to read through to find dimensions and prices than the ingredients in your favorite breakfast cereal.

Flash forward to today, where we have about 1.5489 gazillion online retailers with about 89.4057 trillion options from each of them (completely accurate numbers – feel free to fact check). It is overwhelming, it is a lot to process, and it is just stressful. The product images can be dated, the fabric selections can be limiting, and the prices can just be frightening. As much as I wanted to keep the sofa that I found for $30 at a thrift store in Utah, the peeling fabric and wannabe solid construction had seen its day and it was time to go. So, I was on the hunt for something affordable, well designed, and customizable.

Right around this time a company that encompassed all three (and more) reached out to introduce themselves and that is when Interior Define became the answer to all my questions, besides the ever looming question of why I am still single. If Interior Define were a man, I would be fully satisfied with my life and everything it has amounted to throughout these 27 years of my existence, sadly they just make furniture, so although their furniture does not have human arms, I am sure that one of their sofas will act as my shoulder to cry on after the many terrible first dates my future holds. I digress.

Interior Define is new to the game but they are big time players, they offer a well curated selection of sofas, sectionals, and chairs which are all fully customizable and 30-40% less in cost than any comparable retailers. Not only do they have a great website to view everything but you can also discuss anything over the phone with one of their designer consultants or in person at their new storefront in Chicago.

Emily_henderson_interior_define_Brady Tolbert_Living Room Moodboard

Brass Barcart | Gold Wall Sconces | Abstract Art | Sofa | Gray Linen Curtains | Leather Chairs: similar | Antiqued Mirror Credenza | Horns | Souk Wool Rug | Hanging Rattan Chair | White and Brass Lamp

As I began to refine things down and pull products together I made some decisions (still am making decisions) and pulled together a moodboard with some of my instinctual favorites. By instinctual I mean, my dream products that I would most likely cut of my two pinky toes, or donate my kidney for, or possibly trade my first and second boyfriends for. Basically a dream board which would then inspire my decisions as I came off my dream cloud and back down to design reality.

I had decided on a color palate, and I had decided on the fact that I wanted a dramatic and dark space, seeing as how I had floor to ceiling windows and got a lot of natural light in the space. Lastly, I had decided that I wanted it to lean more masculine and more colorless than some of my previous spaces. Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE color, I don’t think Emily would have hired me if I were a colorless, gothic soul, that sucked the life out of her designs. But, I was ready for a more adult, refined space which I had always dreamed of living in.

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The process of choosing a sofa is not easy, let alone picking one out online. Luckily for me, Interior Define has a wide selection of amazing fabrics to customize whichever frame you fall in love with, an insanely easy and user friendly online shop, and they send through these very handy cards which show the shape, size, and dimensions of each of their products with a plethora of sample fabrics.

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I was torn between wanting a more modern sofa to juxtapose the worn leather club chairs that I was also on the search for, or going with something more traditional, that I knew I would love for years to come, but maybe didn’t have the clean modern lines of the latter.

So naturally, I drafted them both up in some moodboards, to see visually which appealed to me more.

Emily_henderson_interior_define_Brady Tolbert_Living Room Moodboard Side by Side_with text

Decisions, Decisions. The first option had their very modern, and very simple and clean lined “Gray” Sofa. My first instinct was that I liked it but I was not sure how practical it was with the low back and the big chunky arms. Option two was their “Rose” sofa, which is their version of a traditional english roll arm sofa. I have always loved that sofa style especially when they are upholstered in more modern fabrics, so I decided to throw it up in the moodboard even though I thought it may lean a bit too traditional with all of the other more masculine and traditional items I already knew I wanted or had.

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Once I had the second option for the sofa in the board, I instantly started liking the way that the room was coming together. It worked well with the wood elements that I wanted as well as the more harsh and masculine iron, brass and metal elements that were in there. Lastly, the higher back, the curved arms, and the wood legs were all what made it a winner for me. I worried that the more modern sofa would be too boxy with the big metal and antique mirrored credenza and that things would just start feeling too heavy especially with the dark gray walls that I wanted.

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Next was deciding on fabrics, which with all the good options they have became a very difficult decision considering as how they just introduced 50 new fabrics into their arsenal. I was swayed between two options. Do I go dark and monochromatic and stick with a gray to play with the walls, the linen curtains, and the pull out the gray stripe in the rug. Or do I go light and more taupe or beige to pull out the warmer tones of the wood, the creams of the rug and to pop more off the soon to be gray walls behind it.

I am still torn between the two color options, but as it is right now I am leaning towards a gray fabric choice in a more modern fabric weave.    Emily Henderson_The Perfect Online Sofa_Interior Define 6

Things are coming along quite well, and I am getting very excited about it all, so stay tuned for what crazy decisions I think up next. In the meantime head on over to their site to check out some of our favorites. Our friends over at Interior Define have been kind enough to send through a discount offer to use on your next order. $100 off any order over $1000! Use code: EH100 upon checkout ***Discount offer good from 10/01/15 – 10/15/15

Not only that but because we all love beautiful free stuff we have teamed up with them for a BIG giveaway. One lucky winner will win a $1000 online credit on Interior Define to shop for any sofa!

Here are the steps to enter:
1) Visit Interior Define

2) Join their email list

3) Pick your favorite Interior Define product

4) Comment back on this post with the link to the piece you’d buy with the credit if you won!

Giveaway Rules: The giveaway is open to US readers only, and the $1000 credit must be used in a single transaction toward the purchase of a couch before 12/31/15. The entrant must register their email address and the giveaway ends on 9/30/15. The giveaway winner will be randomly selected from the comment section below and we will email and announce the winner directly on this post.

A big thanks to Interior Define who sponsored this post as well as all of our other collaborators who allow us to create original and interesting design content for you. Don’t forget to come back soon for more updates and makeover takeover magic.

All photos by Jessica Issac for EHD, and all thoughts and words by Brady Tolbert for EHD.

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  1. The Crawford leather L sectional would be my choice. This post was timely. We happen to be looking for a leather sectional right now. The Walter, Sloan and Owens sofas with chaise also look nice, but we may need the seating area of the larger Crawford sectional.

  2. I love the Henry sofa – it looks so comfortable and easy! A sofa my beau and I can snuggle/sleep on together = priceless.

    Though I also love the look of the rose sofa 🙂

  3. The Asher sofa with chaise would be perfect for us. We need more seating for movie night!! This would be a great start to having an EH inspired lower level family room!!

  4. Oh my goodness, the coolness at Interior Define! Thanks so much for sharing with us your go to shop! I’ve perused the entire inventory and decided that I LOVE LUCY!!! In fact, I will take two and have them face each other for double the love. 🙂 I love the sleek arms and high backs and she sure looks comfortable! Thanks EH, you’re the best!

  5. Oh does it have to be a couch? I am dying for two of their Alice Swivel chairs in the ivory heavy cloth!

    But would also love the Rose in sailcloth!

  6. Love the philosophy and model of Interior Define! I’m torn between the Sloan couch and the Rose couch for our living room – so many great options!

  7. Gee… I sure would love the Henry in steel, to replace the worn and stained faux suede blocky sofa in my otherwise lovely bungalow-sized eclectic mid century artisan pottery living room!

  8. The rose sofa! I love it! I would just love a new sofa for my space. Still using my old brown ones from our wedding over a decade ago.

  9. Rose sofa all the way! Like a classic pair of wool trousers or leather oxfords, the sofa will never go out of style. The modern sofa is trendy and IMO the shape will get tired sooner than later. And a sofa is a very expensive piece to update — you can swap out a chair on a budget (well, maybe not that lovely leather chair!). I also agree that with all the other pieces, it’s boxy boxy boxy.

  10. I also have had perma heart eyes for Rose for quite a while now, either in cerulean blue or graphite. Trying to make do in my new home with my parents’ plaid country hand me down sofa and a slipcover, but this girl is dying for something with style!! Good luck with your makeover!

  11. This post couldn’t be timed better. Definitely the Crawford Sectional in leather for me. I just ordered a bunch of leather swatches from their site to pick the perfect color. Can’t wait to see them in person.

  12. Rose, a rose, my kingdom for a rose!!! I love “Rose” in sand linen. It has my name written alllllll over it – please pick me!

  13. The Rose sofa is beautiful, and I can just imagine it in that wonderful Cerulean Blue! Thank you for introducing us to Interior Define!

  14. This would be so fun to do! I’ve never had the privilege to even consider something like this. The GC would be such a wonderful, exciting thing to win!! Sloan, Kelly and Rose are all favorites of mine!

  15. For Brady’s room, I like the classic rounded-edge Rose sofa in a lighter color, for a slightly unexpected but inviting place to land in the darker, masculine space. I can’t wait to see how it comes together!

    For myself, I would pick the Sloan sectional in Cerulean Blue. Thanks for the giveaway.

  16. I would love love love the Kelley! We spent way too much money on an ugly dark gray sofa from Basset that has held up pretty poorly to daily use. If we could do it over again, it’d be Kelley in that natural heavy cloth…sigh..

  17. I absolutely adore the Rose sofa. As a matter of fact I have had my heart set on this style for a very long time after having looked at so many Pinterest boards, blogs, magazines etc. I would so love to replace my current oddly shaped “wedge” sofa from 15 years ago. What on earth was I thinking when I picked that thing? Anyway I adore the lines of the classic English sofa. It , to me is timeless and perfectly proportioned.I love your mood boards Brady! I am looking forward to the final product!

  18. Hi Brady, I love your mood boards. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
    I would choose the Lucy sofa. For me it’s the perfect mix of traditional with clean lines. As far as the fabric , I’m not sure because if I win, I’ll have to redo my whole living room! Thanks for the chance to win.

  19. Love your mood board! I love your choice of the Rose sofa and if I was the lucky winner that’s what I’d put the $ towards! Keeping my fingers crossed. Cannot wait to see your room all completed….it’s going to be great!

  20. Love this site! We just moved into a new house, and need a sectional for our living room. This Walters Sofa is beautiful and would be perfect for us. Love the clean lines and simplicity. I hope I win!!

  21. So, I’m sure this will be lost in the sea of comments, but I visited the Interior Define showroom recently and wasn’t that impressed. All the sofas were super low to the ground with short backs, they were stiff and uncomfortable, and the fabrics on the floor models seemed cheap and scratchy.

  22. Great first post Brady! I agree that the ROSE sofa is the way to go. Both for your space and my imaginary living room. Look forwards to seeing how your space turns out!

  23. What is the paint color you have on your mood board? I have been trying to pull ideas for my family room together & I love your paint choice!

  24. I feel your pain about decision making. I’ve been obsessing about white tile for a 2nd bathroom remodel for a month now. A constant battle between the practical (use & cost) and the pretty ($$$). It’s exhausting!

    Although I love the style of Rose, I have found that it’s not a good upright “sit”. Meaning the slant of the back and the length of the bottom cushions forces a reclined sitting (needs propping up with pillows – even then you can be in recline mode). Unless of course all your BFFs are over 6 feet tall with legs to heaven then go for it!

    p.s. The Kelley is another great option : )

  25. Can’t wait to see your apartment come together! If I had $1,000 to spend, I’d get the Sloan loveseat in tumeric for my breakfast nook!

  26. Excited for this new series of posts! Hi, Brady! The Rose would be my pick too–I checked out Interior Define before scrolling down to see where you were going with your living room (have to agree, it looks like the perfect boyfriend).

  27. I notice that you picked that rattan hanging chair. I’ve wanted one of those since I was a kid, but I am tall, and whenever I sit in one I feel scrunched into a ball–those chairs aren’t tall enough for me. You seem tall from your photos, so I’m wondering how you plan to deal w the issue. Is the chair you picked XL? Or is it only for short guests to sit in? 🙂

  28. Hi Brady, I always loved your behind the scenes posts…. And now you’re back! Well, I really like your style , its more serious and moody than emily’s. And I’m excited to follow your journey.

    BTW, you’re a baby at 27, so if you don’t make mistakes, I’ll be mad…. j/k 🙂

    P/S –tell emily to bring back the critique of readers’ home photos. I really loved that and she only did it once or twice. I think that’s really good (hopefully not time-consuming) content.

    PP/S — please also tell emily that if the blog ever goes DARK and she closes up shop, I will die. Just die.

  29. The “GRAY” sofa has my full attention in the Granite. Wowza! My $95 consignment sofa isn’t cuttin’ it anymore. Bring on a Scandal marathon with that comfy beauty.

  30. My fiance and I currently have an old pleather couch from a friend of a friend. We’re looking at buying a house together in the coming months and would LOVE this classic sofa. I’d like to be able to invest in a few quality pieces at the start our life together 🙂 I think the dove or zinc would be perfect for the color palette I have in mind.

  31. i REALLY REALLY hope i win this – we have been in our new house for a year and i still have no dining room furniture! (the dog loves that room so much).

    i would choose the rose sofa! love the curved back.

  32. The Sloan!! Simple clean lines, love that it sits up off the floor, and best of all — perfect dimensions for our limited sitting area! We have a tiny 53″ C&B loveseat right now that no longer fits our style and never actually physically fit my husband, but did fit into our previous tiny living room. We have a bit more room now, but still not enough for the usual 87″+ sofas. But we could definitely do a 71″ Sloan that would finally let him stretch out a bit! Kitties would probably dictate the Performance Felt, and the Heather color would be great for our new look with grays and woods and pops of color.


    I’m loving Brady’s mood board — can’t wait to see what comes next!!

  33. I like the Rose best for my house. In cerulean blue. But if I was starting over, I could go for some of the modern-styled ones, for sure.

  34. I live in Chicago and am also on the great sofa hunt- this is perfect! The Sloan and the Owens are calling my name. I think a trip to the showroom may be in order.

  35. The Rose sofa is my favorite. Although more traditional in style the fabric choices definitely give it a more modern edge. Anyway, I like where you’re going with your choices and I’m looking forward to following this project along.

  36. This giveaway couldn’t have come at a better time. I am in desperate need of a new sofa… all Ikea pieces over here!! I went to the website, signed up and reviewed all their pieces but I also kept coming back to the ‘Rose Sofa’. I love the lines and better yet, the dimensions of it with the height being 33″ will mean that it will come below my bay window – a big plus!! I don’t like it when the height of the back of a sofa blocks the window. The other reason I love this sofa is the back is solid and attached and this keeps the shape of the sofa back looking good for years to come.

  37. I would purchase the Rose sofa, http://www.interiordefine.com/shop/rose#NT-6013-4
    Not only does it look crazy-comfortable, it has the all important feature of lovely legs elevating it and creating a hidey-hole space gap beneath the sofa. Super handy for a tray to hide remotes, the cat’s hairbrush, or anything else you don’t need out ALL the time!

    Agree that it does have a femme vibe, but you can man it up with a wool blanket throw, and pair it with more rugged end tables or coffe table.

  38. I would purchase the Rose sofa, http://www.interiordefine.com/shop/rose#NT-6013-4
    Not only does it look crazy-comfortable, it has the all important feature of lovely legs elevating it and creating a hidey-hole space gap beneath the sofa. Super handy for a tray to hide remotes, the cat’s hairbrush, or anything else you don’t need out ALL the time!

    Agree that it does have a femme vibe, but you canit up with a wool blanket throw, and pair it with more rugged end tables or coffe table.

  39. Walters, for two reasons. A) it’s a terrific couch. That’s important. B) my dog is named Walter, so when we get questions about the couch, I’d say, “oh! That’s Walters.” Missing an opportunity like that should be criminal.

  40. Oh man, I’ve been eyeing the Sloan with the chaise for some time now. My fingers and toes are crossed! Love this new Makeover takeover series!

  41. We just bought a new house and we are in desperate need of a new sofa–this post couldn’t have come at a better time! (And I live in Chicago!) Kelley sofa, left chaise in Oatmeal–just gorgeous! Thanks, Brady and Emily! 🙂

    1. Hi Karen- Coincidentally, I am about to order precisely the same sofa: Kelley, left chaise, oatmeal! I’m wondering, how are you liking it?

  42. The Sloan chaise with Left Chaise would be my pick! It would look (and feel) so good in our den where right now we’re using an old wicker patio set handed down from a friend.

  43. First, Brady, I loved this post! I can’t wait to see what you do with your room.

    Second, I’m kinda crushing on the Sloan in Cerulean Blue. I would use it to replace the world’s most tragic slip covered couch that I bought about 10 years ago during a momentary lapse into Shabby Chic. The first time I tried to wash the slipcover it shrunk massively and now looks like me anytime I try to put on my pre-pregnancy skinny jeans. Tragic.

  44. We suffered a house fire and we are rebuilding. The only good news is that we get to choose new furniture. I fell in love with the Asher couch with the chaise on the right. It would be perfect in my new livingroom, and would set the tone for the whole house as soon as guests arrive at the front door. I’ve sent away for 4 color swatches.

  45. I love the Walter sectional. It would look amazing in my family room. Going to order fabric samples and try to convince my husband.

  46. I’m digging the Crawford (we like a nice big sectional to stretch out on), so that’s what I’d use my credit towards…if my head didn’t explode from trying to choose between fabrics!

  47. This would be fabulous to win! My husband recently got out of the Army and we moved from Texas back to Oregon. Before we left Texas though, we sold all of our furniture to make the move easier. One of my favorite sofas is the Harper 102″ Fabric Sofa in either Dove or Linen. Thank you for the opportunity!

  48. Brady, you’re still single because it takes a while to find someone worthy of your awesomeness. Don’t worry, I’m sure he’s out there.

    I am totally in love with your inspiration and mood boards for this room. This is the look I love and yet I somehow always go careening off into super happy fun color rooms. What can I say? My inner 5-year-old loves bright colors. However, this is giving me ideas for a bedroom redo. That room gets a ridiculous amount of light and could handle the dark colors.

    I’d love to have the Sloan (http://www.interiordefine.com/shop/sloan-chaise-rt#NT-6013-8). I think it would be perfect!

  49. This Ainsley sofa (in Midnight Blue) would be perfect in our family room. I can envision it being the perfect place to snuggle up and watch movies and also the perfect place for our toddler to jump all over. I love how the simple classic lines will blend seamlessly with the other pieces we already have. This was fun, even if we don’t win, to spend an hour daydreaming of room makeovers. Thanks EHD!

  50. Now that my little one is cruising, I’ve got dirty finger prints all along my off white sofa! So I think Navy might be in order… And I’m a sucker for a tight back. Hello, Rose!

  51. This is serendipitous! Like you, Brady, I’ve been trying to navigate the endless sea of options and swatches on my sofa hunt, but finding Interior Define here (and learning that they have a showroom here in Chicago!) is perfect timing.

    I’d go with the Rose, in Cerulean Blue. Love those rolled English arms.

  52. I have to go with the Rose sofa. Its the look I’ve been dreaming of, especially when sitting on the nice looking but very uncomfortable sofa we bought off Craigslist after I went insane and packed most of our stuff into a storage container. http://www.interiordefine.com/shop/rose#NT-6013-4

    Also – can I volunteer to be your Chicago correspondent? I’m so excited that FINALLY one of the awesome places you talk about on this blog is in my city!!!


  54. I used Interior Define for my living room sofa in my own home and am very pleased with them. I got the Sloan sofa and it’s very comfortable. Fabric samples and customer service were great, as well as the price!

  55. I adore the direction you’re going! Can’t wait to see how it all comes together! (And completely approve of your sofa choice…)

  56. For those living in Europe I can highly recommend sofa.com. Their website is easy to use, fantastic choice of products and fabric and the whole delivery and assembly process went smoothly. As I live in a Victorian conversion I was anxious about getting my new three seater sofa bed up the staircase and through the front door. I needn’t have worried – it fitted in perfectly.

    1. I LOVE “LUCY”~ in Midnight Blue or Steel! Still living with a sofa from my Victorian period, just can’t seem to make it work with my modern eclectic period:)

      Thanks so much for the opportunity!!!

  57. So many great choices! I would love to have the Sloan in New Felt- turmeric color but the Rose in cinder is a close second 🙂

  58. My copy of Styled arrived today and I am so unbelievably with it. I love how personal it feels. Also, I NEED to know where I can find the Willie Nelson print that is in the Brilliant in Blue section. Way to go on a great book! It was a job well done.

  59. Are you still in the market for a sofa? I have a great beige Crate & Barrel couch hardly used. It was purchased for an office then when the firm moved the sofa didn’t fit into the new space so it sits mostly unused in a room that we are hardly in. I know we will have to move it again and do not wish to move it again. I’m selling it for 75% less than buying price.

  60. I love the Asher sofa.
    Currently no living room furniture at all after moving here to LA, this would be a perfect piece to build around.

  61. Oh man, I know that online sofa shopping struggle. I’ve been hunting for a couch for my basement. It gets the most traction and we have the saddest light green pullout (that is broken) right now. The Walters (http://www.interiordefine.com/shop/walters#LK-14342-43/) with right chaise would be my pick. Talk about a major upgrade! I’m a little stuck between Oxford Blue and Sapphire, though.